Fourth of July 2011

Yes, even though I post misanthropic things about government and politics at times, I still celebrate the Fourth of July. Well, sort of. I mean, I go to celebrations, and I enjoy them. I don’t feel particularly patriotic about it, and never have, with the exception of July 4, 2002, when everyone was still feeling patriotic on a daily basis after the events of 9/11/01. I bought a Boston Pops CD then, and the music made me cry. It was a good release. I still have it on my iPod, and I listen to it every Fourth of July, but it hasn’t stirred the same emotion since then.

This year was my first Fourth of July in Alabama. One of my friends’ coworkers invited us out to her house at Lake Martin for a get-together involving grilled meats, tossed footballs in the driveway, and jubilant children passing out tiny flags for waving. As it turned out, the husband of said coworker has family and roots in North Carolina, although they came here via Michigan most recently. We had a great time talking about differences in barbecue and between the Deep South and the “regular” South. How people are mistaken when they call a cookout a “barbecue,” how we both get challenged on whether North Carolina is even “the South” on a regular basis. (Seriously, have you people never heard of the Mason-Dixon Line? Can you not hear the way I speak?) There were some other coworkers of theirs present with their families and some neighbors from the street passing in and out.

I am a big fan of being near any body of water, no matter how large or small. So, I was very excited when we decided to caravan from their house on a small peninsula down to the neighborhood docks. What a beautiful spot of Earth! We sat out over the water, drinking beers, watching the sunset, craning our necks up at amateur fireworks being set off all around us, and watching kids and dogs swim merrily in the lake nearby. It was breezy and balmy and felt amazing. I can totally see why people dig living out there in the heat of an Alabama summer.

Lake Martin is about 40 minutes from where we live in Auburn, mostly two-lane back roads with nary a house in sight. It always sort of amazes me at how rural everything is here as soon as we get out of the city limits, particularly going west. I don’t feel like I live in the middle of nowhere, but it only takes driving for fifteen minutes to discover that in fact, I do.

According to my research, Lake Martin is actually a lot bigger than I thought it was when I was there. It’s about 40,000 acres and is actually one of the largest artificial lakes in the United States. I’m guessing I thought it was smaller because of the way it’s shaped, dipping in and out of many small peninsulas. I kept thinking I was looking across to the other side of the lake, but I think I was just looking across to other peninsulas. In a way, it reminded me of Lake Lure, which I grew up near in North Carolina, but without the mountains. Only Lake Lure is about 800 acres. Okay, so really not at all the same except they’re both lakes with houses and boats and docks.

Very interestingly, both Lake Lure and Lake Martin feature a rock formation called “Chimney Rock.” Here’s where I get to brag about mine. Alabama’s Chimney Rock is about 60 feet tall, and people jump off it into the water. Which sounds really frickin’ fun. But our Chimney Rock, in North Carolina, is 315 feet, and sits at a mountain-top elevation of 2,280 feet. You do not jump off that. You stand at the top and survey your 75-mile panoramic view. And yes, while a couple people have died jumping off Alabama’s Chimney Rock over the years, and it’s always possible because shit happens, I guarantee you if you jump off our Chimney Rock in North Carolina, you will absolutely die. No two ways about it.

Here’s a pic of Chimney Rock in Alabama:

Here’s the Chimney Rock I grew up with in North Carolina:

Incidentally, I think the North Carolina one looks a lot more like a chimney than Alabama’s. Although for years I’ve thought it looked more like a penis than anything else. Juuuuuuust sayin’!

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Gold Shoes, Chicken Salad, and Stingrays

Life in Auburn continues to be pretty entertaining. I am still doing a lot of unpacking and arranging, running errands, and doing laundry. A lot of laundry. But in between the mundane aspects of getting settled into a new place (like needing to go buy something ridiculous like a dust pan, because I expressly remember choosing not to pack something that costs one dollar to save space), I’ve found a few fun things to do as well.

A couple weekends ago, I went to a Valentine’s Masquerade Ball, which was a benefit for a local nonprofit arts group. It was held at a local historic property called Pebble Hill — an antebellum cottage with great Civil War history that is now owned by the university and houses their Center for Arts and Humanities. We went with a big group of friends, and it was so much fun to get dressed up for something for the first time in a long time. I generally don’t enjoy being dressed up and prefer my tattered hemp pants and long-sleeve t-shirts to hose and heels. But every once in a while, it is kinda nice to feel all pretty and feminine and dare I say hot, to get dolled up and accessorize and play that role for an evening.

Adding to the excitement was the fact that this event required an arts-and-crafts session AND thrift store shopping. Carter and I spent an afternoon making our masks together. We bought parts at Hobby Lobby, like the eye covering, handles, and decorations like feathers, flowers, berries, and ribbon. And glorious things like glitter, paint, and glue. Putting the parts together required a little elbow grease. I got to bust out my jewelry making supplies to wire things together. I also got to wield my Dremel (one of my favorite things in life) to cut some of Carter’s metal flower stems and to drill holes in her mask for wiring. I really wish we had filmed it — Carter holding a stem of fake flowers as far away from her face as possible, and me slicing into it with my diamond-chip Dremel bit, sparks flying, trying to shield my eyes. Both of us laughing hysterically at the scene. It was like freaking light-saber action! I felt so powerful! God, I love my Dremel.

I found the perfect red belt to go with my outfit for a dollar at Goodwill and selected an awesome retro-fabulous 1960s-esque dress at Sears for $25 — black brocade, with a knee-length full skirt and cinched waist. Black alone is a little boring to me, so I found a cute pair of red patent-leather peep toe pumps, and accessorized further with a black-white-red chunky bangle bracelet and a white scarf, which I only sort of carried around but did not wear. It did come in handy when taking smoke breaks in the chilly night air, so I wrapped it around my shoulders and felt good that I had an actual practical accessory to my outfit. I have an awesome black beaded clutch that is very turn- of- the-(20th)-century that went perfectly. So the red belt I found at Goodwill actually was from the 1960s — geometric resin buckle on wide elastic — and it accentuated the cinched waist of my dress and complemented the red of my shoes and in my bracelet. When I was completely dressed, with smoky eye-makeup finished, my date said, “You look hot. Is that supposed to be an ‘Alice in Wonder-ho’ look?” I could have died, I laughed so hard! Leave it to a man to equate “retro” with “fairy tale.” Actually, I could totally see why it reminded him of the dress Alice wore, white with the blue sash. And why my red-and-black motif seemed to say “reminiscent of sweet and innocent, but actually fierce and sexy.” I think I’m okay with that! Truth be told, it probably sums up my mojo pretty well. We all had an awesome time enjoying the performance art, music, open bar, and extensive buffet, and afterward we ended up at the Olde Auburn Ale House, a cool bar downtown with live music, not wanting to take off our finery too early.

I’ve decided that so far my favorite restaurant here is Chappy’s Deli. They have a lot of Southern charm, complete with an explanation for being closed on Sundays on the door (“Resting and being with family”). The reason it’s my favorite is that they have the best chicken salad I’ve ever tasted. I’m a connoisseur of chicken salad, among a few other things, like French onion soup, french fries, salmon, grilled chicken sandwiches, guacamole, and fried oysters. These are things I will order over and over again, at various restaurants around the globe in hopes of finding the perfect and best one in each category. It’s like my own private Food Network program that I’m living out, and no one cares but me. Chappy’s chicken salad is perfectly Southern — creamy, smooth (not chunky), without too many additional ingredients to add interest. Essentially mayonnaise, shredded chicken, maybe some finely diced celery and onion, salt, pepper, and a dash of lemon juice. This is served on a kaiser roll, with lettuce, tomato, smoked cheddar, and bacon. Oh, my lord. Best. Chicken salad. Ever.

One day last week, I drove up to Atlanta to meet a friend who was in town interviewing for a fellowship. We spent a really awesome day at the Georgia Aquarium. I absolutely LOVE aquariums. I’ve written here before about my water fascination, and I really think I must have been an ocean dwelling creature in another life because I just connect with it so much. As a kid, I always really loved interactive museums, and as an adult, they’re still one of my favorite things. Museums of any kind, really. I can remember visiting Disney World as a kid and being somewhat disappointed that it was mainly entertainment and not so much educational. And their educational exhibits are kinda boring. I was that nerdy kid who wanted more “Hall of Presidents” type things and less “Tea Cups.”

Anyway, the Georgia Aquarium was amazing. Usually the otters are my favorite, and I was a little disappointed that two of the three otter installations were on hiatus at the time of my visit. The Charleston aquarium has great otters, full of personality. The only ones we saw were trying to nap while their pack leader pranced around preening atop rocks and looking cute for the onlookers. I was very happy to get to go down the kids’ whale slide, as the children waiting in line in front of me kept looking back at me like, “What’s she doing here?” And I got to pet a stingray, which came to me when I beckoned it with fingers underwater and spewed a stream of water at me as I stroked its fins. Who knew stingrays were somewhat intelligent? Not me. We saw beluga whales desperately trying to engage in coitus as if on cue when the exhibit’s lecturer began his spiel. Who knew whale dicks were enormous,, and seem to come out of nowhere, like a dog’s lipstick unrolling? Not me. Although it seems appropriate. I mean, they are whales. Observing the reactions of the people around us at the time was priceless, though. We saw whale sharks that were bigger than the beluga whales, and stingrays that I couldn’t have wrapped my arms around, giant grouper, dragon fish (they look like really colorful and really lazy seahorses), sea turtles (love them!), lion fish, and a whole hall of Amazonian fish and reptiles. It seems like every time I go to an aquarium they’re doing an Amazon installation. Which is cool, because I get to relive my trip to Brazil. There were lots of other exhibits going on that you had to pay extra to go into, but sometime I’d like to do all the rest of it. I’d particularly like to see the dolphins after watching “The Cove.” I have a new respect and admiration for them now, even beyond what I did previously.

It was also great wandering around and catching up with my old friend from high school, who I only see on rare occasions nowadays. It reminded me that some friends are forever, even after things change immensely for both parties in life. There are some people you just connect with, feel at home with, and enjoy every second with. No explanations necessary. No buffering of the true self needed. Birds of some sort of feather…perhaps a spiritual sort. My soul wants to connect with everyone, but it only gets to experience the real connection every few years or so. As a result, I spend a lot of time feeling a sense of loss for the ones who didn’t qualify. But there are few better feelings than seeing one of those old soul connections again, and being reminded that it does happen sometimes if we let it, and we’re looking. I cherish all of mine…the special, the few.

Halloween 2010

I’m never usually much one for Halloween, but this year I’m really not. I’m sick, and I’m stuck inside without much to do. I’m missing the annual Halloween party thrown by my best friend since forever, and I’m even missing the Auburn football game because Time Warner is a bitch and won’t let me watch it online because I don’t get cable TV. Hello, the internet is why I don’t have cable. Maybe they have figured that out. Nooooooooooo!!!

When I was little I used to get strep throat all the time, and I had it one year on Halloween and was very disappointed when I couldn’t go trick-or-treating with my friends from the neighborhood. What I remembered today as a result of being sick on Halloween again was how that year when I was five or so, my friend Kerri and her little sister stopped by my house on their way home to divvy up their candy haul with me since I couldn’t go. It’s funny how one seemingly small act of kindness will stick with a person for their entire life, huh? Makes me wonder what I’ve done that has stuck with someone without me even realizing it. When I mentioned it to Kerri tonight, she said, “Hmm, we must have been really little because I’m usually very selfish with my candy.” LOL!

I’ve never been very big on dressing up or costumes. I think it’s because they’re usually really uncomfortable, and I am hard pressed to wear anything ever that feels uncomfortable. I guess that’s why they are called costumes. They are not within your personal comfort zone manner of dress. My favorite Halloween costume I ever had was in college when I went as Cruella DeVille. Basically I just wore a black slip dress with a black feather boa and a lot of eye makeup, and I put a white streak in my hair, and I even had the long cigarette holder. It was my favorite because it wasn’t that uncomfortable, didn’t require many props, and everyone got it. In fact, that was probably the last time I actually wore a Halloween costume. I don’t get out much now that I’m old.

Speaking of costumes, my hairdresser is a closet hippie and loves all my clothes. She complimented the patchwork pants I wore to my last appointment, and we had a whole conversation about how she looks for cool hippie clothes whenever she goes to Asheville but everything there is so expensive. (The pants I was wearing that day I got on sale in Asheville for like $40. ON SALE!) Today I saw her randomly in public (wearing a hoodie and hemp pants), and she was loving on Birdy and telling her how her mama has cool clothes. It made me laugh, because it’s very possible no one has EVER said that to or about me. Particularly since I’ve lived here, in a town where hippies are an anomaly.

In Asheville, I used to get compliments on my random vintage t-shirts. Most of them were stolen from my dad and were from his college days, which made them even cooler because they were actually old. I had a vintage White Sox shirt he stole from his sister, who stole it from one of her college boyfriends, and I used to get hit on so much in college due to that shirt. One of my old college roommates was even inspired to start a vintage-look baby clothing line because of it. It was because of a vintage guitar shop shirt from a particular town that I met my college boyfriend, who had family there and had been to the place. I had a more common one that said, “I Climbed the Great Wall” with a graphic of the Great Wall of China, and it always shocked me that guys would hit on me because I was wearing a shirt they themselves owned. Conversation starter, I guess. But weird that now no one hits on me unless I’m wearing socially acceptable trendy female clothing. Which makes me just hate the people who do it because at that point they’re not even hitting on me, they’re hitting on my clothes. Which tells me they are way too superficial for my taste, and they’re gonna be WAY disappointed to learn that I’m wearing a costume essentially, once I get home and put on my hemp drawstrings.

Here, I get looks of bafflement that I’m not wearing Ann Taylor or skinny-leg jeans or whatever it is that is “in style” nowadays. I never know. Obviously, as I’m still wearing the same t-shirts and boot-leg jeans I wore in college and parading around a conservative Southern town in hippie garb like hemp pants for God’s sake at the REGULAR grocery store and not at Whole Foods. But when a guy flirts with me when I’m wearing hemp or patchworks, he’s going to have a much better chance at getting the number than when I’m in “drag.”

I’m a rebel, I tell you. Maybe I just figured out my next Halloween costume. And I don’t even have to dress up! Perfect. “Oh, look! She’s a hippie!” “Oh, no, that’s just Maegan.”

Good Lyrics: We Belong

Posting this will probably date me very unfortunately. This song was on my first favorite pop music album, around age 5, because my older (and way cooler) big-girl neighbors were all listening to it. I was the youngest initiate in that first neighborhood circle of friends. Also attributed to their influence is a story my cousin likes to tell at holiday family gatherings about me running outside the house (around the same age) wearing a white lace glove and screaming, “Madonna’s on MTV! Madonna’s on MTV!” And when everyone came to see what I was being so spastic about, they saw the “Like a Virgin” video. I”m positive I had no idea what she was singing about, but I did know — because of the neighbor girls — that Madonna was cool and I should like her. LOL. Anyway, Pat Benatar was my first pop love. This song actually still speaks to me, 25+ years later, and it’s speaking to me in particular today. Heard it on the radio while driving home on a road trip and contemplating the trip’s events, and realized that it pretty much sums things up.

We Belong
by Pat Benatar

We Belong, We Belong to the light
Many times I’ve tried to tell you
Many times I’ve cried alone
Always I’m surprised how well you
Cut my feelings to the bone

Don’t want to leave you really
I’ve invested too much time
To give you up that easy
To the doubts that complicate your mind

CHORUS:
We Belong to the light
We Belong to the thunder
We Belong to the sound of the words
We’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace
For worse or for better
We Belong, We Belong
We Belong together

Maybe it’s a sign of weakness
When I don’t know what to say
Maybe I just wouldn’t know
What to do with my strength anyway
Have we become a habit
Do we distort the facts
Now there’s no looking forward
Now there’s no turning back
When you say

CHORUS

Close your eyes and try to sleep now
Close your eyes and try to dream
Clear your mind and do your best
To try and wash the palette clean
We can’t begin to know it
How much we really care
I hear your voice inside me
I see your face everywhere
Still you say

CHORUS

Random Guilty Pleasure: I-85

I imagine it is a common motherly trait to be overly cautious and paranoid and worrisome. I think my mom takes it to a new level, though. Any time I do anything remotely adventurous — well, what I consider normal adult activities, she considers adventurous — her first response to the mere mention of it is worst-case scenario, what could possibly go wrong, what I should be worried about, and why I should reconsider doing it in the first place.

You should have heard her when I told her I was going to the Amazon. “What if you get malaria? What if you get lost?” What if what if what if? If I tell her I’m going to a party, it’s “Watch your drink — people can drug you.” If I tell her I’m going shopping, it’s “Don’t talk on your phone in the parking lot. That’s what they look for.” If I tell her I think I might like to live in Colorado one day, it’s “But it’s so far away and it snows too much and we would never see you again because we can’t afford to fly out there all the time and you might get there and hate it and it’s so expensive to move!” If I say I’m going for a run, it’s “BY YOURSELF? Don’t go after dark, and be sure to take Birdy and your phone with you.”

I’m convinced she was a guilt-inflicting Jewish mother in a previous life. Actually, a famous holocaust survivor, Rena Kornreich Gelissen, once told her she looked exactly like her mother, who died in a concentration camp. “You have my mother’s eyes,” she said.

I have heard the phrase “Ohhhh, Maegan. You’d better. Be. Careful.” so many times that I have started waiting until after the fact to tell her about things. Like, when I went to Alabama the other weekend, I couldn’t tell her. The Alabama friends said, “You can’t tell your mom you’re driving to Alabama alone? You’re thirty fucking years old!” (I know. Believe me, this is my thought also.)

Obviously my friends knew where I was going, and I told my dad so someone in the family would know where I was in case of emergency, and because I knew I could trust him not to say anything. Because he gets it and he lives with her and he needs to keep his household drama to a minimum. Like a good child, I let her discover it on her own. On Facebook.

I think my mom made an effort when I was a kid to not be too overprotective and to let me experience things. My best friend’s parents were way more overprotective than mine. They wouldn’t even let her go to the beach with my family until we were in college, because, AND I QUOTE, “Something might happen.” But my parents let me do all kinds of cool stuff when I was a teenager. When I was a senior in high school, they even let me go to my college boyfriend’s fraternity formal for the weekend in a city 4 hours away. That’s pretty cool.

In my adulthood, she seems to be more open about expressing her fear at the mere notion of me existing in the world alone. I try to tell her that she should trust in her parenting skills and take comfort in the thought that she (and my dad) taught me how to make good decisions. I mean, I am a pretty level-headed person, generally. I’ve heard her warnings enough that it’s the first thing that pops into my mind as well when I think of doing something. I’m just able to suppress it so I can live my life and have fun without being completely afraid of everything.

Want to know the completely baffling part? She actually wants to go skydiving one day. I do, too, and I think I am going to do it for my birthday this year. Nick and I have the same birthday, so we are trying to do something crazy fun. But part of me thinks I should go with her so she actually does it, and take pictures and put them all over the internet to document her one adventurous, thrill-seeking moment. When she and my dad were in college, they talked about moving to Australia. What happened to that person?? I could have been an Aussie!

When I was younger, I was taught to fear most busy freeways more than most things in life, but I-85 in particular. My grandparents lived in Atlanta for a while, and when we would go down to visit, my nervous-wreck of a mother (I say that with love) would squeal and fake-brake and white-knuckle the oh-shit bar and caution my dad to slow down and watch out for that truck the entire 4 hours it took us to get there. Then, while we were there, she would talk incessantly about how fast everyone in Georgia drives — like they think 85 is the speed limit and not the name of the road. And how it’s no wonder there are so many accidents on it all the time. And how all the cops must be downtown busting up drug dealers because they sure weren’t giving out any speeding tickets.

Back home, where there were no roads more than four lanes wide, she beat into my head which intersections were considered “baaaaaad” way before I could drive myself (as in “That’s a baaaaaaad intersection,” every time we drove through it). Like where my grandparents’ road met the Rock Store in Shiloh before they put in the stop light. Or the intersection of Hwy 221 by George White’s store in Oakland. Or the place where Hudlow intersects Whitesides Road on the way to my cousins’ horse farm in Mount Vernon before they put in the caution light that senses when a car enters the danger zone and flashes to let you know to wait.

Inevitably it was a “bad” intersection because  someone she went to high school with or rode horses with or someone my cousins went to high school with or rode horses with was killed at it…probably because they pulled out in front of someone or were drunk. They were usually places with blind hills. Or blind curves. And when you live in the foothills of the mountains, blind hills and curves are pretty common.

Anyway, I used to be very nervous about driving on I-85 due to said instillation of fear. But on my road trip down to Alabama last weekend, it was mostly I-85 the whole way, and I found myself marveling how odd it was that I wasn’t afraid of it anymore. Not only was I not afraid, but I found myself actually enjoying it. I love how fast everyone drives on that road, because you get to your destination faster, and you don’t worry so much about getting a ticket because there is always SOMEONE going faster than you. Who doesn’t like driving fast? It’s fun. I’m a careful driver — I don’t follow too close (mainly because I perpetually need to have my brake pads replaced and don’t get around to it), I always wear my seat belt, and I stay observant and alert and defensive.

My mom (like most parents) would say, “It’s not you I worry about! It’s everyone else!” Whatareyougonnado. I’m pretty sure that just keeping up with traffic on I-85 shaved about an hour to an hour-and-a-half off my travel time in both directions. And the only accident I saw, both coming and going, was in Alabama on the part of I-85 that is probably the flattest, calmest, and least trafficked, where people actually pretty much do the speed limit.

While I was driving, I kept having to squash this guilt that was rising up my spine at the thought of what my mother would say if she knew I was embracing I-85 instead of being terrified. And I finally just decided, you know what? Screw it. You’re chalking it up to a guilty pleasure. And you’re listening to Eminem’s offensive lyrics on your iPod, and you’re stopping in Braselton, Georgia for gas AFTER DARK. And you’re not getting home til AFTER MIDNIGHT. And it was okay. Because I am “thirty fucking years old.” And I do what I want, yo. Just don’t tell my mama.

Crafty Love! Guitar Stuff

As y’all have probably noticed, I’ve been playing a whole lot of guitar lately. I kinda go through phases with it and play nonstop for weeks, but then I burn myself out and have to stop because my fingers are blistery and in so much pain I just can’t play anymore. I really enjoy playing an instrument that I can actually use to entertain my friends and make them laugh and smile, as opposed to the classical violin and piano I played growing up. I’m just not interested in the seriousness of that anymore. There were a lot of reasons I stopped playing those instruments…I don’t have a piano anymore…I got burned out after playing violin every day for 17 years…I wanted to learn something new…I was sick of being defined as “the girl who plays violin”…I wanted to be able to play popular music and sing and try to have a voice people might actually enjoy listening to that doesn’t sound like a 13-year-old in the church choir.

Nowadays if I play violin, I mainly play Old Time Appalachian tunes that remind me of songs my great-grandpa Phin learned growing up in the mountains of North Carolina and used to sing to me when I was little. I would lay in the floor on my back in front of where he sat on the couch, and put my knees on my forehead and my feet on his knees. He would sing, “Shady grove, my little love, shady grove I say…shady grove, my little love, I’m bound to go away.” And then he would push my feet towards the TV and flip my legs back over. It was the greatest game, and he had to sing that first verse of “Shady Grove” every time before he flipped me — it was required.

Check out this cool  guitar stuff on Etsy!

5×7 Fine Art Print, Las Guitarras
$9 by Zuppaartista

Recycled Guitar String Pendants
$26 by Plucking Pendants

Handmade Picks in rosewood, ebony, bone, and horn
$29.95 by Brossard Picks
*Disclaimer: I gave my dad these picks for Christmas last year, and he loved them. He actually gave one to a covetous picking buddy, whose response was, “Gee, at least I got one thing I wanted for Christmas this year!”

Acoustic Guitar Pick-Up
$35 by Mojohound Music

Personalized Note Cards
$18 by Dean Penn and Paper

Random Pet Peeve: Mainstream Radio

This post is not meant to be the anti-pop music diatribe you’re probably expecting out of me. Believe it or not, I actually like *some* pop music. I think it has its place. I have been guilty of car dancing the moves to N*Sync’s Bye Bye Bye, I will admit it. That probably shows my age, and it also points to the era when I was last enjoying pop music on the radio. It’s what the most memorable road trips are made of.

My radio pet peeve today is that DJ’s (are they even called that now?) never tell you what they are playing. Probably because they’re not playing it — it comes on a pre-recorded disc from Clear Channel based on what they think will sell, and they just hit play. It no longer has anything to do with people who are really passionate about music sharing awesome new stuff with their audience. I think nowadays you don’t have to know anything about music to be on the radio — you just need a good voice.

As some of you may know, my dad has his own radio show. It’s on public radio, and it’s called Celtic Winds and is all traditional Irish/Scottish music. It comes on Sunday afternoons, and he’s been doing it for like 20 years. When I was a kid (around middle school age), I used to go with him and answer the phone to take requests during the show. I was also in charge of recording the play list on paper, because the station maintained records of them, and because I had good handwriting. Those afternoons were some of the most fun days I ever spent with my dad growing up, and one of the few things that we did together, just me and him.

Maybe it’s different with public radio, but to this day he maintains a strict policy of telling people what tracks he’s playing and by which artists. How can you turn people on to new music if they don’t know what they’re hearing?

Today on my way home from work I was actually listening to pop radio, which I rarely do anymore because it never seems to hold my interest. And I heard for the first time in a really long time, a great pop song — “Burning Proof” “Bulletproof” by La Roux. I only know that because I Googled it. (Is it appropriate to capitalize that when it’s a verb? My spell-check doesn’t know.) Anyways, the DJ sure wasn’t going to tell me what it was. And obviously, I misheard it the first time and then publicized the wrong title (thanks, Pam)! Score one for my argument.

It strikes me as a one-hit wonder kind of song, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It sounds really modern in that retro-80’s way with synthesizers. But I was singing along. I actually saw a picture of La Roux in a recent issue of Rolling Stone, and I skipped over it without reading the article because A) I couldn’t figure out what was up with the hair and B) I thought it was some hipster guy trying to be all cool and failing hard. Turns out it’s a girl. Huh.

One last thought on it — and another pet peeve — Yahoo! Answers is not a good place to obtain information, for those of you under the age of 25 who may not already know this. “La Roux” does not mean “the red.” That would be “la rouge.” “La Roux” means “the sauce” in French, which is way cooler anyway, fricking idiots.

Crafty Love! Sea Turtles

I’ve always had a thing about turtles. Native Americans had animal totems (or guides) to symbolize certain qualities in themselves, so I suppose if I were Native American, mine would be the turtle. Turtles teach us to take things slow and give ourselves time to figure out if we need to protect ourselves or plunge forward. My mom gave me a silver turtle ring when I was very young with movable arms and legs, so maybe she knew about my turtle totem before I did! She always comments on my life-long trait of cautiousness and careful deliberation and says I was even hesitant to be born. I tell her I was probably comfortable in there and didn’t see any reason to move!

Turtles remind us that it’s okay to retreat into your shell for a little while and wait until your thoughts and ideas are ready to be expressed. Anyone who knows me can tell you that as an only-child and an artist, I need a lot of alone time to balance myself emotionally. I retreat into my shell pretty often so that when the time comes to socialize, I can do it successfully and enjoy it instead of daydreaming about what I’d rather be doing in that moment. Other turtle lessons: Be patient in reaching your goals. Be careful in new situations. Be adaptable to your environment so you can find harmony in it. Live at your own pace.

On a side note, now that I’m talking about turtles, I can’t stop thinking about Aesop’s Fables. Was I the only kid on the planet who hated them and found them annoying because the morals were so freaking obvious? Anyhoozer…

What’s your animal totem? (I think I may have more than one…)

Sea Turtle Woodcut, Mono Print
$100 by Brian Taylor

Borosilicate Turtle Pendant
$75 by Jewels by L Designs

Sea Turtle Sushi Tray
$26 by Island Girl Pottery

Batik Turtle T-Shirt
$11.50 by Batik Creations

Baby Steps – 8 x 10 Print
$29 by A2Sea Photography


It Made My Day!

I really love this website, but they never seem to publish my submissions. Maybe this is because it really doesn’t take that much to make my day. Ha! So I figured I would just start posting them on my own blog instead. I was inspired because I stumbled across this picture of Calvin and Hobbes today, which was my all-time favorite cartoon as a kid. It made me laugh. Then, I was driving around town at lunch time and saw one of those human street-advertiser people — think Liberty Tax service’s Statues of Liberty at every intersection during tax season. This guy was standing out in front of some place that BUYS GOLD! He was dressed like a vato loco (think Homies miniatures from quarter machines), had in iPod earbuds, and was BREAKING IT DOWN on the side of the road, pointing to the “WE BUY GOLD” sign. I laughed out loud in the car. IMMD!

Here’s one that happened a while back. I have one coworker who is…not my favorite person in the world. My friend Jeff has nicknamed her “The Sad Lady,” due to his belief that her sad life circumstances must be what make her such a wretched person. Anyways, she was talking to our boss one day about the economic crisis and said, “I just can’t believe what is going on with Goldman Socks!”

Did I mention we work for a financial services company?

Yeah.

My boss waited until she left the room and then yelled down the hall after her, “It’s SACHS!” Delayed reaction! IMMD!

Tasty Tuesday: Chewy Gobstoppers?!?

Leave it to your best friends to crack you up at all hours of the day…and night. I got an ecstatic call last night informing me that my friend had just bought every box of Chewy Gobstoppers at this one service station, because they are his favorite artificial fruity candy and terribly elusive…which is part of the fun of Wonka candies anyway. They are all sort of elusive. As a kid, the regular Gobstoppers were my favorite, back when I didn’t care if I broke a tooth because I didn’t have to worry about not being able to afford going to the dentist. Some of my best Saturdays were spent sprawled in my friend Alice’s floor, watching movies (or Duke basketball) and chomping hard candy. But I swear to you, I had never even heard of Chewy Gobstoppers until last night. I didn’t even know they made such a thing. And now I am on a quest! If you see them, grab some for me…and watch me turn violet, Violet!

Update: I still can’t find these here, but I was in Alabama recently visiting friends and got several boxes. They are everything I expected and more. 🙂 I’m thinking about buying a carton online.