Sunday, November 02, 2008

SIMPLY SAID ENDORSES...

DUCK FOR PRESIDENT!!!


















Actually on Halloween, Julian's school paraded around the schoolyard dressed as a favorite story character so Julian was "Duck." He gets my vote.

Come on Tuesday!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

RABBIT RABBIT!


Rabbit rabbit and good luck in November!


This is a leftover goth girl from Halloween and her rabbit, a print from the Etsy seller, Kitty 107.


No music to spin this week - no time to prepare. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the extra hour sleep.
Tune in for our eleventh hour presidential endorsement on Monday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Blubbering Advocate

I just can't quit this blogging thing. I get very far afield but I always come back to the thought that writing about something will help me sort through it. So here goes.

As many of you know, my son Julian has various developmental delays that make life very interesting at best and downright exasperating at worst. Take getting out of the house these past two mornings for school - two hours from start to finish. But we face the prospect of tomorrow renewed with a game plan of strict enforcement that will make all the difference in the world...or so we tell ourselves because we do need somewhere to hang our hopes.

Today there was a "speak out" in our fine borough of Queens sponsored by two different advocacy groups to give a voice to those who don't seem to fit into the "90% of parents who are happy with the quality of education that our children are receiving in NYC." The number is grossly inflated and, to borrow a Mark Twain quote used by one parent in the meeting, is "lies, more lies and statistics."

A parent I know with a very compelling story advocating inclusion for our special needs kids told me about the speak out. I don't know what I expected from a speak out, but it's a good bet that you'd be given the opportunity to well, speak out. A couple of parents read their stories before the meeting and then the floor was opened up to discussion. Damn my lack of forethought to not have written anything up myself as I am infinitely more eloquent in print than in public speaking unprepared. Oh and there's that little phobia about public speaking to begin with that I may have neglected to mention previously. My heart pounded in my chest with each parent that shared as I too have a story to get out there and it is Julian's story and he can't tell it for himself. I needed to be his advocate as I am daily in emails, conversations, and conferences with his school administrators and teachers.

I raised my hand, possibly half heartedly but sure enough they pointed my way. Then I started speaking which in my head was to be eloquent and compelling but in reality was anything but. I began to cry. All of those stored up emotions about doing the right thing for your child being put on the line and I cried, but I continued through my tears and spoke. Spoke about Julian being in a self-contained class and the pitfalls inherent in such a setting. Spoke about the various school staff who come into contact with this special segment of the population who have no clue as to the intricacies of working with them - or anyone for that matter, as individuals with individual needs. Spoke about exclusion by school administrators or teachers (depending upon whom you believe) from grade activities. And then I finished. Dried my eyes. Listened to the feedback from my sharing.

Of course, by now I had regained my composure and could have told his story to anyone who would listen. But you know, that day may just come when I can stand in a forum and deliver a speech on behalf of Julian without a quaver in my voice or a tear on my cheek. Of course, the day may sooner come when I can witness Julian do that for himself. Either way - look out NYC. We're here, we're staying and we needs some changes made.

On a sidenote, if you are interested in just how Sarah Palin plans to fight for special education in our society, read this guest post by an attorney advocate on a wonderful gem of a blog, Your Mama's Mad Tedious: Diary of a Special Ed Teacher.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saturday Spin...

...any time now.

Ah, there it is. The video wasn't uploading. Too tired to write much.

"Money leads to power, power to corruption..." lyrics from the song which I dedicate to all those fine CEO's whose actions have caused a bit of trouble, you may have heard. Oh and "occupying spaces that were clearly meant for others..." was written for Ms. Sarah Palin, who really should stop winking at the camera - now.



Not much to tell, the artist is Gary Louris who was formerly a singer/songwriter with the Jayhawks, who The Village Voice called "the only country-rock band that matters" back around 1992. I know this because I won a Les Paul video for calling in to a radio station with that information. I believe they were voted best Country/Rock Band by the Village Voice that year and that was the answer to the radio trivia. How quaint. The Les Paul video was sold in a garage sale or is in the garage awaiting another one - sale that is, which if the creek don't rise may happen this weekend.
Anyway, not much of a proper Saturday Spin, but enjoy. I have been busy with the holidays (Rosh Hashanah was this past week and Yom Kippur is this coming Thursday). I'm supposed to be introspective right now, but instead I find myself obsessing. I better get that straightened out before Thursday.
Have a great weekend all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

I'll be brief as I was busy with some volunteer duties for Music School and I need some sleep. Do these people think I'm being paid? The nerve.

Haha, just a little intro to today's altruistic artist, Brett Dennen, who Rolling Stone called an artist to watch last November. He's folky and earnest (and we all know the importance of that). Especially in light of these funky financial*/political times in which we find ourselves. So take a look at Ain't No Reason from his second album, So Much More. His third, Hope for the Hopeless, will be out any day (if it's not out already).




My Space

Have a great weekend. Blogging has suffered some severe budgetary cutbacks for me this past week or so and much wasn't getting done as it is, but I do hope all is well and look forward to visiting soon.



*Actual economic term.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

Well, we're back in the swing of things with music school for Tali so I'm getting this together tonight as there will be no time to spare in the morning.

The artist today is Sam Phillips who started her career in the early 80's as Leslie Phillips, a contemporary christian artist. She crossed over (no pun intended) in the late 80's and switched to her childhood nickname of Sam. I'd say the results are fine.

Although she does have an album out recently, the song below is 1994's I Need Love because I just love it. She was married to T Bone Burnett, a producer and musician of some acclaim himself, who gave her song, Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss to record on their album that T Bone produced last year. It was beautifully done and you can listen to Sam's own version on MySpace. Anyway, bunch of links below if you want to muck about in your free time.



MySpace

NPR WORLD CAFE

SAM PHILLIPS.COM

I love the weather this time of year in New York, being outdoors makes you tired in a good way - not the bedraggled worn out by humidity type of tired. Tali is attending a birthday party in Central Park this weekend for one of the kids in school. There will be a "well known naturalist" there to show the kids how to forage for berries and such. You never know, in these uncertain economic times, it might just come to that.

Whatever you do, have a great weekend!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

I heard the featured song as I drove away from my root canal the other day. I had heard the song before but I wasn't familiar with the singer so off to YouTube I went. When I pulled up one of the versions of the video, it had upwards of 10 Million hits. Suddenly I felt like John McCain - woefully out of touch with the kids. Apparently a few people, perhaps you too, have heard this song. No matter, it's catchy and perfect for a weekend Spin.

The singer is Amy MacDonald who is a twenty year old self taught musician (are you listening Matty?) from Glasgow. Have a listen and enjoy:



Haven't heard enough? Listen on:

MY SPACE

HER SPACE: AMYMACDONALD.CO.UK

WEEKEND EDITION: NPR

Apropos of nothing, here is a Louie update - he's learned to build with Lincoln Logs*:

He's a crafty one.

Have a great weekend!


*PHOTO CREDIT: tali muffin

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"And the rain rain rain came down down down..."

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I'm sitting here amidst plenty of visual clutter and things needing my attention which I am blatantly ignoring as I just can't deal with it! I also need to go for a root canal first thing in the am and I'm afraid that will just be the start of some quality time with the dentist.

Maybe if I just write a little post, I'll release some of this high anxiety that seems to be mounting. The day went something like this:

Scissors had an appointment for yet another test on his back to see what is going on besides torn and herniated disks. Since they were basting him like a turkey and sticking a needle in his back and injecting dye, he needed to not head off into the Manhattan streets unattended, so when he called that he was going in, I left my office to pick him up - just as the skies opened up and poured down upon me. I looked about for a cab, knowing in my heart that it was going to be futile. My heart was right - I continued on to Grand Central to catch the 6 train downtown one stop. Easy. Walking all the freaking way East to where the medical office was took longer than the excursion up to this point. The rain had subsided but my feet were already all wet, along with a soggy-ish feeling to my clothing as well.

Got in just as Scissors and the doctor were talking about after care instruction. The doctor asked how we were going home. "We?" I thought to myself - "We're taking a cab home" I answered emphatically. Well, part of that was true. Once at the street, good luck did smile upon me as a cab pulled right up to discharge passengers just as we arrived at the curb. I looked around and furtively helped Scissors into the cab with a kiss/kiss - be careful and no lying down for three hours with you! Okay, so I wasn't going home with him, but I would check on him periodically from my office...which I walked all the way back to with shoes that were uncomfortable as I had not worn them for a month and my feet were wet and were now slipping a bit. Did I mention the blisters forming?

The office is a bit too cold some days, and today was one of those days. So adding to the general damp feeling was the cold office air. Then on to dealing with a coworker, whom on most days I can make laugh and knock her off her demented rigid way of working, but today I could only view her as demented and rigid.

Onward to speaking to my MIL who had picked Julian up from school. Julian asked me what I was doing at work and was I sleeping at my desk. Really that would make it more bearable, but I refrain from naps, although a fairly hefty chap who works in the other group on my floor seems to get quite comfy in his new chair some afternoons, but I digress.

Picked Julian up from Grandma's who gave me the full rundown of what he ate and was still continuing the feeding frenzy up until we stumbled out the front door - with some packed up homemade cake. The other brownie cake she gave us last week, she informed me with a wry little smile was made "just in case...you know when..." which referred to when her husband (Scissor's stepdad) who is in a nursing home, was not doing well a few weeks back to the point that it was not looking good for him. So what does my MIL do in her sensible way? Bake a cake to be served while sitting Shiva! Food! Food! Food! Somehow I wished she hadn't told me that was what the cake was for, but I'd eaten it already.

Get home to administer to ailing husband, kids in need of various baths/homework/dinner attention, but not before a trip to the local Trader Joe's for organic milk and various and sundry quick grocery items that maybe, just maybe Julian will eat at lunchtime.

So you see, I should really try to clear the piles of mail/recipes (that Scissors)/school papers which seem to multiply overnight on my kitchen counter, but I just needed to get this out so that I could see that it really wasn't so bad after all.

Actually, as I look - it's worse. I think I need to just go to bed. Like that will happen.

G'night.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

As promised, today is a special spin about a special boy named Washington. It is a song written by my nephew, Matthew a/k/a Matty who is a twenty year old junior in college. Matthew wanted it mentioned that this was a first effort in songwriting. I say that information is not important. I guess I got him nervous when I asked if I could feature the song on my "wildly popular Saturday Spin series" and mentioned that we were "going National - even International!" I think the sound quality lost something in transition but you'll get the idea.

Matthew's proud Mama, my dear sister Trish, sent me the song a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about the kids. It's my understanding that Matthew started to learn guitar not too long ago (I believe he is self taught). His younger brother, Colin, is amazing in his own right on the guitar. So I immediately got the lawyers involved and had his people talk to my people and, here it is. A little background about Matthew and how he came to write about Washington (courtesy of my sister Trish).

Matthew is a psychology major and has spent his past four summers working at a camp for the children of migrant workers in Southern New Jersey. The people are very poor and travel to the crops. They are immigrants from far flung locales such as Haiti and Mexico. In this case, the crops happen to be strawberries and blueberries at local farms. The parents work from sunup to sundown.

The children spend the mornings in a school setting and then the afternoons in the camp program which includes athletics, swimming, art. Washington is from Haiti and suffered with both physical and mental difficulties, as well as a language barrier. He could not run with the kids, play ball, etc. but he loved the pool. Matty was so upset the first few days of camp, and then found a way into Washington's world with the aid of another older Haitian boy translating for them.

Also from the Trish email, "sadly, Matty "lost" a couple of kids this past summer when their parents decided that they, too, were old enough now to pick and refused to let them go to camp." Such is life right here in these United States.

Of course I am biased, but this song moves me. The violin in the song was composed and played by Matthew's girlfriend, Colleen, a music major at the same school as Matty. Enjoy!


LISTEN TO WASHINGTON HERE


Matthew and Colleen are pictured seated under the umbrella at the table. Proud Mama Trish incognito in shades along with Joe. In the foreground, my nephew Benjamin and niece, Shannon plot an overthrow of the grill.


I'll round this up by thanking Matty for allowing his music to be shared, Trish for answering my questions and sharing the song to begin with, and good ole Doug for his usual technical assistance without which I'd still be cussing as I figured out how to get the song here.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 01, 2008

RABBIT RABBIT!

Good luck in September. These two rabbits are looking rather scholarly in honor of the return to school which for Julian is tomorrow and Tali, Thursday. Good luck to all of us getting back to schedule.

The pictured print entitled Pygopagus is from the Etsy shop, Wynn Studio; odd, yet charming.

Happy Labor Day - may it be spent labor-free.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wow...

Where did the summer go? Here we are in the midst of celebrating Labor Day weekend which is always a bittersweet weekend - a celebration which signifies the end of another chapter of carefree summer days (which are often only carefree for the under twelve set).

Anyway, I plan to be back next Saturday with a special Spin if I can get the proper waivers and releases signed. We just returned from a trip to Canada - a visit to family from Scissor's side in the Toronto area. I have some funny anecdotes and observations from the trip but I'll leave you with a picture of Julian, our own little Doctor Doolittle from an outing to the petting zoo. The boy belongs on a farm.



In a truly bittersweet summer tale, he may never know if they just loved him for his carrots.



Enjoy your weekend and look on the bright side - apple picking can't be far off!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

As my blog spirals into oblivion, why not disregard what year it is altogether and just play a random tune from the iPod...mostly to torture my kids. You see, Julian didn't want to go to bed tonight and he was steadfastly planted next to Tali who was playing a Mario game of some sort on her (insert name of handheld gameboy-ish thing that my addled brain won't let me recall) which I was alternately telling her to turn off as I attempted to corral Julian. To be taken seriously, I had my iPod on which was only recently rescued back from Tali's "sharing" it with me so as to hear her downloaded Jonas Brothers music (more on that to follow at a later date) and what comes on but the following song. I must say as I watch it, my choreography wasn't so off the beaten path.

You know how you think you're singing decently when you have headphones on? Well, actually I myself know that I am not, but just the same, I was loudly singing the refrain to Julian as I scaled the chair to get him on the other side of it..."Heathcliff, it's me, I'm Cathy, I've come hooome and I'm so cold, let me into your windoooow..."



The kids were laughing quite giddily, mostly because I think they began to fear for my sanity. The main objective was achieved as Tali turned off her DS (!that's what it's called!) and Julian went into the bathroom for his nightly pre-bedtime ritual (as he is nothing if not ritualistic) and declared "I'm going to bed, I'm tired." So rarely does this happen, I let him waste a little extra water in the cleaning of the sink.

And so, here we are listening to a song that was released thirty years ago. I find myself thinking this a bit lately...as we watched Jaws recently - "wow, this was thirty years ago." As I sat in the Garden (as in Madison Square) with Tali waiting for the aforementioned Jonas Brothers to come on and thinking as a Who song blared over the sound system that I had seen them in this same venue - thirty years ago. I'm becoming an old timer. Ain't that a real kick in the pants?

Watch it.

Anyway, I miss blogging. I miss it a lot. I'm just not a very disciplined person and so I find that most nights it's best to not even turn on the computer. Work isn't the most conducive environment for blogging these days which oddly I don't miss as much while there because I'm actually fairly occupied. But sometimes, I sneak a peak and have a smile and go on my way a little more connected to an inner self who sings Wuthering Heights to her kids and thinks of the kid she was herself...thirty years ago.

Have a great weekend.

Loveyamissyameanit!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

Just some music for the weekend. As I anticipated, my change in commute has been a boon for my reading time but a bust for my music listening time. Maybe I'll start reading to you on the weekends :)

Today, I'm just spinning an old fave, Aimee Mann who according to NPR has "carved out a presence as a consistently top-shelf chronicler of human desires and failings." You can listen to her live on Wolrd Cafe here.

The video is the song Freeway from her most recent, @#%&*! Smilers:



HER SPACE: AIMEEMANN.COM

MY SPACE


Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

I may be turning into a one trick pony as the only time I dust off my blog it seems is to take it out for a Spin.

I've had many blogworthy thoughts in recent weeks - some funny, some poignant, some full of angst, some complaining, some stressing, some bitching, some tears, some laughing...but none of them made it into a post. Once they're gone - they're gone. It's funny how quickly a story goes stale.

My family are all good. I've been pretty hard on myself owing to the fact that Tali and Julian did not go to camp this summer. As it turns out, lack of structure sounds good to a kid until they actually have lack of structure. Hats off to Scissors who perseveres and gets them out of the house each day, even if some days end up with visits to two different therapies with Julian. First off to his OT and then to the psychologist. Does anyone else bring their dog to the shrink with their kids? I didn't think so. It seems Louie jumped up on the couch too.

Of course, we laugh because if we don't, we just may cry. Tali recounted how the doctor told them that Julian indicated that he felt afraid when he was out of control. I raised my eyebrow a bit doubtfully and said that he didn't strike me as afraid when he was setting about pulling her hair. Tali concurred. We then made a little skit up about that.

Julian is seeing the doctor because we wanted an updated evaluation and we decided to continue for a bit to help work through some behavioral rough spots that we're dealing with. To that end, it has been helpful or so I tell myself because it gives hope. And where would we be without that?

Now for your listening pleasure - Tift Merritt. She's a Texas born/North Carolina raised singer-songwriter. That's what I know. Have a listen and enjoy:



MySpace

Her Space: Tift Merritt.com


Hope you're all good. Have a great weekend.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN ALREADY!

Well, well, well. Thought I got lost on the Lazy River at the water park, did you now? What can I tell you that would actually be of interest? Being back in the city is a different slice of life. When I get home from work, the kids have been in Daddy Day Camp all day and they're eager for a bit of Mommy time. By the time that winds down, I'm pretty much spent. Unlike working on the Island, I need to have my full compliment of sleep to start off nice and early with my trek to the subway station. Once there, the choices are rather strategic so I need to be alert to size up seating on the Express train or make a quick determination to dash for the closing doors of the less crowded local. Getting to the subway station early enough affords me the luxury of choosing.

So I have not had the computer on much at all. I can't say that I always miss it. I feel a bit fresher falling to sleep with a good book, but I do miss you guys. Yes I do. So in line with that thought, today I'm featuring someone who has long deserved a Saturday Spin - Alejandro Escovedo singing "Wasn't I Always a Friend to You" helped by a few friends of his own:



Alejandro has been around the block for some time now. Peers and music critics have nothing but praise for him. He simply does not put out a bad record and this latest, Real Animal, is no exception. He was born to Mexican immigrant parents in a musical family (Sheila E. is his niece). After a near death bout with Hepatitis C in 2003, he is doing well and making music. I've heard him interviewed on a radio show and he is a down to earth real mensch.

"Musically, Alejandro Escovedo is in his own genre." David Fricke, Rolling Stone. Couldn't agree more.

HIS SPACE: ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO.COM

Listen to Alejandro's version of above song over on: MySpace

BloodShot Records

I truly hope you're all doing well and will be by when I can sneak in some quality blog time. Have a great weekend and stay cool! Don't forget to drink plenty of water.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

DA DA DA DA...DA DA



Or - Happy Birthday to Me!

This is the last decade birthday where my first number times two equals my second number. After this one, it's literally all downhill from here. So what's an aging blogger to do on a 90 degree July birthday? That's right! Head to a water park! It's set in a mountain so that's nice. Oddly enough and you may just understand this - it is both the last place and the only place where I would choose to spend my day.

When daydreaming about an idyllic birthday, I conjure up meandering through the Vermont countryside, browsing antique shops and having a leisurely lunch. Screeching halt to dream sequence! My kids have forced me into realizing the only way to spend it is at a water park splashing down the "Colorado rapids" ride, (terrorized as now I know what it holds in store for me, yet feel compelled to take the plunge just the same).

I have been a tad preoccupied of late with my own racing thoughts which are never good company. Work is rocky right now, the kids adjusting to a summer non-schedule is less than calm, and we're all settling into our new time zones. I'm sure we'll get over this collective household "jet lag" eventually.

In the meantime, I've promised the Universe that I won't take it personally. Deliver a decent sunny day for my birthday and we're on the road to reconciliation. After all, it's delivered my new issue of Domino magazine today.

A couple of city kids in the county this past July 4th weekend:



I don't know if I've ever told my BIL Tony that he reminds me of Mick Fleetwood.

So that's life round these parts. Will the excitement never end?!

Stop by for our usual Chinese Food celebratory dinner tonight if you're in the neighborhood!

XOX

Saturday, June 28, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN: NADA SURF

Today's band is Nada Surf. The song in the video is Whose Authority from their latest record, Lucky which according to their record company is "filled with songs of restlessness, longing and the elusiveness of love." No wonder I have a vague feeling of anxiety or perhaps wistfulness listening to them. Actually, I like the breezy feeling of this song and NYC as a backdrop always works for me.



MySpace

Their space: NadaSurf.com

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Walking Louie

It's nice to unwind after a day at the orifice by taking a walk with Louie. Last night, Tali accompanied us and I knew beforehand that she was jockeying for a little park time.

Actually it's the local playground adjacent to a schoolyard. It's nice as far as park/playgrounds go and Tali has been hanging out on swings there since she was six months old. Old habits are hard to break. As we rounded the park, we went in for a swing. Louie is also training to be a circus dog and he does his twirl down the circular slide. He's getting pretty brave about it.

As Tali swung, there was a group of three teen-ish age boys filling up water balloons while three young boys vied for their attention by name calling. The older kids were high on the annoying meter and seemed to delight in teasing the younger boys, spraying them with water. The younger boys' father was nearby and for the life of me, I could not understand him allowing it. But hey, that's just me - Serial Mom. The teen-ish boys went up onto the slide play area while the younger boys stayed on below throwing sticks up at them. Of course, the older boys goaded them with jeers as to why they were even bothering, they couldn't hit them anyway. Some not too nice language was also used.

At this particular juncture, Tali, Louie and I were making our way towards the park gates. Tali was slightly behind me when I heard the ringleader teen grumble "*&^%! Who hit me?!" I turned to see a slight glint in Tali's eyes and raised an eyebrow. "Was that you?" I asked.

"Yes," she giggled and added "I didn't like how they were teasing the little boys; and one time he even bothered Julian!"

Normally, I do not condone this sort of sinking to the lowest common denominator, but I gave her a high five. The only thing I admonished her for was sharing the information about him bothering Julian after we had left. To which she replied, "Never mind sticks, you would have uprooted a tree to throw at him!"

So perhaps my Serial Mom inclinations are not so carefully concealed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I always figured...

why post when you have nothing to say? Although, some of my best posts have started off that way; this won't be one of them.

I'm working back in the city which is not all glamorous as witnessed by my daily rides on the F Train (f in more ways than one). Oh how I miss the solitude of my own car. I think I've grown a bit anti-social during my hiatus. Nothing too terrible to report on this front other than sharing a morning ride with hundreds of other people. Shutter.

The sad news is that 3 1/2 years gone from the neighborhood and nothing has changed! Well, save for a few store changes. The fruit man - same. The African guys selling pocketbooks - same. The crazy bleached blonde lady handing out the circulars to a nail salon - same. Me walking up the block from the subway - same. I don't want to belittle these people's livelihoods and I'm not, but looking inward is a bit difficult when lumped in to this company.

Oh, Management's treatment of the proletariat? Worse.

So you see? Not feeling terribly compelled to blog. Not that I have the ability to really blog from work as I no longer have my own office. Sure, I can steal a moment or two, but it's sort of tough to get into it when you feel you're about to get busted looking at stuffed animals. Some people just don't understand art. I have to say that I don't think of it at work as I'm pretty busy anyway, but I can't help but feel a bit wistful for the days of yore and blogging freedom.

That's where my head is at in a nutshell. Yes my head is in a nutshell. That's what neglect of commas will get you - misunderstood. By the way, this blog is being sponsored by the punctuation mark, the comma.

I felt compelled to post as I don't want my few friends to forget me. I haven't forgotten you even if I haven't been by for a visit, I will. But now sleep calls as I have to be up early for that F'n train.

Love ya, miss ya, mean it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

It's not good to leave your blog lie fallow. A lot of dust has to be cleaned off to get a post started, so here goes.

I'll admit when I first heard today's band, I thought "Okay, Columbia grads being ironic calling themselves, 'Vampire Weekend'. What's their schtick?" I didn't want to like them. But I did. I'd hear a new song on the radio and be bopping along and sure enough, it was another Vampire Weekend ditty. I'm not sure where they'll go from here, but I have to say you could plunk down eleven bucks on far worse than their self titled debut, released early 2008.

And hey, I learned what an oxford comma* is...



I love that tune.

Listen a litte more: MY SPACE

Plenty of hype and praise surround this band, but in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, read New York Magazine's projected backlash against the band HERE. If you don't want to click over, I've taken the liberty of lifting part of the review here:
"With the release of their self-titled debut album, critics fall in line behind the blogs and Vampire Weekend is lavished with endless acclaim. Pitchfork gives it an 8.8, comparing the band to the Strokes, and, yes, Paul Simon. Only New York's Hugo Lindgren dissents; months ahead of the curve, he concedes their dancebility but notes that "[if] they’d shown up at CBGB circa 1978, these outrĂ© Ivy League preppies probably would’ve been beaten with bicycle chains."
Scissors concurs.

And a proposed ending to all things Vampire Weekend:
"Out of disgust, the band's original MySpace friends storm the actual Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, torching Elvis's mansion to the ground. By now, many of them have moved on to new, edgier bands hailing from grittier New York colleges, like Barnard and NYU's Stern School of Business."

So there you have it. I say enjoy them for now and let's give the boys a chance. Have yourselves a great weekend. I have been off the blogwagon as I am back in the city getting settled in to a new position at work. All is going fine but I'm actually working and hence blogging is just not possible. Oh and what I might have blogged had I the chance - Julian moved on up or graduated from Kindergarten today. It was hard to keep a dry eye so I didn't really try. He was one of the color guards who lead the Star Spangled Banner. So that's life on these shores. I hope all is well with you. I'll be by to catch up.

* From askoxford.com:
"What is the 'Oxford comma'?


The 'Oxford comma' is an optional comma before the word 'and' at the end of a list:

We sell books, videos, and magazines.
It is so called because it was traditionally used by printers, readers, and editors at Oxford University Press. Sometimes it can be necessary for clarity when the items in the list are not single words:

These items are available in black and white, red and yellow, and blue and green.

Some people do not realize that the Oxford comma is acceptable, possibly because they were brought up with the supposed rule (which Fowler would call a 'superstition') about putting punctuation marks before and.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

I've started three different spins. It's an indecisive week. But in honor of my return to NYC proper on a much more intimate basis, I'm featuring Cat Power doing a cover of, New York, New York from her latest album of covers, Jukebox. So here we go:



Cat Power is essentially Chan (pronounced Shawn) Marshall (pronounced Marshall) and band. I've just heard of Cat Power this past year, but she's a southern girl who has been recording since 1992. In any event, her reputation precedes her and she has been known as a bit of a roustabout or at least inconsistent in her concert performances. That seems to be in check with her drinking which you can read a little background on in this NY Times piece.

I like her. I think this song would be perfect for background to Pia's life story as told on her blog, Courting Desitny, or perhaps one of her books that she's working on, which could then transition to film. Bam - a soundtrack is born.

So here are some links for you to muck about in to get to know her better. Just a hint, she recorded the album before the current one, The Greatest,in Memphis with Al Green's guitarist and songwriting partner. Nuff said.

MY SPACE

MATADOR RECORDS SITE

LIVE IN CONCERT ON NPR: ALL SONGS CONSIDERED

I'm feeling a bit anxious about my transition back to NYC because well for one, the company hasn't exactly given me a plum position there and two, I'll miss my car rides and catching up on what's going on music-wise. Quite frankly, it is pretty much from these rides that I have gotten back into what's going on in music these days and even have something to spin. I have one station from Fordham University to thank for that and they are WFUV, Fordham University's Voice. You can stream them yourselves at their site linked above if you like.

Ah well, let's leave tomorrow's worries until then. For now, have a great weekend and Happy Father's Day to any of you Dads dropping by. We might actually turn the tables and make breakfast for Scissors for a change this week. He'll probably take over and then I'll be all "no, I'll get the pancakes," and he'll be all "let me do it," and I'll be all (sitting sipping my coffee) "if you insist, but let me know when you want me to take over..."

Gotta love a man who can handle a spatula.

Enjoy!

PS: I'm computer-less at work as the movers removed mine yesterday and I won't be settled in until Tuesday/perhaps Wednesday. So my visits have been sparse, much to my chagrin. Of course, my blogging from work may be slightly curtailed...okay, what did I say about tomorrow's worries?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Drumroll please!!!

Julian has had a year of many changes, advances and challenges. When you have a child with special needs, keeping on top of evaluations is key as you especially want to make sure that they are in the appropriate class setting, receiving the right services. This year has proved to be a real challenge in getting Julian out of the door for school, to the dinner table, into the bathtub and into his pajamas, settling down for a book and well, you get the picture - pretty much anything that requires a transition of any sort.

So we saw his pediatric neurologist recently who seems to think our thoughts that Julian may have ADHD are pretty well founded. We asked for a referral to have him tested and at the same time have someone to talk to for both us and Julian to help us through these rough developmental patches.

Enter "Dr. Mark" whom Scissors and I met with this past Monday and now Julian and I met with today. Scissors is not as sold on the process as I am - something about psychobabble something or other. I always view things through the lens of humor. It's not that I don't take it seriously as I certainly think therapy is quite a valuable tool in helping cope with life stressors. I also find it full of infinite blog fodder. I just wish that I could sit there with a notepad and write down some of the funny exchanges. On the way to the office, Julian said in his little monotone "I know why we're going here - it's because of my behavior business last night."

I assured Julian his happiness and being able to talk about being angry and why were what Dr. Mark was going to help us with. He said that he might be shy and I assured him that was okay as I would be with him.

I'll skip the tete-a-tete of meeting Dr. Mark, but as we got down to brass tacks and playing with the therapist's favorite tool - the doll house, Julian made quick work of shoving many people into the house to watch TV. One TV wasn't enough - there had to be two so that he could watch Thomas and Spongebob! Then he described the people as lying down. The doctor then asked, "So Julian, the people are all just lying down and watching TV?"

I quickly wanted to yell out "Objection! Leading the witness!" but refrained. Julian couldn't have modeled one of our more admirable activities, like picking a Saturday Spin?

Not one to answer a question directly, Julian made the play more fanciful with horses and dogs taking up valuable couch space. The doctor asked Julian some other question which he responded with "Drumroll please!" So the doctor gave him a drum.

This continued with each response needing a drumroll preceding it. That is until Julian turned the tables and said "Now you're Julian." and began asking the same questions back to the doctor with the doc playacting along and Julian doing a not too bad imitation.

When it got down to Julian confessing to using bad words because Mommy did, I glanced at my watch to thankfully see time was indeed dwindling. The worst I've apparently said was shut up, which I'm not proud of, although I'm pretty sure I've never said it to him. I can't swear that I've never told Scissors the same in a heated moment. If I did, I apologize. I'm certainly not proud of this, but he could have credited me with worse.

So by the time we left the office, Dr. Mark had a clear picture of us as a family of foul mouthed laggards who lie about watching Spongebob and telling each other to shut up.

It could be worse, I imagine. I won't have to imagine, we'll be seeing Dr. Mark next week. Okay everybody, battlestations NPR!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Desk Drawer

I was cleaning out my office drawers in preparation for my move back to the city. Tali has been a fairly frequent (annual) visitor to my office and would often create art while she was there, so I found these:

I'm a bit sentimental as I see one picture is an early representation of her work, dating to perhaps 2001. However if being forced to choose between keeping her artwork or the following illustration, I'd have to give it some serious consideration:


I believe that was clipped from Rolling Stone magazine during Dubya's first campaign for President. Some things are hard to throw away.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Saturday Spin

This post is a Saturday Spin in that I'm playing music. It is an ode to Prince who turns 50 today. So we're just going to play a Prince song but with a twist - it's being covered by another band. The band is The Hindu Love Gods who were basically:

(REM-MichaelStipe)+WarrenZevon=HinduLoveGods.

This is from 1990 and was pretty much for fun and the only full album released under this incarnation. I actually owned the cd. It was an album of blues covers and I recall really enjoying their take on Battleship Chains too.

Anyway, Warren Zevon is gone, the cd I owned is probably gone, REM released a new cd recently and Prince is turning 50! Let's party like it's 1999!





That's it for this week. I'm sure I'll be back in gear next week as this is pretty lazy of me, but I'm conserving energy as the weather forecast calls for mid90s + NYC=MUGGY!

Stay cool and have a good weekend wherever you are!

Oh! I almost forgot: if you'd like to hear me muck up some wonderful prose that Doug has written, hop over to Waking Ambrose . The truth is that hearing my voice reminds me I'd like to take voice lessons, but I couldn't in time to read for Doug. I could have re-recorded it, but you know I'm conserving energy as it's going to be mid-90's...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Fold-up Guys


I'm slightly freaking out. If I gave into my fears, I'd be totally freaking out. In one more week the office that I work in will be closed and I will be reassigned to another department back in our offices in the city (Manhattan). As I told a friend who works in my old department there, "If you see me lying in a fetal position in the elevator, just step over me." Not that I mind going back to work in Manhattan - I look forward to it, but reinventing myself yet again is getting tired. Or maybe I'm just getting tired. It's really a grand charade this earning a living.

And so as not to give in to such stress, I will make a fold-up guy. You can too, by clicking on readymech.com. The cute little fella above is a tentaclopse, just one of the many fun fold-up guys to be found.

Couldn't I somehow make a living making fold-up guys? I'd better practice.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Does Anyone Have a Valium?

I know, I know...in these days of medication being the norm, I should have my own prescription. I do, just not Valium. I should look into it - probably sooner than later. Especially in light of the fact that I came home from work, picked up Scissors fresh from steroid injections at the doctor for his never ending back pain that he's been facing, my MIL, and Julian to head into Manhattan to Tali's school for yet another celebration which in and of itself should be nice. My gut instinct tells me otherwise.

Below are just a few reasons why cortisol was shooting out of my ears by the end of the evening. It went something like this:

- MIL is looking at her watch 5 minutes into performance.
- Julian making a friend with whom he becomes so close, they're already up to rassling on the floor during the Rabbi's speech.
- MIL declaring "I didn't even hear Tali." This after Tali just finished performing leading one of the songs with a classmate in which they both had solos. I left out the part about mike malfunction and just mutter "I have it on tape."
- We leave the school after the reception to moody MIL who was ready to leave once Tali sang (which she didn't hear, did I mention?).
- Julian sees a dog on the street and tries to make a beeline to pet. We are on a crowded Manhattan street so I attempt to guide him towards the car instead. He rebels by lying on the sidewalk which makes MIL turn pale.
- Make it to car to realize Tali has left her violin in school (stop me anytime if you need a Valium too)..
- leave crew there and run back to school to collect violin. Overcome urge to sprint down the subway steps instead.
- get back to car and pack the sorry lot into vehicle and head home.

I'll spare you the car trip with MIL's stony silence, Julian hooting out the window at garbage trucks and Scissors grimacing and groaning over every dent in the road.

At this juncture, I'm happy to have my sanity although I'm sure that is a relative term.

How did your week start off? Here's to Tuesday.

G'night.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rabbit, rabbit!

Rabbit, rabbit! Good luck in June!

The title of this print is Pink Grapefruit and it immediately reminded me of Ariel's moniker, Ice Grapefruit. Because who could be more delightful than this pink bunny...or Ariel? The print is from the Etsy shop, Amber Alexander.

My Saturday Spin is still up and spinning and I highly recommend The Felice Brothers. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.


~ G

Saturday, May 31, 2008

PETE'S PICKS: SATURDAY SPIN

Peter takes his responsibilities seriously. He called in a pick or two recently which I am enjoying but you know, things have to evolve organically in the Spin and I put up what moves me for whatever reason that week.


In a recent conversation, Pete mentioned the Felice Brothers. I had heard a song or two and listening to more, I'm glad that he mentioned them. The Felice Brothers are a band from upstate New York that formed in 2006. They are made up of three Felice Brothers and their friend, Christmas, a former travelling dice player, and Farley on washboard and fiddle. Or so the story goes. Sounds good to me. Hope it does for you too.
So take a look at their video for the song, Roll on Arte:



and have a listen: MySpace (Have a listen to "Loves Me Tenderly.")

Also, a nice little snippet from NPR: Young, Broke, and American


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm Trapped!

I am certainly in my idea of living hell. I sat at my desk today facing the computer pulling up a list of regulatory courses my job assigns me each year. As I told Scissors "I would rather be cleaning a pig's pen right now then doing this course." I had to throw out the most non-Kosher animal I could think of to show my disdain.

I'd almost rather be in traffic court which coincidentally I was in on Tuesday to fight my way out of a speeding ticket. Fight my way is perhaps overstating the case. They call your name, you go up and talk to the lawyer who says "you have a 401C3, we'll knock it down to a 304A1, failure to signal and two points."

"How can I eliminate the points all together?" I ask hopefully.
"Take a defensive driving course, but truth is what are you worried about? Two points won't cause a problem with insurance."
"Well okay with me." That's one less painful course to absorb into my brain that I am sure is turning to putty with each passing day.

The lawyer then instructs me to have a seat to wait to go before the judge. A group of ten of us perps gets called in to a room to face our sentencing. As I sit there, I think of all the reasons why my ticket was unjustified and word in my head various clever defense arguments to throw down when I go before the judge. Of course, I've already accepted a plea so I don't really want to aggravate the kindly old man and when called before him I'm more like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz.

When the judge reels off the charge which has been reduced to the failure to signal charge and asks if I accept it, I squeak out a pleasant "Yes, your honor."

$200 the poorer, I drive down the road thinking of what might have been if I had just opened my piehole and made a plea of any sort. All those Law and Order series for naught. Lest you think I'm some wanton speed demon, I'll highlight for you my argument:

"I was just coming off the highway onto the service road which was all downhill. I began to break but by that time the officer had caught me with his radar gun. Of course, as I coasted over to the side of the road, then and only then, did I see the partially obscured by trees speed limit sign. I attempted to politely decline my way out of the ticket pleading 'I have a clean driving record, couldn't you let me go with a warning?"

This was after all a speed trap set up to line the coffers of NY State, so my chances of that happening were slim to none. Even with a cute kid in the backseat. Yes, I took my daughter down this road to ruin with me. She actually wanted to defend me in traffic court for the reasons stated in my above argument, which I think she actually outlined for me.

The officer went on to say that he may as well just go home if that's the case and I should take comfort in the fact that I was the slowest ticket written that day. Yeah, thanks pal.

So even though I can do a Sudoku puzzle, knit a scarf and have breakfast as I drive the speed limit on this stretch of road, that's okay. I will not go above 40 MPH. Remember - don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

I should have thought of that when I took this job.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Freecycle

In the never ending quest to rid my house of stuff that I don't need, I've joined Freecycle. I highly recommend that you join it too! There are groups all over the country and it costs nothing. Here is what Freecycle is about, copied from their site:
Freecycle IS about keeping things out of the landfill.
It IS about giving away something that has no use in our life anymore
to someone who could extend its usefulness a little longer.
It IS about giving gifts to people while clearing out our own clutter.
It IS about creating, building, and sustaining an environmentally
aware community.

So it is an entirely worthy endeavor and people seem to be offering and needing all types of things. One person has posted for orange kittens. I thought that was rather specific, but okay. The following person seems a bit menacing to me:
Offer: stuffed animals in Woodhaven
pick up asap or it gets thrown out...

I mean throwing down the gauntlet of stuffed animals in the landfill. What a sadist.

Anyway, I stopped browsing but I do need to go rummage in the garage through Scissors' old stereo equipment to see if he has a receiver. Somebody needs one. He still thinks he's going to sell it for real dinero someday. The scoop is we plan on having our own garage sale when we can clear a Sunday where I actually feel well. Then leftovers will be offered on Freecycle or to a local charity. Or perhaps to any of you - anybody in need of a baby jogger? Completely disassembles, comes with its own carrying case. Pickup only.

One thing you can't get on Freecycle is sleep, so g'night.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

I'm a little feverish which is no way to kick off the official summer season. But then again, perhaps my body decided it was not up for travels to family gatherings this weekend. I will disappoint some little people if we don't go but probably end up feeling pretty crappy if we do. Ah well, let's throw a little music on and think about it.

This week, I am featuring the music of Jaymay, a young singer/songwriter from New York. The YouTube clip is the live version of her song, Sea Green, See Blue. You can listen to the studio version HERE. I'll be honest, I haven't listened to much beyond this song, hence a restrained endorsement. She's refreshing in this song and I enjoy how she tells a story. I hope you do too.




JAYMAY'S MY SPACE

On an unSpin related note, today is my Two Year Blogaversary. I started off here to have a creative outlet so from that standpoint I guess I have succeeded. I won't link to my embarrassing first posts, but I will say that I do enjoy my little corner of the Blogosphere. I appreciate the friendships made along the way, the warm comments and really each of your unique voices.

Simply said - thank you.

Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend whatever it brings.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Children, shield your eyes:

I am a sensitive soul. I feel deeply for people, even strangers. Often strangers. For instance, I stop in to get a cup of coffee (okay - a latte) each morning on my way to work. Time and parking regulations often dictate from where I will be drinking that day. This week it turns out my timing lands me in Dunkin' Donuts.

There has been a women there twice this week with her daughter whom I have seen in here before under the same scenario. I recognize her from "the neighborhood." It is after the time school starts and the women is neurotically placing some complex order for the two of them, nervously adding or calling out some directive. All the while, the little girl is getting more agitated and whining. My take is that she is late for school and seems to be nervous about that fact. I had to restrain myself from asking the mother today "didn't school start already?"

I know this could open a can of crazy on me so I decide to go back to the sane place in my brain that restrains my mouth. It is difficult, but I make it there grudgingly. My other idea is that I will go to the school where the mother is hauling this poor kid each day and give them a heads up on the child being upset and perhaps they could give the mom a gentle talking-to. Of course, I realize how this sounds to you - it sounds the same to me. So I tell myself to let it go, the child does not appear to be in danger and it's up to the school to deal with it. This is all before I've had my coffee after all.

Moving onward or actually working backwards. I was in Starbucks over the weekend and there were three, how shall I say...dimwits in front of me waiting for their order. They are two women and one man (using all terms rather loosely) and the man is posturing for all he is worth for the...women.

"Hey, how long is it since he started?" he crows.
Little Miss Paris Hilton wannabe looks at her cell "four minutes."
"That's too long, they owe us a drink." he calls out.

Behind the counter is a guy who is trying to focus on the matter at hand. In that moment, I think "what if he has learning difficulties - ADD, I don't know" and smile encouragingly his way.

"Yours is the latte?"
"Yes" I respond.
"It's coming right after this." he adds, a bit harried.
"No problem." I say and mean it because it isn't.

The obnoxious trio has moved on to something else. He finishes their order and I get mine. It becomes clear that perhaps I should just stay out of coffee houses.

What is the world coming to? Rudeness abounds, but I must say that I did find this billboard funny so what does that say about me?

Warning: foul language ahead. At first I read the addition as part of the billboard.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sometimes













Sometimes words don't come easily.

Sometimes a picture will just have to do.

Sometimes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cut!!!G!Cut!!!

To the tune of my Saturday Spin, I approach a large styrofoam ball which needs to be cut in half in order to show the core of our lovely planet Earth that Tali needs for a Science project.

Of course, I don't do anything without consulting the modern day version of a Ouija board, Google, to ask "How does one cut a styrofoam ball in half without it crumbling into styrodust?"

Scissors is in bed already so I approach the ball gingerly as some of the advice includes saws of various stripes - none of which I'm willing to go digging for out in the garage at 10:45 pm. With necessity and desperation - mother and father of invention guiding me, I get out several knives and start cutting. The serrated one seals the deal and Tali now has a clean core to paint tomorrow after school.

My shoulder now feels the strain from all the demands my brain just placed on it "Don't come away from the counter until you have two halves to show for yourself."

Okay I have to go put some ointment on my shoulder and get to bed.

If that didn't work I was going to consult these guys*:



Here's to a good start to what looks like a soggy week in NYC. Hope the sun is shining where you are.


*Promo for the new album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (for those who didn't see my Saturday Spin). What can I tell you? Nothing like low budget acting to crack me up.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

I'll be quick because my day is stacked full of obligations and I'm sneaking this one in on the sly. This week's spin is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Yes, that Nick Cave whom if you're like me, haven't really heard anything of since the 80's, though he has been making music all along. From what I've heard of the new album, Dig!!!Lazarus, Dig!!!, it will be garnering a bit more attention.

I heard this song as I drove along the other day and it struck me as something that you just don't hear every day. New, fresh, unique - and this from a band that's been together for twenty plus years. So join me in encouraging Lazarus to dig:



THEIR SPACE: NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS

MY SPACE

Enjoy! Have a great weekend while you're at it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

WESTWORD HO!

 
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Julian listening to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band cd in its entirety this evening. This is before he broke out the instruments.

One of our little games is a scenario in which we are going on a train. Julian is named, Westword, which I believe came about after he and Scissors just boarded the Long Island Railroad one day and took a ride. That night we started this game and when I asked what his name was, he thought and said "Westword!" which may have been a play on westward.

In the game, Julian speaks in a clipped proper accent and I am his companion going on the train. The dialogue usually just springs up. A sample of our interchange goes something like this (I cannot say that we were not influenced by The Importance of Being Earnest, a grand movie if ever there was one):

Westword: "There will be dining cars!"
Me (I have no name) clutching my hands in front of me: "Oh it'll be grand, Westword!"
Westword: "Sleeping cars, reading cars!"
Me: "Viewing cars!"
Westword: "Yes, yes. Well, I'm going to Boston."
Me; "Wh, when - how long will you be, Westword?"
Westword: "I'm leaving forever, I'll be back tonight."
Me: "Oh Westword, I look forward to your return."

Tali asked me recently, "Who are you in the game?"

"We haven't defined it - his mother, a travelling companion - it's not important," I reply.

Well, Westword and I are off to the pediatric neurologist in the morning - update time. And I'm sure we won't be asked about Westword or the Beatles.

We're leaving forever, but we'll be back for school.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A DOLL IS BORN

 
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You know the little glimpse of my MIL I gave you? Well in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, this is the reason that I don't pay too much attention to the things done or said for my/our own good.

This is a picture of Grandma and Tali painting the face on a doll that they have made together for a heritage project assignment in school. Tali sewed the doll and Grandma made the outfit, they are both doing the facial artwork.

This is the reason that I could never be too upset with Grandma - she will walk to the ends of the earth for her grandkids. Tali is wearing a sweater that Grandma made for Julian which she inexplicably made with sort of puffy-ish sleeves, even though I tried to point that out before she finished it. She told Grandma tonight "this sweater is too girlyish for Julian and it fits me."

Without missing a beat, Grandma just smiled and said "Okay Tali, I'll make Julian another one." The sun rises and sets on her grandchildren and this softens some of Grandma's remarks or guilt trips.

She sees that I am a bit tired and trying to round Tali up and adds "Okay Miss America, take Rose home - she's finished."

Maybe Tali will post the finished product on her blog as there seems to be a gag order on what I can share.

G'night. all.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

MONDAY, MONDAY.


I don't really like Mondays. Because I am a working schlub, my Monday will start off something like this picture.

This is the work of artist, TAKASHI IWASAKI, whose work I came across on one of the design blogs I peruse. He is a Japanese born artist who received his MFA in Canada where he currently resides and makes wonderfully happy art (although he does have some dark pieces or so he says). The piece above is a collage entitled, Traffic Jam.

It will make my Monday happier looking at his work. Why don't you come look with me?



The piece above is entitled Torihatanobori and is embroidery floss on canvas!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

Don't you just love music?

This week's spin is perhaps somebody that you've already heard and appreciated. If that's the case, turn up the volume and listen again. I'm always mystified when I read a blogger profile and under musical likes, listed is "anything but rap and country!"

How do you just discount a whole genre out of hand? But those two always seem to go hand in hand in these music appreciators' dislike list. If you've written that in your profile, I'd like you to think about it a bit more. And I'd like you to listen to Robert Earl Keen.

Robert Earl Keen is a singer/songwriter from Houston, Texas now by way of Kerrville. Any song I've heard of his is such a finely woven story, it stuns me. And his voice is the perfect voice to convey the words. I read in an interview on the Lone Star Music site that Robert Earl Keen would like just a little bit more of a listen from the "industry" and critics. Well, I'm no critic, Mr. Keen, but I'll play your songs here and hope that maybe one person turns around and downloads a tune and passes it on. But he does deserve a bit more attention for sure.

Most of his videos are live or amateurs covering him. This one is the best of the live ones with frat boy activity held to a minimum. It's a great tune called "Feelin' Good Again":



You can hear the gussied up live version on his MY SPACE.

Of course the interview that was alluded to above was from 2005 so perhaps, Mr. Keen is feeling the love a bit more now. You can read the interview HERE. I rarely give advice on music, I just play it and hope that you enjoy. But if you're going to download a tune or two, you might want to include one of his signature songs "The Road Goes on Forever."

Okay, I'd better rap this up, but I'd first like to wish all it applies to a Happy Mother's Day. Remember if you're not a mother yourself, you're the reason that somebody is so you have cause to celebrate in your own heart. I think part of this song that just reaches in and lifts me up has to do with going through the grieving process since my Mom's death this past November. I'm not through it yet, but sometimes it's nice to sing along to "feels so good to be feelin good again."

~ Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, May 09, 2008

MY LIFE: A MEME-OIR

I have been tagged by the ever impressive, animal kingdom queen and just all around enjoyable Claire - who is a big Wildcat fan, by the way. I know, a meme. I hate memes, but this has a different slant. It doesn't sound so, well, self important. Unless of course that's what you'd like to convey, then it could be. So have fun. Here are the rules. If you don't like those, I have others:

1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
4. Tag five more blogs with links.
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Talk about an economy of words. So let's see - my life/blog/manifesto in six words?

Repeat after me:

Sometimes a wall is a door.











Now I have been known to drop the ball on a meme or ten, but nonetheless I shall lovingly tag the following who have every right to ignore me:

Weirsdo (or Hobbes) of Stuffed Animal Tales because if anyone has a way with words, it is Weirsdo (and Hobbes).

Icy (or Tom...or both) of My Dogs Daze. So what? She's a dog, but she talks and that's good enough for me.
Pansi of The New Adventures of Pansi and Friends For those who don't know Pansi, I'm not quite sure where to begin. Sometimes it's best just to jump right in. In any event, Pansi is still frolicking about doing her NG4J in a new place, so maybe she'll sum up her life for us. I don't think Pansi actually needs more than six words.
Actonbell of A Tempest in a Teacup - a unique voice if ever there was one. I love to read about Actonbell's life, even when she says it's boring. Her writing is superb.
Tali of Muffin-land because she's upset with me for writing stories referencing her which she could have used for her own blog (if she actually had time to blog). Actually, I get clearance for any nugget I share and tell her that they are solely from my viewpoint. How many words could a ten year old need after all? You might be surprised.

All of this linking has me exhausted. Good night!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

YOM HAATZMA'UT

HAPPY 60TH BIRTHDAY ISRAEL!

Today is Israel's Independece Day, marking its 60th year. If we can get four rounds of eyedrops into Tali's pinkish eye, we'll be celebrating at her school this evening. If not, we'll sing Hatikvah at home.:) Join me in wishing both well.

Happy Birthday Israel.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Mother in Law

I've known my mother-in-law for more or less, eighteen years. I've been her daughter-in-law for a bit over twelve of them. It was not always easy dealing with her, but thankfully I've gotten smart - or worn down, dependent upon how you look at it.

My friend Jennifer lives for MIL stories which are a bit more sedate lately, but certainly still have their bite. Take for example her admonishing her cousin, Ella*, who happens to write books about her Holocaust experience and visits schools to discuss them. MIL finds Ella's hawking of books distasteful. Not one to hold back, she has told her that in more or less those words. Well, actually she indicated that a friend in high places has seen Ella in action and has relayed to MIL that she is forcing her books on people. All this is told to Ella for her own good, of course.

Last night, Tali indicated that Grandma asked her if her friend in school, Friend X*, had lost any weight. When Tali asked her why she cared (gotta love that kid), Grandma replied "She's a nice Jewish girl, she could stand to lose some weight." Of course, all for Friend X's own good.

Julian went to Grandma's after school today. On the way home from violin, Tali and I stopped to pick him up. She brought out some Israeli gum that is now deeply discounted after Passover and offered it to the kids. "It's coffee flavor." I asked if there was caffeine in it and she shrugged "I'm sure not much." It ended up being "cocktail flavored." "Great," I muttered "now instead of giving them caffeine, she'll just liquor them up." Not for their own good, but it couldn't hurt.

The gum turned out to be some fruity concoction which wasn't terrible. My MIL triumphantly huffed as she went to get a box for me to take "Nothing wrong with this gum, it's better than any of the American gum."

We got ready to go after she finished shoveling the rest of Julian's dinner into his mouth which I just ignored (for my own good). She mentions that Scissors is mad at her because "I asked him if he took away the quarters that I was saving for Tali in the jar."

"I don't know why he'd be upset, you just accused him of stealing...okay, maybe borrowing without asking." I deadpanned. She smiled sweetly.

She decided it was the cleaning lady whom she never wanted to begin with and is long since gone.

When I got home I said to Scissors "heard you got into your Mother's quarter jar."

"Here we go with the quarters again." he snaps.

"I think I'll take Louie for a walk." For his own good, of course. Unlike Scissors, I have learned to edit out the rage from MIL's outrageous comments and just laugh. She still gets me annoyed on a bad day, but I tend to address it and drop it. After all, she's only telling me something for my own good.



*NAMES CHANGED...for their own good.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

We Love Spring

I don't need much to make me happy; it really is about the simple things with me. Don't get me wrong, I love to admire the lovely things which often come with high price tags, but the thrill is getting things on the cheap.

That's why I love Spring (and Fall) - garage sale season! Today's haul, for maybe ten dollars consisted of:

 
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I pretty much can't turn down pottery when I see it and these were three nice examples with price tags of two at one dollar and the tall vase for three dollars. There were a couple of little items whose whereabouts I'm not sure of - two little ceramic bears the kids picked out and a dinosaur book that Julian grabbed on the way out. The book was the tip of the "Julian got two things and I only got one" iceberg. I explained that there will be such occasions and sometimes they may be in her favor. Then I probably clenched my teeth and said, "now let's go please." Mainly before they realized that Mommy got six things. I did offer the frog to Tali which she rejected. I left it in on their bookshelf just the same where it seems quite happy.

Later in the day, as we drove home from a birthday party, my eye veered to the side of the road to see four chairs all lined up beckoning me. I stopped the car and popped the trunk to Tali's "how do you know they are being given away?" gasp. As I explained that this is what people do, she called out instructions from the backseat as to which chair I should take. Her initiation to the freecycle culture was sealed when the homeowner pulled up with his kids and declared "I'm so glad somebody is taking something, I have more on the side yard." I did have to employ sharp editing skills and came away with just two of the chairs which are now in my garage awaiting some cleanup and perhaps, painting.

I tossed off that last bit about painting as if it's something I do every day. But you know, sometimes the possibilites are too bountiful to leave at the curb. Maybe I'll post before and after pics.

This closes the chapter on another near perfect day in the life of G.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

Next up - Liam Finn. Liam is a young singer songwriter from New Zealand who is an up and comer. I swear that I heard his music and enjoyed it before I realized he is the son of Neil Finn of Crowded House fame (who incidentally have a new and great sounding album out themselves). Also, Liam played on the new Crowded House album and is touring with them. So, all in the family.

But Liam deserves his very own spotlight and so we shall cast one on him solo. The video below is for his song, Second Chance, from his album, I'll Be Lightning.



MY SPACE

HIS SPACE: LIAM FINN SITE

BLAH BLAH BLAH: SPIN MAGAZINE ARTICLE


I'm posting this a little ahead of Saturday as I know my strengths, as well as my weaknesses. One such weakness is an acute inability to wake up in the am*. I have to be out extra early for Tali to run through her current song with an accompanist at music school. We can't have anything between my bed and the front door to stop me.

I knew you'd understand. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!


*Actually another less than strength of mine is my lack of knowledge of things techy. I just realized that I can auto post by just plugging in a future time so look for this once you've had your morning coffee. G'night.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

RABBIT RABBIT!

GOOD LUCK IN MAY!


This is a delightful print from the Etsy Shop, EACH AND OTHER.

As I glimpsed through images in Etsy, I couldn't help but think of certain bloggers. So I thought I'd pay homage to some of my friends as inspiration strikes. This rabbit features none other than our own pal, Terry, a right smart crow if ever there was one. She seems to be counseling this pretty rabbit right now...or maybe she is the pretty rabbit too!

Here's to a wonderful month for all!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What Happened Over There?

Did a cat scratch your neck?
Did a bird come and peck?
Did a horse give a kick?
Did a cow give a lick?
Did you get in a fight?
Did a dog give a bite?

What happened over there?

Did a yak make you trip?
Did a squirrel give a nip?


And so forth and so on.

This is how I had to get Julian into the bathtub last night. That was after he laid behind his bed refusing to get out. After about a half hour of that routine, I sat right down with him and somehow got him to get up. He came to the bathroom with me but once there, did the ole cat about to be dipped into the tub with all extremities gripping the doorjamb tightly routine. You know the one.

As I struggled to get him into the bathtub, I noticed a little mark on his neck and said “what happened over there?” I then made up the song above sung all wangly jangly which got Julian all giddy and laughing. I was able to undress him as I sang (with Tali shouting out her own lines), get him into the tub and wash him up – all before he remembered this was what he was rebelling against.

I can’t promise such creativity every night, but it’s always good when it works out that way. Where is Scissors while all of this occurs? Probably watching his Rangers take a drumming by the Penguins. So it wasn't a perfect evening, but close enough.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

SATURDAY SPIN

Gather round children because today’s spin is one of a kind outstanding, if I do say so myself, and I do. Today we are spinning Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Sharon and the Dap-Kings are as soulful and funkified as the day is long and that’s without checking the clock once. According to their Wikipedia blurb, “Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are widely considered to be at the forefront of a revivalist movement that aims to recapture the feeling of soul and funk music as it was at its height in the late 1960’s to mid 1970’s.” The sound is authentic as they record on analog equipment using vintage instruments. In my opinion they do that with the added caveat of sounding brand new and fresh at the same time.

According to NPR, The Dap-Kings contributed to more than half of Amy Winehouse's tracks on her breakthrough album Back to Black, and has enjoyed a breakthrough of its own with this year's 100 Days, 100 Nights. They also toured as backing band in the US for Amy Winehouse who you may recall won a grammy for her record this past year. Where is the justice? If there were, Sharon Jones would have been nominated and accepting instead. But she weighs more than 95 pounds, is not visibly tattooed up and down her body and hasn’t been seen on PageSix running half naked through the London night. Good riddance to old rubbish I say and make way for Sharon Jones. End of rant.

Without further adieu, Sharon performing live in Paris with the Dap-Kings Let Them Knock:



Listen to on: NPR segment

MY SPACE:

Daptone Records

Posting early as we have company for the weekend so hope you enjoy yours and Chag Sameach.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

PLEASE FORWARD ME TO INFINITY AND BEYOND

Chain emails, that is. The latest one I received promised some sort of never ending prosperity compliments of the Dalai Lama if I forwarded it on to the number coincidentally corresponding to my favorite number (which I have now changed to zero for such emails). A friend forwarded it with the tag line "this is interesting." STOP!!! It's not interesting. It's ridiculous and an insult to our intelligence, but yet I did go through it just to make sure.

For instance, it gives a listing of animals. I'm doing this by memory but they were a horse, rat, tiger, sheep and something else furry. You were to order them from most to least favorite. Now who puts a rat at the top of their list? Michael Jackson? So when you do get to the end, you find out that these are listed in the order of what is important to you in life. The vaunted horse is family, the rat is work or money as if we are all good and humble humans, everything will stack up as it should family first/work last. Couldn't they have made the rat symbolic for family to shake things up? What? My family is last?! Well, they do demand so much of me...

Of course unbeknownst to you, they had a listing of words which you had to freely associate with another. Think fast - coffee! Strong, hot, abstaining, steamy...expensive. Coffee stood for sex. Ooh, that was a toughie. Why couldn't the word have been fish? Cause that wouldn't be fun. Nobody wants to have a cold, slimy, scaley sex life. At least, I don't think so; well perhaps a goldfish.

Quick, think of your favorite number and multiply it by number of pets you have, divide it by your number of marriages and subtract the number of children you've had. Then forward this post to that number of people and never email me again!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Day in the Life

I love my children, more than the air that I breathe I tell them. Tali is then quick to point out, "but without the air you breathe, you wouldn't be here." To which I reply "exactly!" and she just raises her eyebrows.

Some days, at the end of the day, I just feel spent beyond my emotional budget. Raising children was never guaranteed to be a cakewalk. In fact, the only thing I'm certain of in child rearing is that there are no guarantees.

But parenting a child with special needs just wipes me out some days. Many days. I've never written that, but you may have guessed that life isn't all just the fun parts that I've shared. I feel sometimes as if I am a SWAT team member rather than a parent. I recall myself saying today "Julian put down the scissors. Those are very sharp. Juli - no, don't run with them!" I then had to push a table against the wall to corner him and thus retrieve the scissors.

Coming home from visiting Grandpa in the nursing home, Scissors had to carry him into the house like a sack of potatoes as he kicked and screamed not wanting to get out of the car. "Sure Julian, I'll just sit here in the car until you've menaced me enough and then we'll go inside. Or perhaps, I'll leave you in it and you'll knock it into neutral and run it through the garage. No problem," I thought. So ruling out those options as possible ways to cap off the day, I called in Scissors to get him out of the car, hence the kicking and screaming.

The child exhausts himself along with us. It breaks my heart sometimes that life should be so difficult for him. Sometimes it drains every ounce of patience left in my body until I find myself yelling at him.

The other night he put on his pajamas - an every day task for many six year olds, but still difficult for Julian. He did great but the top was uncomfortably backwards and I saw him fidgeting with it. I said, "Oops, looks like your top is backwards. Here, I'll show you a way to fix it without having to take it off," because with Julian it's all or nothing at all.

He said "Oops -mistake," to which I replied "that's okay, I do that all the time. That's why I know how to fix it. I've done that at least a million times!"

He said in an incredulous tone "you make mistakes?"

In that one moment, I just felt what it must feel like for Julian. Every thing is easy for the rest of the world, but difficult for him. I could have imagined this, but he seemed a bit buoyed by my answer, "all the time, that's how I learn to do things."

I also love my kids more than there are grains of sand on the beach and stars in the sky. They seem satisfied with that answer. I'll save my complaints about his sleep problems for another day; I hear him walking around.

G'night.