Friday, September 24, 2010

On the radio

I wrote and recorded another essay for my local NPR station. It aired this morning. A few minutes prior I got on line to stream it so the kids could hear, but my computer was being cantankerous and would have nothing to do with this plan. Having wasted too much time wrestling with it, I ushered the kids out the door to sit in the car with me to listen instead. In various stages of readiness for school, they brought bowls of oatmeal and cups of chai (yes, I believe in establishing their caffeine addictions early)with them and we piled into my vehicle.

After establishing who was "riding" shotgun (remember, we weren't actually driving anywhere, and yet, this is a big deal chez moi...because whoever rides shotgun gets to "control" the radio...which, of course, was moot today since we were listening to my station and mine only...but irrelevant because we fight the shotgun battle now as a matter of pride and course). My son won, hopped in and immediately buckled himself in. I pointed out that unless we were about to be struck by an asteroid as we sat in the driveway the seatbelt was not going to do him any good at all, and even then, he was probably doomed. (Though mad props to him AND his mommy for establishing what is clearly an unconscious good habit!)

As we heard my voice, both children drew a collective breath and held it. They're always afraid that I'm going to MENTION THEM BY NAME somehow. To my daughter's great relief, it was my son who was the focus of today's essay. I pointed out that it was highly unlikely that any of his peer group was listening to NPR at 7:35 a.m. and if it turned out that they were, I'd be pleased to make the acquaintance of any such erudite young tweenager. Thankfully, the subject matter was acceptable to him, and we are still on speaking terms.

I appreciate their unease when they know they are routinely the sources of my musings, but hey, that's the price they pay for living with me, and eating my food etc. They don't know it yet, but the tables will turn later on, and I will be a wellspring of material for them as they begin the inevitable self-reflection that plagues us all in middle age. I'm sure they'll give as good as they got.

As I left the house later my daughter called out to me: "Hey Mom, I heard this really cool essay on the radio this morning, you should check it out!" Awwwwwww.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This little piggy went to the market...

Occasionally I stop at Whole Foods on my way to work in the mornings. They are a convenient stop, they have good coffee and a cheap and delicious egg wrap (with spinach, feta and mushrooms) that hits the spot when my personal chef has been unavailable to me. I am usually one of the first shoppers, which affords me a view of the store that I cannot get at later times in the day when I am just one of the horde elbowing my way to the counter for tofu General Tso (or, "General Fo" as we like to call it).

This morning it was pristine, shiny, empty and absolutely beautiful. Everything lined up with army-like precision, floors spotless, glass counters sparkling, stacks and rows of products all neatly arranged and properly faced. My sense of order (can you tell I've got some serious German blood running through my veins?) sits up immediately and begins to tail wag and bark in that environment. So happy! I could have just stayed there all morning in appreciative wonderment.

I realized that I have a "thing" for grocery stores. When I travel, it is the one place I always need to stop. Especially in foreign countries. I love to wander the aisles, looking for similarities and differences, comparing and contrasting not only the different types of products, but the availability or lack thereof of certain things.

You can tell a lot about a community by sleuthing in it's markets or grocery shops.

I remember the first time I shopped in a market in France, not one of those stall markets, but an actual supermarche. I must have spent two hours picking out 20 items, only to have a stare down with the checkout girl after she was done because I didn't realize that I was responsible for bagging my own groceries and she was wondering what my problem was.

France had hypermarches (hyper-markets, which are like Sam's clubs or Costcos) long before we had them in this country and I just remember being staggered by the volume and variety.

I am drawn inevitably to the bath and beauty section. It can be a bit of a mystery, trying to figure out just what is in this tube or that. Is it toothpaste or is it hemorrhoid creme? If you don't speak the language, it can be a bit of a crap shoot (literally, I suppose), but it is always fun.

You can tell how wealthy a community is or is not by what you find in their aisles. You can tell what the cultural topography is. No Asian food in their store? No mystery there. It's an anthropological exploration that can be very entertaining.

That being said, there's a big difference between neighborhood markets like those found in Europe and the advent of the big box markets like Whole Foods. All the Whole Foods are pretty much the same, from community to community, which doesn't mean that the communities are all the same, necessarily, but I suppose their demographic, from a marketing standpoint, must be. In which case, there must be a whole platoon of middle-aged-late-to-workers who didn't have time to eat or brew coffee for themselves in this country, because we sure seem to be keeping that place in business!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Dear Universe,

I would really like an i-pad.

I tried not to want one, I really did. I tried to avert my eyes, and I even scoffed at them for a while in (mock) disdain. Really! When will all this technology nonsense finally come to an end? i-this, i-that, Sheeeez!

But it is no use. I lurve the i-pad, with all it's handy glitz and glam and slidey screens and instant pics and website and apps. It is super sexy and I really want to be able to whip one out of my bag and exercise my creative wizardry whenever and wherever I want.

I promise to be really, really, really grateful and I won't ask for anything else. (For a little while, at least).



Monday, September 20, 2010


I heard this on NPR this morning and thought it was fun: "Human Connections Start With A Friendly Touch" by Michelle Trudeau

Turns out all those touchy-feely types have been right (and doing the rest of us a favor) all along!

Group hug???

Friday, September 17, 2010

Poems my daughter wrote when she was much younger


On cool night air,
Ears go wiggy wiggle,
Wings wap wap the wind,
Blinkety blinkeyes,
To the sky they are pinned.
Feet swoosh down, onto their prey.
Folding their wings, sleeping the day.


My hair is like a furnace ablaze.
My eyes are like bark on trees.
My dogs are indestructible water balloons.
My laugh is like bells, silence and then falling out of my chair.
My heart holds love for my family that is as bright as the summer sun.

Ice cream truck

I can hear it coming,
Sliding down the street.
An icky kind will make you ill,
But a nice kind is a treat.

Et tu etsy?

So, I'm a little late to this, but I LOVE Etsy. Have you been there?

I could get lost in etsy and never been seen again. WOW! I love what the internet has done for creativity.

In perusing etsy today (BEFORE WORK, of course) I came across the following little project:

How cool. I think a pillowcase may have been one of the very first things I ever made when I learned to sew.

Here's the link to the actual project website itself:

You can search for a store near you...I don't have one near me, but I'll figure something out!

I knew there had to be some good use for those boxes and boxes and.... of fabric in my basement!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Good Day Sunshine

Epiphany in the car driving home yesterday: All of the relevant wisdom any of us needs to get through our lives can be found in the titles of songs sung by the Beatles.

As I gnashed my teeth over suicidal pedestrians and texting drivers, the song Let It Be came on the radio and I suddenly realized that this was a command from the Universe to me, cleverly couched in a hypnotic melody and soothing lyrics, to relax and be a little more mindful as I drive my car. It does me no good to view everyone else as obstacles in my path to somewhere I want to be.

It occured to me that all i've got to do as I travel the long and winding road, is to just act naturally.

We're all so busy searching for something. Maybe we should spend a little less dwelling on how it's all too much.... and a little more time watching rainbows. I clearly needed a reminder that we're all in this together. Instead of worrying about being headed home to another hard day's night, I need to embrace the journey and remember that, for each of us, it really is a magical mystery tour,

So, all together now, let's remember that all you need is love!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I must go home now and make these....

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Seriously?! It doesn't get much more "FALL IS HERE!!!" than that now, does it?


Anyone interested in paying me to sit around and daydream and pontificate all day? Really! Don't be shy.

I have a lot of stuff going on at the moment...outings, projects, challenges, things bubbling in the great unknown. It feels, for the most part, like opportunities, and fun stuff, so the creative and motivational juices are flowing.

My horoscope this week, courtesy of Rob Brezsny (, was all about possibilities, and pulling up a chair to the table to enjoy the feast.

I find myself wondering why I felt like I needed an invitation to do that in the first place.

How do we keep ourselves going, creatively and motivationally? It can be very hard at times. I'm not sure that I'd call it a cycle....that seems too prescribed or too conventional, somehow. But I am certain that the key to this is inside...and not outside. The inside opens, the outside delivers. The inside closes, well, you get the picture. The possibilities are always there, I guess I just can't always see them.

In any event, I am officially expressing gratitude for this current period of clarity and long distance vision.

Have I already shared this? If not, it's kind of fun:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Turn! Turn! Turn!

We are currently experiencing the kind of weather that makes me happy to be alive. (And makes me want to do just about anything OTHER than sit inside and work) Fortunately, I have a lovely window to the outside in my office and avail myself of the fresh air regularly. This past weekend the sky was full of these delicious curlique clouds against a deep blue background, and the evening skies were clear and dark and peppered with starts. Or salted with stars, perhaps, I'm not sure the difference. It is cool in the mornings and evenings, and just lovely in between. Because we've had such a stifling summer, I think this sudden juxtaposition is even more remarkable.

It is amazing what a difference a little weather can make in one's attitude, mindset, and motivation level.

With a little time on my hands I forrayed into my neighborhood Goodwill this weekend. Have I mentioned my pact w/myself to you all? Whereby I am ONLY shopping for clothes at Goodwill or Salvation Army this year? (This pact does not include underthings, or running gear, fyi, but everything else) Well, I must say, I've been very happy with the way things have shaped up thus far. And this weekend was no exception. I managed to procure a super cute little A-line cotton skirt in a pinky/peach print (that I cannot wear too much longer, but perfect for next spring and I won't even be sick of it by then), a nifty little MaxAzria dress, and two pair of corduroys....brown and light blue. All mine, for the low, low price of $18. HA!

Perhaps it is just me, but I LOVE thrifting. And not the "oh look, i found this snazzy Marc Jacobs leather jacket for only $275"...I mean "look! i found these frye boots for six bucks!" THAT'S what i'm talking about people. It is just SO satisfying to hunt, peck and uncover some amazing, gently used, gem of an ensemble and walk out the door spending less than I would on a week of lattes. (Which I don't b/c my husband happens to be the world's best barrista AND he delivers them to my bathroom counter in the mornings so that they are hot and steamingly awaiting me when I emerge! mmmmmmmmmm)

I am SO excited to wear my new cords....they are already broken in, super soft and fit like the dickens.

It can be a bit addictive, actually, thrifting, much like my obsession for agate hunting (which replaced my beach glass hunting addiction). I can spend hhhhhhhhhours hunting for things. And yet, I don't really enjoy shopping, like, not really at all. So, somehow, psychologically, I guess I don't really see thrifting (goodwilling or armying) as shopping so much, as I view it as really big (stinky and needs a good laundering) treasure hunting. Yes, that's it. And the fact that it's next-to-free, well, that's just the frosting on my cocount cake!

So, bring on the turning leaves, and the 40 degree mornings Mother dear....because I am SO ready for you!

Au cinema!

Bonjour mes amis!

I'm on a french jag at the moment, having spent the weekend watching two French films, and reading a great collection of essays about people's experiences living in Paris. The films were, "Welcome" and "The Class" (both of which had, originally, other titles in French). The first is poignant and heartbreaking in a very classic french cinema sort of way. I highly recommend it, it's about a young Iraqi man who is trying to get, illegally, from Iraq to London, via the crossing at Calais. The second is based on a novel by a young French school teacher about his experiences teaching in inner-city Paris (doesn't matter where your inner-city happens to be, clearly the issues are mostly the same). It's a thin soup, but it was interesting and gave me the opportunity to catch up on my slang. Next in the queue is The Hours, which was highly rated and is a family drama sort of thing like, perhaps Enchanted April and the like. Will keep you posted (whether you want me to or not....since it's my blog, dammit!)

As for the book, it is called Paris Was Ours and I am thoroughly enjoying and would highly recommend reading it.... though it's probably more entertaining for anyone who has also lived in Paris, and has come away with their own sense of ownership thereof as a result (which we all do, though I'm not sure what that's about...will explore another day perhaps).

Here's the link:

Bon journee!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Seen this morning

On a bumper sticker on my way to work: "Organized people are just too lazy to look for their stuff." What a funny new way to look at it!

I'm driven to organize and have been since birth, not out of laziness, mind you, just the opposite, out of an obsessive need to control. However, the upside to organization, as I age, is that it has turned out to be very helpful as I succumb to increasing memory loss.

The trick now is not so much remembering where I've put something, but being able to remember for long enough what it is I am actually looking FOR.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An open letter to the media

Dear Network News Channels,

It really looks like you guys are having a lot of fun with this Qur'an burning Pastor in Florida. I realize, weather cataclysms aside, that there isn't much going on around the planet at the moment (I mean that's sell able news, of course). Let me see if I've got this right. Some two-bit man of the cloth, with a very small following plants a few signs in the yard of his church and announces he's going to do something silly, yet potentially inflammatory and symbolically offensive to a whole sector of the planet's humanity. Newsworthy in the first place? I don't know. People do silly, offensive things all day long. However, because of the initial coverage, and the resulting input from armed service across the world, and all of the flap this has created, this man has been given an absurd amount of power.

If my neighbor (not the one who happens to be Muslim, but the one on the other side who does not) happened to walk out his front door one day, and set the Qur'an on fire in his driveway, no one would be any the wiser. Maybe the book had been sitting in a box in his basement, and had become moldy with water damage. Rather than give it away and send the mold to someone else's house, he decided he would just destroy the book. Maybe it was a whole box of religious books, maybe there was even an old bible in there, too. Or, maybe he just wasn't a big fan of Islam, and burning the book was something he felt like he needed to do. Whatever. I would take a quick peep outside to make sure no one's house was on fire, and then I wouldn't give it a second thought.

I have an idea, a way to diffuse this whole ridiculous issue, and just make this whole thing stop right now. Let's just not cover any more of this. Let's just turn off the lights. Pull the plug. Drive the trucks back to the stations. Call it a day. If he and his faithful want to start a little bonfire tomorrow, have at it. I don't care what he's burning. I do hope he singes his eyebrows in the process, however, so that he learns a lesson about playing with fire.

Some wise man said once "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." While I can apply this to Pastor Bob or whatever his name is, should there end up being global retribution for his idiocy, I hold you, the media, responsible.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dear Friday

Dear Friday,

I love you. I love the promise your morning holds and how coffee seems to somehow brew up just a little better for you than it does the rest of the weekdays. I love the way you make me feel like a two hour lunch isn't really that inappropriate. I love how your afternoons just fly by and suddenly it's 4:34 and the end is in sight. I love how often my colleagues are gone on your day. It's calming and refreshing. I love how I feel like I can wear just about anything on your day, including a super cute little cotton dress and the aforereferenced Flinstone shoes and feel A-OK with that decision.

I really love your evenings which, for me, are usually free and clear. No events, no rush to be anywhere, nothing but a few hours of open expanse, a yummy little meal and, if i'm lucky, you've arranged for there to be a red envelope in my mailbox when I get home.

I love how plucky you are, all "C'mon, get happy!" and "Screw it....that can wait until Monday." (Poor Monday)

I really appreciate everything you do for me Friday and I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks and that I think you're REALLY swell!