Saturday, April 29, 2006

Channel this

Gus is now doing a dead on impression of Philip Seymour Hoffman's Capote. He does this as he accompanies himself on piano playing sort of a haunting soundrackesqe tune. I always wonder where people get their funny stuff. I know for me if there is any intention involved I bomb, but when things tumble out of my mouth with no pre-thought, I end up getting liquid sprayed out of someone's mouth invariably onto my new clothes. I call this, and I know there's trouble involved in this; my tourette's humor, I don't mean I get all scatalogical, I just have a tendency to say things that I could never actually think of. There must be a cognitive gap between thought and humor for some. It's obvious that really funny people, don't have to exploit anything they've read or seen, they just live in the funny.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Your maternal unit

Gus your mama-ed me yesterday, and I with all the fighting spirit I could muster, I rallied and responded in kind. Of course I ended up insulting myself, but gosh if that isn't half the fun of it. Thanks to Wilmer Valderrama, the newest ronko-matic cool thing to do, that never existed before of course, is to throw down the Yo Mamma's. Now I knew this awhile ago, but ignored it for the 6th generation redundancy of it. Yet my sons think it's new and Gus figured it must have started about three years ago. That and the fact that I'm so old I was a waitress at the last supper is almost as satisfying as knowing wacky packages and Huey Lewis and the News are coming through again.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In the year 2525

When scientists, if there are scientists in the future, anyway, when they begin to study this time period in culture, a word used loosely of course, when they begin to unearth aspects of our lifestyles, they will come to believe that we were a very stinky group of people. Why else would there be gazillions of products to hide, prevent and disguise odors or scent. I was at Target today which is a place I can go and not feel too overwhelmed by the shopping experience, and I was going to buy some cleaning stuff. If ever a child gets lost and they need to bring in the dogs, they'll never get the scent of the kid if it wandered any where near the cleaning supply section. It's absolutely odorific with nothing that resembles vanilla or white linen or flower fresh. I kind of like smells, and I'm going to make a leap here and say most people aren't' that put off by most natural smells and such. I mean the guy that comes in to the library smelling of butt, he's not representing my notion. But, otherwise why have we become so distant and fearful of the scent or smellular aspect of life. Without pheromones, would we even be here. Scent is a vital aspect of our attraction and or sexual nature. My house does smell mostly of dog pee, but beyond that I think we do okay in the lower ring of smell denial. Jacob, who is randomly speaking to me without dagger tone these days. Told me that a friend of his wanted to meet me. He had told her of my past musical interests of bands like Black Flag and that I had tattoos and was a cool mom, and I told him that I would only disappoint her, which he responded with that when he told her that she would laugh and want to me meet even more. Yikes, bring out the carpet fresh.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Scooby Doo

I don't believe in magic anymore. I used to. I loved all books by Robert Anton Wilson, I saw through to the other side and knew that there was more than this. I found that there was so much beneath the surface of everyday that just the knowledge of other stuff made life so vital.
Now, not so much. I'm very into the everydayness of things, with kids and dogs and jobs I have to imagine that's the norm for most of us. But, the fairy tales that our current administration create, now there's some real magical thinking.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Harvey Wallbanger

I work with the public. What does that mean you ask? It depends on the day, the phase of the moon and my ability to be patient with all elements of individual personalities, scads of unattended youth and adults who scream into their cell phones and wonder why that's a problem. Of course there is so much more, it's an exceedingly lovable job, it incorporates all of the elements of intellectual pursuit, general purpose media interest and good clean fun. It does run the gamut of all extremes including many smells, spills, overflows, really amazing discoveries, like looking in a city directory from 1958 while talking to someone in Utah who just found out the names of her birth parents and discovering that they were teenagers who lived across the street from each other. Quaint story yes, but shit like that happens all of the time and not just in books.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I went to see V for Vendetta last night. Now, I know there's a bunch of controversy about the movie and that Alan Moore was more than displeased with the screenplay (which he found simplistic), as well as the outcome of the film. But even with all of the, or lack thereof, artistic representation and vision, the movie has to be appreciated for the powerful kick to the head. There is only one other movie that I had to wait for the emotional seat belt to dissipate before I could get up from my seat in the theater and that was Harold and Maude, which I'd seen previous, but for some reason after that viewing, I was paralyzed.
What did V for Vendetta do? It summed up the last six or seven years of our lives here in this world of ours. Perhaps there were a few too many Phantom of the opera-y scenes but really, when you are faced, in a 132 minute time span, with the reality of a world gone way wrong, it can be a bit unsettling.
I was reminded of the Cymothoa Exigua, which has actually been on my mind since I first read about it in March. This parasite does not only feed off of it's host, but it actually consumes the tongue and replaces it with it's own body. Coincidence, I think not.

Friday, April 21, 2006

It's in the layers

I think about music an awful lot, and I also acknowledge a connection in all art in that the layers and complexities compel us to pay attention and get involved in more than a casual way. Passion in moderation is probably the best description. You know when you play the shit out of a song or just look at painting until you have to go home, or read a poem by Bukowski that justs hits it for you. How about when you have a day that works that way. When your conversations and internal dialog match up with the soundtrack of your life and your external experiences. It's rare but when you're in the midst of it, it's almost like everything is brighter and more tangible. Ere

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Going to the country

Gus is in Washington DC on what is known universally as the "8th grade trip". Every time I mention it to someone, they give me the knowing look of having been there or of being the parent of a participant on the spring ritual of leaving your family to begin the process of adulthood that ultimately leads to spring break in Lauderdale, binge drinking and sloppy everything.
There is nothing that spells nightmare more for me than hordes of teenagers left alone to torture each other and remember it fondly.
I missed the joys of the "8th grade trip", instead I was traveling the country with my parents in a vw camper staying in campsites on Key Largo, where other families in somewhat more legitimate sized RV's lived for the winter months, listening to Blackwater by the Doobie Brothers
on the game-room jukebox 51,000 times every night. Now, three of us in a vw for six months, I can only describe that as Lynyrd Skynyrd so eloquently did in Freebird the song that got played the other 49,000 times a night. "Lord help me".

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Started out fine

I have been to many public places lately. Doctor's offices, stores, my job. Now, we've all been to public places, I know that, but I've been sitting and rather than reading or doing something productive, I've been people watching. The thoughts racing around in my busy little brain, were that no one and in almost all of these cases, I mean no one, looks like anyone we see in any media venue. Okay, perhaps that is not earth shattering, but what does it really mean in a general sense.
I tend to think of political issues as well as social issues as being the same thing. So for example, if our politicians don't represent their constituents, then why should people on TV, in movies or in magazines look like anyone else on earth?
At least they're consistent.

Monday, April 17, 2006

When do we get there

When I was young and in my look at me I'm counter-culture phase, I had many earrings and varying hair styles that incorporated lots of unnatural colors. Most of these physical examples have fallen to the wayside and I satisfy my need to be different on an internal level and, in some clothing choices. I've realized that no matter at what level of political, social or philosophical doctrine I stand by, I'm still going to be a parent for three fellows. In fact my children are going to have to work harder to be counterer culturerer than me because of where I stand in that spectrum. It's a harsh reality. So I have an Alex P. Keaton and a Jim Rose protege so far and one more that could go any which way. The message here is that for some you play a role that is inescapable and no matter how you choose to be, you are going to be perceived as the opposite. Yahoo!!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

If I could walk that way I wouldn't need the hernia operation

A little while ago we were in our room experiencing a rare dormant moment and A Night at the Opera was on. Jack was more than mesmerized. Of course this bought us to the point of our lives known as "Phase de Marx Brothers. We watched a bunch of their movies, learned that in each there would be a scene of Harpo playing the harp, Chico using the piano to seduce the universe and Groucho walking with that odd gait. I read an insightful memoir by Harpo in which he talks about the group of his friends that made up the Algonquin Round Table. Found out that Chico was a gamblin man and that Groucho kind of got somewhat scatological and obscene with age. On the other hand, Jack learned to throw a gookie and my husband explored his Marx brother-ness with the declaration that if he were one, his name would be Drab-o.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Missing Link

People seem to complicate the concept of success. I think that success is arbitrary with luck and at times, hard work thrown in. There is no reason for the likes of Jessica Simpson to think that her success has anything to do with talent or a blessing shining down on her. The same is true for thousands of "success stories". There is no reason for most success beyond the place and time that happen to coincide. Yes, I know that hard work plays a part, but how do we then account for the people who work hard toward something and are not successful in their endeavor? Countless bands and singers, writers, actors any profession really, include people who all bring the same level of competence, genius or universality yet somehow someone rises above, even though there really was nothing to separate what they had to offer beyond yes, here it comes, "being in the right place at the right time". Though that may seem to simplify a complicated rational, is there a valid argument against the randomness of artists finding a venue?
I sat through a presentation from Nancy Pearl yesterday. Her insights were helpful and her motivation obvious. But how did she become the spokesmodel for Librarians?
She was at a dinner with the company president and the rest is history. Now, I'm not negating her place in all of this experience, she was a great speaker and had some pertinent insights. But is it more than luck that say, makes a blog really popular and read by thousands....

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My my my Grill

We've moved a few times in the last few years. First we moved out to the country, we bought a house with three acres and a barn. Apparently the land had been "the sheep pasture" of a large farm and was parceled off as so many are. most of our land was wooded. Oddly enough the majority of wild life I saw was flattened on the road. I did see a gaggle of Turkey Vultures once and immediately understood where the turkey part of that name came into play. Well, life there was fantastic on many levels. The experience of rural living is unmatched by anything I've ever known. The stars and night noises alone were huge. But it's also a really hard thing to do if your jobs are an hour or so away, so we had to move part of the way back.
In order to make this a manageable thing for three boys in three different schools, I had to come up with a way to make the second move and the adaptation to that very concrete. I thought about all of my new experiences like jobs, or school or even moving to other countries, ( Japan, Turkey, England) and the common thread was that within two weeks you have your system down, or at least the framework for it. Meaning, that you've made friends or found your way around, or a favorite store to buy groceries. So I told them before we moved again to give it two weeks at the new schools because of course we moved in the middle of the year. They grumbled and rightly so, but it did happen. Two weeks in they had names of people they liked and ate lunch with, knew where stuff was and how to get where they had to go. So, the lesson of the day; that your mom will tell you anything to make her feel less guilty.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Dime in the Dark

In 1990 when Jake was nine months old, I was not working and Eamon was a cab driver. There was not much tying us down. We lived in what I thought was a dumpy second floor of a double, actually a triple with stuck-in-the-Bob Seger-seventies couple that lived in the attic.
Our landlord Rudy was the craggiest man who ever lived with a voice to match.
I had read a classified for a teaching job in Japan and on a whim, (what else is new) called and spoke to a former teacher who was doing the search for an English language school in Ube or, the Youngstown of Japan as I fondly call it. Within three weeks, we had passports plane tickets and had given notice to Rudy that we would be leaving his wonderful abode.
We drove to California in 3 days. This was to enable us to leave our vehicle and Buck with my family. Around Arizona we stopped to sleep outside of a Waffle House they were closed when we got there, but apparently they opened up while we were sleeping sitting up, the three of us, in the front seat of our pick-up. When we woke and went into the restaurant, the waitress said. "At first when we saw you we thought you were dead". Nice. Anyway the trip progressed we flew on Korean Air, Jake stayed awake the entire flight(17 hours) and fell asleep when we landed. We arrived at Narita, found a Ryokon to stay in and it was a sight to behold, everything was soft and smelled good and the proprietors were nurturing and helpful because we were in need of some massive support after entertaining Jake over huge bodies of water and small land masses. The only thing that was startling was the cold long hallway to the bathroom. I went to sit very slowly because those of us who know how cold a toilet seat can be proceed with some caution. Much to my, shall I say awe, the seat was heated. This was to be the first of many wondrous moments in Japan. Though I have to say, nothing topped the sensation.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Every time I have someone come to my house to do any work and it's not my friend Bill who does most everything, but if it isn't him, the guy always has a prison tattoo, or a jailhouse tat for those down with the lingo. Now, I know that we all have our indiscretions but these guys know where I live so I have to be super nice to them and remind them that I have many dogs and a loaded double barrel under the bed. If anything happens to me just check if there was some recent carpet cleaning or HVAC work done. Today my guy was supposed to come to my house between 10-12, at 3 when he rolled up, I'd spoken to the liars on the phone two or three times and they were all about the continuation of the deception. Why oh why can they not just say, dude, he's going to be there really late, so you can wait or we'll reschedule your appointment. I've been lied to plenty in life, lied a few times as well, but not much beats the humiliation of when you find the nerve to ask someone to go have coffee with you in July, and they say they're busy until October. That time there should have been at least a half truth.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The times they are a changing

The time change is really fucking with me. I'm grumpy and on a three second delay. Coffee just makes my teeth hurt. Okay that's my moment to complain. Now, let's get on to the real business of the day.
James Blunt is mediocre at best. First, I was annoyed by the song. Then, I sort of let myself like it, sang along, read about his soldiering in Kosovo, and then realized what I should have at the beginning. The hype is always about- look at this new unusual and first time ever to have anything like this in the world singer. And we have a new angle ta-da! I should have bought stock in I would have been a gazillionaire.
A few years ago WCSB had a reunion of sorts. There were a bunch of parties, and in addition there were slots open to do a show of the kind of music that you used to play. My show was called Ugly Music and I looked at my old playlists and compiled a pretty well put together show albeit, there were some sloppy moments, but it was fun to do.
On one of my breaks I talked a little about what had been doing and where I was in terms of music and such.
I also shared my ground breaking theory about what makes music sort of a cure for many ills; that there is always a new song that will come out that you will love. Simple, yes but more than that. It gives you hope when you might not have any. Every month or so there will be a new song that you learn the words to, turn up on the radio, download or buy. That fact is enough to make me happy when I'm not.
You're Beautiful is not one of those songs.

Monday, April 03, 2006

What's for Dinner

No, I'm not going to write about dinner nonsense. I want to speak about the first breakdown in the basement.

It happened when there were only two, Jake and Gus, I was pregnant with Jack. I went down to the basement of my 100+ year old house, with it's crumbling damp walls and concrete pot-holed floor and I was loading yet another massive mound of clothes into the washer which is hard to do when your shorter and have Tyrannosaurus Rex like arms and a bowling ball baby stomach, so I paused and looked at the pile of clothes that mocked me from the floor. I then used that same pile to sit on when I started to cry. I spoke to myself about not being able to do it. How for the next say, eighteen and a half years, that was, if my children ever left, how was I going to do laundry ad nauseam. . I got all cried out, stood up and realized that Bill W had laid it on the line, or was it Triumph, anyway, "One load at a time". That and only that is how I still manage the "laundry issue". The event was 11 or so years ago, but I remember the sheer force of will that helped me to get past rock bottom and climb up and out of that place.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I'm reminded of when I decided to finally do something about my desire to be a singer.
I was somewhere around 26, Eamon and I were living in Southern California, recently married, young, few responsibilities besides for work, listening to KCRW and going to Trader Joe's on Saturday afternoons. Of course there was a dog, it was Buck the Standard Poodle with an ego. Eamon used to throw unripe oranges for him to fetch, Buck could have done this until he died if we let him. He'd come running back across the parking lot of the building across the street from our apartment, orange juice streaming from his mouth and drop the fruit at Eamon's feet, or make Eamon grab the slick thing out of his mouth to throw it again. It was a sight. Anyway, I placed an ad in a weekly. I tried to represent my style as somewhere between Syd Straw and Penelope Houston, thinking this would at least limit the calls to people who knew who these gals were.
I got a few calls and tried out for some bands, realizing that I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to be able to stand in front of people and sing without huge substances ingested, inhaled or smoked. Thusly, I gave up on the idea. Yet, there was one more call. It was a guy and he asked to speak to Abby and I said that he was and he said " Abby" and then gave me my first and last personalized obscene phone call.
Oh, the joys of putting your name out there in the public domain. There is a price to pay, but sometimes you just have to unfold your world a little more to express yourself. What reminded me of this story, is that my husband is a little uncomfortable with my candid sharing of personal data. Well, I say, Homeland security is already watching our every move, so what's three more!