05 September 2006

devo in the dna

After Garrett's football practice ended tonight, we got into the car to drive home. New York Dolls were playing on the cd. G asked, 'Mama, can you put on some DEVO'? Someday he will hate what I like, but for now - we are D E V O !

25 August 2006

a braille playboy, tom waits and a missing monkey

Back from a lovely whirlwind trip to Nashville Tennessee to see Tom Waits perform at the historical (and extremely cool - I can't believe I finally got there) Ryman Auditorium. The show was what you'd expect... genius.

Before the show we wandered around near the Ryman. Had some BBQ, souvenir shopped (Ernest Tubb matchbooks were a nice find), and window shopped outside the Hatch Show Print shop where they had posted a 'NO TOM WAITS POSTERS' on the door. There was a guy right outside the Hatch Show Print shop, charging folks $5.00 to take a picture with his shirt & diaper clad monkey. It was a pretty large monkey - like baboon size. I had left my camera at the hotel since the tickets stated explicitly 'NO CAMERAS OR RECORDING DEVICES'. I sure didn't want to get turned out, a taxi ride away from our hotel - stuck w/a camera escort that was banned admittance. Turns out the security personnel didn't even check my pocketbook so camera could have come along. We figured that we'd see the monkey the next day & could have our picture taken with the dapper monkey then...

The Ryman was beautiful and I felt good sitting in the wooden pews. It was easy to imagine folks sitting there decades ago, watching Hank Williams perform...

The next day we headed over to the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was a great museum. Honestly, I kind of expected it would be configured like this: puny bit of the old country music I like, and then a gargantuan amount on the new pop country crap that clogs the airways. You know: add a fiddle (electric) and you can call that song country! Gratefully, I was wrong. The focus of the museum was actually THE history of country music. Brilliant curators. Very tasteful.

Below are just a few of the many photos I took. There are some more photos from the Nashville trip on my Flickr site.

No death date yet on the Buck Owens plaque.

Joe Maphis' double neck.

Johnny Horton's shirt.

Rose Maddox's boots.

Nudie Cohen's sewing machine. Just imagine the suits it has sewn. There was a nude pin-up shelacked on his sewing table.

Gram Parson's suit - yes that suit! Right before my eyes. Crazy! (no flash allowed in the museum, so photos are dark).

I had to show another picture of that suit.

The main exhibit was: I Can't Stop Loving You: Ray Charles & Country Music. I really dig Ray Charles & thankfully saw him perform at the Hollywood Bowl back in 1996; so this exhibit was a real treat for me. Something about Mr. Ray Charles Braille Playboy really tickled me...

A very quick trip jammed full with all sorts of goodness. I guess if there was one thing I was disappointed in, it was that we never found the monkey. My advice, when you have the chance to take your photo with a monkey, try to be ready.

19 August 2006

where has all the summer gone?

Overdue with the posting... The summer has gone by lickety split. The trip back East was wonderful. We left the heat wave behind us & enjoyed much nicer weather. Even a nice summer storm at the reunion. The rain did cut into our various (horsehoes, quoits [pictured below], shuffleboard, knockout) tournaments, but it was a lovely storm anyway. On our daily 6:30am hikes (truth be told, Garrett & I only made two of the three early morning hikes), we saw deer and the orange newts I've posted above. My Uncle (the family Patriarch) led us in some rousing Simon Says games. I found the game especially hard at 6:30am and before my coffee. The same Uncle also passed along a game that my Grandparents played with my Mom & Aunts & Uncles, when they were kids. The first kid to spot a deer gets a quarter. When the next kid sees a deer, the first kid has to pass along the quarter & so on & so on. I am a sucker for simple and sweet family traditions. It was a great joy for me to see these games get passed along to my son.

On our first night at the reunion, a firefly landed on Garrett's forehead - he smooshed it away, but thankfully didn't do permanent damage. His cousin was able to tweak the wing back into place, and off the bug flew. Two of my hopes (fireflies & summer storms) were realized for us on the trip. Unfortunately I did not spank my Aunt Ruth at horseshoes. My game was pure stink. I did really enjoy shuffleboard (as did Garrett) and quoits. Must get a quoit set & bring that tradition out West. I saw a beach set in addition to the traditional iron set, online recently. Soon...

After the reunion we headed back to Williamsport - my Mom's hometown. We had a great time at the Little League Museum and were able to check out the Little League World Series compound. I had known that Williamsport's big claim to fame was hosting the Little League World Series. What I didn't realize (having not been back for twenty six years) was that the L.L. compound butts up to my Grandparents former property. The stomping ground of my Mom and her siblings.

After the museum I got to go back to the house my Mom grew up in (she was born there too). I had a lot of memories come flooding back in the best way. 'Did we put a table in the garage to eat supper?' 'Did Grammie have a little dog?' 'Is that the garden I ran over with Pop Pop's tractor?' All answers were 'yes' and it felt good to visit the property and revisit so many memories. The land has been subdivided and much has changed, but it was nice to see how much had stayed the same.

We had a great hoagie dinner in a bar/restaurant in town. I had forgotten all about smoking in restaurants since it's been banned out here for so long. After dinner Garrett hit the motherload of fireflies, and spent some fun time with Grandma catching them. The photos I took didn't turn out - no glow - and using the macro on a quick moving bug made matters worse. But, he had the firefly experience I had hoped for. He said 'Mama, it looks like there are stars flashing in the yard'.

I was sad to leave my family, but it is always nice to come home... And in another three years we'll be together again.

20 July 2006

vacation wishes

Last years summer vacation to Oregon was all about picking and eating wild blackberries. Coming home with stains on every piece of clothing we wore, proved the trip successful.

This years vacation is all about fireflies. Here's wishing Garrett can catch some - keep them in a jar for a spell - releasing them before bedtime. Hopefully it isn't too late in the season to see them. After all, the state insect of Pennsylvania is the firefly - that has to work in our favor.

And while I'm wishing, how about a nice eastern summer storm with some of that wild lightning? Not that wimpy stuff we get in southern California.

18 July 2006

hectic in a handbasket

How is it possible that I am busier now that Garrett is out of school? We have no homework - things should be simpler. Somehow they are not. There was that crazy week of football camp: drop him off at camp in the morning - pick him up at lunch when camp ended - then take him to his regular summer camp while I finish my work day. It was hectic, but worth it. Garrett loved loved loved football camp. He was really bummed it only lasted a week.

So far it has been a fun summer. I've discovered that eight year olds are actually easier with multiples. Having a friend over to play (or come along on an outing) is nicer for everyone. They keep each other occupied & I have guilt free time to clean or pay bills - you know the crapitty crap that you never seem to have time for.

This past weekend we hit the science center (the photo above is of Garrett & his friend, lifting a 5,000 pound truck). The timing of the visit was good because while Garrett & I are off vacationing next week (DC & PA), he will miss his summer camp field trip to the science center.

Frankly he hasn't been too into the science center since I took him to see Mission to Mir in IMAX 3D & it scared the bejesus out of him. He was four when he saw it, and couldn't sleep alone in his bed after that for a year. Not sure if you've seen it, but nothing scary happens. No astronauts getting burned up in space - no alien invasions. Just a documentary about the space station - chock full of the sort of standard, silly acrobatics you expect with zero gravity. It just goes to show you that you can be so careful about what your child watches & then get blindsided when something so seemingly innocuous turns into the bogeyman. To this day - four years after the Mission to Mir Incident (MMI), Garrett still does not want to see an IMAX movie. He did power through last summer and see one about Animals, but it wasn't 3D and the peer pressure from his summer camp cronies, won out. There has been some cool IMAX movies since the MMI but his first reaction is still an immediate 'No thanks Mama, maybe next time'.

Some extra loveliness at exposition park: the rose smelled so lovely - the garden is in full bloom. Hence the obligatory macro rose photos below. I am not a big fan of the close up flower shots - they are so overdone, but there I was, loving my camera, setting up the macro, so pleased that the dew showed up in the photos. Hopefully somewhere in the park, there was someone who was secretly mocking me: 'Oh geez, another close up of a flower...boring'.

Looking into the history of exposition park, it turns out the rose garden used to be a race track (horses, dogs, even camels!) according to Wikipedia. When the neighborhood became more densely populated with families, the racetrack fell out of style and the rose garden was planted in place of the track.

So off we head for a fun family reunion. I am really looking forward to the late night games of Hearts and the ever so competitive Horseshoe tournaments. (Aunt Ruth look out - I am hoping to finally beat you this time). And of course the opportunity to catch up with my family. We are spread out all over the North American continent and the reunions allow us to get to know each other again.

28 June 2006

amy sedaris didn't even lift her dress...

I saw Strangers with Candy - The Movie the other night. I quite enjoyed myself as did the rest of the audience. I laughed a lot - I thought the translation from cable TV to movie was great - of course with Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello & Amy Sedaris - how could it NOT be funny?
My friend got some schmancy tickets with the amazing bonus of Amy Sedaris showing up for a Q & A. And, the bonus had a bonus as Paul Dinello was there as well! Holy holy - what a treat! Of course there was the usual lame audience questions - but it was fun to hear Ms. Sedaris address these crazy people. At one point she actually asked a woman 'How many drinks have you had?'. The AFI hostess who conducted the Q & A, was obviously pregnant. Ms. Sedaris asked her 'Are you keeping the baby?'. It was the first thing she said when the Q & A began. BA! So all in all the evening was a terrific amount of fun - my only real disappointment (look, I expected people to ask lame questions so that was no surprise) was that Ms. Amy Sedaris sat very ladylike in her directors chair. When I've seen her on Late Night, she usually lifts her skirt a bit as she settles & re-settles in her seat.

15 June 2006

the soul is in the bowl

Dig what I spotted in the frozen aisle at my local grocery store tonight!

The soul is definitely in the bowl - it tasted pretty good. Thanks Smokey!