Thursday, February 28, 2013

True Tale of the Cabbage Casserole

Oh, the magpie, she wanders around some days with her head in a bag, which is a very hard posture in which to encounter the shiny.

Too many days to sum up, so I will settle with telling you the true tale of the cabbage casserole.

I desire to keep this intact.

On Sunday, planning the food for the week I noticed that I had both unused portabellos and a whole head of cabbage. Seems like these could go together well. First thing I thought of was some sort of savory strudel, which let me tell you would be freaking delicious, but more than I want to cope with one a weeknight, so ... TO THE INNERWEBZ! Not to tip my hand too much, but this is one of the best uses of the internet. "OK, I have 15 minutes to make dinner, I have some croutons, a can of sardines and a fennel bulb ... go!" {OK, that was a gimme.} Lynne Rossetto Caspar is brilliant, and I am good at explaining to you how to think through your on-hand possibilities, but a google search is pretty fine, too. So, a 5 minutes of perusing, and I decide that Florence Fabricant's recipe for mushroom & cabbage casserole from the NYT is just the thing.

On Tuesday, I've picked the kids up from school, and besides a work phone call, there is nothing on our schedule for the evening, except the evening, so whipping something up that needs to bake for 2 - 2.5 hours is actually no problem. Then I notice. The recipe does this weird thing that recipes sometimes do: It tells me to saute in a casserole dish before putting the dish, full of stuff, in the oven.

Now, two things to know at this point ... I once actually did crack a beautiful moderne white casserole clean in half trying to use it over an open flame, chicken and wine dropping out through the bottom and clogging the jets of the burner. And I have in my possession a perfectly good calphalon heavy duty "everday pan", which is a wide, 3 in deep flat bottomed pan with two handles and a lid. I use it, uh ... like, every single day, for everything. I had another that had non-stick coating that got all cruddy so I had to get rid of it, and I was never happy again until I found another. {So, in case you're taking notes: search ingredient combos on the net, and get thee to an everyday pan.} I could have used this pan in lieu of an actual casserole (which as far as I am concerned is a piece of crockery or glass), but I was afraid it wasn't big enough, and I also happen to own a beautiful blue ridged French casserole, given to me as a wedding present, which I rarely used, and this recipe seemed to be whispering its name.

But, but, putting this beautiful French stoneware on an open flame? What if it cracks like that other one? Oh, the horror. Yet, there it sits on my dining room shelf, looking pretty but never utilized, maybe it is worth the risk -- at least it will have some chance at fulfillment! So, to shield it, I decided to set the casserole on a cookie sheet during the stovetop portion of the process. This worked pretty well, actually. Took a while to come to temperature, but when it did, the mushrooms sauteed just fine, and the onions, and ... just when I put the garlic in, I notice the whole electronic control panel of the stove had gone dark, and the oven was no longer making trusty pre-heating noises. I had lost power. Did I blow a fuse or trip a breaker (it's Cleveland Heights, we have both)? Shit. I oggled the fuse box on the stairs, and guess it looks ok. Then I got O to find me a mini maglite, and I went to the basement. The breaker didn't look like it was tripped, but I flipped it off and on, just in case, and a few others just for good measure. Back upstairs ... nada. Shit shit. I don't want to do takeout. And I don't want to have to repair my stove. We just repaired David's gas tank, for christsake. I go through the household files and dig out the installation guide to my Kitchen-Aid range, as well as a quick-start guide to the control panel, but ... the actual manual is nowhere to be find. Did I say shit already? Back down to the basement to toggle the breakers some more. Still nothing. Sigh. I begin shuffling around in the junk drawer for menus. I snap at O when he wants to tell me another piece of trivia about ninjago. I rehearse the conversation with David where I tell him we will have to buy a new stove. I turn around and ... tada! ... the stove lights are back on! Magic!

I think my fancy stove has some auto shutoff mechanism to save itself. Maybe my cookie sheet was getting too hot and threatening to explode my favorite double, high power burner? I wouldn't want to risk that, so ... food half prepped and 2-hours of baking time still in front of me, I decide my range is more important than my French dish, so ... gasp! ... I did it, I put it over the open flame. Not a high flame, and the dish was already hot. And in went the garlic and ginger, and most of the cabbage-- all that would fit -- and the hot broth. The dish did make a worrisome loudish ping when the broth went in, but it still looked (and still looks now) to be in one piece. So whatever structural damage was inflicted has yet to reveal itself. And the wine went in, and the salt and pepper.

And the casserole went in the oven, and I ranted on the internet about poor recipe editing but was really gulping in relief that my stove still worked, and 2 hours later I pulled out an extraordinary dish. Topped with sour cream and sprinkled with poppy seeds, this casserole is rich and soothing and unexpectedly complex. I also served boiled local-ish gold potatoes tossed with butter, salt (lots of both), and smoked paprika. These were perfect with the baked cabbage and mushrooms. Perfect. The kids and I feasted on them and watched weird time-travel Phineas and Ferb. And my French blue casserole has been actualized.

Reading: NYer review of British psychoanalytic writer Adam Phillips's book about missing out and the dangers of the fantasy of the unlived life. Unlike some long-format reviews this made me want to read Phillips's book(s) rather than making me feel like I didn't need too. Not sure I would entirely agree with Phillips, especially with a feminist lens (I think Feminine Mystique was valuable largely in that gave women permission to consider the lives they weren't living seriously), but I also think there is something valuable in his position, plus and he sounds smart and interesting. Also, Joan Acocella is just a great reviewer.

Also a women's mag first person article by a woman in her 40s who has eaten nothing but potatoes, white bread and crackers, and milk her whole life. She has some kind of extreme new-food-phobia. She wishes she could get over it. She was raised in a family, with two siblings, of varied omnivores. She sounds smart and insightful, and she has queried many, many people trying to understand her condition. Weirdness abounds in this universe.

Writing: Finished the non-ToT project, and finished it well. Back, at last, to the ToT in the morn.

Dinner: Aside from the fraught and delicious casserole? Monday pizza was an extravagant "asian" bok choy and red pepper pizza. The sauce I improvised from a can of pineapple, good teriyaki, some barbecue sauce and ketchup, whipped up with my no longer virgin stick blender.

Wednesday is now kids-make-dinner night. They made pizza with a lovely homemade sauce of canned tomatoes smashed with garlic and oregano and olive oil. With fresh mozzarella and tons of mini pepperonis. On a gluten-free crust, so Sarah could eat with us. O also made a green salad. Sarah supervised because I had to work late. She estimates it was 65% kid labor. Not bad.

Tonight was hoppin' john, which I made in the crockpot for the soul food potluck at Z's school (I added tomatoes, which I think is not entirely traditional). Then I got to sample some great greens, mac and cheese and ham, too.

Soundtrack: I failed. I am sorry. I failed to prove my love with 28 days of love songs. I hope you know I love you anyway.

In honor of the incredibly beautiful full moon this week (Virgo full moon according to my astrologer friends), I give you these:

The full moon always makes me think of David. It is our moon,
no matter what you think. And David shared this song with me, 
so now I sing it a little bit whenever I see the moon and think of him.

This is a Carl Perkins song. Perhaps you've noticed how I am
fond of the rockabilly? However, Carl's recorded versions of this 
number are a little staid. Deke Dickerson is a great rockabilly guitarist.

Random: I am measurably happier on the days I blog. I hope you are too.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Give in to it

Here, use this to do something nice for yourself.

Pardon my irregularity.

I suppose I have had time to do this since Thursday, but I have been in a sort of psychological hibernation these past few days, spending my time and energy on the family or on non-public projects. We had a movie night Friday - watched Robots. Z was glad for a kids' movie. It was much more clever and charming than I expected.

Saturday, I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. Whee! Z's wrist was still hurting and she was exhausted so we stayed home from orchestra, then I spent the day catching up on reading and writing stuff, and all of us went to opening night of the latest Noel Coward at the Hanna Theater. The children held up well. I did not. I have become an old lady who falls asleep during movies and plays. With the up at 3 a.m. and reading on the couch thing, too, I feel like I have become my mother. There are worse people to be.

Sunday was sleeping in and domesticity -- In the morning, we had an impromptu family meeting about screen time. I am sick of the constant negotiations about video games. I suggested we make tickets good for certain amounts of time, and each person has so many during the week. The kids immediately jumped on it. Z suggested 6 tickets (good for 20 minutes video game or 1 half hour tv show) per week. We added a ticket for screen time with a friend and a wild card ticket that can be used in a variety of ways. After breakfast they immediately set about making the tickets. I was very proud of all of us. Then writing and menu planning and staying up too late to watch the Oscars. I can't really explain why the Oscars compel me so much -- all sorts of things to critique about the whole enterprise -- and yet they do.

So it was an active weekend, but felt to me like an insular one. I really have no interest in talking to anyone outside the family. David's tour is in full swing, and we are all just tired and in need of each other. I can't explain exactly what is so exhausting about this time of year. And I think about being a single parent or a parent who has a partner who travels all the time or works long hours doing something intense or what have you, and I think, why is this such a big deal to me? But it is. What is good is that after many years of this I have finally learned how to give in to it and care for myself better. This weekend's mode is the result of that.

That's my motto for the week: Give into it and care for myself better.

Reading: I read a lot of 10-minute plays this weekend. It is distressing to me how many women choose to write about a. fighting over a man or b. bitter recriminations between mother and daughter (which often seem to involve something about a man too). I mean, yes, these things are part of life and will and should be written about, I suppose, but can we at least have some attempt to pass the Bechdel test, ladies?

Writing: Still at work on a non ToT project, but I am eager to get back to my neglected characters. More this week.

Dinner: Friday: Rigatoni Toni (mini rigatoni noodles with mushroom, olives, artichoke hearts, garbanzos, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, parm), and a green salad. The kids eagerly, helped cook. It was sweet. And, boy, does O love dressed lettuce. Saturday: box macncheese. Sunday: Rigatoni Toni repurposed - tossed with spaghetti sauce, topped with cheese and baked - individual side dishes of whatever leftovers needed to be eaten up (mine was slices of orange left over from lunchboxes).

Soundtrack: Man, Shirley Bassey brought it the Oscars! That was amazing.

Also, I realize I have totally stumbled on the February love song play list. I will give you some love songs this week this week, but not today.

Random thing: O said to me, "I have so many Lego weapons, I have more weapons than guys to give them to. Even if I combine them into really big weapons, I still don't have enough guys for all of them." Yeah.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Postmodern Beauty and Love

^ A reader found this blog using that as search string. I love that. I would like to make it the tagline for my little empire here.

Shiny Things: commonplace book of a magpie
Postmodern Beauty and Love

Things have been tough here in my little empire this week. February continues. David's tour schedule continues. The needing to pay hundreds of dollars for a punctured gas tank continues.

Yet, all is well. Our little foursome muddles on. The kids made extra money by scrubbing grout for me last weekend, so Z took her spending money to a certain discount fashion store up the road where she had seen an absolutely fabulous cropped black and white striped jacket before her birthday. Sadly this bit of new wave wonderfulness was no longer in stock, but instead she purchased a blazer-shaped jacket made entirely of mint green lace with lilac cuffs.

I feel like I have spent my whole life avoiding this color.
And now I find myself thinking mint green wedge sneakers might be a good idea.
Am I mad?

Color trends confuse me sometimes. How did we arrive at the Moment of Ice Cream Pastels? Who decides this and why do I find myself drawn into it? This is the color of unhappy ticky tacky housewives and TV dinners and cultural homogeneity. Am I too mired in the 20th century or what?  Z looks fabulous in the jacket. Talk about postmodern beauty and love.

And while we are on the topic of beauty and love, David's touring show, Double Heart, is doing really well (nevermind how tired its execution makes me). And audience member reported this week that it was the most exciting piece of theater he had seen. So, you know, go see it ... It's at the Cleveland Heights library this Sunday, for all my east side readers. Full schedule here.

Reading & Writing: Work on the ToT is momentarily on hold while I work on another project. I have spent a lot of time this week think about why I think literature is important. This is, oddly, much more difficult than I would have predicted. I have lived my whole life immersed in literature. Defining its importance to me is like defining air. And thinking about the sickly state of English as a scholarly discipline within American universities vs what I perceive as the vigor of contemporary literary consumption and practice has been really interesting. Can I lead a one-woman crusade to revamp the discipline and save the English department?! Probably not from here.

In all of this, Junot Diaz is my guiding star. I fucking love Junot Diaz.

Dinner: Tonight was stir fried bok choy and tofu with Flying Cranes housemade teriyaki over rice. I fucking love bok choy, and Flying Cranes.

Wednesday was nachos with black beans and guacamole. The avocados this winter are just simply beautiful and perfect. It is rare to find such perfect avocados. I fucking love avocados.

Soundtrack: This morning, having lost two hours worth of work when my computer crashed, and made late for work by unremembered tour-related kid scheduling stuff, I was feeling rather ... shall we say, in despair. Then I turned on my car radio and the DJ on WRUW was playing a cover of "Be-Bop-a-Lula" performed by Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys, followed by Chris Isaak doing Carl Perkins's "Dixie Fried." And I knew everything would be OK. I fucking love rockabilly.

Random thing: Pardon me for being dumb and mired in the 20th century, but what is Tumblr for?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Overwhelmed Bird

I found this image by searching for "overwhelmed magpie."
I find it very soothing, and it makes me want to do paper crafts.
(image from a pretty Canadian crafting/vintage blog called Mlle Magpie)

I feel overwhelmed by life, the world, finances, obligations, desires, options, constraints, a messy house, public shooting rampages, weather events, the whole of the Internet, all the books I want to to read and to write, the places I want to travel to, the person I want to be, the person I am, the people I live with, aging, wardrobe, all the back issues of the New Yorker I will never read, a longing for people gone away or dead, a longing for springtime, a longing for summer, that coat at the dry cleaners I keep forgetting to pick up, taxes, my inability to create more minutes in a day, and a deep, deep desire to have a sequestered sleep vacation.


I have read things and I have written things, many things of different sorts and for different reasons. I am overwhelmed by all that is not yet read or written. I have also been neglecting the ToT and I can hear it rattling and complaining over there on my desk.

Dinner: Monday, for President's Day, my dearie Jess and her monkeys came all the way from their compound far out east to spend the afternoon with us. I made Jess my famous ginger lentil soup (served with a drizzle of balsamic). There is a whole blog post in this soup, but not today. I lamely facilitated the making of pizzas for the children. Somehow imagined it as an event, but it didn't really play that way. Pizzas were good though.

Tuesday, I made another old standby - curried cauliflower over cheese ravioli (from Michelle Urvater's M-F Pasta book).

Soundtrack: Z's orchestra is doing a mini arrangement of Smetana's "Moldau" this spring. She hurt her wrist and couldn't practice on Tuesday, so instead we listened to the real thing. It is a tone poem about the Czech river Vltava, and it gets very loud!

Random thing: When you sit on my living room couch, the ticking of the two clocks on this floor is loud and syncopated.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's hydromatic

Rizzo is all that, and was, no surprise, my favorite character as a kid.
(And a Stockard Channing marathon would also be excellent.)

So, as you may have noticed, we are embarking on a new era Chez Thayer-Hansen. Z&O are old enough to begin the great indoctrination into movies and classic TV. Indoctrination programs for classic children's books, eclectic music, and live theater have already been underway and proceeding successfully, but our quest for world domination through overly enculturated offspring could not really begin in earnest until now.

Sometimes I think it really must be a burden to have us as parents.

My kids hadn't seen Star Wars until last weekend. I know, many, many of their contemporaries have been watching it for years now, but we are a bit sensitive about screen violence and not wanting to load their imagination with imagery of planets exploding, and that kind of thing. O especially has always had a hard time with even the implication of bad things happening on screen. (Scary music and the suggestion of suspense used to make him hide his face and cover his ears and make a terrible keening whine.) But we've crossed the threshold.

Last night for family night there was some contentious Mastermind while I cooked, then a few rounds of Mario Cart before dinner, and the feature film was ... Grease. If you have not watched it as an adult, and you have any fondness for the genre of movie musical, it is really worth a review. Not only are the musical numbers incredibly well shot and choreographed, but the script is actually smart and funny. And, really, John Travolta was kind of supernatural in the 70s. (If you have some time to kill, you could do worse things for yourself than having a Welcome Back Kotter/Grease/Saturday Night Fever marathon ... I can't vouch for Boy in the Plastic Bubble. I haven't seen it since it originally aired. And apparently he had a role in Carrie, which I also haven't seen if a very long time ... but we can toss those in if we are really doing a marathon. Then we'll finish up with Pulp Fiction, to compare dance sequences.) Here, enjoy this:

It is hard for me to believe I was the age O is now when Grease came out. It was the first movie I watched incessantly. I think I saw it 10 times in the theater, but I could be exaggerating. The soundtrack was the first album I bought with my own money. The fact that they called the Greased Lightening car a "pussy wagon" went completely over my head then, and I'm hoping it did Z&O's too. And O did wonder about the parking scene -- kissing in cars does seem a little odd as an abstract concept (and David has promised to explain the broken condom to him). The whole 'Is Rizzo pregnant - was it a false alarm - did she have an abortion - "There are Worse Things I Could Do"' subplot is so subtle that I imagine even most adults don't clock it.

And it occurs to me watching as an adult that Danny Zuko does way more to change himself and win back Sandy. In the early part of the movie he is a macho jerk to her in front of his friends, and a large part of his story line is about his trying to figure out how to prove that's not who he really is. Sure, Sandy teases her hair and puts on satin stretch pants for the final scene, but ...

Reading: I HAVE A HUGE PILE OF BOOKS I WANT TO READ, and my mother just told me about two more I want to add to it. Getting towards the end of the Hopkinson.

And, not that I have time, but I wish I were in a book group. I am jealous when people tell me about their book groups.

Writing: A bit.

Dinner: I made up "mushroom a la king." Originally, I had thought to make mushroom pot pies, but that ended up feeling fussy. (Yes, it used canned soup. So a bit of a foodie fail. Not that I am not entirely capable of making my own cream sauce, but this made it super easy, and I have a bit of an obsession with canned soup cookery. A kind of personal anthropological curiosity about American foodways. It also had onions; diced red bell pepper, celery and carrots; white and cremini mushrooms; thyme and marjoram. The canned soup was cream of chicken.) I served it over biscuits, with a generous side of lemony green beans (Z's current favorite veg).

Soundtrack: In the morning, I went into the office to get some work done in the quiet and empty. I put on a "Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello" station on Pandora. Lots of moody Americana, including this Lucinda Williams song, "Those Three Days," which hit me in solar plexus and reminded me of the very, very early days of my relationship with David, when we were hundreds of miles apart and falling desperately in love with each other despite all wisdom.

I love you, David. Desperately still, after all these years. Nothing's been the same since those three days.

Random thing: Uh ... don't let me go to the store alone when I'm hungry. I go into a fugue state and it takes me 40 minutes to get 8 items.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Segmented sleep (the good kind) & Punk rock love song

Having exhausted all of the permitted screen time for the day, the children and I spent the end of the evening reading together in the living room. When we got sleepy, we downloaded the next Borrowers book from the library website onto my kindle and went upstairs and read together in bed. First me to them, then all of us with our own books. O and I dozed off first Tiger purring between us and Z kept on for a while on her own before turning out the lamps and snuggling up against me. (She is rereading the Harry Potter books, on Book 2 now, determined to "know everything there is to know about Harry Potter." To that end we also downloaded an unofficial HP quiz book onto my kindle this evening.)

I woke an hour later, after "first sleep" and found myself awake enough to sit up and work. The children slept on either side of me as worked in the computer in the dark. They are both getting so big, but at moments like this I still feel like they are my babies. David came home and we poured them into their own beds, then sat up together and talked and read and wrote. Now finally onto "second sleep." (For more on first and second sleep, the Wikipedia on segmented sleep is v. interesting:

Reading: New Moon's Arms & beginning Borrower's Aloft 

Writing: Some non ToT writing.

And in the reading and writing vein, I share this snippet from an interview with Junot Diaz about having a slow writing process:

from NPR's Talk of the Nation last fall, on the occasion of Diaz's MacArthur grant

Dinner: The whole fam had pub food at Brennan's and ice cream at Sweetie Fry -- the chocolate chili ice cream really is spicy.

Soundtrack: Day 3 of the Paul Weller love song love fest. Today we go back to The Jam and this awesome angry young lad version of "Slow Down."


Random thing: So February 11th marked the two-month anniversary of the revival of Shiny Things. If I had time enough I'd go compile some statistics, but no. I am, however, thinking of changing up my format somehow -- maybe to make the food part more prominent -- and also of making the whole enterprise more anonymous and leaving the url with my name attached for a more professional site. Not sure.

In the meantime, I recommend one of my favorite early posts, from the first incarnation of Shiny Things: "Dining in Nirvana with Little Steven"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Unregenerate and Obdurate.

This dropped out of my travel journal too. I knew I had met him and shaken his hand.
I forgot I had gotten his autograph! Thanks, Susan, for instigating this.

Found this gathered in an old journal I was leafing through. It really is as close to a personal manifesto as you are going to get from me:

"Our finest writing will certainly come from what is unregenerate in ourselves. It will come from the part the part that obdurate, unbanishable, immune to education, springing up like grass ... To love ourselves right now -- that is the transformative success. To see what is already beautiful -- that is the astonishing strength." -- Bonnie Friedman, Writing Past Dark, p 146

Unregenerate. Obdurate. What great words. Obdurate. The first two syllables are like buttocks, heavy and voluptuous, pressing roundly up against each other.

Reading: Like Wilde said, "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train."

Writing: Yes. Looking for, reading, using/transcribing/revising/incorporating important notes from my travel journal.

Dinner: Pre-fab lemon pepper breaded haddock filets. Not bad. With whipped up with a secret ingredient tartar sauce. Very good. And raw carrots and cucumber (the English variety, which always, always makes me think of my friend Katie and the first time I ate lunch with her. She served me lentil soup and slices of English cucumber.)

Soundtrack: Untouchables radio on Spotify is unsatisfying. Too much college music, not enough ska. I should have just played The Untouchables (the ska band that does the song "I Spy (for the FBI)" not anything having to do with Eliot Ness).

And for today's love song? In honor of my found autograph above, I give you a Paul Weller twofer (he sang this song at the Apollo too, where it seemed particularly fitting):

Random thing: This is all pretty random, but Orson singing "Feliz Navidad" in a deep dramatic lounge lizard kind of voice was truly one of the most random and hilarious moments ever. Where the hell did that come from?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Golden key of glory (and Weller for your Valentine)

I like this key.

So I made Valentine's Day dinner with Sarah, our sitter, after taking Z to violin (Sarah took O to drum lesson), while David was off observing rehearsal for spring show #2. Not, perhaps, the most outstandingly romantic of evenings. (And as I said after Tuesday, we are just past the midway point of the difficult Season of the Outreach Tour.) However, it is romantic in a way, for what better expression of the love we have sustained for more than 18 years than to have everyone invested in their art. (And me? I wrote in the morning, and then I cooked.)

At violin I was thinking for the zillionth time how much I like violin pieces in D major (and there are so many of them ... the Beethoven concerto, for instance, and both the gavotte Z is working on, as well as a Bach piece her orchestra is learning) and wondering why that is. Perhaps you know music theory better than I and this is no surprise to you. But I finally went and looked it up ... all the way to Wikipedia ... and did you know? The open strings (tuned GDAE) on a violin resonate sympathetically with the open D, producing a sound that is "especially brilliant. " In the Baroque period it was considered the "key of glory," and Scriabin thought was golden in color. See, no wonder I like it.

Reading: A few of those plays

Writing: Yes, trying to describe listening to trascendent jazz.

Dinner: Chicken pad thai (home made) and gluten free chocolate cake. (Sarah needs to eat gluten free, and now that she dines with us a couple nights a week, I have had to stretch out my regular omnivore food decisions.)

Soundtrack: For David. I love you so much I give you Paul Weller for Valentine's Day.

Random thing: Tonight was the first time I have seen Z hold her violin casually under her chin with no hands while concentrating on her teachers instructions. 

Oh, and I discovered my MA thesis cataloged on Google Books . Google will now proceed to devour me.

Hey, how did One Billion Rising go?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Opening, midpoint, and new obsessions

If you have never peaked inside, you owe to yourself to do so. Actually wait a couple months and go in the springtime during the day, so you also get the effect of the courtyard.

 Tuesday, I didn't see the State of the Union, because I was seeing David's show. I of course am not objective, but Double Heart is one of the best things he's written. It is in verse, as a prequel to Much Ado About Nothing, and he has managed to make that seem effortless and natural. His ensemble of actors does a fantastic job too. (Other perfs listed here: )

It opened in the Alcazar hotel in Cleveland Heights. The lobby of which is a Moorish confection. This hotel was once a hot spot for celebrities passing through town.

Thus we reach the midpoint of one of the most difficult seasons of the year - outreach tour season. More on this, perhaps, on the morrow.

Wednesday, tired and headachey from staying up too late 3 nights in a row, but also feeling very centered and full of good ideas.

Reading: On Tuesday, sat with O and read while he was doing his reading for school. We brought the gerbil cage downstairs so they could hang out with us too. And at bedtime on Tues and again Wed morning, reading the completion chapter in Fearless Creating.

Writing: Tues: 30 minutes in a.m., yes
Wed: afternoon block of 2 hours.

Dinner: Tues: feast at Aladdin's with Sarah and Becky before play. The chicken shishtawook pita roll is one of my favorite things anywhere. Grilled chicken, pickles, turnips, garlicky garlic sauce. Makes me think of a friend I have lost touch with.

Wed:  inspired by the trend of fancified french fries, I concocted sweet potato fries topped with barbecued beans (pinto and navy, with onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and barbecue sauce), plain yogurt and white cheddar.

Soundtrack: David sent me a video of Bruno Mars at the Grammy's on Sunday, doing "Locked out of Heaven" with Sting joining him on stage to do a bit on "Walking on the Moon" (a song that I posted completely coincidentally on Monday). The video's been taken down now, and it is taking me forever to find another. Let's jsut say, I am developing an obsession with Bruno Mars. Really, an obsession with his super cool band. Dance, horn players, dance!

And, for Wednesday's love song entry - "Absolute Beginners" because David's show is about beginners (who end sadly), and because Nina recommended it at the beginning of the month. This version is live from 2000.

Random things: On Tuesday, on our way from the restaurant to the Alcazar, I was trying to get the kids to get their yayas out before sitting down for the show, so we -- three adult women and two kids -- were making loud fart noises all the way down the block, competing to out do one another. We were so loud, we turned the heads of passing cyclists.

Heard on the radio that I could order a 4-foot teddy bear and have it overnighted in time for Valentine's Day. Does it make me old that I can't even imagine why someone would think that was a good idea?

My new secret obsession is the red tea latte at Pheonix, especially when the cute barista makes pretty art on the top.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"You make really awesome pizzas. Just so you know."

"The orange cat and I, we are playing a
dangerous and vexingly noisy game.
But I am cute and you will forgive me.
Now, where is my almond?"

And then there are some days when the scope of time seems to shift, and the time after school and work is generous and encompassing and people get to do more than they were counting on. Today was one of those days (even if the gerbils and the cats woke me up 3 times last night). No matter that when I left for work it was 51 degrees, and when I left to pick up Z from school it was 36 degrees and blowing hard, for it is winter still and it is Cleveland, which as Z and I established to a rousing oompa rhythm as we sang in the car: "It is warm and then cold and then warm and then cold and then warm and then warm and then warm and then cold, cold, cold, cold and then warm again, until it is cold."

Reading: Read New Moon's Arms during O's basketball practice. And I did begin the completion chapter in last night as promised. Now tonight to complete it.

Writing: 40 minutes of morning writing and a work plan for the week. Back in the saddle. Yeehaw.

Dinner: It's Monday and the pizza had red red sauce, salami, nicoise olives, and slivers of fresh red bell pepper. Cheese was a combo of mozzarella and parm. With a multi-lettuce and napa cabbage salad.

Z helped me put the toppings on and she said, "You make really awesome pizzas. Just so you know."

Soundtrack: During violin practice, Z and I kept finding the same bad violinist online playing every single thing we were looking up. He was a little too young to be an expert, as touted, and  he was often playing off key, even as he was demonstrating scales, and yet there he was, and there, and there, and ... there. Eventually we started laughing about it.

Today's love song, randomly plucked from my brain, is "Walking on the Moon" from The Police's second album, in a live performance from 1983.

1. Those Synchronicity costumes were dumb. 2. Stewart Copeland is a fucking awesome drummer.

Random thing: At the end of the night, we watched another episode of Dick van Dyke, which featured an exchange kind of like this:

Rob: (to the other man and two women) We'll make it democratic. Let's take a vote.
Laura: Well, we can see how this is going to turn out.
Rob: We'll take a vote, and in the case of a tie, the men will decide.
Laura: I see, so this is the kind of democracy Thomas Jefferson would have wanted.


Also, at bball, O's friend C looked up in the middle of a drill, amused by something the coach had said, and he looked so completely like his mother that it took me by surprise. I might have gasped, if I were given to that.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Continuing the children's education in American comedy ...

Have I ever mentioned I like waterfowl?

O, who is enamored with the poetry of Shel Silverstein, asked me to read "The Meehoo with and Exactlywatt"* (from Light in the Attic, scroll down for complete text) while we were snuggling up for a catnap. This cracks him up, so I told him he needed to see "Who's on First." We watched this version later in the afternoon, after getting home from the library. This totally cracked him up.

Plays for the play festival for which I am reading.
Hoping before sleep to get to the chapter on "completion" in Fearless Creating by Eric Maisel. I like this book a lot, and I have been using it piecemeal for many years. It is kind of an Artist's Way without the spiritual element. And, no, it is not at all ironic that I have been meaning to read this chapter for more than a week.

Writing: I talked more about writing than I did it. Brunch and conversation with longtime writer friends Catherine and Lee and discussion of producing a reading or suchlike event. Then this evening going to the second installment of a storytelling series called Cleveland Talks at the  Bottlehouse. Tonight's theme was about health and healing, and my friend Lynda, a doctor and a writer, shared a nicely edited version of an essay she wrote about the death of a patient. I had thought several times in the weeks leading up to this of putting myself on the list of storytellers. I wish that I had. Alas. Lesson noted, if not learned.

Dinner: I needed something simple to make in a hurry, and thought of making risi e bisi (Italian rice and peas), but lacking the bisi I just made cheesy risi and a side of lemony buttery Brussels Sprouts. Brugesi cheesy risi.

Soundtrack: O and I were rocking the P-funk on the way to the library.

I did not watch the Grammy's, but for today's love song ... in keeping with my O dominated afternoon and in honor of Akron's own Black Keys, who I understand did well this evening, here's a live version of "You're the One":

Random thing: This morning I saw Canada geese walking on the ice of the pond in Rockefeller Park, and then on the west side, I saw a huge white birch tree with branches full of chattering starlings silhouetted against the blue sky.

*The Meehoo with an Exactlywatt

Knock knock!
     Who's there? 
     Me who?
That's right! 
     What's right?
     That's what I want to know!
What's what you want to know? 
     Me, who? 
Yes, exactly!
     Exactly what?
Yes, I have an Exactlywatt on a chain! 
     Exactly what on a chain?
     Yes what?
No, Exactlywatt!
     That's what I want to know!
I told you - Exactlywatt!
     Exactly what?
     Yes what?
Yes, it's with me!
     What's with you?
Exactlywatt - that's what's with me.
     Me who?
     Go away!
Knock knock...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Art is Everywhere! (the writers I know and love edition, #1)

My daughter has some weird psychic comedy link to Lucille Ball. Really.

I've been continuing in a state of artistic funk. Now that I do this blarg regularly, I could go back and trace the artistic funk pattern. Data, data, data. I am trying to persevere and trust that I will get back to place where I have a clear sense of purpose and productivity. In the meantime, rather than contemplate my own funky navel and bemoan my slow, slow artistic process, I thought I would try a different move to cut through fog. I will turn my attention outward and celebrate the many successes and accomplishments of my friends and associates:

My nearest and dearest friend and associate, Mr. David, has a show opening this coming Tuesday at the historic Alcazar Hotel in Cleveland Heights. Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick) will then tour Northeast Ohio until March 6. (Follow the link for show times and locations.) This is an imagined prequel to Much Ado About Nothing, and it is written in iambic pentameter. I will be at the Alcazar on Tuesday. Perhaps you would like to join me?

This same gentleman also has a show in Cleveland Public Theater's Big Box. These are the Times is in performance March 7 - 9. This is a big, exciting, ambitious play about theater and Cleveland and creativity and politics and artistic integrity. I am so looking forward to finally seeing it with legs.  (And be sure to follow the link and check out the other Big Box offerings too!)

I have many, many friends from my MFA program at Goddard who are having successful book years:

The inimitable Elizabeth Frankie Rollins, a woman who has taught me so much about joyful creativity and being true one's self in so little actual contact time, just published The Sin Eater and Other Stories, her first collection. It makes me want to jump up and down and squeal!

My dear, dear doppelganger's pen-name persona Zoe More has recently published a collection of dark erotica called Hunger

Kristen Ringman will read from her novel Makara (which I believe was her Goddard thesis) at AWP in Boston next month.

Poet Theresa Senato Edwards new chapbook is Music of Hands.

Charles Rice Gonzalez's first novel Chulito just won a Stonewall Book Awards – Barbara Gittings Literature Award from the ALA. Charles is also the ED of BAAD (Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance), and when we were both just starting at Goddard, Z would sit next to him on the couch in the Clocktower, claiming him as her own - this tiny white girl in a fairy dress gazing up adoringly at this big, bald black man. It was a beautiful picture.

Donelle McGee's first book is Shine. Donelle's graduation reading at Goddard still sticks in my mind, my heart, and my gut, and I think of him as a teacher in my quest to find and create beauty in and from darkness and pain.

Anthony Ilacqua, who once gave me a priceless gift in the form of his road trip diary to use as research/inspiration/material for my ToT and who is one of the publisher/editor of Umbrella Factory Magazine, also has a boozy cigaretty novel out, called Dysphoric Notions.

And, even though I started at Goddard just as he was leaving, I do feel a certain fellow alumn pride for Matthew Quick and the success of Silver Linings Playbook! (And for all you struggling writers, know that he sent this book out to literally scores of agents, who rejected it, before he landed a great agent at a great agency.)

More locally:

Stephen Ramey, fellow Cajun Sushi Hamster and great fellow-writer-bucker-up, has a new collection of fiction, speculative and non, called Glass Animals

And there are several of my people who are published in the exciting local enterprises Rust Belt Chic and The Great Lakes Cultural Review.

Check them all out! And these are just my writerly friends. I also have musicians and visual artists and dancers whom I love and admire here and all over the world. Art is happening everywhere, even if it is slow and sometimes painful at my own desk, and this is a good, glad thing.

I have no doubt left some people out. If I have left you out, don't feel slighted. Add a comment or message me and I will correct the omission.

Reading: feh

Writing: yeah

Dinner: mac and cheese, extra cheesy, and broccoli, and cookies, and wine, and whisky, and family in front of TV, see below.

Soundtrack: My dear, dear doppel-g reminded me about Nick Cave in a tweet as I was looking up the link to her book. So for today's love song, here he is in a tender, solo incarnation. Press play. It's worth it.

Random thing: We decided to celebrate a rare evening of David at home with family movie night ... the pre-feature shorts were episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, because the kids love Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins and this show is awesome, and  I Love Lucy, because Z is quite a comedienne and I have been thinking for a while that she needs an education in the great American female comics (and then there is Vivian Vance who played Ethel, and is awesome too and really one of the unsung heroines of comedy).

And the feature was ... Star Wars: A New Hope (you know, the original one, episode 4, from 1977). IT WAS THE FIRST TIME Z&O HAVE SEEN IT!!! I haven't watched it myself since 1999. And boy, is that a movie that has a great sense of humor about itself, unlike some others of the series. I felt the need to explain that it was made before the era of modern electronics.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A sight worth seeing. A vision of you.

Hey, it's Friday.

Reading: The kids and I finished Borrower's Afloat all cuddled up and cozy in bed. Z immediately said, "Now you need to get the next one," which is definitely true, as this book ends with them still on their perilous journey to the miniature village of Little Fordham.

And, be still my beating heart, I just discovered there is a recent British TV version of Borrowers in which Pod is played by Christopher Eccleston (my Doctor) and Stephen Fry appears as Mildeye.

I was going to read more but David came home earlier than expected, so we drank rye whiskey and watched Doctor Who (Smith not Eccleston).

Writing: 9 hour work day, soccer practice carpool, and a tv date = none. Here is the conundrum. People finish books while raising children and working jobs, some people even say it is better that way ... I am not despairing. I am just continuing to try to find the way to get it done. We all have this struggle, right?

The weekend is here.

Dinner: Ordered in pizza. But found this fabulous blog, by way of friend Kali: Illustrated, humorous, practical, and creative vegan cooking for the time and money strapped. I love it, and I am nowhere near vegan, but I want to incorporate some of these recipes into my weeknight menus. Check back for reports!

Soundtrack: So for today's love song installment, we will go to my very favorite band ever, and here is a live version of Blondie's "Picture This."

I was in love with Blondie from the time I first heard our roommate Sue play Parallel Lines when I was 8 years old. I know this album so well it is probably encoded in my children's DNA. I was even a member of the Blondie fan club. As a middle school student I had a button that said "Blondie is a group." Debbie Harry was my first introduction smart, ironic, subversive gender performance. I really sometimes feel that my spiritual home in the space-time continuum was New York City in the 70s.

Random thing: On the way out to soccer, I asked Z's friend and arch-nemesis V what music he likes to listen to and he thought a moment and said, "80s music." I said, "What kind of 80s music? Like, Guns-n-Roses and Poison 80s music or, like, Duran Duran and The Police 80s music?" (I know, I know. There are other kinds of 80s music. I know!) He asked me to repeat the question then answered, "Uh, the first kind, I guess. I don't know what the other kind is."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I don't mean maybe

This Thursday was actually OK. Exhausting, but OK.

Mmm. Webcam makes me look so good.

I started the day by cutting my hair. There's a lot that goes into this experience.

I was taught how to do this by my cousin-in-law Kristen, whom I first met more than two decades ago, when she moved into the big old apartment on W. 102 and Broadway where I lived with my cousin. Kristen came on the recommendation of a mutual friend, who ended up usurping my boyfriend (in what was already a complicated and nontraditional relationship).

Kristen has always had amazing hair. It is one of her defining features. That and her love of good food. One of my foundational memories of her is of her sitting at the kitchen table dining on nothing but a bowl of roasted beets that she had bought on a whim at Fairway on her way home. She taught me how to cut my own hair a year and a half ago when we were on Nantucket baking lemon poppyseed cake for my Aunt Linda's memorial.

Reading: NYer piece on Scotch whisky made me want to go to Scotland.
More Hopkinson.
And beginning on the plays I am reading for a women's playwriting competition.

Writing: Nada. And I am feeling disgruntled with myself and the world as a result.

Dinner: I put polenta in the slow cooker in the morning. When I came home I spread it out in a baking dish and let it set up. Then Sarah and O and I worked in shifts over the course of the evening to top it with sauteed onions, pepppers, and garlic, roasted tomatoes (from a can), black beans, green chilis, corn, and cheddar cheese. Then is was baked for 20 minutes or so and served with sour cream and salsa.

Soundtrack: When I was a young child, we lived in a house on N. Lancaster Street. In my closet I found a box of old 45s. Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Hollies, Chuck Berry. I played them on my plastic fisher price turntable over and over again. It was an early, totally independent, almost magical immersion in early rock-n-roll and rockabilly, and has probably done a fair bit to shape who I am as a person. In that box was this song, your 2/7 lovesong installment, which captured me in a way few songs ever have and has never let me go:

Random thing: Going out to Orange for violin, we pass a golf course or some other expanse of tended nature, and I keep thinking we will see deer. Tonight we finally did. Tons of them, grazing in sociable groups. One of them, a large regal male, seemed to have a goiter. Do deer get goiters?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Philosophy of language and eclectic overdue love songs

Harper Valley Not the Noble Elementary PTA

The interwebz have returned at my house! So it is Wednesday, what can I say?

Monday saw O hyperventilating from the stress of basketball practice (emotional and physical), but then by the time we sat down for dinner, he and his sister were having a debate about which comes first thought or language. O insisted quite emphatically and eloquently that language must come first because it is the thing which gives shape and therefore meaning to the chaos of sensory information. Z just as emphatically took the opposite stance, emphasizing the fact that thought grows associatively in the brain in ways that have nothing to do with language, and that language is merely the package we give it in order to make it known to others. I tried to stay out of the way.

Tuesday, I got to re-appreciate the other PTA mothers at O's school. I am not as involved with them this year, because Z is at a different school, so my focus is split. I feel a little homeless as a result. But, man, these are smart and funny women. And I don't know exactly what it is I thought PTA ladies were like, but it wasn't this.

And tonight, I worked late and came home to play hide and seek with the kids and Sarah, our sitter extraordinaire (who used to practically be our nanny, and before that her sister Kelly was our nanny ... really, we have claimed them. They may never leave the Thayer-Hansen vortex.)

Reading: Getting on with the Nalo Hopkinson still. I keep falling asleep putting thev kids to bed, so ... slowly.

Had lunch today with my father-in-law, and by chance also the proprietress of the fabulous Loganberry Books, at which we discussed Alison Bechdel, CS Lewis, and the Cleveland father-son preachers, Otis Moss Jr. & III, the meaning of Obama's Seneca Falls/Selma/Stonewall sentence, whether or not various rights movements are working together, the nature of the true self, and Toni's beginner's tips on meditation technique.

Writing: It proceeds, but not at the pace it needs to for me to be satisfied that this will ever be done.

Dinner: Ah. Good week for dinner.

1. The return of pizza monday - this week using the leftovers from a pot roast Sarah and the kids ate last Friday while David and I were out, I made a browned onion, mushroom and beef pizza with smoked gouda (just an olive oil and garlic base on the dough) It was fantastic, if I do say so. If I weren't feeding the kids,, I would have added some blue cheese. And some fresh thyme would have also been good.

2. I was looking for a way to use up the leftover tomato soup concentrate after the pasta sauce on the weekend, and I found in this crazy "Cooking with Soup" book that I took from my mother-in-law when she was weeding her shelves, a recipe for red french dressing using tomato soup concentrate as the base. So, Tuesday, we had a giant salad bar, with french dressing.

3. Today, I had David put together a veggie rich meatloaf (beef pork and chicken with celery, green pepper, and grated carrot) in the morning, and Sarah cooked it, and some rice for dinner, along with a chopped salad of yesterday's leftovers.

Soundtrack: Damn, I owe you all some tunes.

On Sunday, I was going to post this, but forgot.  It is not precisely "love" song, but it is about empowered female sexuality, which we like.

And in a COMPLETELY different vein, this mp3 recording of the melancholy "Because of You" from the show The World Above Us, by Greg D'Alessio w/ Charlie Cheney & Quinn Sands (I'm not sure which wrote this song, but they all perform in it.

Then there is "Lovesong" by The Cure ... and, let me tell you, shocking as it may sound, I was not into The Cure in the 80s, I thought Robert Smith was too much of a poseur, whatever that tells you about me, but the songs do grown on me, and then I heard a cover of this song (David says maybe it was Adele, but I think I would like Adele better ... felt more Nouveau Vague) at the grocery story yesterday, and it reminded me how poignant the original now feels to me.

And finally, in honor of all the time I spend with Radio Disney playing, my favorite contemporary teeny bop love song:

Random thing: This morning, I left the house early when it was still dark and no one else stirred in the neighborhood. On my front sidewalk in the thin coating of new snow were the dainty tracks of an animal -- cat? -- who carefully stepped its hind feet exactly where its front feet had landed.

Why no shiny?

Internet down at the Magpie Castle.

More soon.

In the meantime here's a pretty magpie picture from a quilters blog:

I am not a quilter, but I am a magpie magpie collector.
If you are a quilter, you might like Baker's Dozen

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Like it or not, she's a pre-teen

"I'm not going to go head over heels just because someone has a song on the radio."
Z's true birthday festivities, including sleepover with oldest friends, feasting, incessant viewing, Just Dancing, and a trip to a nail salon for fancy manicures, to YogurtVi for fancy yogurt (but really, what is so great about this stuff? I am not convinced), and to the pet store for a pair of gerbils. OK, enough with the birthday festivities. We have gerbils now. They are very cute.

Also, made menu plan, now making reading/writing plan.

Reading: Yes

Writing: Yes

Dinner: Ziti with smashed meatball sauce (secret ingredient: canned tomato soup. seriously. It's good. ... True story: I had a boyfriend when I was in high school who made spaghetti sauce with canned tomato soup and ground beef. Probably some sort of mid-century housewifery passed on to him by his mom. Tomato soup has a sweetness that is actually very appealing in a sauce. I would venture to say, mine, made up largely of last night's meatballs and a cup or so of rich spaghetti sauce, supplemented with a third of a large-size can of tomato sauce, was better than his) and buttured broccoli.

Soundtrack: Radio Disney. What else? I the car, a song by One Direction came on and friend A asked friend M, "Which one do you like better?" At first friend M thought she meant which song, but friend A finally said, "No, which member of One Direction do you like better? But Harry and Niall are already taken, just so you know." Friend M gasped a little, "Oh, I only l like their music. I don't really care about them." Then after a few beats, she added, "I'm not going to go head over heels just because someone has a song on the radio."

Random thing: I like this set of photos of abandoned places - It reminds me of coming across Norman ruins at the end of a residential street in Canterbury. I will try to find a photograph, but not right now.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Enormous Art

Photo credit: Margey Autero, from a photo gallery on Cleveland Heights Patch

It snowed all day in Cleveland. Not blizzardy gross heavy snow, or scary violent winter storm snow, just a steady, patiently relentless stream of soft, quiet snow. The sky is white, the ground is white, the trees are white. Sometimes what was coming down looked liked fluffy chunks of cotton candy, giant conglomerations of snowflakes all stuck together. In summer this would be the kind of all-day light rain that sends me into a kind of ecstatic melancholy, so it only makes sense that I would like it in winter too. And, it is good at this latitude for winter to be winter. (Not that I would want to run in it.)

I finally, finally watched this video of Junot Diaz speaking at Google about his writing (Drown, Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, and This Is How You Lose Her) and the state of literature in general.

My friend Jane, who is not a writer but is an avid reader, sent it to me months ago. It is hard for me to find 42 minutes of uninterrupted time when I am not trying to get my own writing done, but I have kept it tucked away for an evening like this. Z was occupied with her friends upstairs, O not home, David out running, and I am cleaning the kitchen and making meatballs, and geeking out on Junot Diaz.

I love especially what he has to say about the question about Jonathan Franzen's pronouncement about wanting to return to the origins of American literature [starting 22:36]. Diaz's insistence that humans have lived through weirder, harder times than these and have managed to create "enormous art" (I love that phrase) is an argument I have made frequently. His vision of art is not of an elite rarefied practice but as a basic function of humanity. This is a regular theme of his. I heard him speak at the AWP conference a couple years ago about the tyranny of the "culture of respectability," and the importance of art from the margins. It is gratifying that he uses his elite status and mantle of respectability (Pulitzer, MacArthur, etc etc) to make these points repeatedly. Hearing him reminds me of why the business of reading and writing is so important to me and it makes me miss teaching.

Also listened to Joshua Bell on WCPN from a couple weeks ago when he was in town. I love it when he says he still yells at himself to practice.

Reading: Diaz says he reads a book every 2 or 3 days, because that's his job. There have been times when I read that much (in grad school sometimes even more, though I'm not sure that kind of desperate absorption of text is really reading exactly). I can't realistically read that much now, but I do aspire to read more. Still working my way through the Nalo Hopkinson. And the stack of others by my bed is grumbling at me.

Writing: Yes, made some great discoveries about a particularly difficult scene, and also some good revision. A solid 4+ hours. The only thing that made me unhappy was stopping, but then I got to go and cook and listen to Junot Diaz.

Dinner: Homemade meatballs (the scallions are the secret to their fabulosity) and spaghetti for Z and her two bestest friends - friends since infancy - and buttered green beans. David made chocolate chip cookies, per her request, for dessert.

Soundtrack: After Diaz and Bell, I put on a James Brown mix.

And for your song of the day: My first love song. Not coincidentally this scored the romantic montage in Valley Girl.

Random thing: After dinner I went to visit my friend Paula. In the lobby of her building someone had tacked up an announcement of a house sale with a long, strangely specific list of items on offer, including "15 GI Joe and Star Wars action figures in original packaging from the 70s and 80s, plus 8  more from the 90s"  and  "126 drapery pins." I wish I had taken a picture.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Magpies are like Blackbirds

If you borrowed this from me, please return it.
I am in need of its advice.
(or go find out more about it.)

Poor Z woke up this morning hearing me in the hallway outside her room talking about the snow and she got it in her head that she had a snow day. She and O emerged smiling and went to curl up for a family cuddle on the big bed. "We have a snow day!" she said nestling into me. She was disappointed, and probably embarrassed, nearly to tears when I told her that wasn't so.

And yet they went to school and we went to work, and Friday in general was better than Thursday.

Reading: Hmm ... pizza recipes in a magazine at lunch (none of them particularly inspiring).


OK. Another pattern is emerging. The pattern of Toni no read and write. This has something to do with my foul mood at week's end. I think of myself as a reader and writer, so when I don't do these things I get all cranky and strung out and weird. The goal for February, then, is to make a weekly PLAN, not just for writing but reading too, and to stick to it. I like plans.

Dinner: David and I went to Happy Dog. Do you know they are donating a dollar per dog this weekend to a West Side Market fire cleanup fund? You should go!  I had one with marinated cremini mushrooms, garlicky escarole, and spanish onions. Tater tots with chipotle ketchup and garlic aoli.

Soundtrack: So after Happy Dog, we went to CPT to see friend Greg's music/theater/dance/video piece The World Above Us, playing this weekend in Big Box. Greg is a composer and professor of composition and this is his first foray into theater. The music, some also written by Charlie Cheney and Quinn Sands, is lovely, haunting folky pop, (mostly) performed live on stage. Their voices are beautiful together. I wish I had a recording.

I often fear multimedia presentations, but I thought this worked, particularly in the first act, when members Antaeus Dance were more often onstage. The were parts of the first act that reminded me of watching Laurie Anderson perform Strange Angels, which I was lucky enough to see at BAM in the late 80s.

Still playing Saturday. Perhaps you would like to attend after having your hotdog? Be like me!

Addendum [added 2/2 10:20 a.m.] I had suggested doing February love songs. There's actually one from Greg's show I would like to include. I will query him to see if there is a recording. Meanwhile, enjoy this classic from the Rolling Stones:

Random thing: I said yesterday I would write about poetry here. I am running out of time, but let us say I have had a hankering to read and write more poetry. I have an ongoing tension between my interest in story and my love of moment and associative thought and play of language. I think with the ToT I am so embroiled in the process of narrative that the ability to isolate and examine that poetry offers is appealing to me. I used to a great book, 13 Ways of Looking for a Poem, that I lent to someone who never returned it. I don't remember who.

I found some online discussion of the inaugural poem (I didn't see the inauguration and haven't read the poem yet) that I wish I could go into, but I am out of time. Maybe later.