Monday, November 24, 2008

Manolo Blahnik has sole

For my own reasons:

the soles of a pair of lovely Manolo Blahnik shoes:

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Short post

Just a short post to say, not abandoned. Will be back.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Blogging for Books: Relationship with a Song

Thanks to Joshilyn Jackson for hosting this month's Blogging for Books (credit The Zero Boss for creating this writing challenge).

This month's Blogging for Books topic is about your close personal relationship, real or imagined, with a song.


Is it possible to have a relationship with just one song? Which is to say, if I am the sort to have close personal relationships with songs, wouldn’t different ones work their way into my heart or echo through a piece of my life every so often? Thinking about this challenge, several of the usual suspects popped into my mind:

Peter Gabriel’s San Jacinto, which I played loudly in the dark as a teenager.
The Who’s Cache Cache, which is beautiful side B poetry.
AC/DC’s Hells Bells, which my brother and I played over and over as we tried to parse out the lyrics from a cassette recording off the radio.
Modern English (Melt With You), Paul Simon (Call Me Al, Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard), everything by The Kinks, and the entire soundtrack to The Big Chill – these would cure me from my college roommate’s insistence on playing Cat Stevens until my ears bled.
Stray Cats (Stray Cat Strut), who I saw at SUNY Stonybrook when they were just starting out. That same year I saw REM get booed off the stage, misinterpret it, and return for an encore.
Billy Joel – can anyone grow up on Long Island and not adore Billy Joel? My neighbor went to high school with him. We trick-or-treated his house one year. I saw him once at my local pizza place with Christy Brinkley and a cast on his wrist from a recent motorcycle accident.

As my mental list grew, I reconnected with Billy Joel’s It’s Still Rock N Roll:
Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk
It's still rock and roll to me

To me too, Billy, I thought. It’s all so good, so soul deep. How can I pick just one? Then, suddenly, I knew. There is one song that comes to me when I am at my lowest. When I am hurting so much there is no separation between physical and emotional pain, I will hear it in my mind. If I am able, I will hum or sing along. The worst part is, this is a pop hit. I *hate* happy shiny pop hits. I hate the bands that record happy shiny pop hits and I continue to hate happy shiny pop artists, fans, and music. As embarrassing as it is, there is no running from my deep personal relationship with Wilson-Phillips’ Hold On For One More Day.

There. I said it.

The strange thing is that the song reads so relationship-y, but that is not how it feels to me. When I hear this song in my mind, I am fighting for my life – and I mean that literally, not dramatically. I hear it when I fight for the everydayness that so many people take for granted, when I am in too much pain to get past my front door, when all I can do is breathe and wait for things to get better. This is my song of strength:

I know this pain
Why do lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you
Don't ever let anyone step all over you
Just open your heart and your mind, mmm
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?

Ooh some day somebody's gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don't you know?
Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things'll go your way
Hold on for one more day

You could sustain
Mmm or are you comfortable with the pain?
You've got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess
Lettin' your worries pass you by
Baby don't you think it's worth your time
To change your mind?

Noo noo, some day somebody's gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don't you know?
Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things'll go your way
Hold on for one more day

I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day
And you break free from the chains
Yeah I know that there is pain
But you hold for one more day
And you break free right from the chains

Some day somebody's gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don't you know?
Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day, yeah
Can you hold on
Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on Can you hold on
Mmm... Can you hold on baby
Won't you tell me now
Hold on for one more day
Cause It's gonna go your way...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My Fellow Americans

Since I refuse to be one of those people who complains about the way things are without offering to do anything about it, I am now entered in the succession for President of the United States. Should anything untoward happen to the 3508 people ahead of me, I will be El Presidente.

Get your position here

Hmm. Suddenly, you look sorta scared.

Expansion & Mayhem

Too long between posts, I know. Truth is it was one of those times when one day blends into the next and I felt I had nothing much to say (or risk blogging endlessly about being pregnant, which I did not want to do), so I have just been coasting along.

That is until I realized with the dramatic and incredible footage of hurricane Katrina, smaller but important news items could get lost in the shuffle. I simply cannot let that happen.

First, in personal news, I had a few hours of Braxton-Hicks contractions. Scared the last bejeeber out of me, as it was just too soon (30 weeks). Turned out to be dehydration. Say it with me now - pregnancy + summer = bleahhh! All seems well now and we go for an ultrasound Friday to get a peek in there. I also noticed that at some point I moved from the approachable-run-up-and-touch-the-preggy-belly stage to the Scary Pregnant Lady stage. People give me the double raised eyebrows and leap out of my way. Tonight at Safeway, one woman who was at least three feet away jerked her cart back and apologized to me. For what? Then a long line of people parted with not a word from me to let me pass through on my way to the ice cream isle. Listening carefully, you could almost hear their thoughts, "For the love of G-d, step aside before that large waddler runs us all down! She is heading for the ice cream people! STEP ASIDE!!"

Next, in regional animal news, this story was on today:

Why do the best stories never have the all-important video footage? Admittedly, if any city is going to have an ostrich running around the toll booths during rush hour traffic, I think San Fransisco is the city most likely to appreciate the Fellini-esque quality.

Next up, by way of Dave Barry's blog:

If nothing else, read the list at the end of the article. Hard to believe these folks have not long since changed their town names, then again no one not from Long Island believes us when we say we lived near Hicksville, USA.

Last up, I am proud to say I have not seen or heard this story anywhere else but one news show on MSNBC. It was very hard to even find a link to it, and my brother David wins the Web Reference Obscura Award for this. The story demonstrates two of my basic philosophies -
1. That real news makes "the news" less and less often
2. That many people really need to consult me before they act or speak. This will be the subject of its own blog post, but I could save the whole world from so many instances of bad writing, poor judgement, and general stupidity - and I am willing to do so at no charge because the world can be a better place without moments like this:

The key point here is that the Archbishop of Portland (from 1994) and lawyers for the Church have argued against paying child support to a woman the not-so-good bishop impregnated, saying that she should have used birth control. Ooh yeah, I'll have a big steaming cup of hypocrisy with that order, please. Not being Catholic, I may not have all the facts, but isn't the Church rabidly against birth control? And if they are suddenly in favor of it, what about the Archbishop's failure to use it? If they had bothered to ask me, I could have suggested something more along the Church party line, such as, "Extramarital sex is a sin and we can not support it in any way" or "Once the Archbishop had sex with this woman, in effect he was a lapsed Catholic and no longer operating under Church authority or responsibility." There are probably 5 to 10 better arguments I can come up with off the top of my head and again, I am not even Catholic. What was the Church thinking? At the very least, they are fools if they don't fire that lawyer right away. I am so proud to join the legions of bloggers who break important news stories first on their blogs. Remember, you heard it here first!

And lastly, just to leave you with something to do until I post again, please enjoy this fun collection of real road and business signs. You can bet, they did not ask me first either, but in this case it turned out very well indeed.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Magical Monkey Butts and Other Important Research

Well, hello my little bloggitiboos! No, I have not forgotten you. It's just that being on semi-bedrest for this pregnancy does not tend to lead to much to write about.

In an effort to update you on the highlights of late-

* I have discovered that, yes, just as the pregnancy books promised, complete strangers will walk right up and touch my belly. That was a truly bizarre experience! My doctor today told me that it later translates to total strangers rushing up to touch the baby. Yick! Maybe I'll hand paint some lettering on a onesie that says "ebola baby" or some other discouraging words.

* At today's doctor's appointment, I have gained 12 pounds, which is on target, and she is very happy with how I am doing overall. I have also discovered this baby has some strong opinions - hates my office chair (KICK! KICK!) and dances happily for ice cream (kickkickkick woohoo).

* At the beginning of a classically awful cable movie called "Dragonstorm," the introduction set the scene in 1785. As the film rolled through the first scene, my husband said, "Now that horse cart is clearly so 1790! The set designer was so sloppy." How I love this man :)

So, there I am, sitting in bed, web surfing and minding my own business, when I ran across a link to a fun-filled site chock full o' scientific research. Personally, I hate the distilled factoids most news shows deliver. I tend to believe there is far more to the story, and as often as not, that the missing facts change the essential nature of the story. Yes, these articles are still condensed versions of the actual research, but they seem a lot more detailed and on target, and there were several sstories covering a favorite topic of mine - animal behavior. Case in point, the recent report of an African Grey parrot who may have a zero concept. I remember another African Grey, also owned by a linguistics professor, who could name many toys and hand them to you on verbal request, etc. When he was tired of dealing with us silly bald monkeys, he would simply turn his back and stop playing. I knew right there that this species is probably at least as smart as we are, possibly smarter (although that opinion may have had something to do with running freshman psych subjects who agreed to be paid in oreos). So when African Greys make the news, I pay attention, and like many news stories, good details were absent - such as that this parrot spontaneously uttered "none" - that he was not taught to say it, as hubby speculated "none" could have been a name for the tray itself (i.e., tray without named toys). Also of interest is that this parrot, Alex, starts to purposely give wrong answers to entertain himself when he gets bored of our silly monkey games. Hah! Loving this species more and more every day.

I then moved on to an article about a study of monkeys who like to look at "celebrity" monkeys rather than regular or low ranking monkeys. You see how far back these things go evolutionarily? So, ok, these rhesus monkeys would pay to look at high ranking monkeys with fruit juice, but the researcher had to pay them in fruit juice to look at low ranking monkeys. Um hum, very interesting... then, at the end of the article, was this tidbit:

"On a more crude note, some of the findings might also shed light on humans’ taste for pornography: male monkeys in the study also willingly “paid” to see females’ rear ends."

Note that nowhere in the article did it say *why* the researchers had photos of female monkey butts, but I digress. I can also tell you, from personal experience in the Florida everglades, that rhesus monkeys are capable of staging a fake, yet convincing, intertribal skirmish on the shore in order to get the humans to run over to one side of the boat while scouts monkeys swim out, silently climb aboard, and steal our boxes of apple slices and bread. Holding their prizes above their heads to keep the food dry on the swim back to shore, the monkeys then divided up their lunch among themselves and all but waved cheerfully as the humans sailed slack-jawed into the sunset.

Last, but not least, was the article about our local black-capped chickadees, who are cute little guys with an incredibly complex vocal system. Their predator warning call can carry information about location, size, and perceived degree of threat. We have a nesting pair at our feeder and several neighborhood cats that make the rounds - ranging from the local *nerd* cat to the scary white mouser that causes backyard mayhem. Now I will be listening to the chickadee calls to see if I hear a difference depending on which cat is hanging around.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Blogging for Books 13: Trying Times

Blogging for Books #13: The Parent Trap (Guest Judge: Ann Douglas)
Parents. Most of us have them. Some of us are them. Most of us have had "moments" with our parents that either marked a greater understanding in the parent-child relationship, or signified the beginning of the end of our interaction. Similarly, those of us with kids have often experienced turning points where, in a blinding flash of reality, we truly "got" what it meant to be a parent.

For this month's Blogging for Books, write about a pivotal point in your life as a parent, OR write about a pivotal point in your relationship with one of your parents.


"But can you?" they each said, leaning close, eyes filled with genuine concern. "I mean, can you?"

This was the nearly universal response when we told the few people closest to us we were trying to have a baby. On the outside, I tried for a mix of philosophy and confidence, that my body knew if it could do this and like everyone else, we would have to wait and see if a baby was in our future. On the inside, I tried to quiet my fear by focusing on each step. Exercise. Stop taking meds. Start taking prenatal vitamins. Read about conception and pregnancy. In quiet moments, the rheumatologist from the pain clinic years ago would whisper in my mind, "The ligaments in your spine suffered some sort of trauma, a virus perhaps, that has gone but left damage. This is why your vertebrae sublux. As each one is freshly injured, it scars over, and becomes stronger but less flexible. Be careful if you ever get pregnant - there is a hormone that causes the spine to relax and that could be dangerous for you."

Hush, please, Doctor. That is just one theory and I need to be calm and focused now. I do not want to arrive at the end of my life without even trying to do one of the few things that really matters to me.

At three months of trying to conceive, the little home test displayed two pink lines. I ran up the stairs and leapt onto my sleeping husband, waving the white stick in his dazed, sleepy face. "We did it!" I sang. And then I slept. I slept anywhere, anytime - waking with my head on my arms, on my keyboard, waking in bed without any memory of how I got there. My back ached. My migraines continued. I scooped all the little pill bottles from my nightstand and put them away where I would not be tempted to seek relief. My right hip burned with pain until the leg went numb. I could not walk or sit well, could not eat or drink.

At eight weeks pregnant I entered the hospital. It is such a strange assortment of medications that they are willing to give a pregnant person. Muscle relaxants, pills for pain and for sleep, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, antihistamines. Some made me numb from the neck down. Some gave me nightmares. But the pill I really needed was labeled "Category D" which is known to be unsafe for pregnancy. Damn. Every day I struggled to eat and drink as my weight slipped down.

"If you can't eat, we are going to have to run a central line and give you TPN."
"We may have to move you to a nursing home. Your insurance is getting antsy about the length of your hospital stay."
No! No, I can do this!

Finally, my doctor researched exactly why the drug I needed was put in that category. At ten weeks my baby was beyond the problem it was known to cause. I was cleared to take the medicine. Within a day I was eating. I went home, hurting and miserable, but hopeful. Friends and family pitched in to help us. We are now at 23 weeks and all our tests show a healthy baby. I hurt, but I am managing and the day I can hold this baby beckons with the strength of the first star in the night sky.

Monday, July 11, 2005

New bird sighting!

Some of you may recall the saga of the Squirrel-B-Gone TM birdfeeder in our yard. It can be viewed from the bathroom window and back deck, so we both check out the happenings at the feeder a few times a day. In June we had a large group of baby chickadees and finches fledge and start to eat at the feeder. Now they are all - well - somewhat chubby. We fill the feeder every day or two, which is actually an impressive amount of seed. Birds fill every perch and more birds swoop in and shove them off to get a turn. Birds on the ground. Birds on top of the shepherd's hook. Happy well-fed birds and they were all black-capped chickadees, brown chickadees, rosy-headed finches, and one red-breasted robin. And of course, Mr. & Mrs. Squirrel. Until today.

When I peeked out at the feeder today, this is who was looking back:

Blackheaded Grosbeak Posted by Picasa
(thanks to teacher Mr. Slichter for the photo, used without permission but with credit and many thanks!)

This is either a female or a first-year male, due to the fashionable stripe of white over the eye. My guess at this time of year is a young male out looking for a territory. He is a sizable bird with a beautiful red chest and black striped head and wings. I hope he comes back and sings for us!