Blues Traveller, Martin Sheen, and Cookies

I’m watching reruns of Rosanne on Nick at Night. I’m actually watching the Pacific feed, and not the Eastern feed (I get both), but it doesn’t really matter. I never liked this show when it was on the air originally, but somehow, lately, I’ve been watching it with the same fascinated horror that I feel when watching American Idol, which we also watched today (but only because Gilmore Girls was a rerun.

Anyway, the episode that just ended featured a guest appearance by Blues Traveller, which band I love. There. Now you know my deepest, darkest secret.

Well, one of them.

* * * * *
Last night, Bravo ran the Inside the Actors Studio Martin Sheen episode. I’ve always known I loved him as a performer, but the glimpse into the person was fascinating. He’s newly-added to my ‘if I could invite a bunch of people to dinner’ list.

He recited the poem “My Country Awake” by Rabindranath Tagore, which was very moving. Isn’t it nice when television actually is educational?

* * * * *

Feeling both hormonal and desperate for chocolate (the latter no doubt caused by the former), I made a bunch of chocolate chip cookies, with walnuts, since Fuzzy had just come back from his DC-trip. It was the first time I’d ever made them with Spelt flour, and the texture is a bit odd – almost as if there’s shredded coconut in the cookies, except there’s not.

I’m not feeling bloggish today. I’m feeling tired, icky, and crabby. So I’m going to go make more mint tea, and curl up with the heating pad.


I don’t generally quote song lyrics in my blog, unless I’m weaving an entry around them. Today, I make an exception, and offer these words, from James Taylor.

Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Shed a little light, oh lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh lord

Can’t get no light from the dollar bill
Don’t give me no light from a tv screen
When I open my eyes
I wanna drink my fill
From the well on the hill

(do you know what I mean? )
– chorus –

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh, let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood


Perfect Sunday

My grandmother once told me she hated Sundays. “No one ever visits,” she told me, the lonliness in her voice becoming a third participant in our conversation. “They’re all home with their own families.” At the time, I was only eighteen or twenty, and had no idea how to answer that, so I changed the subject to something lighter. But her comment has stayed with me, all this time.

I was thinking about this as I was puttering around in my kitchen earlier tonight, cleaning up, making meatloaf in celebration of Fuzzy’s early return from DC (he was supposed to be there through this afternoon, but they apparently completed their agenda early, so he got a standby flight back from Dulles to Dallas at eight this morning), and later baking chocolate chip cookies (using spelt flour left over from my mother’s visit, and Deb’s trick for keeping the nuts from burning), and chattering, sequentially, with my mother and aunt on the phone.

I like Sunday evening to be at-home time, us-time. A time when we might watch television together, each of us cuddling a dog, but when there’s an equal possibility that we might NOT. I think it’s important to spend the evening doing restful tasks, winding down from any weekend excitement, and making the mental shift toward the beginning of the work-week.

This evening, we listened to Survival Kit on NPR – it’s a show where literati and other public figures are asked to create a list of essential items to bring to a remote area (mountain cabin, deserted island), and then are interviewed about their selections. On tonight’s show, the choices ranged from spectrometers to foofy fountain pens, manual typewriters to jazz compilations. It was just interesting enough that as we ate, and later as we cleaned the kitchen, we could listen and make comments, but not have to stretch our tired brains to make real conversation.

Later this evening, as Fuzzy was curled on the couch watching tivo’d episodes of Andromeda and Battlestar Galactica, I watched the light playing on his face, and the dog stretched down the length of his leg, and smiled. “I love this,” I told him, feeling disgustingly sappy. “I love Sunday evenings, when we’re home, and everything’s cozy, and we’re together even if we’re not talking much. I love my house, and I love my dogs, and I love you.”

He was watching me, smiling at me in that quasi-flirtatious way he does when he’s affectionately amused by my behavious, and I told him to stop laughing at me.

“I’m not,” he said. “I’m smiling at you cuz I love you. Can’t I smile at you?”

I grinned at that, blew him a kiss, and went to take the first batch of cookies out of the oven. As I stood there, the heat from the oven making my face feel rosey and warm, I thought that if my grandmother was alive, and was somehow able to peek into this moment of my life, she might not hate Sundays, after all.

UnMutter: Week 102

I say… And you think… ?

  1. Yoda:: Weird Al
  2. Mensa:: candidate
  3. Pink:: pearls
  4. Text message:: annoying
  5. Galactic:: domination
  6. Chicks:: Easter
  7. Quesadilla:: pollo
  8. Backpack:: Europe
  9. Socket:: wrench
  10. Compromise:: principles

Like this meme? Play along here.

Chick-Lit for Dinks

I’m going to be 35 in seven months.
I say this because it’s relevant to the rest of this entry.

I’ve always maintained that I don’t particularly like writing fiction. (This despite participating in and completing NaNoWriMo two years running.)

I’ve also always complained that there isn’t a genre of light reading for grown-ups that isn’t part of another genre already. I mean, yeah, there are people like Sara Paretsky and Janet Evanovich, but, they write mysteries, and Nora Roberts, addictive as her stories are, is still, fundamentally, a romance writer.

I enjoy the chick-lit genre, because the books are up-beat, funny, topical, and talk about fashion and clothes as much as not. But I don’t really identify with the protagonists created by Sophie Kinsella or Katie Fforde or Jennifer Weiner, because all those women are single and most are younger.

Then the other night, as I was folding laundry (a pathetic, but necessary, way to spend an evening), I caught the first episode (well, really the second, but they call it the first) of Queer Eye for the Straight Girl, and one of the newly-dubbed “gal pals” uttered the buzzphrase, “Thirty is the new twenty.”

Well, that may not be entirely true, but, I found it to be really affirming. And ever since that show, my own buzz-phrase has been needling my consciousness: Thirty-five is the new twenty-one. (I’ve got an entire essay planned on this topic, but it’s not ready yet.)

This morning, as I was waiting for the grocery delivery, I was also looking for something to read. I wanted something with a character I could relate to, but every book I picked up at a character who was single and looking, married and cheating/separated/divorcing, or dying of a dread disease. And I thought, THIS IS WRONG!!!!! (Yes, the five exclamation points were in my thought.)

And so, I began a new story today. I’m not sure how it’ll go…but I’m calling the genre “Chick-Lit for DINKS” – and it will feature characters who are witty and funny, smart, pretty, dieting (or not), working, and not trying desperately to conceive.

I’m really excited about this.
Wish you all could come along for the ride.

Where Troubles Melt Like LemonDrops

Despite the fact that I didn’t get to sleep until one AM, I woke in a groove this morning, bopping around the house and singing as I got ready to face the day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, every dog in the neighborhood was barking, in a cacaphonous chorus of yips and yowls, snarls and growls. It might be doldrum-filled January, but this day, at least, began gloriously. I didn’t even mind the chilly temperature – it was just cold enough to be invigorating.

I spent the afternoon in a different sort of groove. My friend Kvetch sent me a cd for Christmas, that I only got around to playing today. It’s a fun, funky, and flirty compilation of eighteen different versions of “Over the Rainbow,” with renditions by everyone from Judy (of course) to Iz, from Guns ‘n’ Roses to the Boston Pops.

You might think that such a cd would be boring, but no. Each version was so different from the last (and the next) that it was like hearing eighteen different songs. Can we say ‘variations with a vengeance’? I thought we could. :)

And so, surrounded by music, I spent the afternoon mailing things, puttering, working out, playing with the dogs, and grocery shopping (online, of course). I emailed my aunt and my mother, chatted with friends, and generally had a blissful, productive day.

After a lovely dinner of broiled salmon, steamed broccoli with lemon, and a baked sweet potato, I settled down to find inspiration for the digital Commonplace Book that will eventually live along-side my blog. I haven’t found the right image or inspiration yet, but thoughts are percolating, and ideas are brewing. Suggestions, however, are welcome. And wanted.

May you all have a blissfully happy, productive weekend.
May all your troubles melt away like lemon drops.

This entry officially dedicated to Kvetch, here at OD, just because.

UnMutter: Week 101

I say… And you think…?

  1. Pistol:: whip
  2. Rick:: Springfield
  3. Full circle:: rewind
  4. I wish:: More than anything, more than life…
  5. Frame:: relay
  6. Adult:: content
  7. Photography:: exhibition
  8. Stew:: beef
  9. Cheat:: test
  10. Brad:: brass

Like this meme? Play along here.

Evening Reading

We’ve been keeping really bad hours lately, and bedtime has been inching later and later until, for the last three or four days, it’s been around four AM. Now, neither of us keeps a nine-five schedule, but it’s still not exactly healthy to go to bed at dawn, and sleep til nine (Fuzzy), or eleven (me – I can’t function on less than seven hours).

But one good thing has come of it…I’ve been listening to the BBC World Service overnight on the local NPR station, and just before 4 AM, they’ve been playing a spot that seems to be someone reading aloud an excerpt from a book. I say ‘seems to be’ because I never manage to be awake enough, or coherent enough, to hear the name of the speaker or the title of the work, I merely sense the change in tone and rhythm, and hear snippets of things that simply aren’t news soundbites.

It’s weird. I don’t like audiobooks – they go too slowly for me, and I zone out – yet, when the reader is good I like being read to. That started, I think, with my mother, reading Winnie the Pooh to me when I was very little, and doing all the voices, and then later, we followed the same chapter-a-night sequence with Little Women. By then I was six or seven, long since able to read myself, and it was the last book we read together, because I began to get impatient – a chapter a night takes an hour when someone’s reading it to you, but if you read in bed, to yourself, you can get through many many chapters.

Our version of reading together changed at that point – instead of my mother reading to me, we’d share books, and talk about them. But one summer, when I was about ten, my mother checked a book out of the library, a book that I now know is a compilation of the garden columns by Katherine White, and for a blissful few months, we read it aloud to each other.

Later, when I was fourteen, and in my first year of high school, I became addicted to KPFA’s Evening Reading series, which featured a whole series of novels, classic and less so, read aloud, a few chapters at a time. I remember that the person who was reading a Jack London piece (I can’t recall now, if it was White Fang or The Call of the Wild) had the richest, warmest voice…cultivated without being phoney, with a hint of a Boston accent, but only a hint. I have no idea who he was – some actor, I suppose – but I was, and am, in love with that voice.

I used to lie there at night, listening to the radio in my darkened room, trying so hard to stay awake for the end of the section, and mostly failing, just as I had always failed when my mother read to me, when I was a young child.

I lie in bed the same way now, listening to the authors on the BBC, and trying to stay awake to hear the credits – who are they? What are they reading?

But I never do. And I’m left to wonder, because, somehow, I never think to google the show.

And when Fuzzy creeps into bed, a bit after the show has ended, I always grumble that his first move is to turn off the radio.

Mondo Beyondo

I know we’re almost half-way through January, and that resolution posts are completely dated already, and I also know that I already addressed the issue of resolutions on December 30th, but last night while I was surfing through my blogroll, and I came upon something so cool that I had to share it.

Here’s the whole story. First, I visited a blog by a woman named Liz, which referenced a post by Dance as if Nobody’s Looking, who, incidentally, made some very valid points about the fact that important local charities are having their funding affected because so many individuals are giving to the tsunami victims. (Not to slight them, of course, but…)

Anyway, her blog referred people to Superhero Journal. This blogger is a woman who just totally gets it.

First, she understands that resolutions shouldn’t be about negativity, but that they should inspire us to better ourselves. And second, she talks about the Mondo Beyondo.

In her words:
[The Mondo Beyondo] is the list of things that are outrageous, wild, and may not even happen for 5 or 10 years from now. This is the list of things that are SO JUICY and unlikely to happen that you are afraid to even write them down. This might be the most important list of all!

She talks about something I’ve always known, and never paid much attention to – that the act of putting something in print is a sort of declaration that you believe it WILL happen, someday. It’s a committment, deep in the heart of yourself. An act of faith.

And I think that’s just cool.

As for MY Mondo Beyondo list? Here’s the beginning:
– I will write for a living.
– I will have a child.
– I will become fluent in French and Italian.
– I will overcome my shyness.



For this month’s Blogging for Books choose which genre of fiction best represents your life – whether it be literary, mystery, romance, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, etc. – and write a fictionalized account of some incident in your life based in that genre.

It was when they reached Needles that they realized there was no going back, that this wasn’t just a weekend excursion. They stopped at the local Dairy Queen at ten in the morning, to fill gas, to make sure they had water, to let the dogs do their business, to get an ice cream. She was wearing a peach tank top over a sage green one, and khaki shorts, and she stood in the slight shade made from the awning, licking her cone.

The summer heat, even that early in the morning, made the ice cream melt faster than she could eat it, and he watched her, standing there, her hair pulled back in a loose ponytail, then wrapped into a bun and pinned at her neck – she’d forgotten that all her hair sticks were packed, he recalled, and had used an unsharpened pencil snagged from the hotel. He watched as the ice cream melted, and a drop landed on the suntanned skin of her breast, just above the edge of her shirt.

“Did you get napkins?”she asked, as she lifted a finger to wipe away the spill. She dropped it as quickly. He smiled slightly. She never liked her hands to feel sticky, he knew.

“I’ll take care of it.” He waved a napkin at her, and stepped closer, but he didn’t use it. Instead, he ducked his head, and licked the melted ice cream away. Her skin was hot and a little tangy from sweat, and combined with the cool sweetness of the ice cream, it was enough to make him shudder.

“Heyy!” She giggled, and pushed him away. “We’re on a public sidewalk!”

“It’s ten AM, and there’s no one out. It’s too hot.” He kissed her cheek, oblivious to the melting ice cream that was splattering near them on the sidewalk. “You’re hot,” he whispered, not referring to temperature. “I love you.”

She tossed the remainder of the ice cream cone into the nearby trash bin, and laughed softly, as he claimed her sticky fingers with his mouth. “What’s got into you?” she asked.

“You. Us. This.” He kissed her mouth, softly, then more urgently, satisfied only when her answering kisses met his in intensity. “It’s a new life, love. A new start. Shouldn’t we start it right?” He paused, adding, “There’s a hotel across the street.”

She didn’t answer, not in words, but she kissed him, and squeezed his hand. “We’re not on a schedule,” she reminded, speaking the words for herself as well as for him. “We could spare a day.”

* * *

The hotel was a brand new Best Western, and the woman behind the counter was perky in the way that only brand new employees were. “Welcome to Needles.”

The woman with the pencil in her hair smiled, “My husband’s in the car. We drove from the bay area, yesterday, and I know it’s early for check-in, but we’d like a room. We have dogs.”

“It’s no problem,” the hotel-woman answered. “We’re pretty empty. Where you headed?”

“Texas. We’re moving there. My husband got transferred.”

“Aw, you’re gonna miss California.”

“Maybe…but this feels right.”

* * *

They brought their things, and their dogs, to the hotel room, using only minimal speech. The dogs curled up on one bed, tired from the heat, and confused by the series of new places.

They each took a moment to collect themselves, and then they came together, kissing again, touching each other with slow caresses, finding their rhythm quickly, in the way that only couples who’ve been together for years really can.

And then they slept, waking at dusk. She ordered delivery pizza while he walked the dogs. It arrived with two complimentary beers, and even though he didn’t drink, she cracked hers open, and sipped the cold foamy liquid.

They laughed at silly things while they ate. He teased her about sleeping through most of the journey. She said she wasn’t sleeping, that she was counting the cars on the trains they kept passing. She told him her childhood fantasies had included riding the rails like a hobo from a story.

“You don’t like to rough it,” he reminded her.

“It’s why I never tried it,” she confessed, laughing.

* * *
Later, after they’d made love a second time, she sat up in bed, awakened by the combination of moonlight and the buzzing of the traffic signal outside. She looked at her sleeping husband. She reached down and scratched behind the ears of one dog, then the other, and then she got up, and went to sit in the chair by the air conditioner.

He woke briefly, saw her sitting there, nude, in the moonlight. “Bad dream?” he asked.

“No.” She gave him a soft smile, knowing he’d catch the gesture even if he didn’t really see it. “Just too many thoughts.”

“Regrets?” he asked.

“Nope,” and she smiled again, and crossed the room to return to bed, to nestle against his shoulder. “Possibilities.”