Archive for February, 2012

I still use a spiral-bound appointment book for keeping track of important dates and appointments

I take most of my writing notes in a notebook with a pen

I do not have an iPhone (Smartphone, Blackberry, etc) yet

as a family, we share one cell phone, an old-fashioned one without texting capabilities

I have never texted and no Twitter for me

I have been on Facebook for 4 years and think every change they’ve made since I joined has been a change for the worse

I have never printed a digital photo

I have never scanned a photo (but Hubby has done this for me)

I still own three 35mm cameras. One of them has film in it from 2 years ago. One, a Pentax, I’ve never used.

I still have fantasies of using my oldest camera, a camera my mother was given before she immigrated to the US in 1958. It is a simple and beautiful camera, a Retina, made in Germany (by Kodak in some roundabout way–follow the link). It doesn’t have a full range of f stops. It came with a hard-cover book for learning to use it. A hard cover, bound book. Can you believe it? The camera is all metal and a bit of leather. No plastic. It is fucking awesome to hold and to behold, to play with, to turn the dials on, to feel the clicks and grooves of metal-on-metal.

I used to use the Retina, even with its limited settings. It was my go-to camera for black-and-white photos. Beautiful. I miss it and I miss real black-and-white photos. I never mastered it as I wished because I switched to a (not so great) 35mm Minolta that did everything for me. I completely stopped using the manual settings even before I had kids. After kids, forget it.

I used to love to hand-crank the film in order to rewind it

Remember flash cubes? I love that.

My family never owned a Polaroid camera as far as I remember, but I confess, I did own a Kodak disc camera in high school.

I love the old black-and-white square photos from my childhood, the date right in the white border. Classy. God I love those.

In college, I took 3 semesters of film in the Art Department with the great instructor and filmmaker, Richard Myers. That was an amazing time. We would all smoke in class. Unfuckingbelievable.

In high school, we had a smoking area outside and we were allowed to smoke on school grounds (I think we needed to be 16 and have a permission slip).

My first cigarette was from a sample pack sitting on the edge of the built-in bookshelves in my father’s office. It was a pack of Kools. I went into the bathroom and watched myself smoke. I remember the cough and the headache, the menthol and the buzz.

Until college, I smoked Marlboro Greens. I eventually became a pack-a-day smoker. I quit smoking, cold turkey, at least 2 times (once for about 4 months, once for 8) until I quit for good many, many years ago. For a number of years before I quit, I had switched to Marlboro Light 100s.

I had smoking dreams for years after I quit. Those were very, very, very satisfying.

This reminds me that I also used to take a bottle of red wine to a lot of high school basketball and football games. I carried a large purse that could fit a whole bottle with ease, would down half a bottle in the bathroom stall and share the other half with my pal in the stall next door. Look, it’s not as glamorous as Larry Craig, but that was me, the budding alcoholic at 15. Where did I get the wine, you ask? Stolen (sometimes given to me by my mother if I was heading to a party, no jive) from my parents’ supply from a constant stock of cases.

I can’t believe I remember this shit.

Yes, thankfully I never had sex in a public bathroom. But did you see a movie called Captives with Tim Roth and Julia Ormond? Because that movie was not good, but it had the sexiest sex-in-a-bathroom scene that I have ever seen. The scenes between Tim Roth and Julia Ormond should convince any heterosexual woman that a man need not be good looking, tall, or have good teeth to be smolderingly sexy. Just try it. Tim Roth makes me melt. He deserves his own twinklysparkles‘ blog post.

I have never seen American Idol or Survivor, nor any of the current reality-dating shows, though I did see about 20 minutes of one once (these have been airing for about 10 years, right?). I have watched a little bit of Dancing With the Stars twice and I liked it.

I do love a good TV show, but I only watch on Netflicks.

Remember I said I would never tire of Led Zeppelin’s version of In My Time of Dying? Well, my kid played it in the car on the way to New Haven last week and guess what? It was once too many and I finally heard all of the silliness of Robert Plant’s singing in the third quarter (or is that the fourth fifth?) of the song (I still love the song and his pleading, but I had an epiphany).

I can tell that the labyrinthine pathways of neural connections in my brain don’t work like they used to. I don’t miss my sharper mind, but I can’t understand math or complicated instructions about mechanical things any more and that I don’t like.

When I took my One-to-One training section with Kevin, the blue-shirted Genius at the Apple store, he told me, “keep learning new things” when the subject of the elderly and technology came up.

Kevin was especially cute and kind, so I will take his advice and will try to learn Italian and fencing, African drumming and African dance. First, I have to get the damn taxes done, finish taking One-to-One classes for my Mac, continue to organize our finances, finish raising my kids (4-and-a-half more years ’til the little one is done with HS), apply for that new, less evil and less expensive credit card, continue my new exercise regimen, build my iron stores, make sure I don’t bleed for the next 6-8 months so help me god….

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Best Wishes on your 16th birthday, Violet Elsa! You punched your way out of me and into the world 16 years ago and we are glad and blessed that you did. May you stay intense and fiery all of your days.

Boston, August 2010

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Hey, I’ve edited this post to include the following because it’s so perfect for Vi’s B-day, but I don’t like the way it lays out on the page under her photo!

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Peter Woytuk sculpture, 72nd and Broadway

The Valley is filled with former New Yorkers and it seems that almost everyone I know goes to the City on a regular basis. A lot of our friends grew up in New York or Long Island and still have family to visit or a place to crash. Even more folks have spent creative time in the City for college or after. We don’t have connections such as these, which is probably the main reason we rarely go to New York. It costs a pretty penny to stay in Manhattan. I’m not complaining. I realize how lucky we are to get to do any of the things we get to do. Very grateful to live so close.

This being my eldest offspring’s birthday week and her requesting a trip to the Met (ropolitan Opera, that is), we went Tuesday night to see Don Giovanni. My mother loves the opera and she gave us tickets as a birthday present.

It was truly thrilling to see an opera again. I do wish the whole production were about a half-hour shorter (‘GADS, I know that is a taboo admission) and I didn’t love everything, but dang it all, it’s the MET, so dislike is relative. Everything is big and fabulous, including the patrons. The set was amazing; the costumes were decent, though not particularly unique. Our Don Giovanni was excellent–his theatricality, his physicality, his voice; Leporello was great, though he seemed to tire toward the end. I loved the story, the orchestra, the Mozart score, the libretto. Some of the singers were outstanding; some not quite as good. This was my first DG and if I ever get to see it again, I hope to be more familiar with the text. Favorite line? He likes them plump in the winter, thin in the summer. Or maybe that was the most sexist line?

I did get a little crush on Don Giovanni (a rapist and murderer, WTF is wrong with me?) and his servant, Leporello, the more witless but noble of the two. Of course, DG, aka, Don Juan, is presented as a rapist in a couple of scenes, but he is also so charming and talented that he counts his “conquests” into the thousands.

It’s all pretty sick, the culture of rape and the celebration thereof, but DG does use masterful flattery with at least some of these women and who can resist the promise of skilled lovemaking? Surely not I. Hence the crush. Oh, and those billowy pants and shirts, long hair and feathered hats, leather boots and sword play.

But opera is not just for women. Something to please even Hubby, the Commendatore scene featured actual pyrotechnics. FIRE on stage in a Met production! Drag me to hell with Don Giovanni, please, or leave me on stage cowering with Leporello. Either would be fine.

By my next Don Giovanni, I hope to have mastered Italian, but rather than actually taking a course, I wish to wake tomorrow morning with the gift of it flowing from my tongue and spilling out of my mouth, like honeyed nectar (I threw that in because I just read that the Italians love their similes. Who cares if mine is sucks?).

de rigueur photo of me at Lincoln Center

What other fabulous things did we do in the city? One highlight was visiting a couple of old Ohio friends. We don’t see them enough though we live much closer to them here than when we were still living in Kent, O. We only see them about once every 3 years (city folks are harder to get into the Valley than the other way around).

We, at least my youngest and I, loved seeing the sculptures by Peter Woytuk along Broadway. I think we caught about 6 of them.

I really liked a little “French” restaurant we popped into for lunch one day. I put French in quotation marks because it was French more in its desire to be French than in its execution. It did have a lovely tiled floor and lovely studded chairs made for tiny French butts. However, the eggs they served were made without, wait for it


The horror! Since when don’t the French use butter to cook their eggs? This was an outrage, but judging from the neighborhood, the public must have demanded it. All jogging pants and yoga mats and expensive bikes and thin and nannies…

Here is a display of chocolate bars in the pastry window

Here is the wicked cool garbage can in the bathroom

Here is me in the bathroom. Not the greatest bathroom I’ve ever peed in, but rather fun

I do try to avoid pimping Hubby and the kiddies by putting photos of them on my blog, but I’m allowed to pimp myself to my captive audience, oui?

Celebrity sightings? I am appx 88% sure I saw Ellen Barkin and sadly (to me), she was Botoxed and plastic-surgery’ed, at least her lips. Why why why?

Here’s the famous Commendatore scene from Don Giovanni, in case you don’t believe me about the fire. This Commendatore was not the same as in our cast (nor is this DG or Leporello–I liked the two from our cast better than these two). This Commendatore is GREAT. Ours was not as strong in presence or voice.

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Norah Jones sort of makes me wish I was gay. I also wouldn’t mind to have three men with good, slow rhythm backing up my chick lead vocals.

I know I should shut up, but her hands on the piano are so ridiculously beautiful. One rarely sees a wrist and fingers with that kind of poise on the keys. Lovely. You can hear the amount of control she has in her playing.

Non-doing is an important principle in the Alexander Technique, what FM Alexander called Inhibition. Learn it and reap; oh, yeah.

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the road through the middle of several farm fields in Hadley on which there is a road sign stating Drifting Snow in black letters on a yellow background with 2 squiggly black lines: in a normal winter, yes. This winter? ironic

the sign at the car wash on Rte 9 heading west just after the I-91 S entrance: ouchless Car Wash. They’ve put back the letter T, but they didn’t really need to, did they?

I see red tails all the time on the telephone lines next to Bay Rd, the hawks surveying the ground for mice and voles, anything, nothing

This clip is not ironic, but it is brilliant, one of my favorites from one of my favorites. That Wes Anderson knows his shit.

This is brilliant, too

I like to think that I’m not as big a fan of The Who as any male could be. I certainly listened to my share of The Who in high school and college. I even saw them at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1980, after the Cincinnati trampling tragedy. My parents were understandably freaked out, but I still went. It was only half of the Silverdome, seating 40,000 instead of 80,000. When I write this, I don’t believe any of it. Not the year, not the numbers, not that I was there, not that I shirked off my parents’ concerns with a teenage disrespect I now understand from the other side.

The Who=Cock Rock

I had tickets to see Led Zeppelin when I was in high school and then Jon Bonham OD’d. Man was I pissed.

Led Zeppelin, although also Cock Rock, still works for me more than The Who.

How can I predict what music I’ll still like in a year? In thirty?

I can say with some assurance that I will never tire of Led Zeppelin’s In My Time of Dying and I think it might be their greatest recording and also one of the finest recorded examples of that particular gospel tune. Robert Plant’s pleading is the heart of the heart of gospel. I love when the drums kick back in to rejoin his a capella solo.

I did look up Blind Willie Johnson’s version, but I am more familiar with him singing “John the Revelator” from the Harry Smith recordings. Amazing.

I notice the slowing of my mental sharpness. I can’t remember lines with any facility like I could in high school. Ironically, I didn’t do any acting from then to about 10 years ago and now I can’t remember lines without a shitload of rehearsing.

Will I eventually be like my mother? How can she last to 97 years like her own mother? That’s 20 more years. I don’t see it. I don’t like it.

Originally, I was going to title this post “oh, the irony” or “small ironies” or “bitter irony” but I couldn’t come up with enough ironic things

And am I born to die? To lay this body down/ And must my trembling spirit fly, into a world unknown?

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You probably don’t remember that February is birthday month around here. When you have 4 core family members and half of them have birthdays in February, right after Valentine’s Day, no less, it’s a big deal. Makes for scrambling and excitement and extra cake.

As far as other things I’m grateful for, I’ve been feeling mostly better for almost 2 weeks. After a 7-week hiatus I got to go to Shape Note singing on Tuesday night, took Vi with me, sang for about an hour. It was fabulous. I had enough breath and I was using my best Alexander thinking due to having been around one of my colleagues on Saturday night (nothing to get good psycho-physical unification functioning like being around another Alexander teacher!).

In the 7-and-a-half years that I’ve been singing Sacred Harp on Tuesday nights in Northampton, Mass, I have never missed as many weeks in a row as I did over this extended period of ill health.

I also returned to yoga this week. This was the longest period in which I’ve missed yoga classes in over 3 years. Seven weeks. I was much stronger than I imagined, not so much was lost. I’ve still got muscles–even my abs (who knew?) and I’m regaining my breath very nicely.

Today is Hubby’s birthday and also marks the 25th anniversary of our first date. I don’t have a photo to share (I should get out the scanner) and I’m tired of google images, but I think some color is needed to break up the monotony of all these words.

I have now passed the point in my life after which I will now have known Paul for longer than I haven’t. I love to mark time in this way.

Time lengthening, time speeding up.

On Tuesday, I got to lead one of my favorite songs from The Sacred Harp:

#230 Converting Grace

As pants the hart for cooling streams, When heated in the chase;

So longs my soul, O God, for Thee, and Thy refreshing grace.

Oh, for converting grace, and oh, for sanctifying pow’r; Lord, we ask in Jesus’ name, A sweet, refreshing show’r.

For Thee, my God, the living God, My thirsty soul doth pine;

Oh, when shall I behold Thy face, Thy majesty divine?

Why restless, why cast down, my soul?  Hope still; and thou shalt sing

Praise of Him who is thy God, Thy heath’s eternal spring.

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Paul and I will be your performing monkeys on Saturday, February 18 at 8 pm, in Pittsfield, Mass for the 10 x 10 Variety Show at New Stage Performing Arts Center, part of the larger 10 x 10 On North festival. We will be doing a sketch, written by Paul, which debuted last November in Northampton; he never got to see it because he was out of the country.

You know there’s not going to be snow (AGAIN) on Saturday night, so why not come see us instead of heading for Berkshire East? The drive into the Berkshires will be [roughly] the same, culture costs less than skiing, and you can have that romantic dinner you planned for Valentine’s Day but couldn’t do because Tuesday was a school night and you had to stay home with kiddies. To top it all off, Pittsfield recently did not fast-track a new meth clinic right downtown.

Again, your choice, this:


or something more akin to this

If you do show up, wave from your seat, blow air kisses, and feel free to buy us drinks (but at least wait until we’ve delivered our last lines).

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Today felt right. I did good things for myself. I found a creative solution for a family conflict. I was supportive and did not show my frustration when my kid needed support and an absence of frustration. I was lucky enough to have (probably) the only non-nerdy “genius” to teach my One-to-One session at the Apple Store. That kind of felt right day.

As much as I love many things and people today, I’ve chosen a romantic tune, meaning I’m weighing heavily on the side of eros, as opposed to philia or agape. You know my friend, Anastasia mou, taught me a little bit of Greek in high school and I remember those words…or maybe I learned them in Philosophy class. My first boyfriend was Greek and his name was Theophilos. I’m not making that up either.

This is the first time I’ve posted a gif. It’s obnoxious, isn’t it? That’s why I made it small. I don’t like flashy things like this, but you know I like hearts. How do these things even work? Does it take more fossil fuel to power it? Is it therefore secretly evil? What happens to it when no one is looking?

I looked up last year’s Valentine’s Day Music Monday and the song was even more romantic than the following song. Romantic to the power of Nina Simone and smokin’ hot. But I realize that last year Hubby was on a business trip in Germany, so that wasn’t so romantic because I did not accompany him.

This one’s not as hot, but it is sweet and I’ve always loved it.

Enjoy and may your Valentine’s Day be red and pink and sweet and hot and chocolate-y and full of love, any and all kinds of love to your heart’s content!

SWAK, twinkly

There’s a really nice live version, but the audience is too audible, so I’ll leave it to you to find and watch

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This week’s Poetry Jam prompt has to do with spices and cooking, but it was presented in a broad manner and open to many interpretations; I really liked this flexibility. So far, from the submissions and poems I’ve read in response to the prompt, it seems many of us love writing about exotic spices, cooking, our senses of smell, and the concomitant associations of all of those with sex.

Not sure if this is finished, but I really wanted to link to it before too long. In any case, on with the show.

Apres Le Diner

Fingerbowls of powdered red dust
black sesame seeds

Oil sizzles in a cast iron pan
cardomom pops

I smell like curry,
and honey,
in the late heat of the day,

I taste sharp garlic and hot ginger
on our mingled fingertips

Your puzzle of spices and fruit pods
makes sense

There is a mushroom
that mimics the smell of decay
to attract flies to spread its spores

Using scent to get what we need


This week’s Poetry Jam got me thinking about a few other things, not directly as a response to the prompt, but I’ve decided to include them here as a sort of Part Two of this post. Incomplete, perhaps, like my little poem; read on if you like.

Last year, I visited Salem, Massachusetts for the first time. So many little port towns in New England in the 1600s and beyond were made wealthy by the shipping industry. The Triangle Trade was the trade and transport of rum, sugar cane or molasses, and Africans who had been sold into slavery across the Atlantic Ocean and between the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and New England. Much wealth also rested on the spice trade. Pepper, cinnamon, chilis, nutmeg, (Connecticut was known as The Nutmeg State), The Spice Islands. It’s a fascinating and complex history which I’ve given short shrift along with ill-supported flicks of information.

It is Black History Month and it behooves us to keep learning more, to dredge up information, to keep asking questions, and to keep seeking the bones that sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in the Middle Passage. At least that’s what I think, but maybe that doesn’t jive with the current [Facebook] trend of trying to focus only on the positive. Hmm. I’m torn between seeking a state of peace and higher consciousness and admitting to the consistent, historical truth of being human in other circumstances; but not really. I know where I fall on the continuum.

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