Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can you get tired from doing nothing?

I just felt guilty that I haven't blogged this week. I went to Lubbock, Texas, where I have sat around and done very little since we landed on Thursday morning. I've done little more than reheat queso and pie, yet somehow, I have needed a daily nap. Am I three?

Today's nap was somewhat warranted, however, as I spent the afternoon at a family Sportscenter for a 5-year-old's birthday party. There was a lot of time spent in the splash pool, but even more time spent playing Dance Dance Revolution.

I'd never played before, but I've been intrigued since I saw it in some Lindsay Lohan movie. But I now need to know where I can play it in Louisville.

So that was a fun new thing I learned. I also learned how to play bridge last night, which was much less-tiring. But I think tonight, I'd rather play DDR.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bank tellers are awesome.

Does anyone out there still go to the bank? I still work for cash or checks, so I don't have any fancy direct deposit stuff like most of you do. I do, however, appreciate its ease and time-saving capabilities and often wish I didn't have to put "bank" on my errands list.

The upside of having to go to the bank a few times a week is that I have an actual relationship with the tellers. They are around my age, plus or minus five years, and they are always friendly. I was there a few weeks ago with Friend-with-a-Truck, who commented after that I was awfully open about my finances and life stuff with the friendly bank teller. That's true, but really, they know how much (or rather how little) I make anyway, so I figure we might as well have a conversation.

I often worry that I'll get them in trouble when we gab about how Ophelia*-the-teller is going to Vegas with her boyfriend and how I'm going to the Bahamas next week (more about that next week hee hee) or how I'm shopping for a better interest rate or what kind of new car Desdemona*-the-teller just bought or how Bianca-the-teller's* boyfriend is a musician and what kind of advice do I have for her on that front?

Hmmmm ... you can see how much of a time-saver that direct deposit would be for me, eh? But I really like my trips to the bank. I feel like I have these secret friends whom I never hang out with, but they know a lot about me. Maybe that's what working in an office is like. I guess trips out of self-employed land are good for keeping me ground.

By the way, do they even call them tellers anymore? I am so out-of-touch.

* Bank Teller names have been changed to protect the innocent from being fired for being too chatty with their customers. They have been changed to Shakespearean names for absolutely no reason, other than I like themes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

insomnia, Gift Guides, and my Chanumas party.

I am up early. I even took Nyquil last night because I was feeling congested and was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep. So why did I bolt upright at 5:45? Unfair. I considered going running, but then I remembered that I never run and that I think running is for suckers. And running at 6am is for crazies.

So what should I do? Apparently, it's possible to get caught up in emails at 6am. I've been a terrible correspondent lately, mostly because I still insist on writing real messages, not just a two-word reply. I should really get better with the two-word reply because the brief acknowledgment is better than the week-long delay. Anyway, this morning I've written several loooooong emails that were looooooong overdue.

I'm also writing a stream-of-consciousness blog while checking Travelocity for some last-minute deals. Jamaica is on sale from Louisville, if anyone's interested.

Also, I'm working on Brigid's Could-be-Annual Holiday Gift Guide. Suggestions, anyone?

Oooh oooh, I wanted to have a holiday party this year, but I wanted to invite everyone. And so rather than cleaning my house, I'm having it at the Monkey Wrench. And it is in the form of a show, and my band will be playing there. So mark your calendars, friends: Thursday, December 17. I'm thinking early, like 8:00.

Okay, maybe I'll try to go back to sleep now. This 7am thing is weird. Nyquil, anyone?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Graffiti in two dungeons.

Last week, I watched some of the travelogues from my UK Tour (available on my YouTube Channel). One of my favorite videos is from the Tower of London, where Peter and I encounter wall graffiti that is 500+ years old. It's carved in stone. I know they were traitors and theives, mostly, but it's cool to see "Robert wuz here 1412," you know?

I got a text from my neighbor last week. She goes to my old high school (Atherton), and she was exploring the stage there when she found my name scrawled ... in multiple areas. With a name like mine, it's hard to deny that I did it.

Let me explain that I am not a vandal. I just did a lot of theatre there, and it was tradition to sign your name once for every show you did. My junior year, the theatre arts teacher created a new tradition and painted a small square for each production where the cast would "graffiti" their names, hoping to contain and bring some order to the chaos. I guess forty years of paint-your-name-in-the-dungeon was catching up, and the changing areas looked like a 1980s subway stop. We didn't like it at first, but at least it kept each cast together and looked pretty.

Apparently there's a new theatre-arts teacher now. I don't know who it is, but my high-school-student-neighbor tells me there are plans to paint over ALL of the old names. I'm sure it would look much better, but I hate the idea of just whitewashing history. Maybe I should go ahead and get really famous so the administration will think it's a bad idea to paint over my autographs-of-yore. I mean, I paid $35 to see the Tower of London graffiti. If I get famous enough, Atherton could make a lot of money off those dungeon tours.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Evil Ka.



I'm a pretty positive person. I remember that "hate" is a bad word, and I should reserve pessimism for when I want to wallow. But there is a product that stirred up angry feelings and not-good knots in my stomach every time I see one: a Ka. I hate Kas.

You probably don't know what a Ka is. I'm not talking about the Egyptian ruler, which is what shows up when you first Google "Ka." I'm talking about a car, as in they are homophones if you're from Boston.

Luckily, I don't have to see any Kas on the road in America. They are tiny Gremlin-esque Fords that have wide rear windows and remind me of the mushrooms on Super Mario Brothers. And when Peter and I were road-tripping/touring through the United Kingdom last fall, they were EVERYWHERE! Peter has since forgotten his own hatred of the Ka, but I'm hoping that image will remind him of their evils. Beady little autos, always zipping in and out of traffic, and always a bad omen of traffic jams ahead and road rage.

I am so glad I don't have to see them here. Except those Toyota Yaris cars remind me of the Ka, and I feel my blood pressure rise every time I see one. I don't think the Yaris is evil though, just a little mischievous perhaps.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free LEGAL downloads from Earx-tacy.

First, they painted the exterior walls Miami Vice coral and teal ... and now Earx-tacy is giving away free music? I thought the project might fall by the wayside when Jason got sick. But no, he's a trucker and managed to get it together in between cancer treatments. And voila! http://digital.thinkindie.com/search/release.php?x=release_info&release_id=70170

It's like a little mix tape, sans tape, of 18 Louisville artists with plenty of new and unreleased tracks and a few old favorites. I was worried it would be all Christmas songs, but it's not Christmas music at all ... just a few great songs by a few great Louisville bands. (Okay, so I'm a little biased because one of the free tracks is mine, but hey, that means I'm losing money too by offering freebies. )

Everyone knows that independent record stores are going out of business left and right -- the direct affect of illegal downloading and file-sharing. Earx-tacy knows it too, but look how kind they're being by offering you 18 tracks for free. Download the gift, but also please consider hitting up earx-tacy or another indie-record store for some of your holiday shopping this year? Someone on your list loves music. The the people who don't love it are just plain weird.

Also, it's Friend-with-a-Truck's birthday today. Because he reads my blog, he'll know if all you got him was the Earx-tacy Compilation. I already got him that Yankees World Series, so I think I'm off-the-hook for the next ten birthdays or so. Happy birthday, anyway!

And has anyone seen Friend-who-cooks-pancakes lately? He has disappeared.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We are living in the future.

When I get a migraine, then only thing to do is take a sleeping pill and snooze through the pain. Back in February, I took an Ambien when the migraine hit. Not only do I not remember the migraine, but I also don't remember creating my own Amazon.com Wish List. I blogged about it on the ol' MySpace blog and had laughs over the things I put on that list: a garden gnome, a $1500 keyboard, the entire Oxford English Dictionary, some cross-country skis (I will never ski), and various other ridiculous items.

But now that the holidays are approaching and I was asked to make a legitimate list, -- something I haven't done since I was six -- I started re-thinking my Amazon.com Wish. It's actually kind of useful.

Friend-with-a-Truck and I went shopping this weekend. I say "shopping," but we didn't really buy anything. Instead, we went armed with my iPhone and the Amazon.com App. This is the MAGIC part: whenever I saw something I wanted, I just took a picture with my phone. Almost immediately, Amazon found the item and added it to my wish list. Seriously, is that not crazy futuristic stuff happening RIGHT NOW??

My list is growing rapidly, and I suddenly worry that folks will think I'm greedy, when really I'm just technology-mad. All I really expect out of Chanukah/Christmas is a small gift certificate to a bookstore, not the silicon muffin cups or the Kurzweil SP2-76key digital piano that I Wish-Listed. But that pink capo would be nice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving deliciousness.

I absolutely love Thanksgiving, probably because I absolutely love food. If I could eat ten meals a day and not be both obese and uncomfortable, I would. Thanksgiving equals food, so I'm in.

Now comes the standard, "But you're a vegetarian!" Every year, I get the same reactions from people who have no earthly idea how one can function without animal flesh. The funny thing is, though, is that everything at Thanksgiving is vegetarian EXCEPT the turkey. Gravy and stuffing, of course, are made of turkey-goo or something, but those sides don't matter to me anyway. Gravy grosses me out, and I always hated stuffing UNTIL my dad made a vegetarian version, which was magically delicious. I have no problem eating myself uncomfortable with all the options available to me on Thanksgiving day, without chowing down on tryptophan.

On Friday I'm going to a toga party at a friend's house that is also doubling as a Thanksgiving Potluck. I cannot wait. I think I'm going to stick with desserts as my dish -- I'm a reigning Bakemaster™, remember? -- but I'm hoping my dad brings Mac-n-cheese. And surely we'll have some mashed potatoes and probably several green been casseroles ... and various other cheese-n-vegetable yumminess. Who even cares about turkey?

Okay, I'm hungry. That's enough. What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Focus, Schmocus.

I have trouble focusing. As I sat down to write today's blog, I couldn't figure out what to write about. The folks who have clear focus to their blogs always have a topic, for example, the Julie & Julia thing, or sports blogs, or music blogs, or on-the-road blogs. It must be so easy for them. I wonder if the same goes for musicians who always write a certain type of music. I've got that same problem in my songwriting ... I like a lot of different styles, and I write in a lot of different styles. So am i going to write a jazz song, a country song, a cabaret song, or a pop song today? So many options. It's actually kind of awesome, and it makes it more interesting for me in the long run.

As my psychologist friends say, it's not a disorder unless it's disruptive. I don't sense any chaos, so I prefer to keep it this way.

But what to blog about...

About a year ago, I did a Week-of-Things-I've-Never-Done-Before. I was thinking about doing some similar Week-long specific blogging. Here's my short-list: A week of living Left-handed. A week of eating every meal at home (this seems impossible). Reading a book a day for a week. A month of visiting every library in town (I like this one a lot). Writing/recording/posting a song-a-day for a week. Any ideas?

Hmmmm .. I'm babbling now. Time to go start my day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Louisville's Own Lilith Fair, but better. Sunday @ Jim Porter's.

I'm going to be honest here and say that I don't really understand the idea behind all-female music festivals these days. Don't get me wrong, I have as many Tori Amos records as any other girl who grew up in the '90s, and Carole King is my songwriting hero. And there's nothing hotter than a chick bass player. It's just that I like diversity in my lineups when I go to a festival. So when MERF (the Musicians Emergency Relief Fund) asked me to perform at "Viva La Diva," coming up this Sunday, Nov 15 at Jim Porter's, I was less than enthusiastic.

(Big ol' "BUT" coming up, so don't freak out...)

Before the Viva La Diva folks get on my case, let me tell you that I'm actually really looking forward to Sunday's show, much more so than I would look forward to a Sarah Mac/Tori Amos/Ani/Indigo lineup. That's saying a lot, right?

The MERF Benefit on Sunday is not limited to one or two genres of girl music because Louisville's the kind of town that has no artistic boundaries. There are blues singers, pop singers, ladies-on-drums, yodelers, lounge singers, rockers, as well as your classic sensitive singer-songwriters -- all from Louisville. They all just happen to be lacking an X chromosome, that's all.

I'l be trading songs back and forth with Andrea Davidson, Kathleen Hoye, and Leigh Ann Yost, at 8:45 in the Ballroom. Since the time is limited, I think I'll just play piano ... but i might bring an accordion or musical saw or guitar just to stir things up a bit.

Doors are at 5:00 pm, and there will be ladies galore. Talented, smart, music-lovin' ladies. So much talent in this town of ours. I also think it's beautiful to see all these women supporting each other, rather than trying to compete. Music's a tough enough career choice without bringing politics into it.

So forget the idea that it's going to be some sort of angry grrl-power event. It's purely a celebration of Louisville's awesomely talented ladies. See you there.

Since a few of you seem overwhelmed by the lineup and asked for suggestions, here are mine: Blue Umbrellas, Marilyn Kingston, Kelly Wilkinson, Rebecca Williams, Alanna, the LeighAnn/Andrea/Kathleen/Brigid set (obviously), Tanita Gaines ... oh hell, this list is getting long. Just come check it out. It's gonna be a good show. See you Sunday.

Info as follows:
Join us for MERF's 1st ever ALL FEMALE SHOW!
$7 donation gets you ALL THIS........

3 rooms at Jim Porters will be rocking all night!

Ballroom:
Doors at 5:00
5:45 N'style
6:30 Blue Umbrellas
7:15 Kimmet and Doug
8:00 Most Wanted
8:45 In the round with Brigid Kaelin, Kathleen Hoye, Andrea Davidson and Leigh Ann Yost
9:45 House Band with Karen Kraft, Marilyn Kington, Robbie Bartlett, Sue O'Neil, Martha Brewer, Jennifer Lauletta and Linda Sparrow and GRAND FINALE WITH EVERYONE (you won't want to miss this!!)

Melody Bar (middle room)--
Doors at 5:00
5:15 Alanna
5:45 Walker and Kays
6:15 Kelly Wilkinson
6:45 Troubadors of Divine Bliss
7:20 Rebecca Williams
7:50 Katy Rene
8:20 Amanda Lucas and Audrey Cecil
8:55 Marion Dries
9:30 Ashley Burchette
10:00 Jaime Duvall


Good Time Room (nearest Lexington Rd)
Doors at 5:00
5:30 House Band (da Mudcats) with vocalists Angie Sandage
5:50 Carly Johnson
6:10 Daphne Luster
6:30 Cole Kiser
6:50 Maiden Kentucky
7:10 Amy Johnson
7:30 Dee, Tina and Blaze
8:45 House Band eith vocalists Patty Butcher
9:00 Sheryl Rouse
9:20 Rachel Stump (solo)
9:50 House Band with vocalists Artie Wells
10:10 Patty Cain
10:30 Tanita Gains

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Own HGTV Show.

My parents went out of town for two weeks, and they left me in charge of house and dog-sitting. I think the best part of this whole prank thing was that I know they obsessively check my Facebook page. Despite their making no public appearance on all of the prank suggestions, they were all-the-time reading and wondering what mischief I was up to.

Someone suggested that I switch the kitchen drawers around. I went a few steps further.

My "prank" was this: David and I made our own HGTV "While You Were Out" episode, except we forgot to film it. Basically, when the kitchen was last updated -- in the 1950s or 1960s -- someone put cabinets directly over the only two windows in the dark, tiny room. I always wondered why anyone would do that, and so I took this opportunity to take down those cabinets completely. We re-hung them on another wall.

Yeah, we didn't just switch drawers; we moved cabinets. Suddenly, the two windows were revealed and just poured sunlight into the room. I also got ambitious and started to refinish the cabinets, but only did one because sanding hurts my finger joints. So I just replaced all the hardware and cleaned. David, the might handyman, put in a fancy electrical outlet and light switch for a new light fixture over the sink.

Mom was happily surprised, but dad seemed kind of pissed. Come on, Dude, at least I didn't put rubber bands on the sink sprayers or beef boullon cubes in the shower. I'm hoping he's happier now that he's seem the kitchen in the gorgeous morning sunlight...

I wish I had photos to post now -- I've got the before, but I'm not ENTIRELY finished with the project, so I'm going to wait to post them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clarification on y'day's blog. Advice to young artists.

I'm not depressed. Quite the contrary, I've never been happier. The reference to "Depression" yesterday was a reference to the country as a whole, and how people pull themselves out of the tough financial times with creativity and the help of friends. For example, when people are forced into "self"-employment, they often discover their inner inventor or entrepreneur out of the struggle to survive. That's what I find so exciting: we must find never-before-done methods and be innovative.

So thank you for all the "chin up" emails, but I'm definitely not complaining about my current state. It's a beautiful place to be -- self-sufficient artistically, but with opportunities all around to do more .

I'm also going to combine this with another blog I've been meaning to write. I get messages ALL the time from young artists asking for advice.

Two seemingly simple things come to mind:


1) Learn your art. Practice. Be good. Don't suck. It seems obvious, right? But your art needs to be great before you can go around promoting yourself to others. Think of how many people are doing the same thing you are doing. You need to be the best you can be.

2) Learn the business yourself. Don't let someone sweep in and take over your career before you've had time to learn the ropes. It's amazing to me how many of you assume I'm on a label. I was, briefly, but never released a record there. You must realize how much you can accomplish on your own BEFORE you start signing dotted lines.
That said, I am NOT against labels at all, and I might very well sign another deal. But I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have done everything yourself at some point in your career. You need to understand what the people DO who end up working for you. YOU care more about your success than any label ever will, and whether or not you have a record deal, you will always be your own best champion. Aside from that, labels want an artist who is able to talk business and do things for themselves. They just don't have the staff or capacity to do it all themselves anymore.
Before you go telling me that I've had people doing things for me, let me tell you how my three biggest accomplishments to date happened ... questions I get asked ALL the time:
-The Dreidel video? I shot it myself on a crappy MiniDV recorder and edited it on iMovie and threw it on my YouTube channel. No, it doesn't look fancy, but it caught on and a lot of people watched it.
-How did I get on NPR? I sent them a CD. Myself. Not from some publicist or manager. From me.
-How did I play with Elvis Costello? I asked him.

Believe me, I know a lot of it is luck. But you have to be ready to jump when luck finds you. And if it doesn't find you, at least you have the tools and know-how to truck on and do your art, and it won't matter if anyone else is paying attention. Please, if you want to be in this business for the fame and glory, quit now, and leave room for the folks who MUST make art and will continue to do so whether they're dining in a private restaurant in Manhattan or eating ramen cooked on a hot plate. I've done both, and they're both delicious as long as I'm happy. Which I am.

Thank you so so so much for the great emails I got on yesterday's blog, and let me promise to you that there's no way I'm leaving this business. I've got loads of new songs, and I will record and I will tour whether there's money or not.

Now ... off to practice what I preached. Practicing the piano and sending some follow-up emails to venues in England for a tour next year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When in a Depression: Create and be with friends.

I would very much like to make a new record. But I'm at a weird crossroads, and I can't decide whether to continue to forge ahead on my own or sign with some sort of small label. We artists know that we can no longer make money by selling CDs now that everyone just downloads them, mostly illegally. For the few of you who don't understand just how much illegal downloads have affected sales, remember my huge viral hit "Blue Dreidel No. 9" back in Chanukah 2007? Despite the HUNDREDS of emails I got from around the world -- and the 1000 YouTube hits on the first day alone -- from people telling me they'd put my song on their iPods, I've collected only $36.10 in digital sales to date on that record. Kind of shocking, don't you think? Luckily I don't have to split that hefty profit with a record company. I'm not fussing at you, kind supporter of independent music. I think folks just don't realize how much effort and cost goes into putting out a CD.

Despite the frustration and expense, however, it's thrilling to me that there is no longer a standard way of releasing music. I get to be extra creative and try all kinds of new things, and I'm not limited to "Record. Duplicate. Do Press Release. Have Show. Tour. Repeat." This blog, for example, in addition to being a daily writing exercise, has been a really great way of connecting directly with people, during times when it's just too costly to be out touring. (To those of you who just read my blog, it might interest you to know that I am first and foremost ... a musician! Shocker, in the blogsphere, I know.)

I like the idea that I get to be creative, however, and I do know that I have extremely loyal and supportive fans. So I'm trying to be creative about making my next record. Whether I take some cash advance or not, I'm still going to have to make this next record on-the-cheap. And on-the-cheap means being inventive and working with friends. Luckily, that is my favorite way to work.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grownup Student Council. But really cool.

The weekend was a friend-filled few days of fun, including a trip to the track, two firepits, several mimosas, a bouncy castle, barbecue, an 18-hour nap, lots of dog drool, and a Neighborhood Association Meeting. Today I'll focus on the Neighborhood Association Meeting.

Friend-with-a-Truck is one of those do-gooder types, and he wanted to join our local Neighborhood Association. I admit I've always been curious. When I lived in Schnitzelburg, I loved reading the monthly yellow newsletter that always included a recipe from Old-Lady-So-and-So. Said recipe always involved a can of creamed corn and a cup of marshmallows, which intrigued me to no end. My current neighborhood is a bit more upscale, but the newsletters aren't nearly as interesting. Nonetheless, it was easy to convince me to go to the annual meeting, held yesterday afternoon.

As expected, we were the youngest people there by many years. There were only a couple of wheelchairs, and most people were just genuinely concerned (and probably former student-council members) folks who cared about the community. It was a nice atmosphere full of cookies and lemonade. As the president spoke about volunteer opportunities, he eyed us enthusiastically and mentioned needing help with websites and email. Clearly, our age demonstrates that we speak HTML fluently and often.

There was a cool presentaion from the sewer company that explained why all those trucks had been digging holes in our neighborhood, and discussion on rain gardens and what we can do to help our community and the environment.

Next, Metro Councilman waved and said he was here to answer questions.

Then there was the "election." It was time to elect six new board members, but only five folks had volunteered. I kept poking Friend-with-a-Truck and giggling, and was about to nominate him, when some nice lady in front of us finally agreed.

Then came my favorite part: The friendly local police officer read the crime report for the past month. He practically giggled as he read the report. "OctoberXX, 10:00 pm. iPod stolen from unlocked vehicle. OctoberXX, 7:00pm Car drove into fence." And my personal favorite, "OctoberXX. 9:00pm Soda can thrown at vehicle."

Wow, the crimes in my neighborhood are pretty disturbing, eh? Someone threw a soda can at a car! Call the police! Put the house on the market! Okay, I shouldn't joke about that, but it's nice to know that those are the biggest crimes of the month.

Sadly, the president was pleased and punch with the turnout, which was apparently double last year's. It's a big neighborhood, and there were maybe 30 people there. Considering there are 18 board members, that's not a very large number of consituents. That made me sad, and it made me want to go back to next month's meeting, with friends.

Have you ever been to your Neighborhood Association Meeting? Or do you just walk into your house, New York style, and ignore your neighbors? Find out when those meetings are, and wander in to see what's going on. (This is a link to the Louisville neighborhood list, sorry to all you out-of-towners.) You'll thank yourself the next time the power is out for a week, and you actually have some neighborhood support. Plus it's a cool way of making a big city feel like a village.

I love my neighborhood, and it's nice to know who prunes those roses on Bardstown Road, and who plans the ice cream social. I think it might be my new priority to liven up those meetings. My block is filled with interesting people who have spontaneous hootenannies and grow heirloom tobacco plants on occasion. I wonder if the Neighborhood Association would pay for a bouncy castle block party next spring?

Friday, November 6, 2009

To My Parents: Do not read this.

My parents are out of town, and I am housesitting for them. I've considered all kinds of pranks, but most of them just involve too much work. A few days ago, I put the question to Facebook: What kind of prank should I pull on my parents while they are out of town? Hilarious responses ensued, and I share them with you now.

-short sheet the beds.... move things around in the freezer, get a cat and leave it there..lol

-Fill up an entire room with balloons....

-N1H1 quarantine posters on the door. Chalk outline of a body in the driveway. Posters about a missing 20ft snake in the neighborhood.

-Rearrange the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom use soap to write a message on the bathroomirror so when it fogs up when they get out of the shower it looks like a ghost left them message

-lput a rubber band on the sink sprayer trigger..... my new favorite prank.

-crime scene caution tape

-Simple is better. Leave a huge garbage bag full of empty beer cans near the back door. They'll think you had a big party and forgot to remove the evidence. Ha ha!

-tell them you had the mice killed while they were gone

-Oh, Bridget . . . gotta put a 'For Sale' sign in the front yard; not only will it get the parental units, but the neighbors, too!! LOL!

-make a furniture fort out of every stick of furniture, with all of the linens from their beds and linen closet. make a fort city out of it complete with poster signs for hospital, city hall, school an jail.

another idea involves the following:
-1 or more plastic buckets.
-water...
-freezer
-every single piece of cutlery and cooking utensil in the house

This last one should be self-explanatory.

-lA friend of mine took all of the labels off of all the canned food in her sister's house. No idea what your opening until you open it!

-chicken broth cubes in the shower heads... or beef brother. your choice!

-ketchup packets under little pads of the toilet seats. it's just icky and mean.

-Tell'em you're moving back home.

-Love the rubber band around the kitchen sink sprayer! Improvise, do several; booby trap the whole dang place, then they'll let you have it for free!!

-Shake up all the jars of peanut butter in the pantry. That way, when they open one of them ... BOOM! peanut butter explodes all over the place.

-I like the idea of taking the labels off the can goods but can also switch labels :)

-My favorite was always to put a small pin hole in the bottom of the egg and blow out the contents - nothing like empty eggshells in the carton for breakfast on Sunday. My parents really loved it when I did that!

-Wow! I'm gonna have to write these down! I had several good ideas, but I see they've already been included :) plus some other genius ideas. Next time I'm asked to house sit for someone--will be the last :0

-When I was a kid, I used to use electrical tape to keep the kitchen sink spray nozzle thing in the "spray" position. Just point it, and as soon as someone turns on the water, they get soaked.

(Dad, I KNEW you would read it!!!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You're welcome, Yankees fans.

I know some of you hate me because the Yankees won last night. I admit it, I got some angry emails over this one. But mostly, I got lots of other requests, for things more important (relatively) than the World Series. (Except for that one request from Friend-with-a-Truck for a Dallas Cowboys Superbowl win. That seems a little greedy of him, don't you think?) It appears that occasionally when I blog about something, it comes true.

So what should I blog about today? First on my mind is a health care plan that doesn't cost a fortune and actually encourages people to go to the doctor, rather than suffering through aches and pains just in case it's nothing. I am an educated woman, and I know that I really should go to the doctor over a few things ... but I also know that Anthem has denied every doctor's visit so far this year -- except a cosmetic mole removal, oddly. And so I never go to the doctor. Some friends of mine who chose not to go to the doctor when their symptoms first arose, are no longer with us. This angers me to no end.

So with my powers, I would like to find an affordable individual health insurance plan that covers preventive services and actually applies my payments towards my deductible, rather than just saying "they don't count, sorry." That's not asking too much, is it?

Also, I'd like to find a vegan cheddar soy-cheese that actually tastes good. They've done well with the mozzarella and swiss, but all cheddars I've tried have sucked.

Random other thoughts: I was completely taken off-guard last night when Matsui used a translator for his MVP interview. Then I thought that it was really bad-ass of him to not speak English, even thought he clearly understood every word of the English-speaking interviewer. Even more awesome, however, was Matsui's translator. When translating the responses, he put so much inflection into it, like he really felt the excitement of the World Series win. He is a great actor, and I anticipate his next career move.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More baseball?

(World Series SPOILER ALERT!!)

So several weeks ago I blew the surprise and announced on my blog what I got Friend-with-a-Truck for his upcoming birthday: another World Series for the Yankees. I can't decide, however, if I want them to win tonight or tomorrow. I had planned on them winning tonight, the first game back at New Yankee Stadium. But now it appears that FWAT has a late soccer game, and he will miss much of the baseball game.

So what do I do? Do I let the Phillies win one more game tonight just so FWAT can watch the Yankees win tomorrow? It seems like that would be kind, but then it makes tomorrow's game all the more stressful.

Hmpf. I guess I'll make a pro-con list and see where it leads me.

By the way, these games are MUCH more relaxing to watch when you know the outcome.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My favorite place.

My favorite place is in the middle of a good novel. My least favorite place is the minute it's over.

Fall is here, winter is near, and I'm deep in the middle of reading season. I started _Pillars of the Earth_ a few weeks ago, but only seriously started reading it last week. Now I'm in my favorite place, which is annoying because I cannot simple hang out all day long and read. I'm also sad because I'm going to finish it soon, and I don't have a fantastic novel lined up next.

So, obviously, I'm going to my second favorite place today: the library.

Hmmmm ... now that I'm thinking about it, I have a lot of favorite places. On stage with a great band is pretty awesome. So is Amsterdam. And so is the moment you find that perfect internal rhyme. I think I have a superlative problem. Or I just have a lot of favorites.

Do you have a favorite place? Or moment? Or book?

Monday, November 2, 2009

A funny story of yore and some namedropping.

I wrote most of a book once. It was spring of my senior year of college, and it was for my independent media study. I was a 20-year-old intern at CBS This Morning (nowadays known as The Early Show), and I wrote about 200 pages of a memoir. It's somewhere on a hard drive in my parents' basement, and I'm kicking myself for not trying to get it published then. It's a bit outdated now, but back in the late 1990's -- before the wild success "The Nanny Diaries" and countless other 20-something memoirs -- it might have been innovative. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that file is lost, which might be for the best because who likes reading what you wrote 10 years ago. Recently, however, I found the journal I kept during that internship, which contains pages and pages of anecdotes of this 20-year-old Kentucky girl's encounter with all kinds of celebrities, big and microscopic.

Since I'm not feeling creative today, and since the original manuscript is long-since gone, I thought I'd share with you a straight-up, unedited journal entry from the day I hung out with Walter Cronkite:

October 13, 1998
You never know who you're going to meet. That's one of my favorite parts of this internship. Sometimes you have no idea who these people coming on the show are -- and those people usually go crazy when you ask their name, as if I should have had a 3x5 and a sharpie in hand when we were introduced -- and sometimes they are the most important figures in history.
Walter Cronkite came in this morning with his Chief-of-Staff, a very friendly lady named Marlene.
Mr. Cronkite was enjoying the green room, and I was keeping him company. CBS doesn't have a particularly impressive green room spread -- just a fruit basket and a tray of bagels, of which I have sampled every flavor and determined to stick with plain bagel, plain cream cheese, with the bagel-innards intact. (Eleanor [Mondale] and most of the celebrity guests scoop out the bagel innards to save carbs, but I just can't do that to a bagel.)
I'm talking with hard-of-hearing Mr. Cronkite, when he bites into his intact bagel and comes out with a huge wad of cream cheese on his mustache. So here I am, still starstruck and not believing I'm having a conversation with Walter Cronkite and he's talking about NASA and John Glenn and the traffic at his appointment at UN Plaza, and he's got this massive blob of cream cheese on his face. How do you tell the most trusted man in America that his mustache is dirty and he's about to go on national television? You don't. After we sat there uncomfortably for a while, he grinned, and wiped his face clean. That must be why he is the most trusted man. Maybe he was just checking to see if he could trust anyone else to tell him. Obviously, he can't.

Fixing things and gardening.

Wee Angus running through Dages Paint! Have y'all ever flipped a house before? I am sort of doing that, except that it's a renta...