Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dangers of internet horse racing.

FWT and I have been getting the house ready for all our houseguests this weekend, as Derby time always brings in faraway friends. I've decided I am not really a grownup unless all four dining room walls have paint on them. Also, I'm no longer okay with piles of stuff, and I prefer them to at least be stowed away in the basement if I'm unable to organize the clutter. I desperately want a housekeeper (although not as much as I want a dishwasher), but that's not going to happen until I sell a few more downloads. (hint hint)

Today was a productive morning. It had to be to make up for yesterday, when we remembered our TwinSpires.com accounts. Saturday is the Kentucky Derby for those of you on another planet, and we needed to make sure wherever we watch the race, we'll be able to gamble legally. Bookies don't take the kind of bets I'm prepared to make, plus I grow weary of the part where you have to break somebody's kneecaps to get your winnings. And so the magic of the internet sparkles with the online horse racing sites.

Yesterday, instead of dusting, we sat around the dining room table with our open laptops and watched some turf races in the UK and steeplechases in Australia. It only takes two clicks to wager, and this is dangerous, folks. I was so close in every race, calling the winner every time, but getting greedy by betting exactas rather than win/place/show.

This is especially dangerous when you own an iPhone. Even if you're going to the track on Saturday, it might be easier to stay in your seat and bet from your phone than to deal with the lines at the betting windows.

Anyway, today I haven't watched a single race, but I did finish painting the dining room. I am truly a grownup now, albeit one with a growing gambling problem. I mean, I lost $4.00 yesterday. That's 5 MP3 downloads! (hint hint)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Master me.

I had a dream last night that I forgot I already have a Master's Degree. I don't have a Master's degree, but I kind of want one for various reasons, one of which is that people would then have to call me Master Kaelin. It was a nice dream because I was, like, "Wow, I can't believe I forgot that those classes I took counted as a joint BA/MA, and all this time I wondered when I'd have the time to go to grad school. But look, here's that diploma I forgot about!" This was a relief because the rest of the dream I only worried about when I'd have the time to get my PhD. Although, really, I think I'd prefer to be known as Master Kaelin than Doctor Kaelin.

I really really really like school. I was pretty good at it too, and I've always wanted to go back. The problem, of course, is that I'm already doing what I want to do with my life, and it certainly doesn't require grad school. But part of me wants to go back, not just for the daily excuse to learn, but for the regularity and syllabus and the idea that the professor sets goals that you will certainly meet by the end of the semester. It's so nice to have parameters, compared to the flaccidity of self-employed life.

Maybe I'd study linguistics or perhaps something more specific like poetry written by princesses of the 17th century. I think that specificity, however, is exactly what's prevented me from going back to school. Well, that, and lack of money, and a schedule that is anything but consistent. But, really, I just like everything, and the more degrees you get, the more focused you have to be.

This leads me to ponder online universities. Sure, the University of Phoenix is the butt of many a joke, but with the growth of iTunes University and general teaching with the internet, legitimate online universities can't be totally dismissed, can they? I mean, what's the difference between Skyping a lecture (or downloading it from iTunes at your convenience) and physically being in a lecture hall with 500 other students? It would be nice to be able to go to grad school while touring my latest record. There's plenty of down time on the road. If only I could read in the car without throwing up. But I suppose I could just get all my textbooks on audiobook, lie back, and have the materials piped directly into my ears.

Anyway ... who's done those online classes? Why do we not take them seriously? Surely there must be something good out there.

Monday, April 26, 2010

And .... we're off .... Derby week!

For those of you who are not from Louisville, you should know that this is Derby Week. Derby week is when people skip work, drink bourbon for breakfast, attend fancy parties, attend redneck parties, and eat too much. Sometimes we watch horses too. I've been to the track twice in the past three days, once for betting fun and this morning for more serious Let's-Watch-The-Derby-Horses-Train. Today I've got some stories and some hot tips.

Saturday was a fun afternoon at Millionaire's Row. Tickets to this part of Churchill Downs cost 20 times as much this coming Saturday, but on other days they are affordable. Someone gave FWT the tickets anyway, so we merely had to supply gambling and drinking money. We ended up spending less than we'd budgeted, thanks to an exact I hit in the 3rd race (boxed a 2-5, my birthday). I also learned that I've become quite the princess in recent years.

I used to love slumming it, and I've done my time in muddy infields and aluminum grandstand chairs. But when we arrived in proper dress code attire, and FWT said he needed to use the restroom immediately after going through the gates, I looked at him and said, "Don't you want to wait and use the nice bathrooms by the suites?" I think my favorite part about the renovations at Churchill Downs is that the nice bathrooms are no longer just for the rich people. Average folks like me can afford a jockey club suite or a table on Millionaire's Row (just not on Derby Day of course), and you don't have to sit out in the rain to enjoy the races.

At one point, FWT and I wanted to go down to the paddock and check out the scene. Well, we got down there and it was cold and rainy and blustery and people were smoking and it smelled like hot dogs and I didn't have cell phone service. I asked FWT if he could please take me back to the palace upstairs. Immediately.

This morning's Churchill Downs adventure was definitely more rustic (it involved cowboy boots for utility, not fashion), but I loved it. FWT and my parents and I went to the backside with a friend who owns horses, so we could watch the Derby horses train. The last few years, the Derby & Oaks horses worked out at different times, so it was hard to compare them. But this year, the Derby/Oaks horsies trotted (or maybe they galloped or cantered, i don't know the lingo) out onto the freshly Zambonified but still "sloppy" track right at 8:30.

They all looked majestic, and I still have trouble reading the names off their silks when they are flying by so quickly. But if you're looking for handicapping tips, here are the horsies I thought looked the best during their morning sprints: Line of David, Devil May Care (the filly), and Paddy O' Prado. Noble's Promise looked pretty fast as well, but seemed smaller than the rest. As for Oaks' horses, I liked Sassy Image and It's Tea Time. Sassy Image ran better, but It's Tea Time has a name that makes me smile.

I also think it's pretty amazing that workouts for these horsies last about 5 minutes long. How is it that they are perfectly muscular, grandiose, powerful beasts, and they only work out 5 minutes at a time a few days a week? Maybe that would work for me if I ate only oats and hay.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Derby, board games, and boobies.

Derby is sneaking up on us this year, but we Louisvillians are more than ready for it. It's been a long, unbearable winter, and nothing cures the winter blues like bourbon and horsies. Last year I had one of those crazy Derby weekends that involved discussing cowboy boots at black-tie affairs with Kid Rock backstage at the Barnstable-Brown Party, singing "Stop in the Name of Love" on-stage with Mary Wilson (a Supreme), and receiving a surprise last-minute ticket to Millionaire's Row. I expect things to be a bit more low-key this year.

During this long unbearable winter, I re-discovered board games. Trivial Pursuit is a perennial favorite, but I've also embraced backgammon of late. Mostly I like backgammon because the little game pieces on the old board borrowed from my dad look like bits of milk and white chocolate. I like collecting all the chocolates.

Now that it's Derby season, however, I'm thinking about combining my newfound love for board games with the Derby festivities. A few years ago, my friend Sabrina invented her own board game. A lot of people invent things, but mostly those inventions stay in their own minds. You've got to give props to someone who not only develops a prototype (which she then brought to friends' Derby parties year after year), but finds funding and has the game printed and available to the public. The other awesome part about Sabrina's game is that the proceeds go to breast cancer research at Norton Health Care, in honor of friends, relatives, and all the other women and men whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. I like Norton (despite all my hatred towards the entire health care industry) because they cut out my mommy's cancer, sewed her up nice and neat, gave her a cool fake boobie, and made her all better again. There's a photo of us (including my mommy's fake boobie ... which one's which?? can you tell?) on the Derby Divas website, 2nd in on the 2nd row if you click here.

So anyway, I'm thinking about having a tea party for my friends where we all dress up like Derby Divas and play the board game Derby Divas, while eating benedictine sandwiches and gambling on our TVG accounts. Who's in?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My First Camping Trip.

A few weeks ago I revealed that I had never been camping. I have since been camping. I survived. It really wasn't a big deal, and it was therefore a bit anti-climactic considering the thirty years of build-up.

Camping was fun, but it didn't blow my mind. Mostly, I was amazed by how much planning it required. When I go on tour, I bring a backpack and an accordion. Usually I also bring a backup 1/4" cable, but that's as far as my "be prepared"-ness goes. We took the truck on our 2-day camping trip, and it's a good thing too because the truck was FILLED with Rubbermaid™ tubs which were in turn FILLED with the entire Bass Pro Shop.

In his defense, FWT was taking extra care to make sure he didn't ruin camping for me forever. He made sure we had all amenities to keep me comfortable (although I still preferred the trees to the available port-o-pot.) Dinner the first night was fresh pasta with sauteed veggies and homemade cilantro pecan pesto. We also had Laphroaig and some nice red wine.

Highlights/Things I learned:

- FWT makes a beautiful campfire. He's an Eagle Scout, so I think that means he took "Camping" as an elective in high school. Despite the wet firewood and thus the smoooooooooky fire, it provided just enough heat to keep me from complaining.

- Not complaining was my Number One Goal for the weekend.

- I cannot believe how much time the campfire takes to create/maintain. It kind of ruins the whole be-calm-and-peaceful-and-sit-around-and-read thing that I was prepared for. Thankfully, FWT took charge of the fire, and all I did was find a really cool stick that we could use as a poker. And I just dealt with the smoke-in-my-face channeling those days when I had to play four-hour gigs at Air Devils Inn. Although, I think I prefer camping to Air Devils.

- The weather on the Green River was a good 30 degrees cooler than the weather predicted, making the first night there almost unbearable. I wore five shirts, three pairs of pants, and two hats.

- Supposedly there is a theory that the less clothing you wear while in a sleeping bag on a cold night, the warmer you will be. I think FWT was just trying to get me to take off my clothes. I doubted and protested this theory all night long, thinking no matter how you explain it to me, I'm warmer with a shirt on than without.

- I shivered all night long, despite five layers of clothes, three blankets, and a air mattress.

- I'm not sure how rustic our camping really was, considering we drove the truck over to Mammoth Cave one day and took a tour along with 120 other tourists. Also, the part of the cave deemed "Fat Man's Misery" was a tight squeeze for me, which makes me wonder how some of the enormous people on our tour are not still stuck there.

- The iPhone constellation apps don't work in the wilderness. But somehow, despite lack of service, I still got a random text message from a friend one night that said merely: Elton John Rocks!!!!

- A search and rescue team performed a test run at our campsite with some new doggies one morning. I was pretty glad that we didn't get lost because those puppies were not so good at finding the "victims." Mostly they seemed interested in what the campers were eating.

- All there is to do while you're camping is EAT. The days are long, and despite expending very little energy, I seemed to always be hungry. Luckily, along with the entire Bass Pro Shop, FWT also seemed to have packed our entire refrigerator.

- They've stopped carrying vegetarian marshmallows in grocery stores, which makes for a considerably less-interesting smore.

- FWT wields an axe and chops firewoord well, but I prefer him in a suit.

- I slept better when I lived at the corner of 10th and Broadway in NYC -- through all night sirens and car horns and crazies -- than I did with the stupid woodpeckers by the campsite.

- It was nice to wake up at 6:30 in the morning and smell a campfire and nature.

- It is better to wake up at 10:00 in the morning and walk to the Farmer's Market.

I think the main reason I don't loooooove camping the way some people do is because I am not a planner. I like spontaneous weekend expeditions to Amsterdam, you know, and things that don't require forethought. Camping involves making a list that is well over a page long and includes things like: hatchet, tarp, batteries, hammer, flashlight. I, however, prefer to go on trips where the list looks more like this: passport, credit card, toothbrush, sunscreen, cowboy boots.

Anyway, it was a good time, and I'm glad I went. I'd do it again, and I will definitely take FWT with me. Like anything you do, it's all about the company. Even Paris is lame if you don't go with the right person. I guess.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Notes from the Road.

Peter and I went out for a quick run of shows this past weekend. Sometimes shows are really dumb, and you wonder why you drove six hours in a crowded vehicle taking naps with guitar cases as pillows and eating cashews and gross cheeseburgers (without the meat, of course) all afternoon. A lot of touring is like that, and it's why I honestly prefer to tour in the United Kingdom -- shorter drives, audiences that treat musicians like royalty, and funny accents. But this weekend was one of those tours where the shows were fun, the audiences were attentive, merchandise was sold, and friends were made.

FWT joined us in the trusty Volvo, and he was a lifesaver. I'd forgotten how nice it is to have a tour manager available to sell merch (or pack up your keyboard so you can go hock CDs). He also drove most of the way, so Peter was able to read. I can't read in the car without vomiting, so I rocked out to some This American Life podcasts, you know, like a real rock star.

Some highlights:

- The Atlanta Dogwood Festival had a big cooler full of Cokes (which includes Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, etc, of course) and import beer backstage for the artists. Plus, they arranged for near-perfect weather, 72 and sunny.

- I was the sunscreen nazi among us, but I forgot to wear a hat. Or, rather, I forgot to put sunscreen on my scalp. Ouch.

- The house concert hosts in Birmingham were amazing, and they even indulged us in a grand tour of their gorgeous home ... allowing us to oooh and ahhh over their mind-blowing kitchen and mosaic tiles.

- Played a show in Atlanta with Jeremy Aggers, a folksy rootsy songwriter, whose music I really dug.

- Ate far too much and remembered why my road dresses are elastic. Brunch in Atlanta is yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmy.

- Peter and I didn't have Jesus Christ Superstar on our iPods for the drive, so we performed as much of it as we could remember a cappella during the last bit of I-65. I'm not sure FWT appreciated that, but he didn't complain. Peter does a hell of a Judas, so casting directors, if you're looking to stage the show locally, I'm your Mary and Peter's your Judas.

- Sold some CDs, allowing us to break even and consider touring in American again. Folks, if you do nothing else at a show, please consider buying merchandise. You have NO idea how much it helps out an artist.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ever been to a house concert? They are awesome.

If any of you out there have considered hosting a house concert, you should think about making that happen. It has been a while since I played one, but across America and the UK, they are high on the list of favorite types of shows. The crowds and the energy (oddly, the same things that make me love playing big festivals) make these intimate shows memorable, and last night was no exception.

Peter and I played at possibly the most beautiful home I've ever seen, but don't let your less-than-perfect home deter you from hosting a house concert. We were just south of Birmingham, Alabama, and the weather was perfect for an outdoor soiree. It wasn't a huge crowd -- maybe 30 people -- but every one of those 30 folks was a music appreciator. That makes all the difference. The folks at SmallStages.com are discerning listeners who book only professional and entertaining acts, so as an audience member, you're guaranteed a good show, whether or not you're familiar with the musician.

Hell, maybe I should start hosting them at my place. It's small, but all that really matters is that you bring a good musician to perform. A few snacks don't hurt, but since the crowd brings folding chairs and their own alcohol, it's a pretty low-key event to host.

Think of all the kinds of people you eliminate when you move the concert to your living room or backyard. Gone are the drunks on the barstool (however fun they might be for stage banter), the folks who are only going out to pick up people, the bartenders who loudly empty garbage cans full of empty bottles at the most inopportune times (the tender ballad or the best cello solo), and, most importantly, the guy who screams "Freebird," still thinking that's clever in some ironic way. You can bring in an opening act, or you can skip that part all together and make the whole evening the main event.

Don't get me wrong, I do love playing in a bar. I wouldn't do so otherwise because there's not really a need. In fact, I'm quite looking forward to tonight's show at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta (doors at 8, $8, we play second in the lineup, not sure of the exact time), and if the "Freebird" guy is there, I'll probably even genuinely laugh. But that's because playing music makes me happy, no matter the setting. I just think that a music-loving audience (like most of you who read my blog) would really enjoy the intimacy of the house concert. And let me know if you hear of a good one... I might want to join you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shows this week.

Lately it feels like all I've been doing is Googling. Googling venues in the UK, emailing bookers, Googling driving directions, emailing media outlets. You know, all that glamorous behind-the-scenes stuff of being a musician. Well, this week I actually get to sing! I hope I remember how.

Two festivals, one house concert, and one bar. It's times like those -- not when I'm deep in Google -- that I really love my job. Hope to see you there. Tell your friends in Birmingham or Atlanta to come say hi!

Tonight in Louisville
Clifton's Pizza on Frankfort Avenue
8:00-10:00. Free. Danny Flanigan and I will share the stage and trade songs for a couple of hours.

Thursday, April 15 in Birmingham, Alabama
www.SmallStages.com House Concert, email for details
7:30 showtime. Peter Searcy and Brigid Kaelin

Friday, April 16 in Atlanta, Georgia
Smith's Olde Bar Atlanta Room
1578 Piedmont Ave
8:00 showtime. Peter Searcy, Brigid Kaelin, Jeremy Aggers, Paul Warner (we play 2nd)
$8.00

Saturday, April 17 in Atlanta, Georgia
Dogwood Festival Piedmont Park, Acoustic Stage
2:00-2:45 Brigid Kaelin
3:00-3:45 Peter Searcy

Sunday, April 18 in Louisville, Kentucky
Grand Re-Opening Derby Museum
Outdoor festival fun.
I play at 1:00. Ribbon-cutting at 2:00, followed by free museum entry from 2:00-3:00.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Law of Diminishing Liquors.

I have not been going out very often. This is highly unlike me. I used to go out pretty much every night, even school nights, in search of live music and/or good company. Often I'd spend too much money buying everyone drinks, and other times I'd end up on stage with whatever band was playing, and would then drink for free. It evened out in the end (or so I thought).

Since I've had to tighten my pecuniary belt in recent months, I've blogged about the wonders and woes of cooking at home, sometimes the delicious treats that come with it (tons of homemade bread and a to-die-for Indian recipe), as well as the unfortunate side affects (leftovers and more dishes than I can stand). Recently, however, I have discovered another ill affect of not being an active socializer: my home bar is almost empty.

Now, I love being a grown up. Ten years in, the joys of being carded and being of age have not worn off. I love that I can eat cookies for breakfast and not ask permission to go to Amsterdam for the weekend. Being a grownup rocks.

One of my favorite things about being a grownup is having a bar at home. I've worked for years to acquire various bourbons, vodkas, liqueurs, and accessories, and my bar has always pleased me. I've got some Quarter-Cask Laphroaig that I got in Scotland, never fewer than fives bourbons (currently ranging Very Old Barton to Eagle Rare), lots of the strange liqueurs you read about in cocktail recipe books, and even angostura bitters and similar bizarre ingredients.

Having not been out socially on any regular basis in, oh I don't know, six months at least, however, I've discovered that my pride-and-joy bar is down to about a shot of everything, except a full bottle of crappy vermouth, some creme de menthe, and an unopened bottle of mango rum left here by a roommate with questionable taste. Even the blue caraƧao is empty, owing to that time we had friends over and absolutely needed blue margaritas. That's part of the fun ... being able to make a perfect Manhattan for your guests.

Anyway, in retrospect, I'm not sure that staying in saved me all that much money, as now I've got an empty bar that I can't afford to replace all at once. Yet again the question lingers: to pay my 1st quarter estimate taxes? Or to stock the bar? Or, the usual, to go to Paris? Or maybe just head back to the Monkey Wrench with my Frequent Flier credit card and buy enough drinks to get me to Paris. Then maybe I could get some of that crazy absinthe for the bar.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Camping v. Touring

There were so many shocked comments yesterday at the revelation that I've never been camping. It's true ... camping just wasn't my parents' thing. My college days, of course, were spent at NYU, so it's not like I ever had a chance to even camp out in "The Quad." The closest I got was when Garrett and I set up camp outside Irving Plaza to wait online (because remember in the Northeast, you wait ONline, not inline) for tickets to The Cure. Come to think of it, that may have been the scariest thing I've ever done. The scalpers showed up at 7am flashing knives to everyone as they cut to the front of the line. Luckily, I ran off to the Royal Canadian Pancake House and bought giant Uncle-Buck size pancakes for our group, and I shared the pancakes with the scalpers, ensuring that we retained our place in line. The show was great, but that's not the point.

I've never camped while on tour, either. But being on the road is pretty close to roughing it, or at least for fending for yourself. When I'm playing a fancy festival, I can insist on a hotel room. But when it's a new town where no one knows me, I pretty much rely on the internet to find a place to stay, either Hotwire or couchsurfing. Occasionally -- as is known to happen mostly in Europe and rarely in the US -- a stranger we met at the show or a pub offers up her couch for the evening. It's a survival skill, I think, being able to tell the difference between a crazy person and a kind person. Luckily, Peter and I are both pretty adept at this, and the closest we got to a scare on our last UK tour was when I slept in the room with at least fifteen urns full of chinchilla ashes. That's another blog all together.

Anyway, my thoughts on camping: I doubt it's any more rough than being on tour. At least when you're camping, you choose where you sleep. I've slept on hardwood floors, broken futons, deflated waterbeds, foam mattresses in youth hostels, and the crappiest of hotel rooms. And all that with just a backpack of clothes and amenities. As far as I can tell with camping, you can pretty much put anything you want in the truck. That NEVER happens with a tour van.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Never been camping.

That's right, I've never been camping. Friend-with-a-Truck has promised he's taking me soon. Many people have promised me that, so I'll believe it when the tent is set up and the fire is started. I even own a fancy tent, but it's never been out of the box. That's probably a good thing for this trip because at least FWT knows that I haven't lost any of the pieces.

When I was a kid, I camped out in my bedroom all the time. I had a "My Little Pony" tent with an arched top that I was quite adept at setting up. My bedroom didn't have my floor space, but it was the perfect square footage for indoor camping. Also, I could still reach the electrical outlets, so I was able to bring my bedside lamp inside. Usually I brought about 10-20 books inside with me, and I set them up against the tent wall, complete with a bookend to keep them upright. I also had room for a jam-box on which I would listen to "Brigid's Awesome Mix Tape for Bedroom Camping."

What can I say? I was an only child. This was extraordinarily entertaining.

Right now, FWT is making a list of things we need, a list that seems far too long. I'm a light packer. You laugh, but I'm serious. When I'm on the road, I bring only a backpack of clothes, usually consisting of two dresses (of material that can be washed in the sink), jeans, and a couple of t-shirts. Even when I'm in Europe for weeks at a time, I have only a backpack and an instrument. Judging from this camping list so far, however, it seems like traveling in Europe is much more rustic than camping.

Anyway, if I disappear for a couple of days, it's because I've hired a house-sitter (and told her where I keep my will) and let FWT take me camping.

And what the hell is a "bear bag?" I think maybe, just maybe, he's adding things to the list that we don't really need just to freak me out...

Anyone have any tips?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Composting for dummies.

I'm not very good at remembering to take out the garbage or the recycling on the proper nights. Thankfully, it's not really a problem when I forget to put the garbage out because our garbage can is rarely ever full. Today, for example, it's still not touching the brim, and we haven't put it out in about six weeks. The recycling, however, is out of control if we forget just once.

I blame this all on composting. A friend gave me a compost bin when I moved into this house about about four years ago, and it has changed my life. Everything we eat, for the most part, is compostable (we're vegetarians), and everything else, for the most part is recyclable. This has several affects on our household: 1) the garbage doesn't smell because there's no food in it and 2) we barely make any garbage. This is most excellent if you are lazy and don't like to take out the garbage.

It's weird, though, how habit -- even after four years of composting regularly -- still sends me to the garbage can first, then a light bulb goes off, and I grab the compost tin instead. I also admit that I've thrown away mystery-tupperwares that had been in the fridge for too long, and I was afraid to open them, scrape out the innards, and wash the container. But every time I've shamefully tossed one of them away, I've felt horrible guilt about it.

Anyway, (and listen up mayoral candidates!) I wish the City of Louisville would give us the option for a tiny garbage tub and a monstrous recycling can. But then, I suppose, I would actually have to get good at remembering to put it curbside on the proper nights. Maybe I should set up an alarm on iCal.

Anyone out there compost? How do you store your initial compost bin? I've got a plastic coffee tub that I use for kitchen scraps until I can get off my bum and empty it into the compost bin outside.

Friday, April 2, 2010

My longing for a kitchen appliance.

I have an inexplicable fascination with the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. I often refer to it as the "married mixer" because I think the only way a person can ever actually own one is if a rich relative buys it off a wedding registry. They are almost always over $300, and that isn't even with an array of attachments.

Believe me, if you own one of these, and I've been to your house, then I've caressed it lovingly and fondled its accessories. I've wondered if you own the pasta roller attachment or if you use the mixer to make cookies or bread. I've wondered if you just push start and walk away or if you stare in wonder as the magic is being performed. I've wondered if you secretly have enough cabinet space to store the stand mixer and you just like to keep it out in the open as a status symbol, or if it truly is too large to be put away. Or if perhaps, like me, you too like to just look at the wondrous beast of an appliance.

Anyway, I've had one in my Amazon Wish List for ages, but as they cost more than an iPhone, I don't honestly expect it as a gift. Today, however, I got an email from Amazon letting me know that KitchenAid Stand mixers are currently 30% off, and I've never been so close to hitting the "one-click purchase" button with "Free shipping." Thankfully, I remembered that all this homemade bread, cracker, and tortilla making wouldn't truly be cost-saving if I spent $300 on a mixer. So I'm just going to hold off until I win PowerBall.

Do you own a Stand Mixer? What color? (I want a red one. Duh.) What's your favorite attachment?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fake snoring and real accordions.

I like to remind myself that accordions make people smile. It's hard to be sad when you see one, and most of the time, accordions are associated with happy moments -- aside from the rare times when I've played it at a funeral. And I like to think that even then, the bizarre instrument gives people a bit of levity at a grave time.

You know what else is always associated with fun times? Fake snoring. You know, the big noisy inhale, followed by a loud "psssssssssewwwwwww" of an exhale. I can't think of a single moment that involved fake snoring that wasn't pleasant, whether it was my dad pretending to be asleep so I could put barrettes in his hair, or me pretending to be asleep on a car-ride home so my parents would carry me inside, or just having a laugh with friends.

So if you're feeling down, try finding an accordion or do some fake snoring. It's a pretty easy April Fool's joke, I guess.

Some gratitudes and a sneak preview of 8-year-old me video.

Shocker, but now that I have a new album finished and shrink-wrapped, I am feeling better all-round. It's solstice week, which alway...