Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Oh, My Valentine

Oh, how I love thee
Let me count the ways...

Moose, my sweet Valentine, has certain special sugar-storage spots. It's the little pieces that make the whole 95 lbs of him so lovable.

1.) This magical swirl of fur on his chest

2.) His chubby and droopy upper lips.

3.) His pancake batter splatter lower lips. (See first photo)

I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable Valentine's Days I've ever had. There was no pressure, just pleasantries with new and old friends and loved ones. I got to share a meal with amazing friends and was spoiled with this beautiful necklace from a gal pal. Thank you, Kate!

So much yet barely a thing has changed since last year. And it's all good. For that, my heart is grateful. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Reading List from Pam Houston

I've only come to know Pam Houston's work this year after a friend recommended Cowboys Are My Weakness. The title intrigued me enough to run out to the store that week to pick up Houston's collection of short stories. I also snagged her novel Waltzing the Cat, figuring if my friend said that Cowboys Are My Weakness was her all-time favorite book, then surely any book by Houston was worthy of a read. I finished the short stories this summer and fell in love. I've passed it off to my roommate, mom and several friends.

Me, cheesing with Pam Houston
In November, Pam's name appeared like an oasis on a message board in the hallway of Butler University's Jordan Hall, where I am taking Dan Barden's Community Fiction Workshop. She was coming to the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series! I immediately alerted my friend who turned me onto Pam and my friends that I in turn had turned onto Pam. I was more excited to meet Pam than I was to go see Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day in Denver a few moons ago.

Pam's work inspires my work, so during the question and answer period after she read from her new novel, Contents May Have Shifted, I asked her how reading plays into her own writing. She indicated that Lorrie Moore's Self-Help acted as a blueprint for her first short story that gave birth to Cowboys Are My Weakness. Reading is a big damn deal for writers. Or at least it should be. So Pam gave us a list of this year's books she felt strongly enough about to mention.

A Reading List from Pam Houston:

  1. Battleborn, Claire Vaye Watkins
  2. Wild, Cheryl Strayed (Pam added a side note that she's typically not a big fan of super popular books, but this was a winner.)
  3. Absolution, Patrick Flanery
  4. When Women Were Birds, Terry Tempest Williams
  5. Canada, Richard Ford
And a few from me...
  1. The Next Right Thing, Dan Barden
  2. Waltzing the Cat, Pam Houston
  3. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, Jonathan Evison

He's gained almost 10 lbs, and the vet thinks he has a thyroid issue...runs in the family. We had some photos taken in the fall. Kind of cheesy but kind of know that they are!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interested. Voraciously Interested.

I just fired up my laptop for the first time in about month. I went on hiatus to pen and paper and book consumption. Trudging through my last ghostwriting assignment nearly sent me to an asylum. I swore off any writing projects for one month. I contributed several chapters to a For Dummies book. If I'm luck, I'll get a thanks in the forward to up the ante of the ten free copies I'll receive. For the last year, I remained pretty grateful that I was a paid, professional writer. That assignment soured that attitude coupled with the fact that I took it on just as I started a full-time marketing gig. So I licked my wounds for a few weeks and caught my breath.

Last week I stepped onto Butler University's campus and huffed my way up three flights of Jordan Hall stairs to commence my next writing adventure, a 12-week community fiction workshop. I am terrified! I haven't written fiction since my 400-level workshop my senior at IU. My "professor" for this workshop said we need to be voraciously interested in things. (I write "professor" like he's not a real professor, which he is in fact a real professor. I, however, am not a real university student, just a workshopper.) I like a lot of things. I love a lot people. I am very intrigued and beguiled by Moose. I dig music. I enjoy good food. Not sure that I am voraciously interested in anything or any one particular something.

In high school, I participated in everything I could--softball, yearbook, drama, student government, boys, part-time jobs, friends, and more boys. I was never totally super awesome at one particular activity. I maintained good grades and stayed out of trouble, mostly. But I can't pin one thing that piqued my interest so much that I couldn't get enough of it all of the time. I've posed the "what's my niche" question to this blog's audience. Lots of you enjoyed my cheeseburger blog, but I don't dine enough or cook enough to be a super foodie. So, I am back to wondering about this niche business and voraciously interested proposition.

I do want to give a shout out to some sites I've had the groovy opportunity to chime in some music reviews. Great sites for music fans with photography and content contributed by music fans. I reviewed Old Crow Medicine Show and Alabama Shakes for JamsPlus and PhierceMusic.

His citronella bark collar arrived last week. Moose barked at the UPS delivery man. I have put the collar on him without the juice. Kind of nervous about the whole thing. I've been urged by some folks who live within earshot of his barks. I'll report back. In the meantime, Moose says, "What's up?! My mom let's me do whatever I want."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

So I Went to Bonnaroo

     This past weekend, I ventured to Manchester, TN with a friend for Bonnaroo 2012--my first Bonnaroo. I received all sorts of solicited and unsolicited advice from previous Bonnaroovians prior to my departure. But some things you just have to learn for yourself upon arriving on the farm. 

Here's what I learned at Bonnaroo:
  1. If you don't wear layers of clothing at night, it is certain to be cold (cold enough to make you leave before Radiohead finishes their set, and you woefully buy hot chocolate listening to "Karma Police" followed by "House of Cards" in the distance.) If you come prepared with a jacket and layers for the following night, you will be too warm and end up carrying far too much baggage to be comfortable for Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  2. Drink water. I was told that by Bonnaroovian coaches, but I mean you really need to drink water. When you see a water station, fill up, even if you just filled up.
  3. Shade is a gift; treasure it. When you find, weasel your way into it--no matter how many others are there, too. I can tell I am growing up when I opted to wear a hat everyday instead of frying my aging face.
  4. You can't do it all and sometimes sleep is the best option. I missed two shows I really wanted to see--Alabama Shakes and The Word--because I was desperately tired and couldn't make to midnight shows. I just had to surrender to the fact that I can't do it all, and I value a few hours sleep. Many Bonnaroovians surely differ with me on this one being that I heard them cheering until 6 a.m. to Umphrey's McGee. On Sunday, the 6:00 p.m. time slot was stacked with shows I wanted to see--The Shins, The Civil Wars, Young the Giant--but I chose to post up at the main stage all day to save precious dancing room for Phish. I ended up resting my eyes while listening the amazingly talented Bon Iver. Pretty descent consolation show.
  5. Rumors spread rapidly on the farm. We kept hearing that the Van Halen cover band playing at 2 a.m. on Friday night was actually going to be Phish, so we checked it out. It was in fact a Van Halen cover band. Supposedly there was going to be a nude flash mob to "Barbara Ann" during The Beach Boy's set. That also did not happen.
  6. Check out something you really have no interest in seeing. While waiting to chase the 2 a.m. Phish rumor, I checked out Skrillex with a couple I met from Raleigh, NC. Never was electronic DJ music on my list of things to do at the 'Roo, but I am so glad that I saw/heard it. What a show?! The stage set and graphics were impressive to say the least and the costumes worn by the audience were more than memorable. 
  7. Play with children. They bring a whole extra element of playful bliss to dancing and jamming to music...and collecting glow sticks during Phish.
  8. Ya' just never know who digs Bonnaroo. I learned this yesterday at my doctor's office. I've been going to the same doc since I was 18 and low and behold this was her fourth Bonnaroo. I was shocked! I asked, "Do you go with your sons?" She said, "No. It's not their thing." Huh?! So now I know a lot more about my doctor. Oh, and her son was once the 8th ranked yo-yoer in the world.
  9. Lastly, but far from least: GARY CLARK, JR. IS AMAZING!!!
Gary Clark, Jr. at Sonic Stage
Deb and Me at What Stage 
My buddy Taylor and a yahoo behind us at The Beach Boys

Glow Stick Wars at Phish

Here's my first-ever YouTube video of one of my favorite acts of the weekend: Infamous Stringdusters cover "Free" (Phish.)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tedeschi Truck Band in Indianapolis

     Last night's Tedeschi Trucks Band show in Indianapolis blew me away - simply amazing! I don't really keep a list of Top Shows of All Time, but if I did, this show would be a front runner. I've seen Susan Tedeschi perform twice and had the pleasure of meeting her in Seattle after a show. Alone as an artist, she powers an auditorium with her soulful voice and blues guitar. Add in a heavy dose of her husband Derek Trucks' slide guitar and BAM, mind blowing, awe-inspiring talent melds. 
     Tedeschi and Trucks have a band, hence the name Tedeschi Trucks Band. Each musician brought wildly entertaining talent to the stage--three horn section, double drum set, bass/banjo, keyboards (with a side of flute,) and two back up vocals (including Derek Trucks Band lead singer Mike Mattinson.)--making for an 11-piece band of powerful, collaborative talent. The shared admiration and respect between each artist was evident and contributed significantly to my enjoyment. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves, too. And I dig that. 
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Indianapolis 5.30.12
     A highlight for me was the cover of Bobby Bland's "That Did It," with a shout to Indianapolis's treasured blues bar, The Slippery Noodle Inn. Tedeschi unleashed the depths and power of her vocals, holding her own as 6-string blues guitarist all along the way. She belted and wailed, effortlessly. The percussion jam in one of the later tunes elicited crowd-pleasing hoots and hollers. Every element of the show captured my attention.
Moon Taxi - Indianapolis 5.30.12
     Moon Taxi stood strong as an opening act, and I can't wait to see them again at Bonnaroo next week!

He's my Instagram muse...


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Not a Dead Duck

The other day I encountered a duck stopped in the lane of oncoming traffic on Westfield Blvd. near the Canal. I started to panic at the thought of seeing feathery carnage right next to me -- fowl play, if you will. 

You know what that duck did? She flew! I forgot she could fly. But, fortunately, she did not.