Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another Light Bright Adventure

It’s been awhile since I told a story about my office Light Bright, and she okayed putting this one on the blog. We often have the most fun going to the coffee place on the other side of the building, and one time (I may have mentioned this) she stood waiting and waiting for the elevator until finally I said, “You have to push the button for it to come.” Then yesterday she took out her coffee card to get a punch, and when the barista handed it back, she saw he had given her a business card for a guitar player she knows. “Hey, I know him!” she said. “You know him too?” The barista said no, and then Light Bright realized she had handed him the card with her coffee card and he was just giving it back. We had a good laugh about that.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Deutschland Gang

Saturday morning OK Cap, Jilly Moose, and I got some coffee and then hit the road to Milwaukee for German Fest, which bills itself as “the original haus party.” Luxuli had thought about going with us but then decided there were some things she wanted to get done in town, so she asked us to call her at six. German Fest claimed you could not enter with a backpack, but I did just that and the little old ladies in dirndls at the front gate didn’t say a thing. Then we found Tiffy and wandered around, stopping to eat and drink beer and watch folk dancers. While Germans have created some of the most beautiful music ever (think of Bach and Schuetz), all the music at German Fest was oompah stuff, as if Germans only listened to polkas. As we walked along, we heard competing oompah bands. These ethnic fests are always like a cartoon version of what it means to be that ethnicity, but while OK Cap, Jilly Moose, and Tiffy all have German surnames, they don’t particularly like polkas. Anyway, when I think of German music, I think of techno. One thing that was crazy entertaining was a bunch of guys acting like they were part of a giant cuckoo clock.

We called Luxuli at six and she said she didn’t think she would be coming, but not long after that she called to say she was at the bus station and would be there about nine or so. When she arrived, we all bought matching newsboy caps that are red, yellow and black. We also had matching tattoos (temporary, of course) and gold, red, and black Mardi Gras beads, so Tiffy said we looked like a gang. The Deutschland Gang! Since I was wearing my Famous Hat, I just put my Deutschland cap on top of it. Not the first time I have worn two hats at once. We saw lots of crazy headware at German Fest, including WWI helmets. We even saw a guy who was dressed up like the Kaiser. Then we got some more beer, bought an edelweiss plant for Richard Bonomo’s garden, and watched the fireworks that closed the festival.

All of us slept over at Tiffy’s house, then in the morning we went to Mass together and then got some breakfast. Jilly Moose, OK Cap, and Luxuli went to tour a jelly bean warehouse and a hardware store while Tiffy and I just hung out in the pool, then we all went down to the lakeside in our matching hats. There was an Italian Fest going on down there, but we were fested out, so we headed home after dinner. In the car Luxuli had me call Richard Bonomo to ask how his party on Saturday had gone, and OK Cap and Jilly Moose were very amused by the way she was telling me what questions to ask him. I said, “Do you want to talk to him yourself?” and she said, “No, you’re doing a fine job of translating.” Then we had to stop at Wal-Mart to see the kettle bells, and Luxuli demonstrated how to use them. We each ended up buying a kettle bell. Guess I will use mine tonight so it isn’t a total waste of money. The Deutschland Gang might as well be fit!

Famous Hat 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Quality Ergonomics

My office mate Light Bright was having hand problems from using her mouse, so she solved the problem herself. Check out the photo.

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ferret Treats

As my readers probably know, I cannot waste anything. The other day I went to the pet store and bought some rabbit stuff, but the container of what I thought were rabbit treats turned out to actually be ferret treats. I didn’t discover this until opening it, so there was no returning it. The treats were just peanut butter-flavored yogurt, so I thought what the heck, I’ll just eat them myself. The only scary thing in the list of ingredients was “artificial flavor,” but since they were peanut butter flavor, I did not think it would be my nemesis, vanillin. So yes, I ate the ferret treats. They were really, really tasty and I ate a bunch of them, then I got cranky and unreasonable, couldn’t sleep last night, and couldn’t concentrate at work today. That is what happens to me when I eat fake vanilla flavor, and it had that addictive quality fake vanilla always has for me. If I were a superhero, vanillin would be my green kryptonite. But I never imagined I would get vanillin poisoning from pet treats! So as if you needed another reason not to eat things intended for other creatures, remember they might have ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR in them.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Well-Traveled Blood

I got a most intriguing email yesterday. The Red Cross has my email address to let me know when there will be an upcoming blood drive and to let me register online. Yesterday they sent me an email letting me know that the blood I donated in June was sent to Plano, Texas to help shooting victims. That’s pretty darn specific. I am not surprised they keep track of such things, but I am a bit amazed they decided to tell me. Not that I ever thought my blood was going to waste, but it’s interesting to hear that it traveled so far south. My blood has been somewhere I have never been! The Red Cross likes my blood because I am Type O, and maybe this is why my blood is so well-traveled. It makes me wonder where else it might have gone. Maybe from now on the Red Cross is going to give me updates.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Brazilian Party and Renaissance Fair

Sorry for the silence yesterday – things have been crazy lately. This weekend is a case in point. Friday night Richard Bonomo, Luxuli, her husband, and I went to a local bar for a Brazilian party; we thought there was going to be actual Brazilian food there, but it was just fruit, cheese and crackers, and a lot of popcorn. Plus the hostess who invited us wasn’t there, and she didn’t show up as we waited, so we finally took off for some real food after the band quit playing. They were good, at least.

Saturday Luxuli, Jilly Moose, OK Cap, and I met for coffee and then prayed the rosary in a park off State Street. Then we looked at some of the stuff that was for sale at Maxwell Street Days, the big street sale. Later Mamastep and I drove to Tiffy’s house, then we all went out for Italian. Sunday we got up and went to the Bristol Renaissance Fair where we bought stuff, listened to two bands, watched sword fighting and jousting, saw a unicorn and cute baby animals, and drank absinthe. It was Steam Punk weekend so some people were dressed up in Victorian styles, while other people were wearing very imaginative interpretations of Renaissance and Medieval fashions. Chain mail bras? I don’t think they actually had those back then. Mamastep bought a little steam punk hat, Tiffy bought a bodice, and I got a necklace with a Celtic cross. Like I need another Celtic cross necklace, right? Can you ever have too many?

Famous Hat

Friday, July 20, 2012

What Are the Odds?

This is a true story that happened just last night: my office mate Light Bright’s band had a gig in a small town that was celebrating its 175th anniversary, and part of the festivities was a fundraiser raffle for a Vietnam Veteran memorial. The prize was a percentage of the ticket sales. Light Bright bought some tickets, as did many citizens of the town, including the mayor. During a break in the music, there was the drawing, and the mayor asked the leader of Light Bright’s band to do the honors so that it wouldn’t look as if he had fixed things if he happened to win. The band leader complied and read the ticket number, but nobody came forward. Then at the next break a member of the town council made the mayor admit that he had won, but he was too embarrassed to say anything after making that crack about fixing the drawing. The band leader replied that he wanted to make sure their band got asked back to play, so that’s why he had drawn the mayor’s name. The audience laughed, and the mayor donated his winnings back to the memorial, but Light Bright was just amazed that he had actually won. “What are the odds?” she wondered.

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Walking Wrong

People always told me that when you hit forty, you will have something go wrong physically, and sure enough, I started having knee problems about a month ago. The doctor sent me to see a physical therapist, and I figured he would say I hurt my knee by exercising too much, but no, it was nothing that cool. Apparently I have just been walking wrong my entire life. How can a person do such a basic thing so wrong? He said I am knock-kneed and splay-footed, which I get from my mom, who as far as I know does not have knee problems. So now I have a bunch of exercises to do, and I will have to go see this guy several more times, plus I am supposed to think about walking correctly. Do you know how hard it is to think about walking? It’s like thinking about breathing, which come to think of it I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tells me I have been doing that wrong all this time too. And I walk a lot, so I’ve had a lot of time to practice doing it wrong. We’ll see if at my advanced age I can learn to do it correctly…

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tales of Two Animals

Here are two tales about animals, the first one funny and the second one (just to forewarn you) sad.

The first story is actually all over the internet, so some of my readers may have heard it already. A Civil War cemetery in New York was disturbed that someone was removing flags from the graves of fallen soldiers. First the culprit took a bunch of flags from the graves of Jewish soldiers, then he or she took them from the graves of black soldiers. The police were notified and an extensive search was made for the culprit. Finally surveillance cameras were set up, and the thief was caught on film – it was a groundhog! Then they looked in its burrow and found remnants of other flags. Police have no plans to charge the groundhog at this time, but they say they will use taller flags in the future.

The second story is one that A-Joz heard from another neighbor of ours. This neighbor was driving down the street near where we live when she saw a baby duckling in the middle of the road. Since it is a fairly busy street, she pulled over and got out of her car to grab the duckling and move it to safety. The cars that were coming along saw her in the road and stopped to see what was up… except for a woman in a minivan who was yakking on her cell phone as she drove along. She didn’t slow down at all and ran right over the poor baby duckling, then kept going as if she had no idea what she had just done. Which maybe she didn’t, if she was that oblivious. So let that be a lesson to you – do not talk and drive, or you might run over poor, defenseless animals.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Early Music Recap

So Early Music Festival is over and it went well. I played the violin maybe not so well with the minstrel class; our teacher played the banjo and another person in the class played the “bones,” which were spoons. Then I sang with the spiritual class and got so into it that I wasn’t even nervous when singing my solo. It seemed to go well. People were actually crying afterwards, and several people said the spirituals were their favorite part of the participant concert. Then Saturday we had a terrible dress rehearsal in the morning and a fabulous concert at night. Better than the other way around, right?

Sunday OK Cap had us Rosary Ladies over. She grilled sausage and burgers and made a peach and cranberry pie – wonderfully tart! Jilly Moose made taco dip and Luxuli made a salad, and I brought the all-important hamburger buns. Jilly Moose played bartender and made us all strawberry daiquiris, which we enjoyed around the pool. Then we swam, and then we prayed the rosary huddled in the shade of the umbrella over our table. Was it ever hot! Last night I swam in my own pool with Hardingfele and Rockstar Tailor. Tonight I will probably not swim, since I’ll be at Date Night with Jesus.

Famous Hat

Friday, July 13, 2012

Stage Fright

In a couple of hours I will be performing with two of my classes, and I am starting to get a little scared. In the minstral class I am playing the fiddle while everyone else sings, and in the spiritual class I am leading a spiritual and doing a solo on the last verse. I asked one of my teachers, who is a singer in the group Anonymous 4, how she got over stage fright, and she said just doing it over and over is the best way. So here I am barely a month after singing the duet at Anna Banana II's wedding, and I'm singing in public again. Here's the odd thing: I don't get stage fright when playing the mandolin, even though I am the only one on the mandolin. It's just like a part of me, or maybe it is what my teacher was saying about doing it so much, since I play the mandolin in public all the time as part of various musical groups. Somehow singing seems more personal, but maybe I am just not used to doing it. So here's hoping it all goes well!

Famous Hat

Monday, July 9, 2012

Controversial Classes

I seem to be taking all the controversial classes at Early Music Festival, and so far we have spent more time talking about the controversies than actually singing. In my Negro spiritual class, we discussed the appropriateness of being the oppressors singing the music of the oppressed. Now while I have never personally owned slaves, I had ancestors who did, so this topic is relevant to me. I mean, I'm the kind of person who couldn't hire a maid for pay to do my dirty work for me, since it seems so unfair, but clearly my ancestors on my mother's side were not above owning other human beings. (On my dad's side they had no money and weren't even in this country until long after slavery was illegal.) Then another course I am taking is on minstral shows, as in blackface, so you can see why that would be controversial. I am learning the original words to songs like "Turkey in the Straw," and they aren't politically correct, to say the least. Apparently they had minstral shows in England well into the 80's so this isn't some ancient phenomenon from our grandparents' era. I'm not sure why these topics fascinate me. One of the people in both classes with me is Chinese so he is like a neutral observer: neither part of the oppressing group nor the oppressed one. In that I kind of envy him.

Famous Hat

Friday, July 6, 2012

Early Music Festival

I am very excited because tomorrow is the start of Early Music Festival, and this year the theme is early American music. This should be a very interesting topic, everything from William Billings to old Negro spirituals. I hope to get a chance to blog now and then during the Festival and will let you know what fascinating things I learn during my classes. The concerts should be wonderful as well. Best of all, I don’t have to go to work for a whole week. Yay!

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Flash Mob Miss

I hope all 5.8 of my regular readers had a great Independence Day. Mine started off with sleeping in, and then I met up with some other singers to practice “The Anacreontick Song,” which “The Star-Spangled Banner” is based on, for a flash mob. The practice seemed to go really well, so we trooped through the stifling heat up to the Capitol Building and milled around on the lawn. I thought we had ten minutes, so I ran into the Capitol to use the facilities… and the flash mob happened without me! This is the story of my life; the same thing happened when I was a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding.

Then Richard Bonomo and I were hoping to go sailing, but the boat rental place has changed their rules so that you have to belong to their sailing club to borrow a sailboat, so we rented a kayak. Another friend who doesn’t have a name on this blog yet also went along and paddled a single-person kayak. It was the first time she had tried it, and she loved it, especially when we went into an inlet that reminded her of some jungle ride at Disney World. It was cooler on the lake, with a lovely breeze. Then we went to an outdoor concert of patriotic music, and then Rich and I joined Jilly Moose and some other people to watch fireworks. As Rich said, “We’re trying to fit twenty gallons in a ten-gallon day.” No wonder I am so tired today!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm in Ecstasy

Sunday night Cecil Markovich suggested we drive to Milwaukee to go to a Serbian restaurant, and a bunch of us were crazy enough to take him up on this, including the single B-Boy, Luxuli, and her husband. After a delicious dinner we went down to the lake and saw this amazing cloud, so Luxuli told me to pose as if I were in ecstasy with the cloud behind my head. Just as she took the picture, a bird flew by, so it almost looks like an icon of me in ecstasy with the Holy Spirit flying above me. Ignore the power lines and smoke stack in the background; we will try to doctor those out later.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 2, 2012

Meanwhile, Back Home...

While I was in Colorado, my plants were busy. Here are some pictures I took of them when I got back. First, my lilies are in bloom in Richard Bonomo's garden.

And in Plant World, which of course is now out on my balcony, one of my succulents bloomed. Not as pretty as the lilies, but quite impressive in real life, since the flower stalk is almost two feet long.

And remember Jolly Bob, the dracaena that lives at Rich's house? When I returned, there was a tiny dracaena coming out of the pot.

Jolly Bob is actually two dracaenas in the same pot, and this shoot is coming out of the shorter Jolly Bob. Not to be outdone, the taller Jolly Bob is sending out its own Baby Jolly Bob, as I discovered today. I have no idea what inspired either Jolly Bob to spawn like this.

Famous Hat