Thursday, June 30, 2011

Notes From the {Metro} Underground

To the guy that was playing the guitar outside of my home station.
With the Fedora hat.
And a tambourine on a kick pedal.
And the sign that read, "I love music, therefore I am broke."

Come back.

I totally keep money in my pocket for you now.

I Made This: Quinoa Bowls + Strawberries and Leek Quesadilla

Sometimes I wonder how people found recipes before the Internet.

This week I made:



I love spicy food, so I decided to double up on the Sriracha action. I also don’t eat eggs so I substituted spicy tofu in the original quinoa bowl recipe.  I knew that this was a keeper when my kitchen was filled with the scent of garlic and ginger cooking in coconut oil. Hmmm. All the colors, textures and tastes mingled together perfectly.  And except for marinating the tofu the night before, I was in and out of the kitchen in about an hour. That includes, chopping, boiling, grilling, whisking, eating, taking a picture and clean up. I was hungry, so I probably ate too fast for a girl with manners.


On the other hand, this recipe, start to finish took me 2 hours. However, one and half of those hours were spent abandoning my chopped produce in the kitchen and talking with a couple friends that stopped by. I cannot express how much joy this quesadilla brought to my mouth. Thinking about the ingredients separately, you wouldn't think they would combine well. But, oh, my, they do. Goat cheese is a soft cheese, so when it is warmed it gets all creamy, the leek gives it a slight onion taste without being overpowering, and the strawberries brings the perfect amount of sweetness.  Brilliant. 

I also realized that if I am going to be taking pictures of food, I should actually make the effort to dig out a real camera instead of just pulling out my phone, and also, I should eat in better lighting. 




Local Travels: National Gallery of Art: Lewis Baltz Prototypes/Ronde de Nuit

Washington, DC
The National Gallery of Art is a place that I take in as parts whether than as a whole. I don’t know if I have actually seen every gallery and corner of the two building complex. When I go, I decide on one or two galleries or a specific exhibit and focus on enjoying those pieces in depth, instead of trying to do a quick overview of a lot different thing.  There are other cultural attractions that I do breeze through, but art galleries and (most) museums I like to take my time. I believe that art is not just to be looked at or listened too, but also felt, a connection between the creator and the viewer. I love how our different experiences and backgrounds, not just simple tastes, draw us to certain art.
This week I went and saw the Lewis Baltz exhibit at the NGA.  Lewis Baltz is a Californian born photographer and visual artist, whose work focuses on the changing and desolation of the American landscape.  This is the America that we don’t put on postcards; parking lots, construction sites, warehouses, etc.  It is an interesting study on how we as humans, treat our environment, our landscape in pursuit of success, and what is left behind when we move on to the next thing.  

During my visit, I had the gallery all to myself. People often get sucked into the Chester Dale Collection, which is amazing, and never quite make it through. With this almost private showing I could really look at and spend time with each black and white photograph. The pieces in this particular collection were all taken in California, in the late 1960s-the 1970s. When I look at photographs, really any photograph, I try to understand why the artist shoot and that capture that precise moment?  Was it the angle, or the lighting, did he/she feel sometime type of connection, what story are they sharing with us?
I really liked this exhibit. A lot of great art is of the ideal, the most beautiful landscape, or the prettiest girl. Don’t get me wrong, the ideal definitely has its place, but oldness, brokenness, abandonment and decay are all important parts of this little story that we call life. A yin for a yang to see the greater picture.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We Have a Runner

On Monday, I got an email announcing that this week begins training for the Marine Corp Marathon. This email was greeted by my forehead slamming against my desk. I am not running the marathon this year, but I am signed up for the 10k. Now, I fully realize that 10k is not that long of a distance in the running world, and October 30, is still a long way away. But, and with me and running lately there is always a but, with traveling, playing, being laaazy, and it being hotter than hades, I haven’t done much running aside from running down the subway stairs in order to catch a train.
So, I decided that I should reacquaint myself with my gym to make sure that I can run 6.2 miles all at once and lessen the chance of ending up laying in the gutter somewhere along the 14th street bridge.  I know that some people enjoying running outside.  I think that I would if I had wide open spaces or running buddies to help keep on task. But as a solo runner, I prefer treadmills. When I run by myself I let my thoughts and mind run (ha!) wild and pay little attention to where I am going, and so when I stop running I look around confused and lost and have no idea how I got there or how to get back home.
There are many things I love about my gym, the air system/fans are not one of them. Prime treadmill spots are located under the air vents and always fill up fast. But tonight I got one, but this also resulted in me having to run next to the guy with perfect running form.  He never breaks stride or a sweat.  I am not even sure if he is really human, maybe a machine, like the terminator.  I tried not to keep looking over at his screen, but I did.  I know that I shouldn’t compare my stats with his, but I did.  He basically ran around the world, twice, by the time that I finished.   I just have to figure out how to attach wings to my shoes, or turn myself into a terminator, but not the kind that brings the apocalypse or the machine revolution, just the kind that wins races.
Check it: final total on treadmill:
 6.5 miles
Word.

Song of the Week: King Charles

The moment that I woke up with Ivory Road by King Charles in my head, I  knew it was going to be a pulchritudinous day. While I may not have a boy in my life to sing me such a lovely song, I find comfort in  knowing that there are people out there still writing them. 
 Favorite  line: You're the word in the dictionary that I can't spell. Can't describe, can't put in a sentence but use all the time.

(yes, I do realize that King Charles is one hairy man)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Travel Stories: Wales

 We do not take a trip; a trip takes us--John Steinbeck
One of the million things that I love about traveling is its teaching ability. Not only do you learn about new cultures and history, but you also learn a lot about yourself. Voluntarily throwing yourself outside of your everyday comfort zones can be an amazing thing. 


Last year I spent two days in Wales in between adventuring in Ireland and the Lake District in England. We arrived on the Isle of Anglesey (now fancy for its royal tenants) on a Sunday. The next day, Monday, was a bank holiday.  I had rather unfortunately thought that there would be an ATM/bank/money exchange at the port (we came by ferry) so I could exchange my euros for pounds or pull out more money. Um. No.  Between me and my travel companion we pooled enough cash to pay for the B&B and found the one and only restaurant on the island that would take our American credit cards. The mattresses at our B&B were uncomfortable and the plumbing was awkward but it was right across from the seaside, which makes up for a lot.
Because of the bank holiday, our options were limited to anything that we could walk to and that didn’t cost any of the British pounds that we didn’t have.  We thumbed through travel books and brochures, and decided to walk along the coastal path.  On Monday, after a full Welsh breakfast and delightful conversation with other travelers, we found a ride to a lighthouse to start our trek.  
So far, sounds pretty ordinary, if not a little ramshackle.  But it was this walk-about that planted Wales in my heart. We walked back to our lodging (about 10 miles) with no maps, no concrete plans or directions; we just found a path and started walking.  How beautifully freeing. I am a person that makes lists and itineraries and detailed plans, for everything. So walking, with only knowing point A and point B, but nothing in between was bold and brave.
It was one of the most beautiful days that earth has ever witnessed, I am positively sure. The blue sky, the wildflowers, the white tip waves, the sweet smelling breeze. Undauntedly going wherever the wind took us.  The path wasn’t always straight or well marked.  We climbed over stone walls, cut through pastures alongside grazing livestock, balanced along the edge of jagged cliffs, and walked along sandy beaches among vacationers in their swim costumes (favorite UK vocab).  I witnessed to myself that I can indeed exist without clutching feverishly onto all the details of my life. I can give up control, I can let go, and I can breathe and walk, and live. It was a gorgeous, happy day.
Some of the best stories are the unexpected ones, the ones that find you when you are open and willing.











On our way to the lakes, and thanks to our driver, Hugh,we passed through this little town with a long name. Why we had a driver named Hugh, is another story that very much teeters on being a Seinfeld episode. 


Town name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Entertaining: Empanadas!!

Our weekend of entertaining continues . . . .

One of my housemates makes the best empanadas. The best. So when she got the itch to make them this week, we got out the fancy stemware and invited people over for Sunday dinner. When our mouths weren't full (or sometimes when they were), we told stories of latest travels, summer plans, immigration law, and at one point a dramatic interpretation of the song "I am the King of Cannibal Island," from Babar.




Strawberry cake for dessert!

Entertaining: Saying Good-bye

Steps to having a successful night of entertaining:

1. This first step is absolutely necessary, so pay attention. Kick off your shoes and run through a sprinkler and freshly mowed grass.


2.  Raid the Mediterranean bar at Wegmans for fresh bruschetta, salsas, cheeses and freshly baked baguettes. Wegmans is a little bit out of my way, but it is worth the drive. If it had a fan club, I would lobby to be president.


3. Make darling mini desserts.
Bannoffe Mini Pies (Banana + toffee = bite size awesome)


Mini Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes (recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcake Cookbook)

4. Invite great friends. A few friends came over that I hadn't seen in a long while. In the midst of a quite animated conversation (insane ramblings) about music and travel, J stopped me. "You're so passionate about this stuff. It is who you are. It is so sad to see you talk about work, where you spend the most of  your time, and not have any of this passion." See, I have great friends that make acute observations and tell me what I need to hear, and also keep me in the know about bluegrass festivals.

5. Say good-bye to a dear friend. The party was called to order to say good-bye to M. She was one of the first people that I called a friend after moving to the east coast. We have traveled up and down the coast from Savannah, Georgia to Quebec, Canada. She completely understands the need for spontaneous dance parties, when music fills you up and you need to move your feet, you need to move your feet. She is hopping over to the west coast to pursue her culinary dreams. Seems like I have been saying good to a lot friends lately, and for all good reasons. I love seeing people that I care for progress in their lives, find love and babies, be brave and take chances and follow their dreams. That is what life is all about, moving, changing. But it is still sad when they leave, especially when you feel you are doing all the good-bying way too often. Thank goodness for hugs and chocolate.

M +I + friends hanging out in Parc de la Mauricie, Quebec

Project Bookcase: Shelf 1: Past lives

A room without books is like a body without a soul.--Cicero


My bookcase is my favorite piece of the furniture. I would gladly give up my file cabinet, second hand dresser and sleep on the floor before I would part with my bookcase. When visiting a home for the first time I am always drawn to the shelves. What we choose to keep on the shelves tells a lot about how we keep our lives. So, I want to share mine. When I had this brilliant idea I was tempted to rearrange all my shelves to make them pretty and ordered, but I had to stop myself.  Here are  my shelves as random as me.




(Front, from the left)
 An 1886 copy of Les Miserables. I am pretty sure that my mother found this book in a thrift store or garage sale and I may or may not have kidnapped it to rescue it from being sold online.  The book is in pretty poor condition, so it isn't worth anything, in monetary terms.  The story of forgiveness and redemption is on of my favorites, that's a given. But I also love the oldness and brokenness of this physical copy, it has got to have stories of its own.   Think of all the hands that have lifted the cover and turned the pages, or the library shelves it sat on or the bags or suitcases it traveled in. Did anyone read it while sitting under a tree or on long distance journey? A new book, with it starchy pages and hard spine can sometimes make you feel  that you are the first person ever to read that book, which can be an exciting rush. But used books, ones with obvious signs of love and use can just as exciting. They make you feel like you are another link in a long chain of kindred spirits.

Graves New Graded Speller Complete (1894). A graduate school graduation gift from the librarian that I worked for as a teenager. My first real job (we don't talk about that one week at a fast food joint), was shelving books at the local branch library.

A handmade notebook from Korea, given to me by a friend who teaches English (and belly dancing) in South Korea.

My tambourine! This was a birthday present 3 years ago to replace the tambourine that got taken away from me a couple of years before. Needless to say, I have now learned proper tambourine etiquette.

Tambourine like instruments from India, a gift from a friend who lived in India for a couple of years. Have I mentioned that I love tambourines? If not, I love tambourines.

(Back from the left)
Records. Both of record players are in faraway storage, but that doesn't mean I stop collecting vinyl. This handful is mainly Scottish/Irish traditional music.

Messiah score/music sheet music. Every year the Kennedy Center has a holiday sing-a-long of the Handel's Messiah. It is great fun, you pretend that you a world renowned chorale singer. Since there are so many people singing, you can sing your heart out and no one, except the people next to you, can tell that might be *slightly* off key. But that doesn't matter, it is all about the passion you bring to the music. Stuffed within my score is remnants  of my past as a piano player. My favorite show off performance piece is still, Musetta's Waltz from Puccini's La Boheme.

Complete Beatles scores book, a gift from my sister a million years ago.  I was listening to the White Album when I was eleven, which probably explains a lot.

Photo album, its me through the ages!

My harmonica

Leather bounded portfolio of my Op/Ed columns. After completing my undergraduate studies I had a brief career as an opinion columnist for a tiny local newspaper in Missouri.

A big red archive (as opposed to a scrapbook) of tickets stubs, fliers etc of concerts I have been to. That collection can probably spark another million stories.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Notes From the {Metro} Underground

The guy in the red shirt.
Did we come on the train at the same time? I saw him standing by the door. By the time we pulled into the Courthouse station we were sitting next together. He had a duffel bag, a back pack, 2 water bottles, 2 watches. He was not from around here. His shoes perfectly matched his outfit.

Local Travels: NPR

I was recently invited to take a tour of NPR, that's National Public Radio for those that use words. I half expected there to be soft jazz playing the elevators, but alas, tis not so. But my dreams were realized when I saw THE Tiny Desk. I was *this* close to embarrassing myself.



My postcard, NPR's image

Never heard of The Tiny Desk? Are we even friends? For the series, singers, song writers, musical groups, etc. come and perform live at the (tiny) desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. Best podcast ever. I was filled with envy (and probably at least 4 other deadly sins) as my tour host listed all the marvous, magical performances that he had seen. By the time he got to recounting meeting Glen Hansard, I didn’t know if I wanted to marry him or stab him in the eye. That day I vowed to spend more time at Busboys and Poets, the nearby hip eatery, easy access to both Tiny Concert performers AND sweet potato fries.

Personal recommendations:
If you are feeling:
A little bit folksy: Kopecky Family Band
A little bit awesomeThe Low Anthem
A little bit like a British Art School student:  Fanfarlo*
A little bit like starting a band with ALL your friends: Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes
A little bit like falling in love with a bearded Irishman: The Swell Season 
A little bit like a soul sister: Adele
A little bit like an adorable Swedish fella: The Tallest Man on Earth
A little bit like a hipster in smart glasses: The Decemeberists
A little bit like a running away and joining a gypsy circus: Gogol Bordello

For a complete list of all who have been on, click your little mouse here. 

* I have a story about why I love each and every one of these bands, but I'll share just one. A couple of years ago, I was on a trip with a group of friends on a tiny, tiny island, you could walk across it in 20 minutes. One night I couldn't sleep and ended up listening to Fanfarlo's album on repeat, the entire night. To this day I will still randomly dream about their music.

Favorite Photos: NYC

Do you remember that time that we drove up to New York City and it was so cold that we thought that we would never, ever be warm again? What a magical day!





Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cooking Class: Moroccan

Once a month I meet with a group of lovely ladies for a cooking class in a gorgeous Victorian home. I am lucky to live in a very international community, so our classes have been filled with delights from all the across the globe. This month we had the pleasure to learn from an adorable Moroccan woman.

Last night, while all of us were chopping up garlic (Battle cry of the evening: More Garlic!), stirring the Tajine stew, juicing lemons, and  separating basil leaves, our wise friend told us stories about growing in Morocco. Every vegetable, spice and chickpea had a memory.   If I decide to name any future children after spices, Saffron will be at the top of the list. When we were about to taste the fruits of our labors our  friend disappeared and returned in the most stunning dress. She explained that in Morocco they have special clothing for entertaining guests, and tonight we were her guests.  Note to self—next dinner party-allow enough time for a costume change.   And with a toast of “Next time in Casablanca!” we broke (pita) bread together.

Food tends to get a bad rap in our culture, and justifiably so sometimes. (Insert long tirade about the modern food and diet industries.) But I love when food is a storyteller.  Since we all have to eat, the what, when, where, why and how we put food in our mouths and bellies are little footnotes, or whole chapters in our own stories.  And I believe, from the top of my head way down to my toes, that it is the ability to tell and share our stories, whether it be in the form of a poem, a song or a casserole, that is what makes us human and separates us from all the  other creeping things.

So here is to eating with meaning!

Tomatoes and cukes for the salad

Making hummus--I got to add the tahini!

MORE GARLIC! There are no vampire in Morocco.

The finished Tajine stew

Breaking News From the Farm: I grow good lettuce

Yeah, I'm just sitting here eating a salad made with mesclun that I grew. No big deal. Seriously so good you guys should come over for dinner.


(salad also includes: fresh corn, pico de gallo, avocado, and Morningstar Farms Buffalo Wings)

Words:Wisdom

Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty." --Jon Krakauer, quoting Christopher McCandless,  Into the Wild


I love Into the Wild, so go read it and then we'll go get a piece of pie, a la mode if we are feeling fancy, and discuss.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Song of the Week: Johnny Cash

Today I was sure that I had out smarted Pandora. I kept getting the message: “It is taking longer than expected to find the perfect track to play next.” Then I realized that it was just a glip in the technology, and that I had not brought down the music genome project.   
 I love Pandora, in all of it's internet personalized radio glory. It is the only thing that keeps me sane at work some days. Except when the ads surrounding the radio box  are from online dating sites.  Sheesh. You too, Pandora, really, have you been talking to my mom? 
I adore not only having several stations, but also the ability to mix stations.  It is like throwing a bunch of bands in a blender and seeing what comes out. Today’s puree was Arcade Fire + Mumford and Sons + the Kinks + the Black Keys + the White Stripes.  Mix. Blend. Puree. Out came (drum roll please)  Tainted Love by Soft Cell. That is a little bit awesome, and a little bit bananas.  But the same equation that brought us a favorite 80s dance beat also brought us the haunting, "Ain't No Grave," sung by  Johnny Cash.
And sometimes you just feel a little heavy laden and need a spiritual with some beautiful banjo.  

p.s. Do you remember last week's Song of the Week’s artist, Bon Iver? He was on the cover of Spin Magazine and on The Colbert Report last night. The interview and performance was great, but don't ask what the saxophone thing was at 2:20.  I don't have enough punches in my hipster card to understand that. 

Musings

So I am sitting on my bed with one sock on and one sock off. Years ago I bought the wrong size of socks, but not wanting to return them, I kept them.  I am now the owner of a couple pairs of socks that are too big for my feet. When I walk they flop around like soft clown shoes and easily slide off if (when) I run across an uncarpeted surface. So at some point today I lost a sock. And while other people, my age and social economic statue, might want to find that sock, or maybe change into a more classy argyle sock, I am perfectly happy sitting crossed legged on my bed, with one sock on and one sock of

Monday, June 20, 2011

What.

While scrolling through music genres  on my iPod  the other day, I stopped dead when I saw this:

 Scoopy Mouse? Under genres?  Um . . . (blink twice). What.  
Turns out it’s the album "My Life in Melody," from VA/CA/UT/NY songwriter Chris Merritt.  For a moment I thought my iPod had become self-aware and was playing mind games with me. I still don’t entirely understand it, but if Mr. Merritt is behind it, I think I am ok with it.
No, your eyes are no deceiving you.  I am still using my old school iPod that I got the summer of 2004. If it aint broke . . .

Favorite Things: Red Shoes

I am a firm believer that every girl should have a pair of very unpractical shoes that exist for no other reason than to make her feel beautiful when she wears them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Favorite Photos: Father's Day


This is my absolute favorite picture of me and my dad. My dad is a very quiet, humble man. Because of this, people sometimes underestimate his greatness.  But he has always been one of my greatest heroes and examples. Also, he tells the best stories and makes the best pancakes. It's a fact.

Faraway Adventures: Assateague Island Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore, MD
Assateague Island is best known as the beach with the wild ponies. It has been debated on how the wild ponies first came to the island. The boring side of the debate is that settlers in the 17th Century began using the island to gaze their livestock to avoid fencing regulations and taxation. The more fun side is that the ponies came from a shipwrecked Spanish barge. However they got to the island, the ponies are truly the rulers of the island. Entering the island, the park rangers hand you no less than 3 pieces of paper that detail proper interaction with ponies, ie don't feed them, touch them, or approach them, if you do, children will get bitten and horses will die. Seriously, one of the pages had a picture of a dead horse and children with bite marks. And if a pony decides to stand in the middle of the road, right in front of your car for ten minutes, well, then you sit in your car for ten minutes, or until you are deemed worthy enough to pass.


Assateague is one of my favorite beaches in the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virgina) area. It is operated by the National Park Service, so there is an entrance fee, which always translates into it being less crowed than the public Ocean City beaches, which are just a little bit up the coast. I also whole heartily support the National Park Service, the preservation of the America's open spaces and have a secret wish to be a park ranger one day, so I gladly hand over the fee.

I have always been at home at the beach. Even though I loved my years in the Midwest there was always an ache in my soul for the sound of the ocean and sandy footprints. And now that I am only a couple hours away from several beaches I find myself escaping there quite regularly during the summer. Sometimes it is by myself when I want to be alone in the universe, but other times, like this weekend, a ramble with two cars full of friends is what I need.

"Happiness [is] only real when shared" --Into the Wild

Road trips with friends are the best, even if they only last one day. They get us out of our distractions, our complicated lives, the restrictions of what we should or shouldn't be or do and the deepest conversations and most ridiculous jokes often come on the journey from point A to point B. 


What we ate: hummus and pita chips and cold watermelon. What we read: grocery store check out magazines and borrowed books.
 The paperback on top of the pile is Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck, which I am currently reading.  The presence of this book led to one of the most heated and lively debates of the day. I happen to love Steinbeck, J on the other hand does not. And I don't just mean that she doesn't care for his books, she HATES everything he ever wrote, probably even his shopping lists, and I have a feeling she kind of disdains him as a person too. At one point, I was pretty sure she was going to grab my book and through it in the ocean. This pro/con Steinbeck debate broaden to all of American literature and brought the group together to make a list of  great/influential American novels. We are normally such a well behaved group, but bring up literature and fisticuffs ensue. I am pretty sure this is what happened at Inklings meetings, if they met on a beach, or course.  Our only rule was that an author could only have 1 book on the list. Our final list (in no particular order):
1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
2.  Portrait of a Lady by Henry James*
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4. East of Eden by John Steinbeck/Our Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neele Hurston**
5. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
6. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
7. I Robot by Isaac Asimov
8. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
9. Call of the Wild by Jack London
10. The Giver by Lois Lowry

*I would like to point out that a guy nominated this book.
**Even though J did somewhat concede that East of Eden was the best of Steinbeck's writings, she was bound and determined to strike him completely off the list. East of Eden happens to be one of my favorite books, so I was not going to stand for this. We finally both settled with a "/". 

Thoughts on our list?

What we ate: Brie, torn baguette, cherries, grapes

Brie was also a big topic of the day. As most of the group had already packed up and was half way back to the cars, the last couple stragglers were finishing up one last bite of brie and bread. "Brie cannot be  hurried."  On our way home, discussing the agonies that will be walking into our jobs on Monday morning, "But brie doesn't pay for itself."  I count my lucky stars every day that I have collected such cheese conscious friends. I also learned that if needs be, I can physically drag a body across the beach. The cooler weighed that much. We ate well.




Love, love the reflections in the glasses



Most of us had a late night the previous day and add a whole day of sun on top, needless to say, our ride home was pretty ridiculous. I laughed until tears streamed down my face. Locked inside our cars are little jokes and one liners that only make sense in their context: "My GPS is a little drunk, " "Why is Delaware even a state," "I have a confession to make, (baited, serious, silence), I don't like hanging plants," "They were distracted by my swimsuit popping off." And then there were the tornado sirens that went off at Sonic, except that they really weren't tornado sirens. 

Somewhere along Route 50 I also got schooled on modern country music. When I was a teenager and thought I was the hippest one around, I will admit that I pooed pooed country music. To say that I was a music snob is a huge understatement. But as I have grown up a little (?!) I find myself embracing all kinds of music regardless of labels and divisions, if it makes me throw off my shoes and dance or sing my heart out, or stirs something within me, then it is well and good. I learned to respect a lot of music that I probably won't listen to on a daily basis. Everyone has a right to tell their stories however they want. See, me = mature. 

I have always loved old country, the Johnny Cash, the Loretta Lynn, but modern, popular country has always escaped me, I don't know, maybe I still have a little snootiness in me. But over the last couple years I have dove head first into bluegrass and folksy and traditional music, meaning if it has banjo and/or an accordion in it, I probably love it. This makes a perfect transition into so many other music circles.

S, who was driving, loves country music. She talks with all the excitement  about different performers and bands  and going to concerts that same way I do. And when someone is that passionate about music, any type of music, you should listen because they are just not sharing their tastes, they are sharing a little bit of themselves.  As we scanned through the radio stations looking for good country songs, I learned a lot. Ask me about the bands Sugarland or Lady Antebellum, I totally know all about them now!  I will have to say that S always lets me gush and rattle on about whatever album or band that I am listen to at the moment, without even rolling her eyes. Music tastes are a personal thing, and sometimes sharing them with others can be scary. If they hate the music you love, does that mean there is something about you that they don't like? But music also the the power (wow, I feel I am being soo dramatic) to bring people together and learn about and from each. It's pretty amazing like that. Oh, I love music. I do.

So kids, moral of the story: Go the beach, eat some brie, read good books (Steinbeck!!!), and listen to all types of music.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Breaking News From the Farm

My cherry tomatoes are bursting forth pretty red skins!


I had these lovelies with my breakfast this morning. Bite sized pieces of happiness and joy.

Local Travels: The Kennedy Center: Wicked

Life can be super awesome if you have been living on about 2 hours of sleep a day . . .for about 2 weeks. You find yourself becoming a comedian during staff meetings, climbing over boxes in a dress and heels looking for a picture of Barney the purple dinosaur, craving General Tso's chicken like the world is ending thisverysecond, and are prone to episodes of squealing delirium. 


Add a night at the theater to all this and you got gold.






On Friday I went with a merry band of friends to the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center for opening week of  Wicked: The Untold Stories of the Witches of OZ.  This award winning musical is based on the book, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maquire.  I read the book, several years ago and really enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it after I got over the shock of it not being what I expected. When you think of the Wizard of Oz, you think of the children's section of the library. Wicked, definitely isn't a children's book. I was surprised by the amount of social commentary in the book. But what an interesting concept! Every story has another side.  Was the Witch always wicked? How did she become wicked? How do we define what "wicked" actually is? 


I was warned that the musical is different from the book, so it was best to separate them and enjoy the musical as its own story. Which I tried to do and I loved it. The music was great ("He's the guy, but I'm not the girl = story of my life), the dialogue witty, themes, costumes were fun (so much green!), and all this all brought out squeals (really) of delight from my mouth. I am a fun patron of the arts.


A couple of my friends had seen the musical on Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel playing the lead roles (see, I have very classy friends). They pointed out differences in the productions, songs and scenes was changed or cut out, different performers bring different aspects to the characters, etc. But all and all, two thumbs up from the peanut gallery. 


Plus, every now and then, how fun is it to dress up, sit on velveteen seats and tell people that you are going the theater? 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Some Days

Some days your day starts out with your train breaking down. You analyze the series of events, which is your life, that have led you to stand on a crowed platform way below the maze of city streets watching as 4 trains go by before you can get on one.
But then you (finally) make it to your place of employment and find a lovely and unexpected peach rose waiting for you on your desk. It is at that moment that you know that the day is going to be ok after all.

Favorite Things: Moleskine Notebook

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train. --Oscar Wilde
My pocket size Moleskine notebook was a gift from my sister.  It might look simple and ordinary  but it has become a beloved companion. It has been with me on walks along the Welsh coastline, lectures from famous people, almost a dozen airports, boring days at work, and literally across the country from sea to shining sea. It is filled with travel recollections, driving directions, praises of goat cheese, people watching observations, lists of every sort, and borrowed words of the others.  It isn't so much a diary, as in the "Dear Diary," sense but more like a butterfly net trapping fleeting thoughts and moments. I often don’t use complete sentences in it and my entries definitely aren’t in chronological order. But flipping through it, I see where I have been and what I have done and that makes me overjoyed for whatever new adventures lay ahead of me, just waiting to be experienced and recorded.