Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2-29-12 End of Month, again. How does that happen?

End of the month, and here we are again at a Sammi choir concert. Her beloved choir teacher, Mr. Wolterstorff, AKA "Dubbs", seems to always set these up on the last day of month.

So, for most of the day, there was this (which should be set to music):

And then there really was music

but you don't get to hear it, partly because my stupid phone said it was recording when it didn't and partly because of the clips I did get, Sammi hates them all,  and they are over 100MB anyway so I can't upload them.

So, her choice, I asked which song she liked the best, in general, not necessarily from their performance, and this was her choice.

And, no, they didn't exactly sound like that.

To be fair, the pieces they had were very difficult and not exactly audience friendly.

Post concert, we picked up dinner, came home, and I spent the next two hours editing and suggesting things for Nick's big research paper that he'd sent me while we were gone and which he needed back by the morning to meet with his professor.

Whew. Makes me tired again just thinking about it. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2-28-12 Post 800 about being a kid, and Winnie the Pooh, and bananas, and memory

So for the 800th post, get ready, because I'm seriously wandering today.

Start with this morning: eating bananas and cereal out of my new spring-themed bowl with Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore on it, and thinking, I think there's a picture of me eating bananas out of a bowl when I was little, but it wasn't Pooh on the sides ... what was it?

So I go a-hunting for it to jog my memory. And I don't find the bowl and bananas together. I've managed to mash up both into a single picture in my memory from these:

Bananas and armpits, a winning combination. I'd also forgotten about that tablecloth until I saw the picture. All those little floating brown mushrooms used to be so fascinating to me. I still eat off of those plates.

But, bingo. Mystery solved on what was on the bowl I was eating something out of. Looks like gravy and lima beans on the plate. Bleck. I thought it was good enough to need two spoons back then, though.

Anyway, I seem to remember having a Winnie the Pooh something in the way of bowls or cups when I was little, but perhaps I'm mashing more things together again. I remember quite vividly standing in the Sears in Pasadena, eating non-pariel chocolates out of a white paper bag that we'd bought at the candy counter they had there, right in the center of the first floor, and staring at Winnie the Pooh toys and wishing I could take them all home with me. 

Anyway, in the process of looking for these pictures, I ran across other pictures that I'd forgotten about or overlooked that caught my eye today, which have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with bananas or Winnie the Pooh.

Exhibit A: There is a FISH tank. When did we ever have fish? Why have I completely erased this from my memory but I can remember trying on those shoes at Foleys?

Exhibit B: Mom was painting when I was little, big scenic canvases. I remember going with her to a house where I think she was taking lessons or organizing something to be in an upcoming art show. I remember walking through that strange house and staring out the windows. The back door to the house opened on a high staircase that I thought about jumping off of. I remember the easel she set up for me to paint on at our house.  But I must have wanted to be more avant-garde on this day, painting Jackson Pollock style during a black phase. I still try to sit on my knees like this, although they remind me very quickly that I am not four years old anymore.

Exhibit C: When I look at this next picture of me in my room, odd things occur to me. Still sitting with my knee bent under me, there appear to be a couple of dinosaurs who were playing with the little people at their house, which may have involved dinosaur stew with the saucepans and plastic bowls (which used to contain butter) nearby. There is both a jack-o-lantern AND a Santa figure in the back on the table, which means it's probably February in my room. There is also what appears to be bubble wrap behind me, classified ads from the newspaper on the writing desk, and a doll with frightful hair that I am making worse by the minute. I may be covering her face so she can't see how bad it's gotten. 

Exhibit D: Know what this face is saying? It's silently screaming: I.Hate.Dressing.Up. Gah, the scratchy tights and the Mary Janes that I could never not get black scuff marks on, the ones that pinched my toes and made annoying clacking sounds everywhere I walked. The frilly dresses you could never play in without being "unladylike," and the  puffy sleeves, and the peter pan collars and the lace. GAH!

And finally, Exhibit E: I am not sure where this was taken, although it looks like the water out at Bay Area park. I am in my natural clothing habitat, however: t-shirt, jeans, and Nikes. It is 1982 and I am 12 -- all gangly and awkward, the clumsy tomboy who would much rather play in the mud than deal with makeup. 

I look at this girl and smile. She rocked, even though she didn't know it. 

2-28-12 the light rain

um, sure... looks like "light rain" to me...

To be fair, it was gone in an hour, but still funny to think, nope, the weather guys can't even tell me what's happening at this moment.
Sunday, February 26, 2012

2-26-12 My childhood record collection

In the unpacking and reorganizing of the guest closet yesterday, I got to revisit my tiny, quirky, but very cherished little pile of albums. 

Growing up, there were dozens and dozens of them under the turn-table. Before I was born, there were even more, but in the infamous garage sale, many of them were purged from the Saltsman home.

But in so many of my childhood pictures, there's that turntable and the colorful row of albums underneath. The speakers could fold inward and the turntable would fold up to close into a cabinet, but I never remember it closed. It was always open. 

And there were always album covers lying on top, because it was always being used. I remember riding my rocking horse in time to whatever music was playing.

Dad has most of these albums, which makes sense since he also has a turntable, while I do not. But I still keep my little pile of records with me (a couple of which Dad probably thinks are his, sorry Dad!)

And this is one of them.

Released in 1966 on the Verve label, it's described on the back as "The Serge Prokofiev classic performed in 20th Century terms by The Incredible Jimmy Smith and Oliver Nelson." On the interior, Al "Jazzbo" Collins writes an introduction as jazzy as the album which includes:

The forest rang with monumental chord structures. Chipmunks and Beavers sat up on their tails with their unbelieving eyes opened to about f1.4 in complete astonishment. Crescendo piles upon crescendo . . . Jimmy, using his special "Peter-Stop" on his organ was superb in building an undying musical delineation of the diminutive hero. Some of the characters are so endowed tonally that you will find it utterly amazing.

The part of the photographer Don Ornitz, was played by the huge golden honey bear with a built in HASSELPLAD [sic] 500-C-belly button that enabled him to photograph unnoticed. You can see by the fantastic action cover photo, that a scene like that could never have been setup.

You may think it strange that there is no narration, but, anybody who would talk over this music has got to be an idiot. I wanted to talk over this music but Creed told me, "You Are an Idiot."

The second oldest in the collection is the 1969 Disneyland Record Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite from Walt Disney's Fantasia, Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

And on the flip side was Ponchelli's Dance of the Hours, which was immortalized in this photograph:

I remember getting this when I was very small. 

I remember the way the thick plastic colorful records felt in my hands as I took them off and put them on, and I remember thinking, "This isn't the same."

The first real albums that were completely mine were the 45s that required the big chunky black center thing to be inserted onto the turntable. These are the only two still in my little collection, although I remember having and listening millions of times to Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel, Peter Rabbit, Puff and Toot, and Little Black Sambo, as well. 

The page I remember fixating on the most in Frankie the Brave Fireman:

Really? The house fire has been "put out" by the big firemen and the fire comes back? What kind of firemen do we have here? And what's with the structural integrity of a house that only blackens from the inside? The front just peels away? And these so-called firemen remove four random and completely unharmed pieces of furniture from this miracle building and neglect the DOG? Of course, the only gear Frankie needs to enter the burning building is that big red hat and he just walks right up that smoke filled staircase. Get out of here with your oxygen masks and fire suits. He works better in jeans and bare hands!

My first LP, my prized record, was Sing the Hit Songs of Sesame Street from 1974.

This poor album has moved with me from Kirkdale to Sageville to Huntsville to Austin and back to Huntsville where my first puppy found it on the bottom row of the bookshelf and decided to chew on it, to my horror.

I watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and marvel that the people on that float are many of the same people on my beloved album: Susan and Gordon, Maria and Bob, Luis (the first person on Sesame Street is STILL there!). The only person on the cover you will never hear about is poor David, in his better, less psychotic years. And oh, the songs. You have no idea how being a lonely only child was made better by being able to belt out these songs, from (It's Not Easy) "Bein' Green" to "What Do I Do When I'm Alone?" to "Somebody Come and Play." There's the hippie anthem "Someday Little Children" where we're all going to be living on the moon in our lifetime. But what makes me really prize this record more than any other song is the very last one, "Nobody" sung by Mr. Snuffle-upagus back when he really was never seen by anyone except Big Bird and, of course, the children who have the good sense not to go anywhere. Really, who goes off "looking for this imaginary friend?!?" Stay put, you stupid adults, and for cripes sake, TURN AROUND! I remember being probably five and thinking, "Adults are kind of stupid."

(this is only version currently on YouTube from a later pressing when, I guess, the producers decided leaving little children with the last cut of the album about a neglected and ignored muppet was a little too depressing, and moved him to the middle. There is also no pop and crackle which I miss.)

The next few years were additions to the story LPs from Disney. I poured over and memorized those glossy 12x12 pages with pictures of the movies I wouldn't actually get to see for years.

The last LP, which I bought with my own money was in 1983 when I was 13. Dad made me call the record store myself to make sure they had it before he drove me to the mall to buy it. And even though cassette tapes were all the rage, I wanted the LP, not because I was some cutting-edge hipster, but because of the large pictures.

I had not seen either the first or the second film when I saw the third. They would come later, on cable, which came to our house in the early 80s. This was the first movie I went to by myself. It was the first movie I went to multiple times. I rode my bike up to the 7-11 with Michelle in the summer and bought the glossy Return of the Jedi magazine with the behind the scenes and "making of" pictures and stories. I still have that, too. 

It's always funny what inspires us. I ran across this clip today in which Ken Branagh's singular movie moment was not some epic, classic that makes everyone's Best of All Time lists. Similarly, Adele's primary inspiration to be a singer. It's whatever enters you life at that moment and stays with you as beloved because it was yours.

The only other records in my group are these little 45s, picked up at the same record store a few years later, when you could still buy singles on 45s and still put that chunky center thing on your record player, which everyone still had, to listen. Of course, as everyone else, I also sat in front of the radio with my chunky little black tape recorder to the speaker during Casey Casem's Top 40 Countdown and "illegally downloaded" music that way, too. But these were the ones I wanted to set the record player up to repeat, again and again, without having to rewind, guess, rewind, stop, fast forward, and find the beginning of the song over and over.  Just set the repeat switch, set the speed, and let that little needle pop up, travel back, and start over as you lay on your bed and wondered why the world had to be so complicated.

Now I need a turntable.

2-26-12 Pageviews

I have a thing for numbers. Most days, even if I don't have the time or inclination to blog, I still check in and see the number of pageviews the counter sits at. 

I took a screen shot on Friday because I like repeating numbers = 41414

Then yesterday, when I logged it, it was too round not to screen shot = 41500

And again this morning, with those multiples of 7 next to one another = 41749

It wasn't until I started doing the math instead of just looking lovingly at whatever combination of numbers appeared in front me that I realized in the space of less than a day, that's almost 250 hits! 

For 15 followers, that's not bad. 

By the way, if you noticed the math isn't adding up on the post count, it's because one of my posts is still in draft form, just for my eyes. (If the numbers shift down one, you'll know I decided it wasn't worth the sharing.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2-25-12 one lazy Saturday

The plan to go skiing today was nixed because Deana has been under the weather, which meant I had absolutely no where I needed to be and nothing that had to get done. I love those kinds of Saturdays.

After sleeping in, we made waffles, which turned out really well. Bob did actually eat more than 1/4 of one. Since it's one at a time, he was about done with his by the time mine were up. 

Exciting things like organizing the guest room closet and the never ending laundry ended up being the focus of the day. I do not know how I got so lucky to end up with a husband who does almost all of the laundry, but I sure am thankful.

Then, naps.

Bob flew around the house a bit in the shirt from the Lawless clan. There aren't too many places you can wear a cape these days.

And dinner was grilled, just like it always should be on a Saturday.

See the broken hearted cloud? I didn't until I downloaded it. The moon and Venus were very bright even before sundown.

Jupiter was quite bright once night fell, but the clouds kept toying with me to get all three together in one photo. Jupiter is the white spot  to the left of the moon here:

 After burgers and star gazing, another attempt to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time fell woefully short.

And we just let Katy do what she always does: keep close tabs on the cats.

2-25-12 Megacon

For the uninitiated, this is the convention that Bob attended last weekend, after spending a good part of a year in preparation.

Last spring he began to connect with a number of great people online in the costuming/Superhero community and began planning to finally attend a comic con. He chose Megacon because that gave him ample time to come up with costumes and get into "Cape Shape" for the unforgiving and revealing fabric of spandex. What really happened over that year is that he finally found a place of his own, where some really fantastic people have welcomed him with open arms. Next stop: DragonCon, in Atlanta in August. 
Thursday, February 23, 2012

2-23-12 6 months and 3 days from now...

I will be here, at the height of summer, under the stars

With the bright lights of Denver shining like diamonds in the distance

listening to this lady do her thing

um, YAY!

2-23-12 our light dusting forecasted

Good morning, Narnia. This is the place where the weather forecasters will tell you a blizzard is coming and you wake up to find what appears to be a thin layer of powdered sugar on the grass. And when they tell you it will be nothing but a light dusting? Break out the snow shovels.

We had hurricane force winds, especially close to midnight, which blew the grill cover... somewhere? Anyway, it went away before the snow came down.

The distinct advantage to stone floors in snow:

School was delayed 90 minutes and by 8:30, the sun was already starting to break through. 

Still, makes for a lot of fun on the surprise snow morning!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2-22-12 Homicidal Psycho T-shirt

Imagine the Venn diagram: a circle of people who follow Spiderman, at least well enough to know Venom as the alien symbiote that he is. Then a circle of people who love Homicidal Jungle Cat, the Calvin and Hobbes book published in 1994. The overlap is probably not even visible to the naked eye, but for those of us in the invisible sliver, this t-shirt was made for us.

My non-homicidal jungle cat and chicken dog like it, too. Or maybe it's just me.