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I said it (all) before but it bears repeating now

I have three songs running through my heads; just bits of them, really. That one, "Creepin' up the Backstairs" by the Fratellis and something I woke up with in my head by Sharon, Lois and Bram that will take me a little time to identify, which goes, "How d'ya do? How d'ya do? How d'ya doodle oodle oodle oodle ooh, yeah!" but I'll remember it soon.

The point (insofaras one can be said to exist) is that it's now been over ten years since I started my blog. It wasn't this blog, but this is a direct descendent of it. The son and heir, if you will. (Of nothing in particular.) If you go back through the archives that far, it's kind of a mess. Things were different then. But it's mostly all here, at least text-wise. 

Anyway. In my head, all words are keywords for a song. Any word, spoken with some certain cadence or tone, will trigger a song for me. Rhythms of sound do that as well, but words are the main triggers. I've learned to calm that down by having a continual background soundtrack in my head, and it's probably why I ended up listening to so much jazz and lounge music. But lately I haven't been filtering it all very well, so it's a bit like one of those CD sample stations at Target inside my head right now, looping through oddities.

Last night I was reading some ten year-old entries and they struck me as so young. I mean, very few of them should be read with any eye toward seriousness. They were mostly intentionally silly. But even that, well, if I am intentionally silly now, it sounds very different. To me, at least. And I'd hate for someone to go back through them all and read it without hearing an arch (albeit unsophisticated) tone. But it's me, nonetheless.

"If I Knew You Were Comin' (I'd Have Baked a Cake)" is the Sharon, Lois & Bram song I woke up with. It isn't on YouTube, but by golly, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are. 

But if you have a sudden verve to hear every rendition of this song, be warned most of them are marked wrong and are the same singer. The one I like most (besides, I'm telling you, Sharon, Lois & Bram,) was by Georgia Gibbs & Max Kaminsky's Dixielanders.

Where were we? Um, what's changed in ten years? A little and a lot, but not actually much at all. If you see what I mean. Don't be so linear, okay? Let's keep things loose. A couple years ago I was seized by a burning love for Bill Holden which previously had been only a sort of idle attraction/admiration. So, that's a thing. Ten years ago I lived three miles from the Atlantic Ocean, now it's over 600. I weigh more. I'm much calmer. Those two things aren't meant to relate to each other, just be side by side.

 Ten years ago I was the pedantic bohemian, now someone else is. I was merbelle, and kind of still am. I was sylph, and Emily, and Greer, of course, and those two things do go together. Now I'm Lily and it seems I really am, but if I'd known that would going to happen, I might have worked at being Lena, instead. 

Do you think I am very, very shallow? Do you think I'm always laughing at life or at least at the people in it? Do you...equate being sincere with being serious?

When I was pregnant with my third daughter, who is now 21, the man tried to teach me to meditate, to turn off my endless running thoughts. He believed he failed. But that's not so. It was a very slow-burning lesson, perhaps. Some years later he got all into taoism and sucked the marrow out of that before moving on to the next thing, but I connected it to being pregnant with my daughter, quieting down, opening up, absorbing, resting, and letting go of urgency. However, when you have a lot of little kids and a sort of fickle living situation, it's so difficult to operate that way, slowing down time like a bird or a squirrel. 

Now I have the luxury of seeing the snow fall outside my window right now just as I choose; as individual flakes, or as a stream of moisture, or as mostly air with tiny infinitesimal interruptions to it, too tiny to matter until they all collect together at the surface of earth over my garden. 

And it's silly to have three songs in your head unless you consciously put them there to enjoy together. That's what I've learned over the past ten years. 



2012 Movies and Me

(Edited to add a few links, proper blog-style)

Last year around this time I made a list of movies I wished to see during the year. I saw maybe 1/2 of them, plus a few others. 

Do I ever talk about how much I love movies? I really, really do. But in my own way. I do not love Citizen Kane, Casablanca, or From Here to Eternity, though I think they're all quite good. I never saw The Godfather or Bull Durham or The Deerhunter or Titanic. I adore Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Awful Truth, and Network. And Amadeus. I watch An American in Paris nearly every month. And so. 

2012 movies I saw, ratings A, B, C based only on how much I liked it, not how good I thought it was, except A+; I thought those were the best. I could write love letters to those two movies, and I just might do that sometime.

This Means War C
The Secret World of Arrietty B
The Pirates! Band of Misfits C
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen A
The Raven B
The Avengers A
Men in Black III B
Moonrise Kingdom A+
The Amazing Spider-Man B
The Dark Knight Rises A
Skyfall A
Quartet A
Amour A+

I also saw Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in January, but that was actually released in 2011. Where I live now…sigh. I liked it a lot.

2012 Movies I still want to get to asap: most of which were on last year's want-to-see list. I hope to do better with 2013's list, which I'll share next week sometime perhaps, but some of them take extra time to turn up here in the middle of the country. 

A Royal Affair
Monsieur Lazhar
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  (listed as 2011)
To Rome With Love
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Hotel Transylvania
The Oranges
Wreck-It Ralph

Yesterday I saw previews for Brooklyn Castle and West of Memphis; I'd like to see both of those. And I'm looking forward to (finally) seeing The Flat next month. They also keep showing previews for On the Road. It looks good but not my kind of thing. You see from these lists I like quiet movies, quietly silly movies, and superheroes, pretty much. There's a certain kind of grittiness I work to avoid, with just a few exceptions.

My Bi-Weekly Cincinnati Outing: Report #2

Two weeks ago for my date with myself, I spent a little time in an area called Mariemont. I will write less about it, less to say, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow's date and hope to spend more time out there in the world. 

I spoke of the serendipity of finding Quartet the same time I learned we could see Rigoletto, which we did last week; at the same time I "discovered" my new love Jonas Kaufmann and next week we are seeing him do Parsifal.

So who knows what tomorrow holds? 

The Mariemont theatre is pretty nice, and also is being updated so it should be even nicer soon. Mariemontexterior

I had a cup of lemon zinger tea, made with one of those little cup machines, and cinnamon-glazed pecans. The theatre was filled with old people who all had Junior Mints, I think. Right? Pecans

After the movie, I went to the Dilly Deli, which is a big deal around there, and had a salad with roasted squash, goat cheese and more pecans! The dressing was perfect; light, not acidic, exactly the right amount and balance. Kindletable

Then I got a phone call saying my new glasses were in, so I drove way over to Costco to get them… Glassesmirror

and then, but I have no photos, the boys and I drove way up to Montgomery to have a Very Cincinnati Evening; pizza at Dewey's, ice cream for them at Graeter's, and then we saw Identity Thief in a big newish multiplex. It was way more entertaining than I expected. Forgettable, but enjoyable. 

Last Friday night, the man still hadn't seen Quartet even though I ordered him to before we went to Rigoletto, so we went to Mariemont and had a very nice dinner at The National Exemplar, 20130215_185732
and then saw the film. And then Rigoletto the next day, which was really fun. On Sunday evening we played Facts in Five, 70s edition, and that's related as well, but needs a separate post.

It's been an unusually busy month, even though I have not felt well for any of it. February and March are my toughest asthma months. This year is far worse than last. I am so tired of licorice root tea.

This week I've been redevoting myself to recordings of "Waters of March." Here's a fun one.

Waters Of March—Akiko + Corinne Drewery


Listen to the Music, Brothers and Sisters

Although I was born loving music and could make a list a day of favorites at any given moment in time, these five songs are always the ones I first recall when thinking about actively listening in childhood. The videos were chosen more for their visuals than their audio quality...

People Got to Be Free—The Rascals

Everyday People—Sly and the Family Stone

Joy to the World—Three Dog Night

Age of Aquarius—Fifth Dimension

Love Train—The O'Jays

They influenced my thinking, shaped my understanding of humanity. We're all just people. I lived a very sheltered rural life, and it was dismaying and also incredibly confusing to get out more in the world and realize many people didn't understand that. To realize that it is still the case, though a little less so, perhaps, is literally shocking to me. I can't ever fully process the human desire for Drawing Lines Between, and it exists all over the world, in many forms, and the irrationality confounds me. The logic escapes me. But of course, it's never about true logic. 

Sometimes I'm interested in how the theme of the music shifted from the brotherhood of man to the bumping of booties, but really it was just another kind of grasping for freedom. Probably I no longer have the emotional energy to launch into a diatribe on the (general, not specific, shhh) fickle nature of Baby Boomers, Especially the Early Ones, so here's one more song.


(The YouTube version was higher quality, but wanted me to first listen to the entire Skyfall theme song as an advertisement.)

greenwood girl

This is longer than usual; like three pages of a book. I think you'll like it.

So much I remember and so much I don’t when I think back to 9th grade, the end of the 1970s, the end of my childhood in some ways. In the fall of 1979, I was 14 years old, and I took the bus every morning to high school in a growing town just outside of Kansas City, Missouri. For most other years, I can remember the songs playing on the radio while Dad got ready for work in the morning. I certainly remember that when Steely Dan released Gaucho a few months later, we listened to “Hey Nineteen,” just as we’d enjoyed “Deacon Blues” and “Peg” from Aja a couple years earlier, but I guess that was the year my musical taste wandered further from pop radio than ever before, while Dad’s remained largely planted in soft rock at that time.

With Dad, my memories are all musical; mixed into paint, the woods, history, long walks with the dog. With Mom, they’re food, books and movies, long talks that I just don’t remember now. But I do remember I never felt like there was a topic we couldn’t discuss. It must have seemed that way to her; I was so internal, and she had a social need for conversation I probably never satisfied. I don’t know. But we did talk about boys and clothes and school, and she tried to encourage me and help me feel good about myself. 

I was really into Michael Jackson just then. I remember the kids making fun of me in...history class? I wrote his name in fancy script on the chalkboard and they said, “but he’s black.” So funny to recall. Off The Wall was an impressive album, though. And Prince came along, and there were new records by the Village People, Gloria Gaynor, Chic, but then, too, Herb Alpert, and on another front, Blondie, Gary Numan, the Cars, the Boomtown Rats. And we got “Rapper’s Delight” that year! I made little distinction between them all and was never quite cognizant of the fact that everyone else did. Oh, and the Eagles. It’s all music, and that was a very good time to be a kid listening to it. There was so much more I wanted to hear, but I found what I could, and made the most of it.

So I went to school, took that long bus trip every morning, with music in my head and stylish clothes on my still coltish frame. We were in an undefined interim between Annie Hall and the Preppie Handbook. I followed the trends but had been establishing my own style for a couple years, one of the few aspects of life about which I felt very confident just then. My skirts were the correct length, (remember when there was a correct skirt length?!) but I wore them with an artful sense of informal balance. I didn’t take schoolwork as seriously as I did what I listened to and what I wore, and I felt very good about my clothes and my music. But I was self-conscious, nonetheless. It’s hard now to explain why. I still felt like a victim of my early school years, yet I knew I was in a much bigger world, one where I could have made a whole group of real friends if only I had any idea how. I don’t remember wanting to be popular, but I do remember wishing I could be liked, and less alone.

Continue reading "greenwood girl" »

My Bi-Weekly Cincinnati Outing: Report #1

My New Year's Resolutions are more fun than yours. I started a new thing. Every other week I'm going out and hanging out with myself. Two weeks ago, I went downtown to the Ohio Book Store, which is a great place I will spend more time in when it warms up outside. Most of what I was interested in was on the top two floors, which were very cold when I was there.

But in general, that store is so fantastic, it practically aroused me. I had two simultaneous thoughts that in no way go together. First, I would enjoy having sex in there. But second, it's probably the only place I've been to in Cincinnati so far, except maybe Jungle Jim's, that I really wish my mom could see. She would have been mad for that place. Here's some of what I saw:


I bought two books, Penhallow by Georgette Heyer (1942 war economy compliant first edition with no dust cover—looks like this but is the first printing and in better shape for $7.50 not $88) and Transmission of Life by Dr. George Napheys, 1878 edition (much more on that another time,) and the May 31, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine. Can you guess why?

Then I went for a bowl of soup at Tom & Chee. It was several blocks away, and that made for a very cold walk from where I'd parked for the bookstore, but it was worth it. I'd enjoy going back and trying one of their grilled cheese sandwiches on a donut, when I've saved up a week's worth of nutritional points or something. 


I walked back to the car and drove just a couple blocks further from the restaurant to Coffee Emporium. It's my favorite coffee house in Cincinnati but I'd been only to the other location in Hyde Park. This one was better for indoor times; very spacious and comfortable, and I parked right outside the building. But in warm weather, the Hyde Park one has a lot of great outdoor seating. They both have people behind the counter who know what they are doing, and the coffee they use is roasted very nearby. I ordered a breve latte and sat for awhile reading a book I'd brought with me, then drove home, which is about 20 minutes or so from that area. 


And this is one of the cool things about going downtown or just way into the city. I live on the farthest eastern edge of the city but it's never a bad drive to another area, and there are very many things to do in the city all year round. I'll go back downtown again soon on a day that's better for walking around, and also spend more time in Over-the-Rhine, especially when the farmers at Findlay Market get going again. (First two links here and the one below are to cool photo galleries.)

Tomorrow I am going to hang out in Mariemont, at least for a little while. Whether I spend the whole day out will depend largely on how well I am breathing. 

Because the rest of the time, this is what I see when I leave the house...