Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The past 24 hours.

Exhilaration. Inspiration. Disbelief. Numbness. Sat alone in my room (office), door barricaded. No wish to talk to anyone. Crunching numbers. Columns of numbers. Soothing. What's next?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Degrees of separation (unspecified number ) and their potential intended/unintended implications.

For some unknown reason, my life has connected me quite personally to some seminal events of the past half decade. Cases in point: in 1971, my family moved to Cambodia - shortly afer Nixon's invasion thereof. My dad worked in the U.S. embassy, and as a Democrat in a Republican administration, it was one of the few posts that did not require him to submit to White House clearance. "We" spent two years there, until my mom and my two youngest brothers were evacuated sometime in 1973. However, I spent most of my time at Abbot Academy, an all-girls boarding school in Andover, Mass. [Hint: the "all girls" characteristic was a covert yet- I realize in retropsect -= central selection criterion for my parents.]

You know the scene in Apocalypse Now where the soldiers water-skiied on the Mekong with flames arising all around them? Well, Apocalypse now was a move, and, pardon me, a somewhat oversimplified version of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. However, my experience was real--not imagined by a film producer in Hollywood. I was fifteen, awkward, overweight, and under dressed.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Something I know to be true....

and am glad to be reminded of, with such eloquence:

Understand the paradox: If you study the physics of a waterspout, you will see that the outer vortex whirls far more quickly than the inner one. To calm the storm means to quiet the outer layer, to cause it to swirl much less, to more evenly match the velocity of the inner core " till whatever has been lifted into such a vicious funnel falls back to Earth, lays down, is peaceable again. One of the most important steps you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or desperation thereby accidentally contributing to the swell and the swirl.

from "Mis estimados: Do Not Lose Heart" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Neutral but challenging (and I believe, accurate) statement

"The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself." - Lao Tzu

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Opening night: the World Cafe'

Last night we attended the opening night of The World Cafe', WXPN's (88.5 fm) new studio and affiliated restaurant.

What a spot!

For once, we weren't packed in like sardines. There was no smoking, so I didn't smell like an ash tray when I got home. Fabulous acoustics. The place seats only 300 people: you can see the stage no matter where you sit. No need for TV monitors, binoculars, or to squint, straining your eyes to find that extra-special speck, purported to be the headliner you just paid an inordinate amount of money to "see."

Great performances, too. David Dye (Swarthmore College, class of '72!) is the godfather of the World Cafe' show; Michaela Majoun seems to be the godmother of the venue. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts (and believe me, my best efforts are very good), I just cannot find the name of the opening act (a male singer). He was funny and had a good strong voice.

Now, for the main point. Jonatha Brooke rocks. I mean, she rrocksss. She has a great stage presence, a sweet-smoky-powerful-nuanced voice, and the songs--many of which are her own--were superb. She's got great, natural moves--she and her band, I should say, because they were clearly in synch. I have her CD, Steady Pull. It's very good, but it's just no match for Jonatha in person.

Spectacular as were Jonatha Brooke, her band and the venue, the food situation was out-of-control miserable. By this I mean: chaotic, unproductive/stingy, and disappointing to at least the power of three. Basically, other than a gigantic sauteed vegetable (which I don't consider to be a legitimate entree), there were only three main dishes on the menu. We ordered the first one, but they were out of it. So we ordered the second one. Well, gosh they were out of that too. The third was, as I recall, a hamburger with a pretentious description, and I was not paying something on the order of 19 bucks for its renaming.....especially when the appetizers (most of which they were also out of) puny, dry, and equally overpriced. I ordered a glass of chardonnay, of which there were two choices, one for $9 and one for $10. Did I say "glass?" Oh, oops, mistake. That is not entirely accurate. The portion actually constituted a fraction (e.g. 1/4) of a glass.

I understand that it was opening night, and am not one to make a stink. We gently suggested to the waiter, who was apologizing incessantly while producing almost nothing, that perhaps given the inability of the establishment to produce food, it would behoove them to be a bit less stingy with the drink: sorry, no dice. The bartender would not permit it.

So, we got 2 teensy, dry crab cakes, 1 small order of hummus, and two glass-fractions of wine. With tip (hey, we were frustrated, but we're not mean!), the bill came to $96 and change. (We had already paid $40 each to see Jonatha Brooke, but that was a bargain).

As we were leaving, the waiter once again said, "cut us a break." Geez I thought it was the other way around. We did cut you a break. We were pleasant, polite, and understanding. But when you, the establishment, screw up, isn't it you who is supposed to cut us a break? Being stingy even as you mess up is extremely uncool. And the World Cafe' is sooo close to being exceptionally cool. Are you listening, guys? I sure hope so. For your sake.... and for mine. I badly want this thing to work!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

An experiment in speedy reporting

Tonight we went to see Citizen Cope at the Tin Angel. We went to the early show (or as my spouse described it--speaking only for himself--the "old folks hour"). I suspect the later set is currently underway, thus the lead-in to this post. He has a new album out as of September 14.

The performance was purely excellent.

When "Cope," whose given name is Clarence Greenwood, greeted the audience with "Hello Philly, how ya doin'?" I answered not with a whoop but a clearly stated: "Very fine, thank you very much."

....I was simply following Shakespeare's advice ("This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." Polonius, Hamlet, Act 1). Why fake it? I have good manners. I can't just bark like a dog. I did witness others doing so once, at a Prince concert in 1983. If they were being true to themselves, which certainly seemed to be the case, I salute them.

Quickly thereafter, I discovered that sitting still was very hard. This music invites movement. It insists on it. It's a sweet, compelling invitation. It's a question I want to answer. Why anyone expects anyone else to remain stationary under such circumstances is something I will never understand. I did pretty much behave myself (the place is tiny and if you stand up you block others' views), although I would have preferred not to.

[Please note that I don't love every show I see---I'm only motivated to write about the good ones. The last time we saw Cope, I was in the midst of a shockingly negative reaction to some ravioli, which colored the entire experience a bilious green. I did not write a single word.]

Monday, September 06, 2004

Je Rentre au Monde des Blogeurs

Translation: I return to Blog World.

I haven't been away, just summering. I like summer. It's outdoors time. Of course now that I have my Airport Express up and running, I can be connected all the time, anywhere in my little 'zone.' However, computers don't like to get wet, which means one must be very careful when using them outside. There are also bugs--which do land on them and seem to like all the little crumbs someone (moi? jamais!!) left on the keyboard.

I'm thinking that I'll ease into fall. In so doing, I offer a few scattered vignettes, anecdotes, and etc.

1. Spent some time "off the grid" on Prince Edward Island. Enchantingly beautiful. Wanted to go even farther into the remote zone, to visit the Iles de la Madeleine--a 6 hour ferry ride from PEI. Liked being off the grid, but felt a little anxious about it, and the re-entry was jarring.

2. Saw Norah Jones at the Mann in Philadelphia. Wonderful night, wonderful performance. Her albums don't really convey the power, range, and subtlety of her voice--nor the muscularity of her band.

3. I've been thinking a lot about French Hip-Hop. When I was a teenager living in West Africa, French pop music was horrible (my opinion): kind of like a wussier version of disco music, rendered even worse in comparison to the fabulous Zairoise and Soca music that was everywhere. However, in the past few years I have become aware of artists like Les Nubians and Doc Gyneco, whose music is original, soulful, and infectious. What happened? Whatever is is or was, I endorse it.

4. Scenes from the modern world:
--The 'crisis' phone calls I get from my family invariably relate not to their health but to their computers.
--Yesterday I sat on my back porch downloading the latest "security update" while mending my husband's pants.
--My daughter has her own blog, and is hounding me because I haven't updated mine.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


to my 5/24/04 playlist

...And, I might add, a very important one:

The entire Graceland album.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Moments musicaux:

Van Morrison's Into the Music,

Dag's "Lovely Jane"

And, oh yes, The Subdudes' "Morning Glory."

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Today, June 13th

A good and important day. A day, and a weekend, well spent. The scenes of my youth are beautiful, and the people I spent them with--then and now--make my heart smile. Also giggle. What magnificent weather. What fun. I'm sad it had to end.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Breakfast of Champions

It doesn't get much better than this: chili lime taco chips and Izze sparkling grapefruit soda.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Better than diamonds....

I got a favicon for my birthday!

Playlist for the day (5/24/04)

Citizen Cope: Hands of the Saints
Elton John: Tiny Dancer
Allison Krause: Down to the River to Pray
Miriam Makeba: A Luta Continua
Bob Marley: Redemption Song
Ziggy Marley: Beautiful Day
Van Morrison: Tupelo Honey
Les Nubians: Sweetest Tabou
The Police: Message in a Bottle
Phil Roy: Hope in a Hopeless World
Soul Brothers Six: Some Kinda Wonderful
Sting & Mary J. Blige: Whenever I Say Your Name
Zero Seven: In the Waiting Line

Sunday, May 16, 2004


Everything has changed here at I like the new look. For one thing, it shook me out of my obsessive, if silent, navel-gazing and jiggled me into looking at how fast the outside world is moving. More importantly it gave me a reason to utter a peep. The more one remains silent, the more one has to say. This can, in turn, morph into a verbiage-abscess, which either implodes or explodes. Either way, it is ugly. Gosh I'm glad I dodged that bullet!

However the original reason for my deciding to post after a comparatively long silence has regrettably devolved to vapor. This is a strange echo of certain substantially vapor-related but otherwise dissimilar late-adolescent experiences where I would have 'absolutely brilliant' thoughts that would later evaporate and/or turn into incomprehensible drivel.

I'm regressing!!! Or maybe I've fallen into some sort of strange wrinkle in psychic time......

Monday, May 03, 2004

Analyze This

Last night I had a nightmare......about supply chain management.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004


My gut told me that today would be something special when, in the dark, at 5:48 am., I grabbed for some socks ---then, upon moving into the light, found to my surprise and delight that they matched.

More to follow.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Joy is Free

Last night I went sledding with my 7-year old in the side yard. I sat on an orange plastic 'saucer', careening down the hill in every possible direction. I had very little control over my "vehicle." Occasionally I went backwards and I often landed upside down. What a blast!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

On faith, hope, and the celebration of messiness

"The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice."
Martin Luther King. Jr.

".....The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, and emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within for the sense one was born with, the sense to go for a walk."
Anne Lamott

"We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive - and part of the living, incarnate cosmos."
D.H. Lawrence

Sunday, January 18, 2004


Finally and at long last, I have a fully functional computer, my links work, and my archives are the way I want them to be. It only took 40 days.....This is not minor, at least not for me. It's full personal vindication....and hard won at that! Life is good.