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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Orange you Glad

In Uncategorized on 24 October, 2010 at 12:32 am

It’s October.  While the fall is my favorite, if all-too-brief season thanks to gorgeous colors, perfect days to be spent in the kitchen, and boots-and-sweater weather, it’s also one last nod to the summer sports by playing host to their postseason. This is both a blessing and a curse:  If you’re anything like me, you’ll find ideas popping into your head for posts all day long, only to be shoved aside in the evenings by an obsession with a little sporting event called The Fall Classic.

I grew up in an area where baseball did NOT rule the sports landscape – it was, and is, ALL hockey, ALL the time.  To be fair, football gets a fair nod in the fall, until the weather turns cold enough for everyone to flood their backyards into ice rinks.  But baseball was never on the radar – the closest MLB team is a 6+ hour drive away.

Funny how one sport can steal your heart when you date a lifelong, die-hard Red Sox fan.  To become that intimately acquainted with the game, over the course of not one, but two postseason knock-down drag-outs with the Yankees, much less the fans of both, left a huge impression on me for the seasons to come.  I fell for the Americana factor of baseball; I fell for the vast variety of backgrounds players came to the game from; I was done for by the boyish charm of grown men jumping like children and erupting in joy with each progressive postseason win.  Grown men, all unified by the drive to win and a tiny glimmer of misfit personality in each of their eyes.

Unsurprisingly, I’m a huge fan of this man:

 

 

 

 

The Giants’ own No. 55 and proud owner of back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards, Tim Lincecum, aka “The Freak” and “The Franchise”.  Watching this kid throw, with a wicked fastball and a downright nasty changeup, my appreciation for the game – and anybody who’s able to get a decent hit off of him – grows mightily.  Watching him, as well as the rest of his very underrated team deny the Phillies of a third NL pennant tonight, was pretty damn sweet.  These Giants are a mix of youngsters and journeymen, SF veterans and players brought on who were making their way through the fold – case in point NLCS MVP Cody Ross.  It’s a team with a mix of a scrawny ace pitcher and an infielder affectionately known as “Panda” for his overwhelming size.  Nobody but their fans saw these Giants coming, and they fought their way on to my beloved sport’s grandest stage.

Orange October didn’t just get an extension.  It’s just warming up.

The Soundtrack of My Life

In Uncategorized on 10 October, 2010 at 9:07 am

Lately, I keep coming across the “15 Albums in 15 minutes” thread making its way across Facebook profiles, and when Claire‘s “20 Most Influential Albums” post popped up in my feed, I knew I could avoid the topic no longer.  I have a serious love of lists, and a serious history with music, so I knew this post was going to be a doozy in the making.

The thing is, for the past 3 days, I’ve been trying to narrow my list to 20 albums, and it’s just not gonna happen.  My Dad’s a music teacher, so I grew up very much surrounded by every genre of music imaginable, in the best ways imaginable.  Between listening to NPR every day on the way home from school, to my grandfather playing classical music during every Sunday night family dinner, to 9-hour drives to visit my extended family filled with the sounds of Santana, Huey Lewis and the News, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, and so many others — How could I possibly attempt to put margins on such a huge part of my life?

For the sake of the threads, I’m listing albums that have had, and hold, a deep impact on me – just their names take me back to a specific time and place.  Some of the highbrow among you may scoff at some of the entries, and that’s fine.  I see the entries, and I see – and hear – the 1-mile-exactly bike ride to my grandparents’ house. The sleepovers with my girls. The church youth group that made up so much of my high school experience. Dad’s band hall in my high school, and the crisp fall nights spent in a marching band uniform at football games and parades. The morning I left my hometown for college. The all too brief days where my brother and I felt 2 and 1/2 years apart in age as we actually are rather than the 7 it often feels like (which is a whole other entry unto itself). Driving a friend home from rehab. The radio playing in the ER when I’d dislocated my shoulder. A then-boyfriend surprising me at work with flowers in the middle of The Gap. Flying across the country to a new city to visit someone I loved. Flying across the country to a new city to start a whole new, scary and exhilarating life. When I hear a piano being played, I immediately recall the years I sat in front of one, practicing and practicing and practicing and practicing; I can’t bear the sound of musicboxes because it’s a reminder of the end of my parents’ marriage.  These aren’t just hollow tracks. These are breakups and celebrations, triumphs and tones of solace on the harder days.

On with the list, in no particular order:

  • Bloc Party / Silent Alarm
  • Ben Folds Five / Whatever and Ever Amen
  • Semisonic / Feeling Strangely Fine
  • Foo Fighters / The Colour and The Shape
  • Birdmonster / No Midnight
  • Sheryl Crow / Sheryl Crow
  • Santana / Supernatural
  • Janet Jackson / janet.
  • Coldplay / A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Jars of Clay / Much Afraid
  • Elvis Costello / My Aim is True
  • Alanis Morrissette / Jagged Little Pill
  • Weezer / Pinkerton
  • Lisa Loeb / Firecracker
  • Third Eye Blind / Third Eye Blind
  • Rilo Kiley / More Adventurous
  • Fleetwood Mac / Rumours
  • Counting Crows / Recovering the Satellites
  • Sting / Ten Summoner’s Tales
  • Paul Simon / The Rhythm of the Saints
  • Tina Turner / What’s Love Got to Do With It
  • Sarah McLachlan / Surfacing
  • Carole King / Tapestry
  • R.E.M. / Automatic for the People
  • Lauryn Hill / The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
  • U2 / How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
  • The Strokes / Room On Fire
  • Stone Temple Pilots / Purple
  • Pearl Jam / Vs.
  • Franz Ferdinand / Franz Ferdinand
  • Johnny Cash / Orange Blossom Special
  • Andrew Bird / Noble Beast
  • The Cardigans / First Band on the Moon
  • Blues Traveler / Four
  • Snow Patrol / Eyes Open
  • No Doubt / Tragic Kingdom
  • Dido / No Angel
  • Barenaked Ladies / Stunt
  • Jem / Finally Woken

There are countless other artists I could list, whose entire catalogs would have made this list.  Here’s to the next handful and then some that will get added over the years ahead.  Happy listening, everyone, to my list and your own.

From just over my shoulder

In Uncategorized on 8 October, 2010 at 5:05 am

…and nearly into the rearview goes the Summer of 2010.  These days when the seasons seem to weave in and out of one another are my favorite:  warm yet crisp, busy yet languid.  Before I break out my sweaters and boots, I had to dig out one of my favorite poems:

 

The Summer Day

 

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean–

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

 

-Mary Oliver

 

If a kaleidoscope had a “my heart” filter:

In Uncategorized on 3 October, 2010 at 3:59 pm

The view would appear as this:

(via the wonderful http://pasty.com)

You can – and should – call it mesmerizing, stunning, God’s autumnal brushstrokes.  I call it Home.

Today’s Happy Quota:

In Uncategorized on 8 June, 2009 at 1:10 am

Met.  Yet again, the amazing photography of Thomas Hawk makes me smile from the inside out.

Fly Away Home - Thomas Hawk

It took you long enough

In Uncategorized on 11 May, 2009 at 1:40 am

Happiness, Party of 1, your table is ready.

Lip Service

In Uncategorized on 9 May, 2009 at 8:24 am

I’m fascinated by perception.  At the moment, particularly so by appearance, and how what we choose to adorn ourselves with – our facades – says to everyone who dares, or not, to look.

According to my mother, I’m a Very Girly Girl.  A few friends here and there echo her observations; some others are naturally stylish and as such, blow me out of the water where the, let’s call them….Womanly Arts are concerned.  I consider myself middle of the road, if only because growing up in a small, isolated midwestern town didn’t offer the kind of exposure to the unreal standards for beauty I’ve experienced in city life.  There is certainly a big difference between maintaining one’s looks and being “high-maintenance” about them, but there’s no reason that the former should lack……polish.  And no matter which degree of the spectrum you fall into, making yourself up should be – if nothing else – Fun.

Today’s flavor of fun, for me, came in a tube of red lipstick.

My summer and fall are about to become chock-full of special occasions and accompanying special memories, so I decided I’d turn my appearance up a notch or five.  In the last few years, I’ve always stuck to The Natural Look.  And then came along a little show called Mad Men. How clever that a show based on advertising managed to pitch an era of suave, easy, utterly cool-tempered men and their knockout counterparts – women with a plethora of fire behind precisely painted liner and lips.  Faces that made a statement.  And oh, how I bought it.

The first veritable toe in the water came by way of a deep red dress.  I not only managed to look like a woman rather than a giant tomato, and I immediately loved the way I felt, loved my reflection.  It makes perfect sense – red is, after all, the color that sends pulses racing.  And then came my face. How on earth to achieve a face to complement that dress.  I’ve inherited my grandmother’s incredibly deep-set eyes, so anything more complicated than a single swipe of shadow, liner and mascara would be pointless. Said eyes are green tinged with blue, so a red lip was a logical option that hadn’t really crossed my mind. Yet.

As I was meandering about the cosmetics counters in Macy’s I came across one counter girl after another,  too busy re-powdering their noses to actually – gasp! – make a sale.  I resigned myself to get on with getting home, and started thinking of modern style icons with a throwback look – Scarlett Johansson, Dita VonTeese, Salma Hayek, Liv Tyler. Interest? Piqued. At the last counter I passed, a salesgirl happened to capitalize on the curiosity written across my face.  I noticed the counter was Dior, a go-to brand for me when finances allow.  As soon as I uttered the words “red dress” and “wedding”, the salesgirl was off to the races. Some liner, lipstick and gloss later, I found myself wearing a Very Red pout.  A statement.  Appropriately, the shade of lipstick chosen for me is named “Scarlet Siren”.  Though I have yet to go back and buy that cosmetic trifecta, that statement was a very loud, very clear Yes.

From the time I walked out of Macy’s and all the way through my front door, I had a swagger in my step.  The adrenaline of stepping outside a comfort zone, with the added bonus of the look-at-me, you-want-this-but-can’t-have-it factor.

The secret, or rather, the beauty of it all – pun very much intended -, was I had It. I can’t wait to see where this leads me to next.

NaPoMo.

In Uncategorized on 10 April, 2009 at 4:41 pm

April is National Poetry Month!!! Definitely something close to my heart. Though I’ve stepped away from a career in it, I will never – NEVER – regret pursuing poetry all throughout college.  As a result, I’ve found it’s  not just the practice of writing – it’s a way of looking at the world that I’m forever grateful to have spent the time honing.

enjoy my favorite, so simple and complex, the one that had me hooked for good, and the latest piece I’ve written.

‘Blue’

A row of shelves hides a wall and a door here. They are all blue,…  Read More
just blue.

I wonder if you and I would ever paint a wall together, and a door.
Take one color and paint it all, even the hinges and the knob.

And then each other, clothes and all.
Just to put some color on history, not to change it, but to look

at it together and remember what we did to see
over what we cannot see.

-Peter Streckfus

————————————————————————————————-

‘This Is Just To Say’

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

-William Carlos Williams

---------------------------------------------------------------------

'Interlude #5'

Maybe if I rise
I'll see the dreams fading
to smoke and mirrors,
and maybe your mirage
won't call this void home,
will let me sleep.

Because I watch the sun crest
over the steepest hill
wait for my strength, 
my chance 
to align.

For now I watch your impression,
our wrinkled fabric.
Watch the passing haze,
shadows buoyant in morning,
yesterday's truth sloping to periphery.

-SCV

In lighter news

In Uncategorized on 10 April, 2009 at 9:11 am

Welcome.  It’s good to be back in the blogosphere, and while this place will be home to the occasional piece of food writing, I’ll be updating, ranting, reflecting, waxing poetic, patting myself on the back, and not biting my tongue.

Make yourself comfortable and enjoy.