Saturday, April 30, 2005

Jetset Na and His Single Mom

As of today, I'm a single mom for two weeks. Mr. Na's Pa hopped on a plane this morning to go "home" (where he grew up...somewhere in some flyover state), so he could be with his family. His father is having his cancerous bladder removed on Monday. Yuck. Then, after next week, he's off to one of my favorite west coast cities, where the temperature stays 67 degrees all year round (lucky stiff). Thankfully, he'll be home in time for my birthday!

All in all, it's not so bad being spouseless for awhile. I get to see movies hubby won't and I get to spend my evenings catching up on my reading and writing (or more like editing, as the case may be). If anything, I feel worse for him for having to go to the midwest and deal with all that; and moreso for his Dad who is losing a major organ. I don't know what I'd do without my bladder. Sure, it's been a pain in the ass a lot of the time, but I wouldn't go so far as getting rid of it. I'm hoping I'll never have to.

Today, I took Mr. Na to his soccer practice (er, as much as 2-3 year-olds practice soccer) and then we went to the Museum of Flight where we got to board The Concorde. I've always been fascinated by it and I'm pretty sad Mr. Na will never see one in the air. I was around 8 or 9 the first time I saw one in flight, which had to have been around 1976 or '77. Traffic practically went to a dead stop on the Long Island Expressway when one was either taking off or landing out of Kennedy on a muggy summer afternoon. The sonic boom sounded as if the sky cracked wide open.

I'll admit, seeing the inside of the Concorde it's not as impressive as I had imagined. The seats are not much roomier than a coach seat on a 747; but I suppose when the elite absolutely, positively HAD to get across the Atlantic Ocean in half the time for some really super-huge emergency (or, in the case of Phil Collins, who had to be at the Philly Live Aid four hours after playing the Wembledon Live Aid), paying $10k for a seat was worth it.

Hmm... I guess.

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Lookit the nose on that thing!
p.s. yes, Mary, he's wearing the Ramones shirt you sent!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Music to my Ears...

And while we're on the subject of Sheer Bliss, I just heard the best sounds a Mother could ever hear while writing on her laptop: a nearly three year-old getting off of the toilet by himself, FLUSHING said toilet, putting the potty seat back on his own potty and closing it, standing on said potty, turning on the water at the sink, grabbing the soap from the soap dish--then PUTTING IT BACK and finally, shutting OFF the water.

All by himself!

(Sigh). I'm taking the rest of the day off! :-)

Rhapsody = Sheer Bliss

I'm really digging our new Real Rhapsody subscription. Despite the fact that it's streaming audio, the sound quality is amazing and they have a database of over a million songs. But what I love best is I can create my own radio station by listing a few of my favorite bands. The player then cross references other bands in that genre and plays them as well. So, like, my radio station (which I named K-MUNK) has artists I listed like: Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain, New Order, The Dandy Warhols, Low, and Duran Duran. The database includes music from: Yaz, The Power Station, Erasure, ABC, Pet Shop Boys, Morrissey, Cocteau Twins, Psychadelic Furs, The Church, Robyn Hitchcock, etc.

Of course, like any other music site, Rhapsody has some limitations as well. For instance, there is not ONE Radiohead song in the database (which hubby is actually quite happy about). But brand new releases make their debut immediately--like, for instance, Ben Folds'Songs for Silverman which just came out this week.

One of Hubby's is called Requiem for a Singe. Here's the playlist:

Monkey - George Michael
Shock the Monkey - Peter Gabriel
Brass Monkey - The Beatie Boys
Bad Monkey - Love and Rockets
Monkey Gone to Heaven - The Pixies
Monkey in the Family - Happy Mondays
Monkey Man - The Specials
Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters
Monkey Murders - The English Beat
The Monkey Dance - The Wiggles
Me and My Monkey - Robbie Williams
The High Monkey Monk - Cocteau Twins
Welcome to the Monkey House - The Dandy Warhols
The Union of the Snake -- (The Monkey Mix)-- Duran Duran

I'm flattered! He made a playlist for me AND he used awesome songs!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Jonathan Safran Foer at Chop Suey

I have this woman to thank for turning me on to Jonathan Safran Foer. She knew that a) I was writing a novel based on the Holocaust and b) I was about to adopt a child from Ukraine and so as she handed me Everything is Illuminated, she said, "You of all people must absolutely read this."

It's a fabulous book and I'm so excited to read his latest, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close next.

Last night, the author made a special appearance at Chop Suey and he brought along fellow author Charles D'Ambrosio and a band, aptly named "Awesome." Though the smoke was bothersome and the lines for the signings were completely disorganized, it still made for a fun evening. Both of the author readings were fantastic.

Safran Foer read an exerpt from Extremely Loud... which is told by a nine year-old boy named Oskar, who says that somewhere he had heard that there were more people alive on the planet now than all of the people who had died since the world began and that if you stop and think about it, that meant that not everyone could play Hamlet at once because there wouldn't be enough skulls to use (now you can see why I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the novel!)

As a writer who has tackled the Holocaust and has written about historical events including the bombing of Dresden, he inspired me by saying that he didn't get hung up on the facts nor did he rely too heavily on research. And though he had been to Ukraine prior to writing Everything is Illuminated, he wasn't too specific and he felt that since the country was so bland (though I beg to differ), it enabled him to use more imagination.

For my novel, I hope to fall somewhere in between Safran Foer and Alan Furst who tends to bog the reader down with almost TOO much detail, which, personally, bores the crap out of me.

Safran Foer laughed when I told him I had given my copy of Everything is Illuminated to my translator in Ukraine (who facilitated our adoption). I figure now he knows that at least ONE copy of the book is in Ukraine. I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie when it's released in August!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Yummy Mommies or M.I.L.F? Which is worse?

Writer Sprout, my dear friend who recently left the Emerald City for the Big Apple posted this article on her website.

So it got me thinking (and I posted this comment on her blog):
I've never heard of the term "Yummy Mommy" though I have heard of the acronymn "M.I.L.F." (Mothers I'd Like to Fuck). I can't decide which one is more degrading...they're equally moronic and both the product of some cheese-eating demographer who doesn't get enough action on his own (er, uh, maybe too much on his own and not enough with another partner). In any case, so long as there are Mommies on the playground who are stupid enough to wear Jimmy Choos whilst chasing after their toddlers, these labels will continue to exist. Me? I'm quite happy with my Nikes, thank you; but although you won't catch this Mommy dressing frumpy or changing her figure, I'd be the first to put your eye out if you called me either.

Plain ol' "Monkey" will do, thank you!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


In case you were wondering where I've been lately, I've been reading one of the worst novels ever written: The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

I know that having been an English major I should bow down to Mr. "Canonized" Hawthorne but, I've been out of school for 15 years and I'm sorry, my time is FAR MORE PRECIOUS now than when I was in school; therefore, I must write, with all due respect: Hawthorne's writing is what it is, and in my opinion, it's garbage.

I decided that since I didn't read The House of Seven Gables in high school or college, I'd read it now. So I did and the only reason why I'm wasting space now in my blog is to vent about some of the garbage English students are required to read. How could anyone, let alone a squirmy teenager, sit through 22 pages of endless, tedious narrative?

If it's one thing I've learned about being a parent, it's that I value what little free time I have. Wasting it on a shitty novel really pisses me off!

Ok, that's the end of my vent. I feel better now, thanks for reading!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bela Lugosi is dead. Really.

Hubby and I had a date on Saturday night and for the first time in a long while, we decided to go "clubbing." I'm using that term loosely because--for all of you who know my darling life partner, he's Mr. Preppy and owns maybe two or three black articles of clothing: one of which is the sweater he wore on our date. I think after five years of marriage, his preppiness has rubbed off on me, too, as I don't own much "club wear" anymore either.

Quite a contrast given that my previous husband was Mr. "New Romantic" or whatever you want to call it (I can't really call him a Goth since he wasn't into the undead, nor did he invest in white pancake makeup), but he wore his hair much like Robert Smith when we were in college and had more eyeliner in his makeup collection than many of his feminist roommates.

I never really played the part, you know, of Siouxsie to my first husband's Robert Smith--but I loved going out to clubs with him and dancing until all hours and never really thought twice about the weirdos around me. To me, they were actors in a play and dance was their form of expression--even if it was just swaying back and forth while making hand gestures to various lyrics. Besides, I went to high school in Southern California--where we had Goths, Mods and Punks in addition to Burnouts, Surfers and Preppies. It came with the territory.

After feasting on nummy Italian fare at Machiavelli including several glasses of wine, we ventured to The Bad Juju Lounge, passing some friends of hubby's who were also trolling clubs in the vicinity. They looked at us quizzically as if to say "what are you doing here?" (I actually wore khakis on Saturday because clubbing was not premeditated--more like planned after the wine)--to which I replied, "Well, if anyone gives us any shit, we'll just smile and start speaking German." Feigning tourists always throws people off.

We were bored at Bad Juju. The DJ--a small Mexican woman who looked to be about 50--was playing some good stuff--some Jesus and Mary Chain and The Damned; but then she started playing "Fox on the Run" by Sweet and I was ready to bail. That song invokes way too many emotions in me as it was Hubby #1's most favorite as he was going through his Glam phase. Just as the Jack and Coke began to kick-in, I grabbed hubby and we pushed on to The Vogue.

Now, the Vogue has always held a special place in my heart, since it's one of the first clubs I went to when I moved to Seattle. At the time, though, it was Downtown in a much nicer space than it's current address. But after we paid our cover charge and made our way to the bar in the back, I couldn't stop laughing. It wasn't just the cross dresser pole dancing in a skirt and a G-string; nor was it the overweight, middle aged Goths donned in lace-up latex and black lipstick. It was that this place hadn't changed at all, but I had. I suddenly found myself repulsed with everything around me--except maybe the music. UNTIL they played "Pure Energy" from Information Society. I almost spit out the contents of my drink and yelled "WHAT THE FUCK?" when I looked over at my barmate--a guy with a shaved head wearing a Bauhaus t-shirt who was just ROCKIN out to the synth beat and electric drums and I said, "AW, COME ON. ARE YOU FOR REAL? DID YOU ACTUALLY LIKE THIS SONG IN 1988?" To which he replied, "I ACTUALLY SAW THEM IN CONCERT AT DV8--OR WHATEVER IT WAS BACK THEN."

I couldn't believe it. A Goth gone soft? I was shocked. I was appalled.

The DJ then played "She Sells Sanctuary" by the Cult and my ever-so-witty husband turned to me and said, "You know, it's ok to loathe these people." (editor's note: if you haven't seen the movie Singles, please watch it. You'll get the joke, I promise!)

After a few more drinks, I made my way upstairs where people were writing down their song requests for the DJ. I perused the list which looked all too benign for the crowd below: Duran Duran, Portishead, etc. I wasn't really thinking too much (or, too clearly) so I wrote Propaganda (anything...) and left a smiley face on the end of the ellipses. Suddenly, I heard this "YEAH! YEAH!" coming from behind me and when I turned I saw the DJ giving a "Whoop Whoop" and making a mad dash for the record. I guess I made him happy.

As soon as the current song was over, I heard the familiar start of Propaganda's "P-Machinery" and laughed at hubby who stood there with a perpetual smirk on his face as he took in the scenery. I made my way out onto the dance floor and began my sway/hand gesture dance. All I needed was a clove cigarette and I would have been in heaven.

We left right after "P-Machinery" so we could end the night on a good note. The long walk back to the car (parked on Melrose) did us some good. We marveled at the pole dancers (some who brought their own liquid wax with them!) and the others who looked as though they had been regulars since the club began. Me--I'm too old for this shit and I mean that not because I'm 36. Hell, everyone there looked like they were in their mid-thirties. But I just feel as though my life is more enriched than it was when I spent my weekends dancing.

Besides, getting Mr. Na up after an evening of drinking really, really SUCKS!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Springtime ! ? ! ? !

I have a love/hate relationship with spring.

I love it because it's warmer, but here in Seattle, we still have a long way to go before we get several days without rain; I love Daylight Savings so that now it's lighter later but it usually takes me a few weeks to get over the hour I've lost; I love everything in bloom, but I have the worst allergies this time of year; and I love the tulips in my garden though I know it marks the beginning of gardening season for me and mowing my lawn on a regular basis.

Yes, I mow my lawn--and it's a back breaking endeavor. It's not like I live on any sort of acreage or anything (LOL, for those of you who've been to my house) but it takes me over an hour and a half to mow, edge and sweep up.

Mowing the lawn is a great exercise, too, though I never know how many calories I've exerted and I'm really big on counting calories. I've been using Weight Watchers's online journal now for three and a half years even though I lost 30 pounds three years ago and have been at my goal weight ever since. I dunno--I guess I just got into the habit of recording everything I eat and every activity I do and I firmly believe that keeping myself accountable keeps the weight off--so I never quite gave it up. It's really a great way to maintain my weight.

The thing that frustrates me, though, is that the online tool is very limited in terms of searching for various types of activity. If, for instance, I want to keep track of how many points (Weight Watchers term) I earned for mowing my lawn, I can look up gardening, but all that's listed is "hedging," "digging," and "hoeing" neither of which come remotely close to the exhausting task of pushing a mower, in my opinion. So I just figure, "hey, whatever". Given the amount of sweat pouring out of me during this 90 minute exercise, I can safely assume I've earned plenty!

Incidentally, they don't offer activity points for having sex either. Maybe that's what they mean by "hoeing"?

Anyway, back to spring. It's lovely here this time of year. The cherry blossoms have been in bloom for weeks now--even though I hate how the pedals scatter all over my car. See what I mean? Love/hate.

I'm looking forward to summer!

Friday, April 08, 2005

C is for Cookie, but M is for Moderation!

The folks at Sesame Workshop have posted a press release on their site promoting a new initiative on developing "Healthy Habits for Life." During the 2005 season, Sesame Street will incorporate curriculum emphasizing healthy eating, exercise and proper. Addionally, PSAs will be shown on PBS stations featuring Elmo and Rosita who discuss the important of good health.

Bravo, Sesame Street! Now if we can completely revamp our public school lunch program by the time Mr. Na is in first grade, I'll be a happy, happy Mama.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Not much new here. How are you?

Every few weeks when I stop blogging regularly, my friend Mary sends me an e-mail to complain that I haven't been blogging lately. My response to her is usually, "well, I don't have a lot to say lately" and I guess in this instance, that much is true.

Truth be told, life's been on an even-keel, with not a whole hell of a lot going on--at least not anything noteworthy enough to blog (as evidenced by this mundane blather!)

Let's see: I'm helping a friend here locally with her Ukrainian adoption; had dinner with another last night who wanted me to come back to work full time (to which I replied, "fuh-get-about-it"); and I found out my cousin, Jens, is coming to visit me from Germany in September (and I haven't seen him in 24 years!)

My darling husband is enjoying his new job--though they were ready to whisk him off to Dusseldorf next week already! (Gasp! He may be meeting Jens before I get to see him again!) His father is having surgery to remove his cancerous bladder in the beginning of May and so he will be there by his side as only a loving son should be.

I just finished reading "The Art of Raising a Puppy" by the Monks of New Skete because I'm ready for a new puppy! I'd really like to get another American Eskimo, but hubby wonders if I'm trying to hard to replace Aspen. To that I say "Nah! There could be only one!" It's been two years--and while Fifi is still very much a superstar here in our house, you can never have too many pets! There's a local breeder who's whelping a new litter any day now, and maybe--just maybe we'll be the proud parents of a new pup soon!

Mr. Na, of course, is his loveable self! Mommy is very happy that he still LOVES "Here Come The ABCs" by They Might Be Giants, and he and Papa have developed their own little version of Gnip Gnop where every morning they toss Na's stuffed animals back and forth from the crib to the rocking chair.

From my writing desk: I have to say that I haven't done a line of editing since I finished my book two weeks ago. (sigh). I'll get to it. Now that I know Jens is coming, I'm looking at that as a deadline so that I can have him read it (he's German, he's an historian...who else is better qualified?)

Finally, if you're up for a really depressing movie, I highly recommend "Downfall" which we saw last Friday. It chronicles Hitler's last few days in his bunker before commiting suicide--and it's from his secretary's point-of-view. The actors were amazing. In fact, I was haunted by the guy who played Goebbels. Not only did he look exactly like him (same rat face; same dead, black eyes) but he played him spot-on. It just turned my stomach seeing his wife poison each one of their five children before they both walked outside and turned a gun on eachother.

So that's me in a nutshell. Same ol', same ol'!

Tune in next time when I have something really meaningful to write!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Finally, Something Funny!

It's been awhile since McSweeney's published a funny list! This one is definitely one I enjoyed!