Sunday, May 31, 2009

Infestation fascination.

The parents - Mommalah and Papa - are still deciding on whether or not to open the pool this year.

To them, it doesn't seem to suffice when I'm the only one who goes in it - and by "go in it," I mean I just float in my purple inflatable boat (sans oars because they were a disaster I don't want to retell. Ever.).

So Mommalah and I sat in our chairs in the nippy breeze for a few minutes today to enjoy the fall-like weather we so love.

Something on the pool's winter cover piqued her interest and she went to investigate, telling me to stay put because she thought it might be a snake, which is something I'm always in fear of seeing this time of year at the country haus.
{Known from here on out as "That Which We Do Not Speak Of."}

Thankfully, it was just a big ol' frog, so I joined her on the far side of the pool to see if I could spot it for myself.

When I peered into the water on the cover, I yelped, "Oh. My. God."
Just below the surface were thousands - and I mean thousands - of tadpoles.

I ran around the pool in complete shock and fascination because, despite growing up in Bumblefeck Egypt, I had never seen a real, live tadpole.
{They look just like sperm - which is all sorts of gross, but at least they were not thousands of TWWDNSO. I'd die. Die, I say.}

I said, "Mom, there must be like a million here."
To which she replied, "I can see that."
I took a few steps and found even more and said, "Mom, look at all these over here!"
And she said, "OK, stop, I see them."
{It should be noted that, at this point, she was nearing a boiling point.}
And when I got around to the steps in the shallow end, there was the mother load (pun not intended, ew) of tadpoles.
I mean seriously, at least 500 in this part of the cover, so I said:
"Mom, holy shit! There's a ton over here!"
And then she told me to shut up, and the tone of her voice actually, for once, made me shut up.

I hope to be there if they ever get to the point when they decide to turn from tadpoles into frogs. I may have to take video - of her reaction.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My self-coined favorite new saying.

After an excruciatingly long Tuesday, May 26 - clocking more than 11 hours - I was slowly fading away from hunger and thirst for a Lionshead.

At 7:30 p.m., I Twittered this verbatim:

"if i dont eat and get a drink by 8 p.m. i am going to kick a unicorn."

I mean no disrespect to unicorns, of course.
Hell, I used to love them - I had a gorgeous painting of one on a piece of driftwood and my bedroom at my parents' still has a unicorn switch plate.

And maybe I do still kinda believe that maybe, just maybe, in some lush forest on this earth, one lies in wait for someone who won't exploit it, but will love and cherish it.
Unicorn Pictures, Images and Photos
Anyway, I just figured someone would get all hot and bothered if I said "kick a baby" or "kill a man" or any other non-mythical animal.

I tried it again yesterday when I was jonesing for some ice cream:

"I would kick a unicorn for Curly Creme right about now."

{Oddly, they both regard food, but that's actually really not so odd for me since all I pretty much think about is food.}

I think "kick a unicorn" is a good catchphrase fit for me.
And if I see a unicorn charging me, I'll certainly know why.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A 'Fountainhead' of inspiration.

Not five minutes ago, I finished Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead."

When I got home tonight, I had 30 pages remaining, and it took me almost an hour to read them - a turtle's pace considering how swiftly I strode though this most amazing book.
The Fountainhead Pictures, Images and Photos
I just had to read slowly, even going back to read aloud, some of those pages because I didn't want to reach page 694.
I didn't want finish.
I didn't want to have to think about how this book affected me.

I'm still digesting it.
I want to talk to an architect.
I want to have just finished this book in 1943 when it was first published, and not today, when so much is wrong in people.
I want to break free from the mold, from the steel beams that surround me and my mind sometimes.
I want to go to New York City right now, in this slow drizzle, and see it as Wynand saw it, as Roark saw it, as I've always seen it: one of the most beautiful, inspiring places I've ever seen.
city skyline Pictures, Images and Photos
Instead, I think.
I flip through the book because I don't want to part with it yet, going back to some of the many passages that moved me.
Not only moved, but changed me. Maybe.

Gail Wynand to Dominique Keating:
"Once you've felt what it means to love as you and I know it - the total passion for the total height - you're incapable of anything less."

Roark during his Cortlandt trial:
"Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unharmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plan his food or hunt it."

From Rand herself:
"Man - every man - is an end in himself, not a means to the end of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life."


"I am a Romantic in the sense that I present men as they ought to be. I am Realistic in the sense that I place them here and now and on this earth."

I feel empowered, but not in an annoying feminist bullshit kind of way, sakes alive no.
Just empowered in myself.
And knowing's half the battle right?
Ayn Rand quote Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A night with myself.

I don't know about other people who live alone, but I talk to myself constantly.
{I'm not even ashamed to type that on the Interweb.}
It's a fact of who I am, and I've never been good at hiding the real me.

I am veritably exhausted tonight, thanks to a hellish deadline day yesterday, thus rending me with that feeling of being drunk, though the only thing I've imbibed this evening is the homemade iced tea I shuttle home from Mom's every week.
{It truly is that addicting.}

I had to shut off the TV because I found myself doing what I sometimes do to my parents/friends/coworkers when I'm "being cute:" picking one word they say, and repeating it.

For example:
- When the douche baggy host on the Current network referred to Rick Sanchez in a snarky way, I said "Sanchez" aloud to, well, no one.

It's a fun game, I highly suggest you try it with someone you love now, if not sooner.

This is one of those nights where I am really enjoying the hell out of my company.

Is that abnormal?
Or admirable?

Instead of sitting at my desk, I'm ensconced on some pillows in my living room typing on the floor. I may or may not be trying to convince myself that if the laptop's not on the desk, it doesn't really count as time in front of the computer I could have been doing something more constructive.

Like reading.
Or singing along with Sirius' Classic Vinyl (which I'm doing anyway because I'm a "multi-tasker.")
Or talking to myself ...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion" (An ode to Jack)

Jack Pictures, Images and Photos
Years ago, like a touristy sap, I read Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" the first time I went to visit my brother when he lived in California.
Before the vacation was over, the book was finished and re-read halfway.
It was the book that changed my life.
It was the book that made me decide to go back to school to become a writer.
When I read this passage,
jack kerouac Pictures, Images and Photos
it gave me goosebumps.
That lyrical tone, that imagery and that sheer genius of words.
My God, to be able to write like that!
To be able to completely change the course of someone's life with words.
With language.
It still gives me goosebumps.

This quote has been my screen saver for years - the first time I read it, I could not stop saying it out loud:
"I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."

My God.
How could someone capture that?
"I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."
Whenever I see it or pick up "On The Road" to leaf through for inspiration, I am blown away by how strong a feeling it still gives me.

That is this man named Jack Kerouac, what he does to you.

Jack Kerouac Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, May 25, 2009

A tanka for Memorial Day.

I haven't seen a WWII veteran selling red poppies in a very long time.
That makes me sad.
Every time I've ever seen someone selling them, I always bought two: one for me, and one for the memory of my beloved Pop-Pop who served in WWII.

In memoriam:
their flags still wave and snap proud
on the lush green hills
of the cemetery lawn.
Thank you, soldiers, all of you.

-- written on Memorial Day 2008.

arlington cemetary Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, May 22, 2009

A happy list.

10 things that make me happy today:

1. getting out of work early.
2. [private thought. many apologies.]
3. lounging around in the afternoon in a filmy negligee.
4. feeling sexy in that negligee with tanned skin and tousled curly hair.
5. watching neighbors.
6. leftover veal.
7. a good movie based on an excellent book.
8. church bells in the distance.
9. chocolate gelati.
10. water with a slice of lemon.

Hope you have 10 things to be happy about today too!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What I wouldn't do ...

... for a chair such as this.
I would never leave it.


Probably right, maybe wrong.

Had a most thought-provoking night thus far.
Whiling away the evening on my porch with "The Fountainhead," my skull-covered journal and my orange haiku/tanka notebook, I watched my neighbor and landlord working in their yards - and realized some things about myself.

And, when I came in and looked at the mail sitting on my desk - a cable bill and a booklet entitled "Bridal Bells" from a local jeweler - I realized some more things as I leafed through the blue book with shiny diamonds and sweet little sayings like:
"The icing to this perfect day"

"Sometimes love begins with a glance"

- I'll probably never be someone who relishes the feel of my hands digging in cold, fresh dirt, no matter how much I adore the scent of freshly-churned earth.
Dirt in hands for JB post Pictures, Images and Photos

- I'll probably never feel the cold metal of a one-carat emerald-cut bauble I won't settle for less for.
Emerald Cut Diamond CZ Ring Pictures, Images and Photos

- I'll probably never understand how people have a home they take care of themselves because they own it. (Clearly the words of a perpetual renter who can just call her landlord she affectionately calls "Mr. Roper.") (Plus, sometimes they feed me. Pizza. And sometimes ice cream cake.)
repair Pictures, Images and Photos

- I'll probably never be a really good singer. (This has already been proven true.)
Microphone Pictures, Images and Photos

- I'll probably never dance in my newly cleaned and spacious attic like I say I want to, despite taking ballerina lessons when I was 5ish, and clearly being a star Sugar Plum. (Nor will I ever be as graceful.)
ballerina Pictures, Images and Photos

- I'll probably never not paint my nails like a 5-year old.
Painted Nails Pictures, Images and Photos

- I'll probably never get tired of savoring a nicely chilled glass of bourbon whilst in complete and utter solitude in the midst of the noises of my neighborhood.
Wild Turkey American Honey Pictures, Images and Photos

- I'll probably ... but maybe I'm wrong.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Visions from my haven.

Despite its lack-of-warmth and the perpetual noise/stomping from downstairs {tonight's another loud one}, I adore my apartment.

I knew from the moment I walked up the steep stairs into it we were meant to be.
It's bright, airy and long, reminding me of a San Francisco home.
{I love San Francisco.}

We've been together for four years and just over eight months, and I absolutely love having this place be my haven.

I've written here.
I've loved here.
I've cried here.
I've laughed here.
I've grown into who I want to be here.

I've done all that among these things:
{Above: My saving grace in the morning, or how I make my hot green tea. Yes, that is a fabulous mustard-colored stove. I've now lived in two consecutive places that had the same color stove.}
{Above: If you don't know, Steve McQueen was the coolest S-O-B on earth. Recognize.}
{Above: I curl up here a lot to read and/or journal. That afghan was made by Mommalah's aunt, Sister Gabriel.}
{Above: This girl's a Lion/Stegmaier girl through and through.}
{Above: My blessed Organaire, which doesn't get played as often as its gloriousness deserves. The book includes, but is not limited to, "Silent Night," "On Top of Old Smoky," the Italian folk song "Vieni Sul Mar" and many other songs I absolutely cannot play. One day I'll rock out with my Organaire out, you just wait.}
{Above: I collect Things of Green Glass, mostly ashtrays. Came across these candlesticks at an antique shop on the way to Lycoming Mall. Peeking out of the right side is the Sirius I cannot live without.}
{Picked up this Pagan wind chime in the fabulous Emporium of Curious Goods in fabulous Jim Thorpe.}

And finally, the mother load:



Monday, May 18, 2009

Random words.

I love the words:

- Gloaming.
- Tabernacle.
{At my parochial grade school, we had to go to Mass once a week. One one side of the altar, against the wall, was a golden tabernacle and I would stare at it the entire Mass and say "Tabernacle" in my head over and over, relishing the way it rolled in my mouth.}
- Ridiculous.
- Bollocks.
- Retarded.
{Not meant to offend, honest.}
- Sicilian.
- Chockablock.
- Sicilian.
{A shout out to my heritage.}

Naturally being a writer-y kind of girl, I have many, many other words I love (many of them not suitable for print), but this will suffice for now.

- Ciao!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Where the hell am I?

I pride myself on having a pretty savvy inner compass.

I can bark directions to just about anyone as their First Mate in the Passenger's Seat (just as I learned by watching my beloved Mommalah). I can figure out how to get us out of wrong turns easily and I proudly can find my way around Manhattan as viciously as any NYC cabbie.

So what the hell was I doing getting lost on Thursday, not only on my way to an interview, but also on my way home?

Wrong Way Pictures, Images and Photos

I got all sorts of confused going up Interstate 81 and saw my exit pass by on the side of the median I should have been on. Ended up going to Jessup by way of Dickson City, Peckville and whatever other town Main Avenue takes you on.

Finally met interviewee at her house - after calling her twice to find out how to get there because I clearly did not write the directions down properly.

Two hours later, I left her house and proceeded up the road the way I could swear was to 81.

Like a desert oasis, 81 never appeared. Instead, I found myself driving with a nearly empty tank of gas. In a torrential downpour. On a desolate country road.

Finally, like a beacon of hope in the wet sheets pounding on the Bitch pod, a stoplight appeared out of nowhere.

In front of me, was the on ramp to Interstate 84 - the exact opposite of where I should be at this time. I looked left and recognized the remains of Joe's Market, where I used to go grocery shopping with my Pop-Pop as a child. I was damn close to Hamlin.

Sighing, and on the verge of tears, the Bitch pod and I trudged through the horrible storm homeward. The rain was terrible to drive in and if I wasn't so exhausted, ravenous and pissed, I would have pulled over to wait it out.

As I neared Campbell's Ledge, it was the weirdest thing: I drove out of the black storm and into the most beautiful sun I'd ever seen. It was like a welcome wagon.

Finally got on 81 South and breathed a sigh of relief.
To my left, just over DeNaple's Junkyard, was the most gorgeous rainbow - a double one in fact. So brilliantly ROYGBIV against the black background I had just left behind. I could see both ends of it - it was exquisite.
{I was almost tempted to stop to take a photo of its glory, but given the day's past incidents, I opted to not get out of my car until I got home, just in case.}

Near the airport was another double rainbow, and I felt like both of them were put there just for me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Rock, flag and eagle."

Last year, I became addicted to "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
The first episode I ever saw was "The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis."
I laughed so hard I snorted. At least a thousand times.
I. Was. Hooked.

"Wild Card" Charlie is my absolute favorite.
It's Always Sunny Pictures, Images and Photos

Though the gas episode is tied with several episodes for my Absolute Favorite, it is hard to beat "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass." Charlie becomes a denim-on-denim do-rag clad American and, when telling off his friends for not supporting his patriotism, he out of nowhere bellows this little ditty:

Charlie Kelly: [Charlie's America Song] I'm gonna rise up, I'm gonna kick a little ass, Gonna kick some ass in the USA, Gonna climb a mountain, Gonna sew a flag, Gonna fly on an Eagle, I'm gonna kick some butt, I'm gonna drive a big truck, I'm gonna rule this world, Gonna kick some ass, Gonna rise up, Kick a little ass, ROCK, FLAG AND EAGLE!

It is possibly the most brilliant comedic moment I've ever seen on TV.
I actually fell off my couch laughing as I watched it.

I can't get over what assholes the characters are - or how much I adore them.

Having said that, I've got a hot date with "The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Moirthday Mom?

I bought my mom a gorgeous Hallmark card for Mother's Day.
It's a soft pinkish hue with burgundy velvet flowers on the outside and exactly what I wanted to express to her on the inside.

Wrapped her presents this morning in gorgeous sage green paper, and sat down to sign this aforementioned Gorgeous Hallmark Card.

Decided to reread it, knowing she was going to just bawl over it (which I discuss here:, an exercise which make me cuss very early on this nice fine sunny Saturday morn.

The card ends:
"If I could give you anything
in return for all you've given me,
it would have to be
the love I hold in my heart always
for you.


(good thing I always back up sappy cards with a funny one. But arrrrgh!)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"She's a summer love in the spring, fall and winter. She can make happy any man alive."

Went the Frank Costanza route by creating my own "Serenity Now!" phrase.
Meant to:
- diffuse internal-self bombs.
- chant to myself to take me to my "happy place," if you will.

I tried the word "grasshopper" many moons ago, when I was mad addicted to "Kung Fu." But it didn't cut it, so I gave up.

Until now ...

I have decided upon "Sugar magnolia" as my "get happy" phrase.
If, yes, it does seem like I'm on a serious Grateful Dead kick, it's probably because I am.

After seeing the Jerry-less incarnation, The Dead, I really do feel changed.
{Almost like I'd love to do nothing with my life but follow the remains of the GD in this form, and any of its members' bands.}
Like a spark of self-awareness was lit.
Like now is the time to stop being my own worst enemy and start being me.

Something in me definitely opened, blossomed even - maybe it was all the second-hand pot I couldn't help but inhale but I digress. Since "Sugar Magnolia" is in my Top 5 All-Time Favorite Songs, what perfect phrase to capture my serenity? To take me to my happy place?

"Magnolia" Pictures, Images and Photos

"Sunshine, daydream,
walking in the tall trees,
going where the wind goes
Blooming like a red rose,
breathing more freely ..."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The pursuit of Happy Lists.

Last week, Naomi, the writer one of my favorite blogs (read it here: a down day.
{You know exactly what that means because we've all been there.}

She soon posted a "10 things that make me terribly happy list," then opened it up to readers of her blog.

Naturally I commented a list of my own, along with hundreds of other readers of "The Rockstar Diaries."

I've since gone on to make four more lists when I felt kinda down the last few days.

I've decided to keep a running document to ... document these happy triggers, to remind me that curve balls, too, are still hittable. I only have to swing.

{"Do or do not. There is no try," said the wise Jedi Yoda.}

It makes me feel good to think that, even on a day like today, Tuesday, May 5, when I had to go to the mall to surround myself with people to calm my raging heart, I was able to come up with 10 things to still be happy about.
10 things to be thankful for feeling.
10 simple things.

Here are today's 10 things that make me happy:

1. Using Wite-Out.
2. A phone call from my beloved brother.
3. When the family downstairs retires and the house is blessedly quiet at last.
4. Tanning.
5. Knowing that I will be always be OK. Even if it hurts a little now.
6. The smell of my skull-covered journal. (it smells like Tova Nights perfume!)
7. A Lean Cuisine pepperoni pizza.
8. Knowing that I stuck to my diet/exercise goals today.
9. Writing my food column. Bonus: it makes me hungry every week.
10. Never letting the bastard(s) wear me down.

Here's yesterday's 10 things that make me happy:

1. Surprise visit from Mommalah.
2. Smelling dryer sheets from a vent while outside.
3. The Grateful Dead.
4. Writing haiku on rainy nights.
5. Wild Turkey American Honey.
6. Writing a blog of photos with quippy quips.
7. Knowing that I worked out hard-core twice today – and am doing it again tomorrow.
8. The smell of a new batch of checks.
9. That fresh feeling that can only come from washing my face before bed.
10. Shutting out the light to take a trip to slumbertown.

Thank you Naomi/Rockstar Diaries for the inspiration - and reminding me it's the little things that get you through.

I don't ever want to be someone who isn't moved by the little things.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Philly photo blog. (Should that be plog?)

{Self photo on a rainy way to Philadelphia.}

{These feet would 1. Get horribly wet on Friday; and 2. Horribly filthy at the Dead show on Saturday. Both totally worth it.}

{The first of Friday's three Guinness'. (From Mace's Crossing Pub in Logan Circle/Square) Delightful! AND I didn't get all stuffed up. Apparantly, only allergic if I slam it. Good to know.}

{The whole reason for the weekend jaunt. Ad from City Paper.}

Following photos:
The sun came out long enough for me to snap some great shots of Logan Circle/Square:

{Below: I adore this photo!}
{Above: Me tourist posing. Notice the hipster cuffed jeans. I think I've discovered a new look that I love.}
{Above: Definitely my favorite photo of the fountain.}
{Don't you just want to frolic with the frog? Maybe get a little dirty water frog flu?}
{Above: Loved this little brick utility-ish building. I'd live there quite happily me thinks.}
Curious pigeon
you didn't run away, just
stayed as you got bread.

{Above: Barbed wire on a pretty street. That's the Philly I expected.}

{Guac and salsa from Mission Grill on Arch Street. SO GOOD!}

{I was not offered a bite of this swordfish, but heard tell it was good.}

{Mission Grill's damn good Southwest turkey wrap.}

{Sign outside the First Unitarian Church where I saw Lewis & Clarke and an amazing Bat for Lashes - I didn't have an epiphany, but saw some weird shit while staring at the stained glass windows as both bands played. Spooky - and cool at the same time!}

{The parking garage door had to open for us and us alone. Felt pretty high-falutin, yes, yes we did.}

{Kaya, the sweetest dog ever. Knocks on door to be let back in!}

{Leaky cooler is not good for the tailgating business.}

{Somehow, this tree was fitting to be outside a Dead show, yes?}

{Camera skills are going doing the drain at this point ...}

{She would not stop Windexing the outside of her car!}

{I sure did wear an American Beauty in my hair to the show. It now resides on my dresser.}

The following are photos - albeit bad ones - from the Dead show. Thought they were kind of ethereal, thus making them worth posting.
{"If I had my way, if I had my way, if I had my way,
I would tear this old building down."}