Friday, February 22, 2008

Honky Tonk Memories

Chaos-as judged by how much crap is being stored on my bed-- descended briefly on my condo this week. For a couple days there, every inch of my bed was covered: with books, skiing gear, clean laundry, dirty laundry,and-to top it all off - a generous sprinkling of cracker crumbs that fell out of my backpack.

Now most of it is gone except a couple books, a few cracker crumbs and, the bag that I'm packing for this weekend. I'm off to do the Hog Loppet again - that fun silly ski event in Leavenworth wherein you ski 30 kilmoters just for the fun of it, thereby rendering yourself unable to walk for several days.

Not that I have time for such frippery. Numerous deadlines are encroaching on me next week: classes to teach, articles to write, all of which I am seriously underprepared for. Who knew that being unemployed would be so much work?

Meanwhile, my band played to a small but PBR-primed crowd at the Mars Bar last night (see poster above). I played a new piano intro to one of our songs that I worked and WORKED on to the point where I knew I was working on it too much and then of course I effed it up - leaving out the cool fill that would have made me sound like a real honky tonk piano player instead of some chick from Palo Alto who who grew up playing Mozart. But at least I didn't play any wrong notes; I just left out the coolest part and messed up the rhythm the tiniest bit.

I couldn't hear myself when I sang harmony either so for all I know I could have been singing something that was totally NOT harmonic at all. But people were dancing to our songs and that makes it all a success. Plus we made five bucks apiece. With that and my unemployment checks, I am rolling in it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Grover to the Rescue!

I've had a case of the blahs lately. My day to day life feels dull. Dull! And this despite the variety of exciting projects I'm working on such as a new novel featuring a lovable but repressed public defender; my blogging class full of funny, motivated students; creative writing workshops for kids, and, uh, some other stuff that is also no doubt very exciting but that I can't remember right now. (Photo of Grover courtesty of Muppet Wiki)

Part of it is that I spend too much damn time alone. Sometimes the only people I talk to the whole working day are baristas who make my coffee. Part of it is just being jaded and momentarily ungrateful of the great BOUNTY that is my life, full as it is of health, fun fame, and hot men. I mean man. Hopefully I'll snap out of it soon.

Yesterday's blahs, however, were blown away by a class full of kindergarten students who formed the uber-appreciative audience to my stellar reading of "Where the Wild Things Are" and "The Monster at the End of This Book." (I volunteer for a literacy program called Page Ahead where I read stories twice a month to a kindergarten class).

The Monster at the End of This Book (featuring the lovable muppet Grover), while perhaps not as famous as Where the Wild Things are, is a minor classic in its own right. I remember being both terrified and thrilled when I read this book as a child. On every page Grover warns you not to turn another page because there was a MONSTER AT THE END OF THE BOOK! His warnings turn to begging; his begging to desperate pleas. DON'T TURN THE PAGE! tension grows. You are terrified; and then...

Well, I don't want to give the ending away. But let me say that at first I felt guilty reading this story to these children, who started clutching each other in fear, their gasps turning to to screams after every single page ("NO NO DON'T TURN IT!"), so that by the end of the book it was mass hysteria, and I thought oh no, I've forever traumatized them!

But apparently not, because "Read it again!" they all screamed when it was over.

Now how can you be blah after that?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Me No Like Driving in Snow

Sigh. Not to complain or anything but the freelance lifestyle is giving me a headache. (That is the front of my new vest. More about that later.)

Working by myself has lost some of its allure. Oh sure I get to hang out in cafe after cafe but sometimes you just get a little jaded by that. And how many grande extra hot soy lattes can I drink in a day anyway before I start moving on to more fattening things or alcoholic beverages?

I like my new gig at Mt. Rainier. But that has its challenges too. It's like going on vacation and coming back once a week, with all the attendant excitement and anticlimax and packing and unpacking and garbage starting to smell while you're gone and ignoring more practical tasks that you should be doing (ie practicing piano or earning a living). Let's not even discuss snow driving.

I don't do snow. I grew up in California and never drove in the damn snow. There are no passes that you have to cross to get to Mt. Rainier, which fooled me into thinking that I wouldn't have to deal much with snow, but I forgot. It is - literally - one of the SNOWIEST PLACES ON EARTH. In 1972, it held the world record for snowfall!

Last week not only did I have knock two feet of snow off my car(with a tiny, ineffectual ice scraper suitable for tiny amounts of ice), which resulted in snow all over me and inside my car, I then had to drive for at least thirty miles on icy, snowy roads on a two lane highway in the dark with snow doing that horizontal thing it does that makes you all disoriented. Yes, those of you from snowier parts of this country can MOCK ME NOW.

I've never been so happy to see the strip-mauled suburb of South Hill (known as as "South Hell" as those who drive through it all the time), with its lights and many lanes and rain instead of snow.

In other news, I bought a new vest. Last week I wore this vest to a party at which I encountered the Seattle rock star Rachel Flotard of Visqueen. I saw Rachel perform last spring at the Sasquatch Festival and wished that I could be just like her. So when she showed up at this party, I was too shy to speak to her for most of the night.But when I did, she was quite charming and friendly. AND she raved about my brand-new used vest I had bought that very day at Buffalo Exchange. I glowed with her compliments for the next two days. (That is the back of my vest.)

Then, just yesterday, I saw her again in Victrola (whose help has gotten kind of surly, I must say) and I was wearing the same vest! (Wouldn't you wear this vest every day if it was yours?) Anyway, I deliberately avoided her and luckily she did not see me.

OK, this story needs a better ending. But I don't have one.This is the kind of situation Teahouse Blossom--the queen of slice-of-life vignettes -- would write about. Only she would give it a punchy ending and write about it better than me.