Saturday, June 28, 2008

tour part 2

played kirby's last night. always a good time, even when you think that it is going to be that ONE time when the place does not deliver. in the end, it is about the people...which leads into something i have been thinking about on this tour..the people. at the end of the day, we are doing what we are doing so that we can connect ourselves to other people through the performance of music. when there are no people..which has only happened once or twice in the last 6 years it can be, obviously, very hard to deal with. but those nights where there are only 4 or 5 people in in bozeman on a monday night...well...sometimes those are the best shows. that is a common cliche of course..but when you have been gone from home for weeks...having some sort of connection and appreciation for what you are trying to do feels really good.

and then there is the food. i wont complain about it. we all know what diner food is like. all i will say is that i am going to be eating food made on my stove in my kitchen for the next two weeks. and i am very grateful for the cleanliness of my bathroom.

Friday, June 27, 2008


If had been a long week of work eating my life. I needed some sunshine and a way to get my brain out of the office. So I ran home from work. About 8 blocks from home, I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and took a total header. I fell hard enough that my glasses flew off, and I kind of lay on the sidewalk for a minute waiting for the return of the wind I'd just knocked out of myself. Various parts of my body hurt, but I got up and finished my run. I stopped at the gas station by my house to get some antiseptic and beer (I kind of figured I earned the beer).

Then I got home and discovered we had no bandages. So I went back to the gas station. I scraped up my elbow and leg pretty good; none of the bandages were big enough. So I got a dusty old box of gauze wrapping and some dusty medical tape. Each time I went into the gas station, I stood in line and watched as the dude behind the counter made nice with every other lady who was in there. It was Friday night. All the girlies were dressed nice, smelling good, buying beer for their fun evenings out. But not me. I was sweaty and stinky and bloody, and the gas station dude never even made eye contact with me. Not once in either of the times I was in there.

Walking home, I realized you actually need gauze pads to go under the gauze wrapping to cover the wound. (Well, OK, I didn't realize it- that's what was written on the back of the box of gauze wrapping.) I didn't have any stupid gauze pads. But I didn't care. I'd already cleaned the dirt out of everything and used the antiseptic. So I just used toilet paper. Then I called Aa and left a truly pathetic message about how much I would have liked him to be home tonight. (It's tough to wrap gauze around your elbow with no help!) Then I burst into tears.

During my whole little saga, the Zacker was sitting and staring at me expectantly. So I got it together, changed my clothes, and took him for a walk. A block away from my house, some guy was working on his motorcycle. He was blaring music from his car radio. It took me a second to identify it. But then I did - it was"Shoplifters of the World Unite" by The Smiths. I started grinning, and as we walked by motorcycle guy, I thanked him for playing it. "I was in a real shitty mood until just a minute ago. But getting to hear this song just made me very happy", I said. He smiled and said "You bet. Just remember you'll never be as miserable as these fuckers". Which I think is the best thing I've heard all week. So, motorcycle-fixing Smith-listening neighbor man, again I say thank you for snapping me out of my fantastically crappy mood. And I suppose I should thank Morrissey, too, for always being a more miserable fucker than me.

UPDATE: Never use toilet paper on bloody scrapes instead of cotton or gauze. Seriously. Because the next morning you'll go to re-dress the scrapes and you'll find some of the TP has gotten so soaked it's basically become part of the wound! Then you have to pull the TP out. And yes, that does suck mightily. But still. Morrissey! More miserable! Hey!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


i am on tour with the band and i am tired..but having fun. the heat and humidity of the midwest has been a welcome taste of home and a reminder of why the northwest can be so cozy sometimes. 90+ temp days take their toll.

that said, the shows have been great for the most part. we are playing better than we ever have...the songs are working well and the crowd response has been affirming. if you want to see pics...check out ryan's blog..the photographer who is traveling with us for the 2nd time around..he is a glutton for punishment...but we are very happy that he has joined us again.

Anyway...i could write so much more about the tour experience..and this is our sixth..but i don't really know what more i could say right now as i am so in the thick of being gone...and yet being at home every night on stage...that it is a confusing mess of emotions and thoughts and distances and people that i just would not be able to write anything that would have any degree of coherence.

more when i get back.

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Tricks

I'd say it took me longer to really figure out how to drive than most people. After getting my drivers license, my first solo jaunt in a car (to drop off a video a mere 8 blocks from my house) led to me forgetting when I could turn left, getting beeped at, freaking out, turning into oncoming traffic, and then running over a bush on an island at a gas station to avoid hitting another car head-on. Hardly a success. Another time, on a post-college road trip to Graceland, I ignored the gas gauge while taking my turn driving. We wound up on back roads in the middle of Kentucky looking for someone who could help us either find a gas station or get extra gas. My friend Karen, who owned the car we drove, kept asking how I could forget about the gas gauge. I still don't have an answer for that question. I just did.

When I lived in Chicago, I never owned a car and was thrilled about it. I didn't need a car. I could walk or take transportation, or if absolutely necessary, get a cab with no problem. (I didn't like spending money on cabs unless I really needed to be somewhere.) I planned my routes so I could do everything I needed - shop for groceries mainly, but also take care of other necessary errands. Even when I was totally broke and jobless, I could still afford to take public transportation if I saved my change. My friends with cars always seemed to be in an endless war with the city - and the city was always winning. They needed to move their cars every 6 hours to avoid being towed. They would waste time circling around looking for places to park near the bars they frequented. They'd get tickets on a monthly basis. I never felt superior to friends who had cars - hell, they'd give me lifts places sometimes, and it was a fun treat - but I also knew I was just not cut out to be a car owner.

7 + years ago, Aa and I moved here to Seattle. And almost immediately, I got my first car. It actually belonged to Aa's grandparents - a red Geo Metro with about 19 miles on it. It was adorable, but it felt like driving a whiffle ball. I liked the car, but I hated all the obligation that came along with it. I sold that car because I found I hated car ownership. But a year later, I found myself so frustrated with Seattle's bus system, I bought another car - a 1991 Honda Accord. It was a good car, but I still hated everything that came along with ownership. It drove me nuts. Part of the problem was I couldn't let go of the anger I felt at Seattle. I'd moved to a city, goddammit. Why the hell did I need a car to get so many places? For the longest time, I thought of Seattle as an arrogant suburb rather than a city. To be honest, sometimes I still do.

But I digress. During the last 7ish years of my roller coaster relationship with cars, Aa happily drove around a little 1998 Volkswagen GTI. He bought it almost as soon as we got out here. He's done all kinds of things to the car that he says makes it "more responsive". As a passenger, I think he just made the car louder and bumpier. But the thing with the GTI is, it's a manual transmission. And, grandma that I am, I never learned to drive stick shift. Aa tried to teach me once. It didn't go well. So I've spent the last several years (! YEARS!!) simultaneously pledging to learn to drive stick and sort of putting it off. I like to think it's not entirely my fault. Most people will spend a Saturday afternoon in a parking lot with you and think you're ready to go. Uh, no. I am a student with special needs. This means that over the years I've had sporadic lessons, but was still terrified to take the GTI out on the street.

A couple of months ago, my friends Phyllis and Julian showed up on my doorstep. Phyllis had just gotten a car w/ a manual transmission. And Julian was committed to teaching me to drive stick that day. I was shocked. And freaked the fuck out. But I went with them and spent 3 hours in a parking lot. And then - glory of glories! - I drove Phyllis' car to the pet food store and home. It was THRILLING.

Since then, I have driven the GTI only very rarely. The car, in my mind, is still Aa's car. And he is into his car in a way most people I know are not into their cars. This is not to say he's like a meathead about it - he just likes his car and pays a lot of attention to it. So driving that car in a less-than-expert fashion kind of freaks my shit out.

Aa's on tour till early July. And this weekend, I found I had to drive the GTI. My palms were sweaty, I talked to myself a lot, and I killed the engine more than I care to admit. But by yesterday evening, I was able to go from a stop to first gear without killing the engine. I wasn't talking to myself as much. My palms were still sweating, but I was actually having fun.

I don't think I'll ever come to love driving. (Nor, honestly, will I ever forgive Seattle for forcing me to become more car-centric, but that's something else entirely) But this weekend, I leapt over some hurdle with driving and the GTI and a bunch of other stuff. It's exciting, and I'm really proud of myself. And I don't hate the act of driving nearly as much as I used to.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do you live in the greater Chicagoland area?

Pictures of Aaron and a pickle at The Bagel by the awesome Ryan Schierling, who is on tour w/ the band for the second sweaty Midwestern summer in a row.

If so, you should go to The Darkroom tonight and see Spanish for 100. (The Darkroom is a "new" bar. By that I mean it opened after I left Chicago in 2001.) The show starts around 9, and the guys are the only band playing tonight (??), which means you can roll in, see them kick some ass, and then hang out and have a decent conversation w/o worrying about when the next band will start, forcing you to yell. Also, buy a T-shirt! They're pretty cute. And, gas is expensive. Dang.

Sort of related: Tankboy, what's your deal w/ dudes in undies?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bye Edith

Edith Macefield died earlier this week. She was 86. Edith refused to sell her teeny Ballard house to developers back in 2001. So the developers have been building around her house. It's in many ways a real-life version of this Disney cartoon. Except Edith never got married or had kids. And the house can't blush, as far as I can tell. Or blink. Um, and it doesn't have a nose.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Happyish Flood Story

I got to talk to the Gregory family at Black Sheep Creamery in southwestwern Washington about how their farm and home were totally destroyed by floods in December. And then how, in 6 months, a volunteer effort that was nothing short of miraculous helped them get back on their feet again.

You can hear the story I did that aired yesterday on Weekend America here. (It's the first story.) You can hear a much longer interview I did with Brad Gregory here (about 13 minutes in). Lots more lambies making noise in that second one.

And, yes, I know, the guys at Weekend America spelled my last name wrong. I asked them to fix it. I'm sure they will soon.

And, no, I don't care that the only people who ever spell my last name right are relatives who have the same last name. I'm still not changing it when I get weddinged.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why I'll be moving to Nebraska

Or at least thinking pretty hard about it...because my most awesome sister lives there, see. And she's having a baby.

I am so excited I can barely stand it. I'm gonna be an aunt to the smartest, funniest, cutest kid ever. Seriously, there's no way this kid won't be President or something given who the parents are. All of that is totally objective assessment. Cold hard fact.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thank you!

Thanks to all of you for your nice notes and suggestions for chilling myself out when my brain starts to spiral into crazy. A lot of it has been really helpful. I'm feeling a lot less spazzy and freaked.

Also? I don't know how many times I have to re-learn this but exercise really, really helps (as mentioned by the brilliant ladies over at C and C's neighborhood). Hugging the Zacker works too. Although he can really only stand so much cuddling before he gets annoyed, unless he's the one to initiate.

K, so anyway, thank you all. You guys are pretty nice.