Monday, March 29, 2004

Long time no blog. Sorry to several of you who hate my comment box. It takes your thoughts to never-never land before any of us can read them. Therefore, we all hate my comment box--boo.

I don't know if there's a solution in sight. Maybe we can post about it.

Friday, March 12, 2004

They keep posting this SXSW, Club Deville thing on the login page. It's trickery, fuzzy visions in sight through the NYC haze . . .

More things I hate: sweet 10-year olds who scream you effing b with two middle fingers up, chicken skin, spilling coffee down my middle while missing my mouth, mail, energy-sucking stress, one-man shows, having nothing much to be jazzed about, bad coffee, jiggle in my wiggle, extreme makeovers, people who opt out, base on your face.

Some things I love: easy passes in my windshield, the open road, country music (I don't care if it's crap), turning arguments inside out, driving, checking off lists, "Hands on a Hard Body," singing anywhere anytime, grocery shopping, sago palms, The Pacific Northwest, Napa Valley, Mexico, lime in your drink, being under water, shockingly hot showers, fresh flowers, hills, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, German Expressionist paintings, essays, kisses, forgiveness, being your best.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Music is coming out of my purse. It's loud for purse music. The treble is high--pure and piercing like your chest voice on the high notes. I've been thinking about church. Jeff and I were born to parents with differing views on the Lord. It occurred to me while watching "Rock Star Daughters," a new VH1 docu-wonder (I didn't really watch it; background only, assuredly), that my dad is a rock star dad. He totally is. It all makes sense to me--what I've been trying to make sense of. He's rock-n-roll like the Stones, graying with a cigarette slanting down from his mouth as often as he can manage it.

So my dad grew up rigid Presbyterian, and my mom grew up higher-order Methodist, the sophisticated Christians who deemed themselves thinkers, progressive for their tolerance on biblical and moral matters, and ever the appreciaters of classical music, traditional hymns accompanied by Bach organ, of course, but often by a striking mezzo soprano or a string quartet. I don't know much about the way my dad grew up in the church except for his defiance of it. I've heard some story about him forbidding my mother to baptize us, to raise us like he'd been raised. Dad's a contrary to polite society, to the norms of society. So, indeed, he did not scurry us off to Sunday school. I'm not sure what my mom's story was in those days. I know we went to a Presbyterian church in Denton when we were toddlers, not for very long though. We always skipped stones, from church to church, through the growing up years. After Denton it was onto University United Methodist on the University of Texas campus. That's where the beautiful mezzo soprano came into our lives. She had thick chocolate hair full of texture like her voice. It fell back away from her forehead, highlighting her burgundy lips and sculpted cheek bones. The mezzo soprano held herself in the most serene way, allowing the tones to come from her center.

We stayed at that church for a few years, mostly because of her. I sang in the youth choir and looked forward to the juice and cookies in the courtyard after the service each Sunday. Jeff, well, he looked forward to music coming out of his earphones while sitting in the balcony by himself. Defiant.

Mom grew tired of fighting her children. Whines and even stronger protests coming from her adolescent son, we never went as a family again. I think it was my sophomore year in high school when I knew something was missing for me. I didn't fit in. I didn't know myself, but knew that I could, if only I were exposed to the right elements, friends maybe. Maybe it was in music or places, food, texts, circles of discussion. It was there, but I was far away from it. I didn't know myself like I wanted to. I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to go to church again. Just me and mom. We tried out five or six, an Episcopal that my mother was high on. The sanctuary was nice, the exterior architecture too. I wanted a pretty place, aesthetic beauty to cradle me. I could easily dismiss an option before ever reading a program or hearing a sermon just by doing a drive-by. Mom and I agreed. We both wanted what was familiar, and we wanted a preacher man or woman who would make us consider life, the world around us, and the people we encounter. I was looking for ritual to keep me whole. What we inherit feeds that element within ourselves, whether it's defiance or music, or sophistication, or simple tradition.

My grandparents were members of the First United Methodist Church of Richardson, Texas for years. I remember the little offering envelopes that hung before you as you sat in the pews, and the round sanctuary, like a hexagon. My grandmother was an alto with a large vibrato who sang out in church. She liked to hum the hymns at home or in the car. I love my church inheritance more than my defiant inheritance, but I take both, sometimes with a bitter pill when the defiance alienates us from one another.

By the way . . . in those years, my mom very much resembled the mezzo soprano.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

I am not a follower of the Martha Stewart case. Upon learning that she was being prosecuted, I'm sure I thought something or other about it being an easily dismissible, forgivable offense. Her guilt or innocence wasn't a question. But as word of the trial began coming in the sound bites more often, I began probing a few minds here and there to help me piece together what I think. And what I've gotten are two ends of the spectrum--vehement argument for severe punishment with assured guilt before a verdict came through; and then vehement disdain for our American culture who chooses to hold up Kobe Bryant and Martha Stewart as its worst sinners.

The verdict came to me on my lap as I lay on the blue cushions that pillow me after school each day. Searching for either a cooking show of interest or maybe Ellen, I was interrupted by reports of Martha's guilt on all counts. Since then I've bought the paper each day, reading the stories, looking at the photographs of her almost always brushing a manicured clump of golden-gray hair behind her ear.

I am an admirer of Martha's ability first. Anyone who is a doer is a good thing in my book. She's like my grandmother or Eleanor Roosevelt, like all the ladies who are determined at their core and composed in their air. They rise above the times and go on with their business, full with purpose. But beyond what she does and what she's created, Martha has positively contributed to the culture, taking things back home, to the ways of our grandparents who took pride in the mundane tasks of sewing a straight hem or weed-eating and then bagging the mowed grass on a hot July day. If you don't do it with your own hands you lose the gratification from the effort--pride in yourself and what you are able to create and keep. Several generations now have been without. It's a Fast Food Nation, yes?

Martha is a foremother of American culture; and yet, she is in her guilt of corruption for monetary gain, again, a foremother of American culture.
Some anonymous person has been itching for it, so here it is--another list, a particular kind of list, not about what's top-notch in a certain genre, say, life or in the music television world. No, just the opposite.

"Things I Hate"

--mouseys named Fredrick who twitch as they die upon your bathroom threshhold
--three-hour movies about the murder of christ
--viewing your own bitten-down fingernails in shame
--clam juice
--people called "Uncle Cracker"
--crackers--all kinds
--the whole metal teeth fad (reminds me of Jaws in that James Bond movie)
--SNL skits
--Dick Gephardt
--innards, like barbacoa y lengua
--particle board, faux finishes, wallpaper borders
--sometimes Oprah
--crying on birthdays, which I used to do
--false pretenses
--techno music
--The Real World
--Sex and the City (I waffle on this one)
--musicals. I said it, okay.
--the phone ringing
--displeasing loved ones, falling short you could say.

Once you start, it's hard to stop. Post away all you haters out there.