Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking for Midnight

I'm having a difficult time getting into the new book. I've probably done way too much pre-planning. But another issue is that I don't have a playlist.

I listen to music when I write. Music keeps me in the story. Without a play list, I'm lost. The only song I can think of is Vanity Faire's EARLY IN THE MORNING. Which I will download when I have my desktop computer back up and running (thank you EJ!).

But I'm thinking that this book, THE HOME TEAM, requires midnight songs. I can think of only three . . . MIDNIGHT CONFESSION (The Grass Roots); WALKING AFTER MIDNIGHT (Patsy Cline); MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA (Gladys Knight and the Pips).

So I'm putting the question out there: what other midnight songs are there?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stephen King's 11/22/63: A Review

I just finished reading Stephen King's newest novel, 11/22/63.

I feel as if I were misled.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good book, well-written and compelling. But it's not the story I thought I was going to read.

The review that made me interested in picking up the book led me to believe the premise was an alternate reality -- what the USA and the world would be like if President John F. Kennedy had not been assassinated in 1963.

Instead, I got a time travel novel.

The bulk of the story deals with the protagonist's life after he leaves 2011 and goes back in time to 1958. Most of the action takes place between 1958 and November 1963, detailing how the protagonist plans to stop the assassination. Pages 748 - 842 tell the immediate aftermath of the failed murder, give a brief, Cliff Notes version of what the world would be had JFK lived, and the protagonist's reaction to that world. Pages 801 to the middle of page 818 -- that's what there is of what happened because the President didn't die that day in Dallas.

I am keenly disappointed.

I wanted King's rich imagination and vivid prose to create the New Frontier promised to America by Kennedy. I wanted to know how things might have been had Johnson not been president. There was so much going on in the country then: Vietnam, Civil Rights, Women's Rights, The Space Race, the Cold War. Did Haight-Ashbury and the Summer of Love happen? Woodstock? Kent State?

Discussing this with TV Stevie, I learned he also thought the book was about what ifs. I doubt we read the same review.

I confess I haven't read a lot of King's newer works -- THE STAND or THE DEAD ZONE was probably one of the last ones I read. (Well, not counting his landmark ON WRITING. Every writer needs to read that book at least four times.) There were several places in 11/22/63 that seemed as if King were going to . . . be King (for lack of a better phrase) by tossing the reader into some horrible paranormal situation, but it never happened. Of course, there are those who will say the late 1950s/early 1960s fit that description perfectly.

 I don't blame King for my disappointment: He didn't misrepresent his book. He wrote a good book. It's just not the book I wanted to read.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


There's a new Creekwalk in town. Last weekend, TV Stevie and I walked from the Inner Harbor to the Armory Square district in downtown Syracuse. It was a nice walk. The city has done a wonderful job with this project.

Today, we walked the Inner Harbor to Onondaga Lake portion.
Onondaga Lake end of the new Creekwalk in Syracuse
That leg of the walk is about 10-minutes shorter (round trip) than Inner-Harbor-to-Armory-Square. We didn't particularly care for the part where we had to walk over the bridge on Hiawatha Boulevard (near THE Mall), but the rest of the walk was wonderful.

Each leg of the walk is different, going through different terrain, providing different views. Today felt very rural, with tall cat tails waving in the breeze, We enjoyed this as much as we did last weekend's excursion through Franklin Square and downtown Syracuse.

Both days, we ran into many other couples also talking advantage of  the unseasonably mild weather. It was good to see people taking advantage of what the area has to offer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Writing Revelations

Last night I finally put together my plotting board. I've been meaning to do this for years, but somehow never got around to it. I used Michael Hauge, Alexandra Sokoloff, Chris Vogler, and Blake Snyder's methods, each one in a different color. It's not very neat, but it sure is pretty.
As you can see, I've started putting sticky notes on it.

As I was writing in the beats, turning points, sequences, whatever, it occurred to me that one could do tarot spreads based on Synder's beats and Vogler's stages to help plot the book.

This morning I pulled out my handy-dandy Osho Zen tarot deck and started doing just that. It was . . . amazing. And so many of the same cards kept showing up.

Now probably someone else has already figured this out, but it was a new idea for me. I'm having fun with it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I had the best grandmothers, and I miss them both very much.

Gramma C used to bake me cookies with raisins. My dad doesn't like raisins, so I never had raisin cookies at home, making Gramma's raisin cookies a special treat. When she and my grandfather sold their farm and Gramma offered to let us take something we wanted, I chose the Aunt Jemima cookie jar.

When I was in high school and wanted pet house plants -- purple ones, no less -- Gramma gave me clippings of her coleus and wandering jew. I had those plants for years, until I moved into an apartment that was toxic to plants. (It killed my basil, too, a trauma I still haven't gotten over.)

Gramma T used to make Barbie doll clothes for all of her granddaughters. I still have most of mine -- except for the white satin wedding gown trimmed with pale blue ribbon. The girl down the street "borrowed" it and never returned it. I always thought I'd share the clothes and my dolls with my daughter, but X-Chromo wasn't into Barbies -- or even dolls -- all that much.

Even more than purple plants and homemade Barbie clothes, I have memories. Holidays spent with my sprawling extended families, laughter, fabulous food, and love.

I'm lucky and I'm thankful.

If Gramma C or Gramma T are reading the 'net somewhere, I love you, I miss you.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Election Day & Voting

So glad Election Day is finally here!

  • no more automatic messages on my home voice mail
  • no more inopportune calls that start out, "I can't believe (insert candidate's name) is running for (insert office)!" then proceed to tell you what scum the aforementioned candidate is.
These calls makes one want to get rid of one's landline. 
  • Why are politicians exempt from the DO NOT CALL registry?
  • Why are politicians also exempt from the bot-call laws (where a computer can't call you and stay on the line even after you've hung up the phone)?
I don't like my county's "new" method of "voting". Another woman and I were discussing this while on-line to cast our votes this morning. Neither of us think very much of this so-called progress. The folders provided for "privacy" were half the size needed to shield the ballot. The Poll Watcher -- the man who can read your ballot  (so much for a secret ballot!) -- tried to tell us that the new system was much more handicap accessible.

Sorry. Not buying into that. I mean, how do blind people fill in those little dots? Or people with Parkinson's Disease? And so many of the senior citizens at my polling place this morning had to refill in their ballots because the scanner wouldn't accept them.  Some ballots had to be scanned multiple times in order to completely "take." 

Doesn't anyone besides me remember that seniors having difficulty with ballots is what allowed the Bush Brothers to collude and steal the Florida electoral votes several years ago, changing the course of American history?

And what's up with no one for whom to vote?

The two most important races in my area (in my opinion) had only the incumbents on the ballot. No other party even bothered to put up candidates. My tax dollars are paying for a non-election?

But I did my civic duty.l

I exercised my right to vote.

And this blog is an exercise in my Freedom of Speech.

Is the USA a great country or what.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Molly's Crackpot Theory # 3547: Baseball is Geometry, Football is Algebra

Several years ago, on one of my earlier blogs, I wrote Writing & 'Rithmatic, about how the women writers I know all hated math, but loved geometry.

The same subject turned up this week on FaceBook, on author Eileen Dreyer's page. It started with the Mercedes ad (below), which led to a discussion of left brain versus right brain. When someone wasn't sure if they were left or right brained, Eileen asked, "Algebra or geometry?"

Beautiful Mercedes Ad

The text for the left brain reads:

“I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”

And for the right brain:

“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feat. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”


Algebra is linear -- or left-brained.
Geometry is spatial -- or right brained.

I completely understood and agreed. The explanation also supports  the crackpot theory I'd written in the earlier blog.

Then I got to thinking about left brain vs. right brain and football as opposed to baseball.

Football is linear. One hundred yards. Played on a gridiron

Baseball is spatial. It's played on a diamond. The diamond itself is geometry, its measurements as precise as the yards on a gridiron. But the game moves beyond the geometric shape to the outfield, beyond the outfield with a home run. There are no boundaries. W.P. Kinsella (who wrote Shoeless Joe, the book on which the movie Field of Dreams is based) wrote in his book The Iowa Baseball Confederacy that baseball is limitless (I'm paraphrasing here), that a home run hit hard enough could, in theory, fly forever.

Musing all of this makes me wonder if this is why baseball literature and movies are more prevalent and generally more "romantic" than football (Susan Elizabeth Phillips being a major exception). Of course, I could be totally wrong about that.Maybe baseball fiction/movies seem more prevalent to me and TV Stevie because that's our mindset. TV Stevie also reminds me that baseball has been around a lot longer than football, and therefore has a richer, deeper history from which to draw.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Community: A Writer's Asset

One of the greatest things about belonging to an organization like Romance Writers of America is that you're part of a huge community. There are currently over 10,000 members of the national organization, and most of them are writers. Romance writers. People who not only get what I do, but who do it themselves.

Being part of RWA allows one to join a local chapter, such as Central New York Romance Writers. Had I not joined my local chapter, I never would have found my best friends. Because these are the people who not only understand what I do, but who also understand me. Yes, I've learned about the business side of writing, about the technical aspects of how to write a compelling story, but the most important thing the chapter gives me is community; a place to be me, the writer, the person that the regular world often looks at in askance.

  • This past week, CNYRW member Ellen Hartman and her agent gave a talk at the River's End Bookstore in Oswego. Author Gayle Callen said, "Who wants to go?" She and I connected at a local mall and carpooled to Oswego to hear Ellen speak. We had a lovely time. Lots of chatter, lots of laughter. Ellen, of course, was marvelous as always.
  • In a couple of weeks (October 29), CNYRW authors Mary Reed McCall and Jason Barret will be speaking at "Unmask the Writer Within" at Mysteries on Main Street in Johnstown.Several other members are going to support them. 
  • And on November 19, CNYRW author Nicki Greenwood will be signing her latest release at Books 4 Less in Liverpool. I'm going to try to make it, and I'm sure several others will, too. Because that's what we do. 

Writing is a solitary endeavor. We tend to be an anti-social bunch. That's why when we find each other, we bond. We understand each other, we support each other. We give each other community, a safe haven. Home. I'm so glad I've found mine.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Bug Blog

Horned String Bean
One August morning, as I was leaving my house to head for the Day Job, I noticed what looked like a string bean clinging to a support post on my patio. I took a closer look, and saw that the string bean not only had horns, but was also moving. I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture. The color isn't good at all. This bean/bug was really a lovely shade of green.

Later that week, my Erie roomie identified the thing as a slug. I always thought slugs resembled  fat, slimy  earthworms.

While in Erie for a long weekend, I ran into all sorts of insects/bugs/creatures. It must have been my week for it. My cell phone doesn't do justice to any of the colors.

This fella was a beautiful bright green.

And this one was a deep, iridescent blue, with gossamer wings.

And this guy? Dinner. Yeah, I watched the spider snacking on him all day.

Now, what reminded me to finally blog about this is something that happened this week as I was leaving the Day Job. There was a bug (insect, whatever) on the light switch plate by the door. It was black with beautiful red markings. I took out my cell phone and snapped a photo, but must have forgotten to save the picture. A co-worker told me that one side of her house is covered with this particular kind of creature. Google informs me that what I saw was possibly a box elder bug, but the pictures I find on-line aren't quite the same as my memory. The insect I saw looked like a stained glass window. The Internet photos are just gross.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

In the Beginning . . .

I'm in the process of starting a new book. I love this stage, where I have just a glimmer of an idea and things happen. Unexpected things.

I love brainstorming. My book, my friends' books -- it doesn't matter. It's making up stuff and making it believable. It's playing with people's lives. OK, they're not real people. but if I do my job right, the reader will be just as invested in them as if they were real. If I do it right, my characters will become real to readers.

Just changing a character's name can skew everything I thought I knew. That happened last weekend. A secondary character told me her name wasn't what I thought it was. So I did a bit of research -- what names were popular in the state in which she was born in the year she was born (G*d bless the Internet!) -- and voila! The character took on a life of her own, supplying me not only with her backstory (personal history), but also that of the hero. Wow.

So my goal for the next week or so is to write chapter one. It won't be the real, final, polished chapter one,  but rather an exercise in discovery. So far -- five and a half pages in -- I've learned two things about my heroine. One of them was completely contradictory to what I thought, and the other adds a good twist to the story.

I'm loving every word.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting A Dose of Culture

This was a very artsy weekend for TV Stevie and me. On Friday night, we saw TURN OF THE SCREW at Syracuse Stage, and on Saturday night, we drove to Rome to see Buster Keaton's THE GENERAL at the Capitol Theatre.

The acting was fabulous, the staging was amazing (Kudos to the lighting whatever!), but the show itself -- well, I was disappointed. The only thing that I knew about the story was that it is a ghost story and that it is supposed to be filled with suspense.

::YAWN:: Maybe for its day, but this late 20th/early 21st century woman wasn't impressed. And that was the flaw of the production. A lame story.

SIDE NOTE: Ever since the Chromos were involved in drama club, I've paid more attention to staging. I find I like the minimalist sets more than the elaborate. (Although I recently attended a stage production of  THE LION KING and was blown away by the staging, costumes, etc. Not a fan of the show itself. Didn't like the movie, prefer the music from Tim Rice and Elton John's other collaboration, AIDA.)
Original installation organ at the Capitol Theatre in Rome, NY

THE GENERAL: I loved it! Great character development. Wonderful print. And Bernie Anderson, Jr. on the organ? Amazing. I forgot I was watching a silent movie with a live organist accompanying it. His playing melded perfectly with the action on the screen.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Critique Groups & Partners

Apparently the new "hot" topic in romance writing circles is critique groups. I did not attend the national conference this year, but heard that there were several workshops on the subject. I also recently learned that a well-known, well-respected author and instructor is writing a book on critique groups.

I was in a critique group until very recently. The group was one of the longest-running groups in my local RWA chapter, and I was thrilled beyond anything when I was invited to join. After I joined, there was a "core four", but we kept losing our published members. Okay, some weren't such a loss, but most, yeah, a real loss.

The Core Four decided to take off the summer this year. And over the summer several of us learned something about our writing and ourselves. Too often we were writing "to the group" instead of to the story. I know that I really like to push boundaries, but found myself toning back the "grit". My former agent and I even talked about it in 2007 or 2008. I let the group's low 'ick-factor' tolerance level dictate some of my story lines.

One of the Core Four wrote to the group in the beginning of September and said she wouldn't be back. We'd still see each other at our monthly chapter meetings, so the friendships would remain, but being in the critique group was no longer part of her roadmap to publication.

That gave me the courage to suggest that we disband. The other two members quickly concurred. So the 2nd oldest crit group in CNYRW is no more.

In a private e-mail to one of my former crit partners, I said that I often wondered if my feedback was of any value to the other members. Sometimes a lot of self-doubt (part of a writer's toolkit!) plagued me. My former crit partner responded that because I was so well read, my feedback carried a lot of weight with her.

I'd never considered that being well-read was a qualification to be a critique partner. In a beta reader, yes. But critique partners are different. A critique relationship is almost like a marriage, a family, with our stories as our children from the first seed of an idea to a completed manuscript. Brainstorming, picking apart story elements, searching for answers: it's similar to raising a child. Beta readers don't do that. ( I adore my beta-readers, and value their feedback because they are readers.)

 I'm glad to know I was of value to my critique partners.
R.I.P. Vs & Ps

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Traffic Tales

Seems like TV Stevie and I have spent a lot of time on the road lately. Which means we've seen some really weird stuff.

I mean, is a prosthetic leg on the roof of a car normal?

And when we were driving to Rome for Capitolfest last month, we witnessed a trooper pulling over . . . a jogger. On the Thruway. I wonder if he went through a tollbooth?

And then there was the adventure of driving X-Chromo to college.

Stretches of the highway are divided and the speed limit is 65mph. Stretches of the highway are regular streets through a small city, and the speed limit is 30 mph. And between said city and the city in which X goes to college is a stretch of highway that is multi-lane, divided, and looks like it should be a 65mph stretch. But looks can be deceiving. This particular section of the road is 55mph. Uh-uh.

Add in last Friday of the month, gorgeous weather, and lots of out-of-towners heading for the SUNY campus, and then see if you can spell S-P-E-E-D-T-R-A-P.

We didn't notice it driving to campus the first time, but on our first return trip home (to fetch a wallet), we saw many cars pulled over on the other side of the highway. Most  vehicles looked packed to overflowing, such as a college student might pack a vehicle.

As we drove back to campus (with the missing wallet), I noticed a tractor trailer flashing its light shortly before we reached that particular stretch of highway. I warned TV, who slowed down. A moment later, we saw several state trooper cars parked in a tree-surrounded hollow. Ahead of us? Flashing lights and several vehicles on the side of the road, accompanied by troopers.  One way only. Heading toward campus. Many young drivers. All cars overflowing with laundry baskets etc.

And as we made our second trip home that afternoon, we witnessed yet more tickets being issued, but not a one on our side of the highway.

I suppose move-in day is a good way for a poverty-stricken county to try to balance its budget. Gotta love those downstate dollars.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Empty Nest

Puppy Goes to College
 TV Stevie and I dropped off X-Chromo at college yesterday. It was a bittersweet day for us. Friends who'd been through this before had warned us that the summer between senior year of high school and freshman year of college would be filled with moodiness, moments when a parent was positive a child was no longer likable, and frustration upon frustration upon frustration. Yes, we'd gone through it with Y-Chromo, but somehow, this felt worse.

X was very organized. Gathered her stuff. Didn't pack a lot at all. Maybe because she's seen what we went through with Y his freshman year. At one point, we had discussed possibly using two cars to drive her to school -- she's relatively nearby, but she was so organized and ruthlessly careful, we were fine. Before we left, I asked if she had her college ID, her insurance card, her ATM/debit card. TV asked if she had enough cash. Did you remember to pack your ethernet cable? "I don't need it," she claimed. And she was snappish. Easily irritated. Annoyed with us. A teenager.

Her college has drop-off procedures down pat. I was quite impressed. (Y-Chromo's move-in day was a nightmare.) As TV went to park the car, another vehicle pulled into the curbside spot he'd just vacated, and it turned out to be X's roommate. They went off together to sign in. I introduced myself to the mom. We waited. It was a while before X and Roomie returned. They'd gone up to their room before coming back to the curb for their belongings. X was quite upset. She couldn't find her wallet. I was pretty certain I'd seen it in the kitchen before we left. What I didn't realize was that her ID, insurance card, ATM/debit card, cash, were in that wallet. 

So much for Mommy & Daddy asking questions.

Of course, this put us on the wrong foot. 

We eventually got everything hauled up to the girls' room. The moms helped with the unpacking. That's when I saw Puppy, X's favorite and well-loved stuffed animal, sitting on her bed. How can you stay upset with your baby when you see something like that? 

TV and I had to drive home to retrieve her wallet. And, it turns out, her ethernet cable -- the one she claimed she wouldn't need. We drove back to campus with other things for her, too: a box of tissues; silverware (she'd forgotten to pack any); a book she wanted. We kept reminding ourselves that this was why we were glad she'd chosen a school much closer to home than Y chose.

We arrived back on campus in plenty of time for her to have her ID before her meeting with her academic adviser. We went up to her room to see all the rearranging and things she'd done (and she'd done good!). Then we went over to the job fair with her. She plans to work right away. I showed her how to use the ATM. We found the room where her meeting with her academic adviser would take place. She seemed reluctant to let us go. Or maybe that was just my mommy gene kicking in.

She's in a beautiful place.
Terrace at Dorm

View from dorm window

View of terrace from dorm window
We spoke on the phone last night. She said she misses us. We miss her too. I'm glad she has a weekend on campus to acclimate before classes kick in on Monday. I know she'll be fine. She even said she won't come home until the end of September in order to give herself time to adjust. She's a smart kid. A savvy young lady.

But she's still my baby.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How Weird Is This?

On August 3, the Inside the Chiefs blog recapped all the roster action that had been happening. My Chiefs blog, From Section 207, had the same basic info (no insider peek as to the reasons) on August 1st.

On August 2nd, I blogged here about Capitolfest and how last year a missing bit of audio from Paramount on Parade was discovered to be the possession of the projectionist. TV Stevie left a newspaper on my place at the breakfast table this morning. A local newspaper had the same story in this week's edition.

Hey, you read it here first!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Man of LaMancha, Or So I was Told

My View of the "Stage"
 TV Stevie wanted to see a local production of THE MAN OF LA MANCHA today, so I said fine. It was scheduled to be held at the ampitheater at a local park. I was psyched. I packed my sun hat, an umbrella, and a rain coat. We tossed folding chairs into the trunk of TV's car. We were set.

We arrived at the park in plenty of time. Found nearby parking. As we were pulling our chairs from the trunk, a young woman interrupted us. It seemed the iffy weather dictated that the performance be moved to a nearby church.

Well, RATS. I've never been to a performance at the ampitheater and had been really looking forward to it.  The seating is tierred, like a movie theater or a stadium. I've always wanted to go to Shakespeare in the Park (our local version), but it usually conflicts with something else, as it does this year.

So TV Stevie and I drove to the church. He let me out while he looked for parking. He encountered another Drama Mama & Papa as he walked back to the church, so we ended up sitting together.

I loathe and despire churches and temples and hotel conference rooms for performances, because audience seating flat, and I am five feet tall. The inability to see a thing combined with the heat and humidity and the crowded conditions made for less than an optimum experience.  Fortunately, I did have my fan in purse. For what it was worth. Frankly? Not much.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

It's A Capitol Time!

If you like movies -- old movies, classic movies, rare movies, silent movies -- you might want to check out CapitolFest in Rome, NY. TV Stevie and Y-Chromo have been going to movies and CapitolFest for years, at least until Y went off to college.
Original installation, 3-manual,
9-rank Möller Grand Theatre Organ.

 I was leary of going in Y's place. In 2006, TV Stevie dragged the whole family to a film festival in central Ohio. Other than the 2 Columbus Clippers games we attended and listening to Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation both ways, the trip was hideous. I attended one movie. It was in a musty hotel conference room with rows of folding chairs. The only good thing about the festival experience was hearing (and meeting) Dr. Philip Carli for the first time, as he accompanied Don Q, Son of Zorro on the piano. (Actually, the movie was pretty good, too. I just don't like musty hotel conference rooms, folding chairs, and flat seating.)

So I wasn't real thrilled when TV asked me in 2008 to go to the Capitol Theater to see a local theater production of Man of La Mancha, but I went. That was my first time at the Capitol Theater. And it was a good production. And they had real theater seats. And sloped floors. And a theater cat. Gotta love a place with a cat.

In 2009, our wedding anniversary fell during CapitolFest, plus we had tickets for the Glimmerglass Opera on that date. Steve suggested we stop at the Capitol on our way home from Cooperstown. The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra would be accompanying a movie that evening. I said, "sure, why not."

They were amazing. Plus, I wanted to see the movie that followed their performance.

I was hooked.

Last year, TV Stevie and I went to every session. I took many photos of their amazing, original installation Moller organ.

And we were part of an exciting bit of cinema history. Paramount on Parade, a showcase of Paramount contract players, is a "partially missing" film. Several of the shellac sound-track discs are missing, footage is missing (from the movie being edited-for-TV): it's a hodge-podge of audio and video. But it turns out that the projectionist had in his possession of of the "missing" sound track discs. We were able to hear it (altho' it wasn't synced up with the film). And no, he didn't steal it. Missing sound track discs is a common problem, but thanks to the Vitaphone Project, some movies are being restored using new technology.

In a bit of trivia, we were watching a short about dental hygiene, and the bureau in boy's bedroom is the same bureau I use. Well, not quite as beat up as mine is, but that was weird and memorable. I knew my bureau was old, but not that old!

This year, Y-Chromo doesn't head for college until after CapitolFest. He and I have been arguing over who gets to accompany TV Stevie this year. Probably both of us.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Happiness Happens!

August is Happiness Happens month!  I have so much about which to be happy, and I'm going to focus on those things throughout the month.

Happiness Happens when it's a beautiful August day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

TV Stevie & I went to Cooperstown today. Yes, the Baseball Hall of Fame induction was going on at the same time we sat in the Alice Bush Theater and watched Annie Get Your Gun. No amazing Baseball Hall of Fame stories this year. Of course, last year's story is enough to last a lifetime

Art Pierce, Kylie Pierce, TV Stevie
We hooked up with Art and Kylie Pierce from the Capitol Theater in Rome for a pre-show picnic. (BTW, TV Stevie heartily approved of this year's picnic menu by saying it was 'perfect'.) We talked about upcoming events at the Capitol, such as the annual Drive-In night, Aida (the Elton John/Tim Rice version), and Capitolfest. It was a lovely interlude on a lovely summer afternoon. We were very surprised that there weren't more picnickers. Usually we have a difficult time finding a table.

After the show, we stayed for the Q&A with the cast and the musical director, which was very informative and interesting. Then Art & Kylie left for home, and TV Stevie and I headed into Cooperstown proper. I found a bench and read a book I'd picked up in Oswego last week. TV Stevie wandered the stores. We debated having dinner in a restaurant recommended by one of my co-workers, but decided to grab a pizza on the way home. Cooperstown and its surrounds are very scenic; however, we are not fans of those twisty roads after dark.

Had we eaten in Cooperstown, we would have missed this:

A leg up
Once the kids in car realized I was taking photos, the leg began dancing on the roof of the car. It was one of those quirky moments

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rob Grill, R.I.P.

My Greek Fisherman's Hat
 An icon of my youth died last week. Rob Grill of one of my guilty pleasure bands, The Grass Roots, passed away at the young age of 67.

I always think of the band in the summer. At one point, in the 1980s, I had one of their "Greatest Hits" albums, and cranked it up while I drove. What is it about summer and sing-a-long music and driving that go together so well?

My friend Kris is totally into what her husband calls, That Band. She even went to see them live a year or two ago. She knows all kind of fabulous trivia, too.

I saw them live in the 1980s. It was one of those oldie tours, with lot of other singers/bands. My sister and I used to go to those concerts, which were held in the old MacArthur Stadium. I even had a brush with Rob Grill that day. It's one of those moments I will never forget. My sister and I were on line to get into the stadium. I was wearing a short denim skirt, a summery-white top and my Greek Fisherman's hat. The sun was shining, I was psyched about the concert.

"Hey!" I heard someone call. I looked off toward the side of the stadium, and there was Rob Grill and a couple of other band members leaning through a gap in the fence. "Come here!" they said. I looked around, trying to figure out to whom they were calling. "Pretty girl! In the hat! Come here!"

"You're the only one in a hat," my sister said.

I laughed and waved to them. I stayed in line.

Do I ever wonder what would have happened if I'd gone over? Sure, I'm only human.

Do I regret not going over? Depends on my mood.

This week, for example. Yeah, I regret not taking the time to talk to him and the band.

Rest in peace, Rob. And thanks for the music and the memories.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Glimmerglass: Opera & Picnics

Picnic grounds at Glimmerglass Opera
 It's nearly time for our annual trip to the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown. That means it's time to think about our annual picnic. One can  pre-order a picnic through the opera. They offer a nice selection. I, however, happen to like cooking. I enjoy planning menus.

The first year we went, I didn't know there were picnic grounds. The second year, I didn't think about the picnic grounds until the night before our trip, when I dreamed a picnic. That morning, I made the food of which I'd dreamed. I don't remember exactly what I packed, but I'm sure it included fresh fruit and cheese.

When we arrived Glimmerglass, we learned we couldn't drive up the hill to the picnic grounds because too much rain had made the ground too soggy. So TV Stevie and I had to haul a cooler and picnic basket up the hill.  He grumbled the whole time. Please remember that this is a man who won't eat on restaurant patios/decks/sidewalks. I love dining al fresco. He usually wins.

The Alice Busch Theater as seen from the picnic grounds at Glimmerglass
 Apparently, though, he enjoyed our Glimmerglass picnic.

The following year we went on our anniversary. I bought splits of sparkling wine, and surfed the net for food ideas. I found two that I thought looked good: Mediterranean Spinach Turkey Wraps and Mediterranean Hummus Turkey Wraps. It was a nice time.

TV Stevie didn't want the wraps the next year, so I went back to the Internet, where I found a pressed sandwich I thought sounded fabulous. I made them on ciabatta rolls and served with mixed fruit, iced tea, cheese and crackers, and an Estancia Meritage. Oh. My. Goodness. Except TV Stevie doesn't like ciabatta. Or goat cheese. Or olivada.

This year, TV asked if I minded if he asked another couple to join us. Wow. What a difference from the grumbling of the first picnic year! A few weeks ago, he was doing a guest stint on the radio, and he talked about the whole Glimmerglass experience, including our wonderful picnics. Double wow.

I hope I'm not expected to provide picnic food for four people. It's difficult to tell, because I didn't extend the invitation. Two guys . . . especially my guy . . . who knows?  I'm pretty sure TV said we'd provide the wine. 

I think I will not try anything fancy this year. Cold lemon-basil grilled chicken, fresh fruit-berry mix, cheese & crackers, and an icy sauvignon blanc. When I ran this idea by TV, he asked what kind of roll I was going to use for the chicken. Um, none?

Our annual opera/picnic excursion is only one reason I love summer.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crazy Drivers

I don't know what's going on on the road these days, but it seems that people's driving habits are getting worse.

The first thing I noticed was that a lot of people don't know how to make a left turn. I've nearly been hit several times by people going diagonally into a street when a left turn requires an "L" movement. Very scary.

The second thing is people driving way under the speed limit. I mean 5 to 10 miles consistently. My daily drives are timed for me to go the speed limit. This is very frustrating to be stuck behind someone out for a leisurely spin. I mean, if you have that much leisure time, how are you paying for gas?

The third thing are people not knowing how to make a right turn. Right turns are very easy. Why must one stop in the middle of making the turn? To admire the view?

And finally -- at least for this rant -- what's with sitting at lights long after they've turned green? Are they waiting for a color they like? I mean, I'm inordinately fond of pink and purple, but folks, traffic lights come in only three colors! Green means GO! Very simple to remember. Don't you love alliteration? And if I finally beep at you to alert you to the fact that the light turned green 30 seconds ago, don't compound your ignorance and your rudeness by flipping me the bird. It only confirms that you're a jerk.