Friday, August 31, 2012

When Dress Code Includes Math But Excludes The Frightened Tall Middle School Girl Trying Not To Violate Code While Not Dressing Like A Pioneer, Or, Please, Show Mercy, Middle School Is Hard Enough Already, Plus Now There Are Robots, by Allison

So last night was V's Middle School Parent's Night. 

And for reasons partially or mostly due to starting my own middle school career a head taller than everyone, covered in poison ivy so bad I had to wear gloves and eye doctor sunglasses, gloves like I was pretending to be Michael Jackson,
topped off by ludicrous haircut attempt to emulate Olivia Newton-John, who while very fab, was not making the best hair choices during the "Physical" era, and that is what I went with,
I get twitchy when the words "middle" and "school" are used in conjunction with a place I am supposed to be.

 So, although I truly try to NOT FREAK OUT and have no skin disease or headband on forehead or such, going to Middle School (which by the way, is fantastic school on our girls' school campus of K-12, with crazy good teachers and robots and computers doing graphs and camping trips and world cultures and it is almost overkill on the good, except there is no such thing as overkill on the good as far as middle school kids education and socialization) FREAKED ME OUT.

My fault.

School is great.

But as am Terrible Allison Who Makes Everything About Herself Even Though This Night Was About V, I start getting twitchy.

I don't know if I can do a robot using a computer and degrees and such (Note: I do not have to, V does, she will own that task and love it).

There is camping??? (Note: I do not have to go camping, unlike Girl Scouts, kind of stuck on that one, but in this case it will be V, and she will love it)

And in math class all I do is try to figure out the "fun" test problems set out to remind parents that we are idiots and better keep our kids in this very good school or world is doomed.
(Note: Did figure the straight lines/circle make 11 pieces of pizza thingy, but that is because there are similar things on the LSATS and that part of my brain is not totally rotten yet).

I feel like I am getting assigned to read a novel every two weeks, which I am totally down with and glad to have permission from very cool English teacher, then remember, oh, it is V who has to read a lot, that is going to be un-fun, chasing her around with books.
But yet again, it is awesome teacher on the case, novel reading is already beginning, why am I being such a head case?

So clearly, it is good I have Matt chaperoning me at Middle School Parent's Night, and he should have brought taser.

Because during all 6th grade parents in theater learning about the extremely impressive and quite intimidating computer network and systems for their projects and I think also NASA activity and cloning, all I can do is fixate on one thing:

 Shorts Issue.

Here is the point where you say, "Allison really is not a reasonable person at all, somebody tell someone."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Am Just Living To Be Lying By Your Side, A Lullaby, xxoo, by Allison

A Lullaby, by Allison

So maybe my favorite song of ever is "Moonlight Mile," Rolling Stones, off of Sticky Fingers album. Love it eleventy billion times over.

And on top of that, one of my favoritest bands, The Cowboy Junkies, music of my youth, soul-feeding, gorgeous, vulnerable, please can I sing like her please, covers this most awesome song.

Know how I know this?  Because I am lucky.

Am lucky.

Because my smart, kind, dashing, owner of righteously floppy hair, funny, generous, and also annoyingly nice and all plus helps people and humors me in all my nonsense husband, Matt, road tripped with me on a weeknight after being smart doctor person all day, and maybe 2 years ago, not sure, we went to see Cowboy Junkies, as I love them, and he knows this.

And I did not know they covered "Moonlight Mile," not sure my brain would have processed that if I had known ahead of time, but at this show, the guitar twangs, I freak out like I am known to do times a jillion as I LOVE THIS SONG PLUS ALSO I LOVE THIS BAND, and Matt gets it, smiles at me, and does not pretend not to know me because I am acting like fangirl squee lunatic.

He is happy that I am happy.

And I am happy.

Was then, and also am now, thinking of it.

Because I am lucky. Was nice in a former life or something.

And for some reason, am thinking of that tonight, this is my lullaby.

And I shall add to the list, along with "puts up with ridiculous cardboard cutout silliness," " does not hide when I stage flash mobs in front of everyone we know at swim banquets and makes him hold cue card lyrics," "does not judge me for reading my Kindle in line at Disney World and crying as it was sad book," "indulges and encourages my music obsessions," "is great dancer," "did I mention the hair?", and "makes all my High School Allison, Whenever Else Allison Pretend True Loves Look Like Junior Varsity" and could go on but it might get nauseating. So, xxoo.

Like they wrote it and sang it way better than me, I am just living to be lying by your side.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When CUTE Is A Four Letter Word: An Analysis In Navigating Horrifying or Rude or Tacky Social Interactions With Cute War Wagers, by Allison

So today post-gym Starbucks run afforded me the chance to do one of my favorite pastimes, which I do just about anywhere if there is no one to chat with and it would take too long to get out my Kindle : People Watching.
I consider myself a sociologist and anthropologist and several other ologists, based on sparse courseload in those subjects in college but INTENSE field study. And today, line too short for Kindle extraction and no one to chat with so I got to observe two girls discussing a third girl's purse. Here is transcript:

Girl A: "Ooh, her purse is SOOO cute."

Girl B: (Slight toss of hair, slight sniff of nose, eyes narrowing) "Yeah, it's cuuute."

Purse Girl: No idea, I hope she was not paying attention.  (But I think she was, more on that later)

Professor of Lots of Ologys Allison declares this a situation worth observing and possibly interjecting:  Because what you have here is the tricky, complex, Mandarin Chinese level of complexity of one word meaning a billion different things based on tone, inflection, situation, audience:  CUTE.

I hate to make gender calls on this, but I really think the extreme trickiness of the "cute" is a female thing. Not exclusively, and certainly guys get into word wars involving things like "breh" and "yeah" and stuff that I can't translate without a guidebook, but I don't think guys get trapped in the "cute" thing.

I feel like for guys, pretty much, if anyone calls you cute, unless it is great-aunt ruffling your hair and giving you a quarter and remembering when you were THIS big, is compliment.  You are not on the front lines of the Cute Wars. 

You are maybe not in the Cute War at all (unless forced into a "Do you think that/she/he/it is cute?" conversation and here is a Tip From Allison: Change Subject ASAP. If Cute Discussion persists, go to the bathroom or leave or fake a phone call. You cannot ever answer that question right, you will not have the intricate, situational, years of experience of navigating the Cute, so RUN.)

This advice also applies to all genders and species when stuck in Forced Cute Conversation, it is just harder to run bolting out of a baby shower or click your heels three times and not be a high school junior in the bathroom with Front Line Cute War D-Day Scenario Happening.

So when Cute Becomes Four Letter Word, Weapon Wielded For Assorted Purposes, Girls, women, ladies, whatever, navigating or interpreting or being subject to a Cute Conversation is whole other thing.

 It is not always bad, right? Cute can be good!  There is the cute that is easy to figure out, such as puppies and little smiling babies and Trina Turk top in perfect shade of coral that is fab. That is a no-stress, positively sent and received "cute." But there are more.

And as my tea was taking a while, I could kind of plunk them into different categories.  This is serious business, people, and if it turns into a Thing I want total credit.

Allison's Analysis of Girl Talk, Cute Edition:

1. Above noted usage meaning the thing or object or puppy or shirt is cute. Meant positively, received well.  And then it gets trickier:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Am Most Organized Person Ever, or That Is A Total Lie, Please Send Intern, by Allison

So it has begun.
What, you may ask, am I talking about?
What ridiculous notion, what self-involved nonsense am I worked up about now?

Other than the fact that it is not rainy and I want a rainy, dreamy day,
I am mostly stomping my foot emphatically over the beginning of the onslaught of Stuff The Girls Bring Home From School.

Because it leads to the both tedious and stressful dilemma of To Save or Not To Save.
And how do I save it?
I began this journey of preschool art and jibber jabber writings and such with V,
my first child, and I chronicled it as best I could.

(Note: I am horrible at this.
When there were scrapbooking parties,
Which: Subnote, is that still a thing?
I have no idea,
as I am sure anyone hosting one would wisely NOT invite me as I ruin stuff)

I kept up with her baby book, Which?
WHY do I need to write about every tooth that falls out??????
First tooth, I get.
Other than that, it is all I can do to remember to tooth fairy,
 and I am also very awful at that job and have been busted twice so far.

But archiving for future generations which tooth fell out when?
I am not joking, V's baby book has a dentist-like detailed sketch with labels of the baby mouth and all the names of the teeth with spaces for you to note when said tooth fell out.

And I tried.
V's baby book has information filled out, pictures, stuff written in,
 but when it got to the blasted tooth part,
the Allison part of me,
which is, all of me,
as I am me,
(Sorry, world! Maybe in my next life I will be able to fill out forms and garden)
subconsciously and consciously decided NO.
I am not charting tooth falling-outness.
That is weird and way too much remembering of stuff that I cannot fit into my head.
Never mind a baby book that is up in the attic somewhere,
I have a general idea of where, kind of maybe.

Rant on documenting every tooth in my daughter's mouth over.

Back to rant on schoolwork sent home.
let me say this:
Preschool, elementary school, any school ever teachers,
I bow at your feet, you rule,
I would be in jail if I had your job.

Send home whatever you want unless it is a cat, as I am allergic.

But that being said, I cannot save every single thingy the girls do. I
s too much.
I have to weed things out, right?

Somebody back me up here,
because I often have had to fish out of the recycling bin various math charts,
 or What Does The Dinosaur Do or such,
 after deeming it unworthy of the tub (more on that later).

Daughter of mine that produced whatever thing,
the thing I decided did not seem like an historical document,
an heirloom,
wants to show Daddy the chart or Dinosaur Activities or whatever,
and I have to go get it out of the trash and pretend I did not throw it away. 

This is very, very tedious,
and I have yet to learn the fundamentals on What Is Or Is Not Worth Saving.

I mean, clearly, journals, stories they have written, artwork that is original to them, stuff with the teacher writing on it, that stuff I save.
And pathetically attempt to organize into a very non-linear, non-workable system in my attic.

But the routine, daily classwork stuff, worksheets, I don't think I am evil or Ug, Mom, Really??? for tossing those.

I have learned to keep them for three days.
(Note: I apply Ben Franklin's "fish and visitors stink after three days" to lots of things,
not only children's schoolwork but also timeline for how long it takes to get used to new haircut,
 how long you can passive-aggressively not bring in the trashcans in silent war over "It is YOUR turn,"
time allotted for hunting for lost thing before replacing said thing,
which always means I find the lost thing right after that,
but so be it,
I have to stick to my very (not)
disciplined (ha)
structured (hee hee)
schedule on this.
Is Presidential Decree, after all.)

And in the beginning,
 when I was wide-eyed,
slightly less deranged,
certainly less informed about Who Is Or Is Not On The Disney Channel And Do They Or Do They Not Also Sing,
I tried to keep ahold of all of these papers and drawings and such.
I even bought those big container tub things,
labeled them (!!!) and put V's stuff in by year, in a designated area of our attic.

Was Smug Mommy I Can Totally Do This, So There.

 When E came along, her baby book does have some things in it,
 (Note: FORGET about the tooth thing, though, that was not happening),
and I did label a tub and put her stuff in it too.

At this point I realize our attic will be completely overrun by tubs from Target,
 full of Susie Sees Sunshine worksheets,
and begin to edit in more discriminating fashion.

I also lost the label on one of the tubs and things started going in whatever one was closest and had room in it.
I'm  figuring that surely when the girls were grown,
I would totally be able to tell who wrote what when.

Or totally lie about it and they could not prove me wrong, so there.

By the time M arrived, I had stocked up on tubs,
knowing otherwise I would lose every single thing and I was bound and determined third girl would get as much devotion and attention to her schoolwork and tooth falling-outedness and head circumference
(Which? Why???
I mean, I get why the doctor needs to know this pertaining to her growth overall,
but why do I have to write it down?
Baby book is sneaking in FORMS, is what it is)

And like (Please let this be true) every parent of multiple children,
who are all little,
 and needing you to do stuff,
or open stuff ,
or fix stuff,
or tie stuff or whatnot,
that TOTALLY did not happen.

M has totally empty baby book.

It may or may not (it is) still be shrink-wrapped.
Of course, I will remedy this glaring oversight and proof of me being NOT Smug Mommy,

Surely on some non-rainy day when it is hot and I don't want to go anywhere involving tennis or sunscreen or visors or whimsy,
I will fill out all the missing parts of their books.
With completely made-up stuff on shots and head sizes and teeth and ludicrous stuff I cannot keep track of  at all.
(Note: To my children and anyone who would tell them about this,
I am lying,
I totally wrote all of it down right away and it is all accurate, timely, and true).

So have begun tub filling for this schoolyear, as I gave up on one per kid per year,
it got confusing when my poorly made labels,
which were in fact those sticky things you get to put on Christmas presents,

That (at least for me, others do not seem to have this particular challenge) FLY off of the package and land, sticky side up, on your shoe and never come off ever?

Those labels started flying around landing on other things and so now,
each year has a tub in the attic, where tubs are multiplying like rabbits or zombies.

For the most part, is organized by year.

Kind of.

And put in the general Special Keepsakes area of the attic.

Sort of.

And I know who did what.

For the most part.

For the rest,
I may or may not either recycle it or fake-handwrite using my right hand
(I am left-handed) one of the girls' names and say it is their thing. 

And since there is no proof otherwise, it IS their thing.

That's my story, and I am sticking (unlike stupid label thingys) to it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Love Song of Awesome, by The XX, or Prufrock and Mermaids Are Being Summoned By This Band's Excellent Excellence, by Allison, with assist from Matt

So have been dying to write about the XX for a while, their songs germinate in my head, in a both spooky and lovely way. I get a very Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock T.S. Eliot thing from them, not sure why that is, but it delights me in both fab and sad ways.

And have been thinking about them and then fab yay whee, Matt and I are in same room at same time and while he is fanboy-ing over the various Gibson guitars and Fender this and that, I am all, I like the music and lyrics, is the thing for me.

But, as he humors me as I fly places to see bands and he is cool with that, plus he is also actual person who plays music (usually bass guitar, also acoustic guitar when pitching woo, I am sucker for that) was fun to listen to the XX together and pick fave song to share.

And  I loooove what they do and new stuff is coming and yay whee awesome I am getting myself there when they tour, wherever there is.  And am such fan of melodic, shimmery female vocals and grounding but haunting male vocals, plus awesome music, they are badass, or so I say, and I decided and since I am Decider of What Is Awesome, it is so.
PS: Here are thoughts of Matt, and though I normally do not even tell him I am blogging until he gets grief at work for hiring glue huffing handyman who is NOT handy, he actually has thoughts on this music so here you go:

Matt on the XX:

Bare minimal sounds, playing and singing only what is necessary.
strumming a few rythmic chords and bending a few single notes.
not afraid to use the silent breaks to punctuate the message.

Back to Allison. Am fan.  Love all their stuff, but choosing VCR as most excellentest representation of their supreme whispery yet solid awesomeness.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Is DEATH Emailing Me, or Yet Another Reason Why I am The Worst And Need An Intern, Is Emergency Here, by Allison

So am on Mission of Organization, which is like, my Least Favorite Mission ever, am pretty sure nothing is harder for me. 

Am the worst.

And right now, it is only thing on my plate, other than breathing in and out, and yet, I cannot do it.

What is wrong with me?

I have technology, iPad even, with calendar on it!

I am sure trained or untrained monkeys could do what I am absolutely not able to do.

As I am scheduling the girls whatnot and our basic school year lives, amongst the detritus of school supply lists covered in tea and tears, Matt's calendar for the year in some unknown format on the computer so that is toast, and notes on when Junior Assembly is for which girl (Note: friends of mine, please keep me straight on this) I keep finding:

1. Scribbled notes I wrote to myself, or notes I wrote to Matt about bands I want to see
(Note: This is the biggest note, and I apparently gave a star rating based on how important it was to see which band, and used both sides of a big envelope, and wrote Matt Investigate!! at top, Which, ha!!

What am I asking him to investigate, Whether my star system is accurate? (

Answer: Not relevant, if I gave stars, they are accurate in Allison World, which, poor Matt, is World he is stuck in forevermore, remember I am vengeful ghost, too)

Whether I am being reasonable about us going to apparently three concerts a week in varying states for the next three months?

 (Answer: Totally reasonable. Is showing the girls that Music Is Important and Mommy and Daddy Also Have Own Lives And Are NOT Lame)

Whether I am lunatic person?

(Answer: Shut UP.) )

(Note: Above random scraps of lists and letters and notes and whatall, instead of organized things)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

But I Can't, And I Won't, But I Might, Plus Pinatas!!! Sleeper Agent is Awesome, by Allison

Ok, so am trying to rally for organizing and stuff I hate, so am listening to songs that get me all thrashy dancy.
And Sleeper Agent's "Get It Daddy" is FAB. FAB. So good. And I decided this before I saw the video, that is extra fantastic, because it features:

1. Awesome lead singer girl who is super cool

2. I am seeing a dark haired, broody type, floppy haired guitarist? Wait, he also sings? Huh. Gold Star on that.

3. Pinatas!!!!

4. Pinatas being hacked up with various implements such as baseball bats, axes, chainsaws, and butcher knives.

Why, you may ask, am I fond of pinata assault?

Good question!

Here is why: Every so often, when you have several daughters who have birthdays yearly (Sigh, is tedious) in which they want pinatas involved, the pinata is made by the DEVIL. 

Cannot be destructed without weapons of mass destruction.

And just try explaining to 47 (Note: Yes, that was my own folly, it was my first kid, I learned my lesson) kids sitting politely after watching the Sugarplum Fairy do her pas de deux (Don't ask, I went off the rails on kids' birthday parties before I realized I should NOT DO THAT) why V's dad has to take a giant BUTCHER KNIFE to the pinata, and then run outside with it really fast because candy plus that many kids equals What In The HELL Were We Thinking.

Some pinatas lure you in with the promise of, pull string, candy falls, we're cool, all good. LIES. Get the hacksaw out, just saying.

Anyhoo, that was special bonus of this awesome song's video. Lots of ingredients all together makes it extra super Allison Approved.

Sleeper Agent's "Get It Daddy"

Fine, I Give Up.Towel Is Thrown. White Flag Raised. Scarlet A, Whatever. I Cannot Do This, or Organizing The Girls' School Year, a Disaster: by Allison

So I am allegedly an adult.
(Shut up. Is true.)
Supposed to be able to be fully functioning person-type thing with brain that works.

Isn't that how it goes?
When I was a kid, I remember thinking adults knew stuff and could do stuff, and not just open pickle jars and drive cars. 

Now I am not so sure.

Here is the deal: I am Stumped.
At A Loss. (Note: Not at a loss for a thesaurus, that is at least one thing I can do, is think of words). Words that describe How I Cannot Do Something I Should Be Able To Do! 

I am not incapacitated. I went to school and learned stuff, got good grades, even! I swear!

This is almost embarrassing to admit, but it has been already established not much embarrasses me, I do flash mobs in front of people I know.

What, pray tell, is such a conundrum for me?
World peace?
 Ozone layer not there anymore?
Theory of Relativity?
Reasons why Kardashians exist?


 Is way worse. 

I cannot get my girls' schedules for the year straight.
 At all.

What is even worse is Matt has scooped the girls up to see historical landmarks (yay) and go to grody water park (boo, but I am not there, so yay) for the sole reason of giving me time without having to debate every three seconds with E, get coated in lip gloss by M, or try to get V to stop using all the paper clips for sculptures.

Time to do something I SHOULD be able to do.

But I cannot.

And it is not like the girls are astronauts and cardiac surgeons on call and opera singers on world tour and traveling acrobats (that would be cool, though.)
They are KIDS.

Gorgeous Angsty Romantic Song, Scottish Brooding Musician Morning Song That Turned Into Mid-Day Song Because I Keep Listening To It, Many Of Horror, by Allison

For some reason, probably because I love this song, this song has been on loop in my head today. Is by Scottish band Biffy Clyro (Which? by the way, is why you should not name your band after a long night out drinking.  It may seem funny and random at 3 am, but if you have to explain it from then on, will get old.  My advice, if you are needing a name for your band, and you are good band, you may call yourselves Allison Is Awesome. Just a suggestion.)

Anyway, their song "Many Of Horror" is one of my faves, and I think it is gorgeous love song, but my interpretation of what is a gorgeous love song has been questioned by others.

 (Note: I totally think Jay-Z's "99 Problems" is not only awesome song, but is love song too, because? He's got 99 problems, but (redacted word meaning significant other in this context) ain't one. Hit it. I love that song.)

I digress (shock!). But "Many of Horror" is gorgeous and angsty and broody and did I mention they were Scottish? That is kind of like British, but surlier, which is awesome. And it took me forever to track this song down after I heard it the first time a few years ago, because I could not understand their name at all (Again, do NOT name your band something nonsensical because it makes you laugh after 10 pints one night) and I thought the song was called "When We Collide," for some reason, otherwise known as, that is what it sounds like it should be called based on the lyrics.

And since I am too lazy to google or investigate, I had to wait for my magical superpowers to kick in so that I could be informed of the correct song name and band name. And then, yay whee hurray, massive listening commenced.

And still does, when the mood hits me.  "I'll take the bruise, I know you're worth it?" Sigh.  Cannot brood in more angsty glory. "Our broken fairytale, so hard to hide, I still believe it's you and me 'til the end of time." Seriously, killing me with that stuff.

Am attaching live version (have I mentioned how much I love live music? Only a billion times? Must make sure to clarify that point - I LOOOVE live music) of the band performing super sigh song at T in the Park.  Is great.

And because I love this song when it is quiet and still and thick, here is the band singing it stripped down and peacefully non-peaceful.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Accordian? Check. Trumpet? Check. Drumming on a HazMat Barrel?, Check. Awesome?, Check. , Mountain Sounds by Of Monsters for Men, by Allison

So I have been squee yay whee-ing about this band, Of Monsters for Men, for a while, and posted "Little Talks," which was the first song of theirs I had heard, some time ago. And I continue to love that song and have quite the car dance routine choreographed, and it is one of the songs that I will sit in the car and listen to even if I have already arrived at my destination.
Is fab song.

 Know why? Is FAB BAND.

 Listening to their stuff is fun and lifting and cool and I love it times a majillion.
And then this, this acoustic performance of "Mountain Sound" backstage at the Sasquatch Festival (Which? Is best name for music festival ever.) is just so good.
They are on a cold (you can tell) hill, playing this great song, with lovely lyrics, and they are live, no backing track, and get this: Trumpet, accordian, and the drummer is playing on a Hazardous Materials Barrel, or so it seems to me, so I say it is.
And perfectly awesome singing, music, all of it is a total whee yay except why wasn't I there and whoever with the time machine, let's add this to our list of stuff we are going to go check out.

Of Monsters and Men, "Mountain Sound," backstage at Sasquatch Music Festival earlier this year. Is awesome.

Well, I Just Flat Out Loved This Book, Tiny, Beautiful Things, by Allison (the recommendation, not the book itself, I WISH)

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

I was somewhat reluctant to read this book, even though very reliable and trusted book reading friends and reviewers were raving. I liked but did not LOVE Wild, the author's memoir of wilderness hiking after a flood of emotional trauma, but that is probably because I have Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder from "Into the Wild" and "Little House On The Prairie" and I am waiting for someone to get eaten or blinded or frozen or mauled.

Glad I overcame that (very ridiculous) issue, because this book is fantastic. It is a selection of advice letters the author wrote as columnist Dear Sugar for, but that does not explain or put into words what it really is  --  to me it was vignettes of wonderful writing, insight, reality, actual communication and connection, in an age and time in which very few of those things seem possible in the Twitter/FB/texting universe.

It is bold, insightful, troubling, wonderful. One of my favorite pieces says:
“I know it’s a kick in the pants to hear that the problem is you, but it’s also fucking fantastic. You are, after all, the only person you can change.”

She proves real connection is still possible, even on the Internet, where you cannot hear a whisper over the shouting shouting shouting.

Am fan.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Department of Motor Vehicles, or We Are All In This Together, a Case Study, by Allison

Ok, so for whatever reason I had to go to get my driver's license renewed. This is stressful as well as annoying because:

1. I semi-can tolerate the picture on my current license, which is MIRACLE,
considering the cameras there are a majillion years old,
and also photo taken by someone who probably (I would do this for sure)
entertains themselves by taking worst pictures ever

2. It takes a long time at the Department of Motor Vehicles

3. I do not want to

4. I have gone three different times only to find they are full up on people for the day,
thank you, go away.

5. I do not want to

Part of the reason is this:
I do not like doing boring stuff involving sitting on gross chairs for unknown amounts of time with unknown comrades in need of DMV assistance.
I mean, beloved Kindle, which is magic, is with me,
and I totally like to sit and read,
but the people watching (more on this later) is too fantastic at the DMV and I get distracted,
and I do not like being distracted.

But actual main reason is this:
I am so ridiculously vain that I do not want to get a picture on my new license that is a bad picture.
I am not alone in this, right?
I mean, you have to drag that thing out to prove whatever when you get speeding ticket because A Tribe Called Quest's Scenario is on and it makes me drive fast,
or when you get carded (By the way, anyone who is carding me currently, well played. Card the lady with three kids, in her gym clothes, at the Target
(Subnote: Yay for selling wine at Target. Well played, Target).

 It is obvious (and I hope not for aesthetic reasons but oh well) I am probably over 21 since my oldest daughter is 11 and 5 foot 5 inches tall,
but as long as you are carding me in a "No, I'm just not sure you are over 21" way,
instead of a "My manager will fire me unless I card everybody,
even if they are extremely elderly with shirt saying I Am 85 Years Old, must card if you are buying wine at Target,
also, go to wine store instead, they have better wine."

And on the random night in which you are doing something you used to do when you actually needed to be carded,
like seeing a band or whatnot,
and all you have is a back pocket of your jeans to fit your license and cash and lipstick
(Ahh, those were the days . . .) the bouncer or whatever will ask for your ID,
Note to all of bouncer people everywhere:
Card the woman.
Don't act all condescending about it,
be cool, but card her.
Let her have the tiny hope that someone on this universe,
in this dark hole of a music venue (Note: this is just me, it can be wherever you are where someone is asking for ID) ,
thinks you are not decades (OOOOH! Wait, I just realized I am not acutal decades with an s, just decade, with s approaching, HURRAY!)
past needing to be carded.

Also note:
Waiters, Bouncers, People who are required to see ID:
do not fake all "Oh, wow, you look 18" in order to get bigger tip.
That is overkill and is insulting.
 Play it cool, bigger tip for you, work on that.
This concludes Lesson On How To Properly Card Obviously Non-Minors In Subtle Manner Which Probably Will Earn You Goodwill And Maybe Tip.

So back to vanity over horror if license picture is bad.
Tangent over.
I am not saying do that thing Janice Dickenson, self proclaimed World's First Supermodel did with her license,
in which she brought in hair and makeup team and wind machine
(Note: that is awesome and I would do so if I thought I could get away with it,
but trust me, at my DMV, that is not going to go over well)

But there is a need, at least on my part, not to be right from gym,
or after long day, or in any tactile way visibly not on my A game.
I am not trotting around with ugly picture for 10 years,
and get this?
They won't show you the picture after they take it, so it is like lottery or the Reaping in the Hunger Games (minus the horror and fear used to control and terror and children suffering) whatever you get, you get.

And they frown upon going through whole deal again to get better picture.
Trust me, lady with the camera is going to make you look worse if you ask for that.
Do NOT ask for that.
So, at least have decent hair and lipstick on and not weird-necked shirt that will not photograph well.

After jumping through all of these very taxing hurdles, (Note: kidding, kind of) the getting to the DMV is a whole thing, in that it is in weird place in part of town I do not understand.

And the haughty lady on my GPS is very rude about that.

Today I drag a friend along, so I do not get myself into trouble.
She is normal so knows where the DMV is and cannot process why this is so complicated for me, but she is good natured and used to me by now. 
And we get to the DMV, and I am fairly sure Dana Carvey as The Church Lady from SNL back in the day was the front desk person.

She gives me random paper and a number, with instructions to go sit on grody seats and wait.
So my patient friend and I do just that,
and as I am wont to do, I start with my sociological study of the situation,
this DMV afternoon crowd.

It makes no sense, as the number I am given is like A 245, and they sometimes call an A in that general number situation,
but sometimes it is like C 100 or B 7 trillion and I cannot understand the deal.

Plus, there is this other whole hallway of people apparently there for some other reason,
standing in hallway, shoulder to shoulder,
and I cannot for the life of me figure out why they are out there and no one is giving them numbers. Is weird.
And in our room of gloom,
there are some interesting (To me, as perpetual people watcher) characters.

1. Surly, putting of desperate vibe of wanting to seem uninterested,
one leg stretched out long as he lounges in nasty chair,
teen dude who Cannot Be Bothered This Is Lame And I Am Cool.
He is working hard on that.

2. Earnest couples holding hands as if this is Newlywed Game or they are finding out about a pregnancy test and not at the DMV,
I don't think either of those things happen at the DMV,
and they are clutching their hands together in such forcefully intense manner I am dying to know what all is going on with them.

3. Mad Ladies.
Various ages, backgrounds, tastes in fashion,
but they are Mad.
And either discussing amongst themselves Why They Are Mad or are talking LOUDLY on cell phones Why They Are Mad.

4. Asleep people, no idea what that is about.

5. Dudes wearing trucker hats circa when Ashton Kutcher was fashion icon unironically,
while trying to work the room for some possible lady action,
when seriously, if you are trolling the DMV,
there is something wrong with you

6.Me and my friend talking about a book we are reading,
when I am not conducting case study of this fascinating scenario.

At some point, my random number gets called,
and I go off into a cubicle land and find the happiest, cheeriest, blondest, spiky-haired-est, sassiest, nicest DMV lady ever.
She was nice.
She was quick.
She was cool.
I told her so, and she said no one had ever told her that, which is a shame.

People Of The World: Hear This. If Your DMV Lady Is Awesome, Tell Her.
Many of them will not be awesome.
Nurture the awesome.

Sadly, had to leave my new best friend sassy DMV lady who is cool and head off to picture taking lady, and let me say this:
She is out to get you.
Whatever your bad side is, she will find it.
Make you look down at smiley face (I refused to do this, I saw where camera was pointing and am not falling for that trick,
otherwise known as how to make double chins out of anyone and give them half opened eyes)
while she has mist of oil settle on your hair,
 and puts the camera on the HORRIBLE setting,
and then lies she will take the picture on count of 3,
but does it at 2.

That is poor form, DMV lady.
Is cheap camera image on plastic, we are all going to look bad anyway without makeup artist and wind machine, don't make it worse.

But she wants to make it worse, I can feel it.
And she won't let me see the  picture after she takes it,
in fact, she is DELIGHTED not to show me the picture.

It is there, why can't I see it?
Because she does not want me to,
because she hates me,
because of why I do not know.

I tried to be pleasant and agreeable in hopes of non horrifying picture,
but I do not have high hopes.
Mailing it to me in 10 days, which is brilliant strategy on DMV's part:
 Narcissist Ladies Named Allison or Others Like Her Will Want Photo Retake,
and Will Do This All Day Until They Like The Picture,
So Tell Them No Every Time.

Am in fear of photo, but renewal is done,
hurray,my friend and I can go buy tea,
and we pass the mysterious hallway of people doing something totally different I do not understand.

And realize that the pure annoying bla of having to go through all that is totally set up by wily DMV people so pests like me won't show up every week,
like after having hair done or having awesome new sweater,
wanting to update photo on their license.
Brilliant strategy:
Make It Suck So The Crazies Will Go Away.

But if license is horrifying, I am going to go back anyway,
and am now trying to google wind machines.

Bestest Most Gorgeous Tortured Awesome Music from The Airborne Toxic Event, Perfection, or I Hope You Know This Will Go Down On Your Permanent Record, by Allison

So for a while now, The Airborne Toxic Event's "Sometime Around Midnight" has been on my go-to list for songs that are fantastic, rip me up in that I can totally feel and see and taste the whole scene they are so vividly creating, the slow buildup to his angst, the girl who knows exactly what she is doing to him, cannot say enough about how much I looooove that song, plus it was my introduction to this most excellent band.

 That I am desperate to see live, please? Must use superpowers on that.

Anyway, not only is that song AWESOME, but they are also doing acoustic versions of their stuff as well as covers of great songs and putting videos of that out there for me to obsess over for a long time leading me to be late and not get stuff done. But I don't care, is worth it. And, as my justification, there are violins and stand up basses and all sorts of string instruments so I can say I am learning more about my girls' instruments while totally fangirl squeeing out over these songs.

 Also, they did a cover of Violent Femmes' "Kiss Off," which zaps me back to high school and riding around with nowhere to go and driving downtown to look at the tall buildings and that freedom. Plus is awesome song. And I am obsessed, cannot help it.

Also, I am benevolent benefactor, and sharing "Sometime Around Midnight" and the video is very cool, plus "you just have to see her, you know that she'll break you in two," so perfect.

Next their acoustic version of their song "All For A Woman," because it is amazing, and sigh, to be the muse to this kind of songwriting.

And finally their "Kiss Off" cover, which is badass and lovely and nostalgic but not dated at the same time.

 You're welcome.

Sometime Around Midnight, aka my gateway drug into this fantastic band

All For A Woman ,Acoustic Bombastic Live version, please can I be there then?

And yay, whee yay awesome, acoustic cover of Violent Femme's "Kiss Off" High School Allison and Current Allison Are FANS of this version, filmed in a kitchen, PS WE LOVE YOU CALL US

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Musical Summoning Superpowers at Work, or New Mumford and Sons Song! Yay! by Allison

More Proof that I have Superpowers:
Last night, was having a little music fest listening to The Lumineers, who are awesome. And lo and behold! I have summoned up even more awesome, Mumford and Sons just released a song, "I Will Wait," from their album coming out in September. New Mumford and Sons! Whee! Yay! It is of course, a great song, and I shall listen a whole bunch to it.

And because I am nothing if not a generous soul, also am attaching footage of them playing "I Will Wait" in Toronto.  There are a few videos of versions of this song live on YouTube, I am posting the least jiggly.  Is awesome.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Cannot Love This Band Any More, Is Not Possible, or Totally Gorgeous, Golden Songs from The Lumineers, by Allison

I cannot process how much I love this band. Like, crazy amounts of supreme whee yay man I wish I could do that type love. If I can't put it into words, that may mean no words exist. I'd buy that, actually, because they are so golden and sparkle and rich and raw and beautiful and give me a break stop being so good, there may not be an actual word.

Have been fan ever since I heard them, and not to brag (Note: I am actually going to shriek with glee a whole lot before, during, and after) but I am going to Austin City Limits Festival in October, which speaking of cannot process, trying to pick who to see when in the GIANT FESTIVAL OF AWESOME will be hardest thing, and that is a nice problem to have, and The Lumineers will be there, and I will be there too! Losing my mind.

And since they are not only fantabulously great, there are lots of string instruments (I am going off my ear here, too lazy to google, I hear mandolin, violin, cello, plus also piano) which is cool because I can totally say I am educating the girls in string music since they all play violin when I put the Lumineers music on repeat and act like loon.

Top song of squee yay whee can I please go back in time and be in this video plus I LOVE THIS SONG is "Ho Hey." Which is just a fantastic song, you must listen to it now. If I have to be bossy about it, I will. Listen to this song! Is good for you. Plus cool and badass and lovely and fun and real all at the same time.  But don't go away, after commercial break (not really, no commercials, no one paying me for commercial time, HINT HINT Tide to Go people, get on that) another awesome to the majillionth, "Stubborn Love," video filmed on a bus in Portland, all of which sounds amazing in theory and guess what? (Spoiler!!) It IS amazing in reality. Totally listen, you can thank me later.

So The Lumineers, "Ho, Hey" video which is awesome, followed by "Stubborn Love," also awesome. I am just handing over ten tons of awesome, out of the goodness of my heart, because that's the kind of (bossy, opinionated, obsessed with music, can't stop talking or writing, but it is ok since I am RIGHT about this) person I am.  Oh, Addendum!!! Thanks to my super cool music friend P, here is link to download their stuff for free!

Don't Say A Prayer For Me Now, Save It 'Til The Morning After (The Concert), or Tra La La Am Going To See Duran Duran, by Allison

So happy whee yay, I am soon traveling to visit my awesome college friend CC and have fun girl fun, and also see Duran Duran in concert! 

Whee yay does not even cover it.

Duran Duran may be the root source of my British, Floppy Hair, Musician (Shut up, John Taylor plays bass, and he used to play guitar in the band before that and I bet you didn't know that because you are not as mental as me, but he is musician) thing.

 I was an early and fervent advocate of Duran Duran, thanks to the wonderful invention called MTV (Note: youngsters, this was when MTV played music videos, which is when a band makes a video involving the song they are singing, I know that sounds outrageous since MTV now features pregnant toddlers and Oompa Loompa type hair gel fetishists, but is true. You could see the band, and hear the song, uphill, in the snow.)

And even before my parents let us get MTV on our home TV, my neighbor had it, and she was my new best friend.

Have you seen the video for Rio?
Floppy Hair!
I was sold, officially became lunatic. (And Note: There may be some (lying) people who claim (falsely) that they were biggest fans of Duran Duran back in the day, but let it be known: They are big lying liars who LIE. It was ME.)

I was off the charts crazypants.

Every song, album, remixes of them sold only in UK, whatever I could get my hands on, I owned and made shrine.

Every magazine written about them I bought.
Even ones in languages I could not speak (Hello, there were still pictures of them including JOHN TAYLOR, I was cool with that) and a very awesome music store in my town would order me all this nonsense, so I had Japanese Duran Duran magazines along with every Tiger Beat and any other source of information on Duran Duran ever.

And since subtlety is not my specialty, and it certainly was not when I was in middle school, I was self-proclaimed Duran Duran Is Awesome They Are British And Have Good Hair And Play Music public relations and promotions person.

Leading those who were uninformed as to What Is Awesome to see the light, and I was pretty dedicated to this pretend and random job I had assigned myself (Note: this is still one of my pretend jobs, along with Boss of Everyone, Enchantress, and Queen), and had all those magazines as proof, and would harangue every person I felt needed to be converted until they gave up and agreed Duran Duran Was Awesome Yay About The Hair and All.

My friend LH held out a long time, she was reluctant to become crazy fan, but I eventually wore her down, and she to this day loves Duran Duran, and who does she have to thank for that? Me, that's who. She knows this is true as I remind her a lot, since I have not matured emotionally since seventh grade.

Along with leading others down the primrose path of AWESOME, I also had to stand my ground, similar to duel at dawn, if  I ran up against someone who was all, "No, Allison, I am their biggest fan."

Not a good idea, Misinformed Person, it was going to be very painful for you, as I was both Totally Mental Fan and Totally Obnoxious And Long-Winded Allison, so good luck with that.

I was complete brat about it, like, "Oh, you like Duran Duran? You are their biggest fan? Huh. Well, do you know the bar in which John Taylor, who by the way is tall and has floppy hair and is British, was working the door when he formed the band? Do you know what kind of toothpaste they like? Did you know Andy Taylor got sick from drinking water that an elephant peed in while filming "Hungry Like the Wolf" video in Sri Lanka? What song hit the Top 20 in the UK first? Do you know the answer to that? Want to debate this some more? Because I am just getting started with the crazy, I've got about 2 more hours of this to throw at you unless you agree Allison Wins Is Biggest Fan She Gets Prize And Maybe Will Marry John Taylor."

 And like many other situations since, most people give up, run away, or nod their heads so I will stop.

As Biggest Fan Ever Have You Seen Them???? I ordered the videotape of several of their music videos that had been released overseas, and when that tape popped into our ginormous VCR that I am not kidding had wood panels like a surfer's car, and the Girls On Film one came up, I was all, huh.

Why is she riding a mechanical bull?
Why are there feathers?
Are those ladies mud wrestling? (By the way, I have not seen that video in a majillion years, it was quickly confiscated, but I am pretty sure that's what I saw)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

There Is Something Dangerous About The Boredom Of Teenage Girls, or, I am Total Fangirl for Megan Abbott, by Allison

So I just finished Dare Me, the newest book out by Megan Abbott. I already am a huge fan of her writing, her ability to pull you into the lives and thoughts of the characters in her books and put a noir-ish, moody, palpable perspective on the steaming, pulsing, vivid stories they have to tell. Dare Me centers around a competitive cheer squad in a suburban high school, but it could be any sport, or cutthroat debate team, or activity in which the students derive their identities and reason for existing from the sport or team. The twisty and unexpected relationship between Addy, the protagonist, and her Alpha best friend Beth, to whom she has always served as Lieutenant in cheer squad and in life, is turned upend when a new, strict, complicated Coach arrives. What follows is fascinating, gripping, textured. I got more out of the interplay and complexities of the relationships than the insight into competitive cheering, but I definitely loved being along for the ride.
TEENAGE DREAM This high school thriller exposes the dark and manipulative nature of social-climbing teenagers

And the other book by Megan Abbott that I have read recently, while different in tone and structure, is also fantastic. The End of  Everything, centers around young teenager Lizzie and her best friend Evie. When Evie is seen being driven off in a strange car, the saga and intrigue of the missing girl heightens and Lizzie becomes an amateur detective, trying to understand what happened, but more importantly, why. Why did Evie get in that car? In compellingly descriptive prose, Abbott weaves a tale of intrigue, twisting in hints of secrets kept, how love can be expressed in ways that are beautiful and in ways that are horrifying, and how teenage girls and their crash course into growing up can alter them as well as those around them in dangerous ways.
     The End of Everything

Both of these books have endings that are haunting, jolting, brilliant. Loved them. Do read.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Quiet, Lyrical Song Turning Thrashy Awesome Whee Yay, A Silent Film, by Allison

So this song by A Silent Film is one of those start off slow and lovely and lyrical then turn fun thrashy awesome dance yay. Have been having fun working it into the car dance rotation as well as dance-offs with M the six year old stylist and overall love it, gets gold star.

Also like the story-song type of song, unless it is a story-song in a sad country music song in which a lot of dying or living like you were dying or such is happening (Note: I cannot process George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today." That song kills me, flat out crying every time I hear it, starting from age 7 or whatever.)

So this song from A Silent Film is not a story-durge, is lovely and fun and whee yay.

Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well!

First is official music video, in which you can feel the quiet ramp up into the awesome. I also included an acoustic version with just a piano and the drummer thwacking sticks on his leg, it is totally different vibe but I also love that one too.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

So You Think You Can Read?, or How Intimidatingly Smart Book Club Can Result In Awesome Friends And Also Giant Vampire Cardboard Figure As Free Gift With Purchase, by Allison

So last night, after collecting of some of my children from Camp of Happiest Campers and Counselors Who Smile and Wave With Enthusiasm But Are Not Robots I Checked, Matt and I got to go hang out with my friends MS and HH, and their very cool and awesome husbands JS and DH.

I met MS an HH when, shortly after moving to our town when Matt finished his residency, I had V, stopped working, and moved in like 3 seconds,  so major life changes all at one time, and I was invited by someone I'd just met to join one of her book clubs. She was in something crazy like 7 book clubs, I am not lying. I read A LOT, but that was unsettling. And she gave me choices, I can't remember them all, but it boiled down to: Fun Book Club That Does Not Read Book or Super Smart Book Club You Better Read Book.

Timidly, I chose Smart Book Club, because I was new mother who had never not worked outside the home and now have tiny baby to deal with, and so was totally afraid Baby Einstein would eat my brain and make me only talk about diapers in an Elmo voice. But with that description of Smart, You Better Bring It Book Club, I was terrified of the first meeting.

The book was The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, and I read that book like it was for a final exam that if I failed I would get shot or something. I did CHARTS. I was crazy person. I go to book club, and sit next to two very awesome, cool, fab women, who were all "Yes, we are super educated educators but this book was boring so we stopped." And I am all, "OH, Nuh uh. I read this thing. Sit and listen to my chart. Plus, if you didn't finish it you don't know who the Blind Assassin is, and I will tell you." (Note: Am normally Margaret Atwood fan, love The Handmaid's Tale, but Blind Assassin is not at the top of my list of  Allison Approved Books. In fact it is hovering in the lower part of that list.) (Addendum: I just decided The Blind Assassin is not on my list at all. Is on other list, a BAD one)

So memorizing book and creating props and whatnot was accidentally a genius move on my part. Because my extreme reading and analysis of the book, totally due to being awake a lot with a baby and also sheer TERROR of being booted out of a book club for not being smart enough,  somehow tricked these fantastic people into thinking I was like that all the time, like,with a functioning mental capacity and was all, Serious Literature All The Time.  No! Of course no US Weekly by my bedstand, noooo, am reading some James Joyce for fun.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Old-School House Party Beach Week Untethered Joy Music, by Allison and M the six year old stylist

So this has been a favorite dancy, super-summery, carefree, zap me back in time song on my list of Seal of Approval Songs, determined by me and M the six year old stylist.  And has been in my head a ton in the past week, hearing it makes me think of beach weeks in high school and college with ten majillion of us crammed into one house or car, and old-school house parties in general.

So Approved songs get video review by me and M, and yay! Not only house party song, with surprise random 1980's aerobics in there (which TOTALLY gives me new flash mob idea), but summery, feeling like a kid, happy, dancing, joyous vibe that makes me all whee! yay!  thinking of my older girls at camp right now, I bet they are feeling that untethered, bubbling up happiness, yay happy whee.  Walk the Moon-

This Is Ridiculous, or Welcome To The Reign of M, The Six Year Old Stylist, by Allison

So in case you are wondering who has recently become Queen of the Universe (Note: no, it is not me, although I have tried that like a majillion times, it has not worked yet, am still trying though and welcome any suggestions), that would be my daughter M, the six year old stylist.

She has been having a week home with me, her sisters E and V are away at summer camp, and for a minute I was worried she would not have fun this week and be sad and miss them. That she would be bored being dragged to gym and Starbucks and several Girl Scout planning meetings and all the other very exciting things I do.


I forget who I am dealing with, M the six year old stylist is force of nature.

She commandeered V's new tween bedroom, has total fun at the gym organizing all of the other kids into her choice of game or fort building or whatever else she wants to do (and every time I go pick her up all the kids shout out "Bye, M! We'll miss you!" ), lots of car dancing going on and ALL her favorite songs are magically appearing whenever we are in car (Note: this may be in part due to the fact that she likes the same music I like and I am playing stations I like in the car, but the specific most favoritest songs keep popping up, which is totally M's voodoo magic)

Plus, she has suggested and succeeded in conducting activities involving shopping and selecting new dresses for both of us (she is stylist, after all, and dress shop people were amused and then shocked at her skill level and how seriously she takes her job of six year old stylist), dressing us up and getting Matt to take us out for fancy dinner (she made him dress up too), smoothie acquisition, and a whole lot of applying makeup on me and fixing my hair in various ways.
(Photo of M's activities, invitations, and recent acquisitions during her Best Week Ever)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Car Dancing and Gym and Super Awesome Fun Music, Musicians and Videos Approved by Allison and M the six year old stylist

So car ride to gym this morning with M the six year old stylist was most excellent car dancing fiesta, she is fantastic car dancing buddy and we agree on songs that require you to stay in car and continue dancing even when you get to wherever you are going.  And today one of our all-time Mommy and M car dance songs was on, Young The Giant's "My Body." That song is awesome, and we've had it on our Dance Party List long enough now that we've got a whole thing choreographed for it. Plus, M is huge fan of the band's drummer, even though I very specifically point out the taller, darker haired guy with guitar who is awesome and possibly broody, she likes the drummer, which is probably why Matt is getting her a drum set for her birthday, so she will not need to seek out drummers. (Note: She is six, and not aspiring groupie, she is aspiring Queen of Huge Kingdom and Editor of Vogue, but music education is important for children, that is officially true)

Anyway, loong lead up to us at gym, dancing to great song, and I made calculated and dumb decision to continue the car dancing, thereby making me late for boot camp class with very scary and strict but great but still scary trainer. Mid-dance, I tell M I am probably going to get in trouble and have to do something awful for being late, and she wisely advises me to think of the song when doing the awful thing, great advice because I did have to run 5 laps and do pushups and that song was a fantastic song to have in mind, so divine intervention? I say Yes.

(The answer is No, the answer is really "Allison turn the car off and go in and stop car dancing and you will not be late and will not have to do extra laps and pushups," but I cannot abide by that answer because M and I were having fun, and it IS good song to run to, so I change my mind and the answer is Yes again.)

Anyway: Young The Giant, "My Body," Seal of Approval by Allison and M the six year old stylist:

First is official video which is great, and Second is them live at Bonnaroo this year, and I would like to request someone with time machine come by so I can go back in time for this year's Bonnaroo because it looks awesome, also the band sounds great live with this song and also I love live music and also there is crowd surfing!
 (Note: I do not count it as full-on crowd surfing because security assisted, so does not totally count, and while lodging complaints not enough of the guitarist who is tall and awesome, in case official complaints are being filed, otherwise, is great and yay!)