Friday, April 26, 2013

Glamping Is Not A Real Thing! Or, If It Walks Like Camping, And Talks Like Camping, And Is Full Of Mud And Lack Of Beds Like Camping . . . by Allison

So, it is no secret that I love times eleventy seeing shows, live music is healing and thrilling, and I will totally travel for fab concerts.

Will stand in the rain for hours and hours, no food or sitting, fending off doofuses
( if awesome music is happening.

But get this?
While onslaught of weather and mud -
No onslaught of a bit of food or water -
Total onslaught of doofuses -
is something I am happy to deal with, if the end result, after an hour and a half of dragging filthy, muddy, starving self out of festival park  is the assured access to lovely hotel room with shower, food, bed, NO DOOFUSES.

Totally worth it.

So when I see a lineup for a music festival that has, like, every band I either love, love love, or fifty eleventy love on it?

I am in one second emailing Matt and my Bestest Music Friend Ever K and her cool husband to plan a road trip.

Except, those three people are smarter than me.

In like, 10,000 ways, but in this case, they investigated the lodgings around this delightfully flush with awesome music festival.

And there is a glaring omission in the lodgings offerings.
No hotels. At all.

The choices are this:

1. Camping.

2. Glamping.

First, I am a reluctant camper.

I have, and will camp, if I have to.

I have done several Girl Scout camping trips in the last few years.
And while I adore the absurd puppet shows and love saving girls' ponytails with my beauty products, I actually do not like the camping part.
Tarps and shacks and tents and moldy bedthings are not my first choice.

However, the Park Ranger with the ridiculous accent and sluggish manner was no Giant Lineup Of Indie Bands I Love.

So, maybe the camping would be okay, if excellent music and friends and fun included?

Not sure.
I camped on my Beloved Cross Country Road Trip after college.

In the heat.

At the Grand Canyon.

And I lived to tell the tale.

Granted, I tried very hard to convince my friends that half of our cooler space should be reserved for my makeup bag so it did not melt.

They did not humor me on this.

And they remember it, and bring it up, but whatever.

Anyone knows you put your makeup bag in a cooler if your only other choice is a car baking in the 900 degree Arizona summer "dry heat."

So, maybe camping is not my thing.

2. But Glamping?

That is totally not even an actual word, or activity. No such thing.

That is MADE UP.

By people who have been watching too much Glee and think anything can be mashed up together.


Glamourous and Camping do not mash up.

They are polar opposites.

I mean, the New York Times has an aspirational photo of Glamping, which is very British Royal Family Goes On Safari, with the 50 staff members out of the picture holding peeled grapes, umbrellas, and other necessities.


That is not the worst thing I ever saw, but I am suspicious that whatever is not shown in this image involves mudslides, Port A Potties, and Doofuses.

And I am wise to be suspect.

Because the music festival's definition of Glamping is:

Inline image 1

That is totally not the same thing.

And where exactly, is the Glam part of Glamping?
Not the red solo cup/tank top scene I am seeing.

That is because Glamping is not a real thing.
And though these affable fellows have a flower on their table, which is a nice touch, I am not sold.

So conundrum.

And clicking my heels together, wishing on a star, and saying chants is not producing a Four Seasons, or a Three Seasons, or really, any season other than Suspiciously Terrifying Buggy Muddy Doofus Riddled Season.

I will keep trying to magically make an option that does not have a variation of camping, or made-up pretend subterfuge disguises for the exact same thing as camping involved.

Totally could use that intern right about now, just saying.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cry Me A River of Green Tea, Lattes, and Wine: Or, the World's Most Trivial Predicament, by Allison

So I think I may have just experienced the planet's most trivial, nonsensical, first world problem, "Oh, dear, I got Champagne on Mumsy's dress whatever shall I do," idiotic predicament.

Like, it is almost, almost too embarrassing and eye-rollingly not an actual predicament, but a series of Stupid Things I Do, Leading To A Mess.

But, since I am totally fine embarrassing myself, and those who saw me flash mob, or cry at movies or car dance, or have to deal with me in any way know that already. So I present:

Cry Me a River of Teas, Lattes, and Wine, A Saga, by Allison:

So today, after gym, violin, beverage acquirement, unloading, making spaghetti sauce (from scratch, take that Martha Stewart and her minions), finally yay I get to sit down and read this delicious book Z, on Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott.
 I have been longtime huge fan of hers,  and she was so gifted and zesty and misunderstood, and am juicily into this book.

But one second after sitting, I hear what I think is either Superman, ninjas, or all the dreaded owls in the world crashing through an upstairs window.
It was SO loud.

I investigate, because no one in cape, ninja gear, or feathered eyeball eating flock of devil birds appears.

And it is grisly.
It is gross.
It is foul.
And it is all my fault.

I have allowed my deranged and irrational need for many, many forms of beverage to be available to me at all times to create World's Most Trivial Predicament.

I have overloaded our upstairs mini fridge
(Backstory: I had yuk oral surgery bleh this winter, and Matt is a saint and realized that would agitate my need for a variety of teas and Diet Cokes and other more potent beverages to be around, all the time, and me traipsing around post-surgery would lead to more surgery. So now mini fridge in the guest bath, temporarily, I am sure after this post he will remove it immediately. I hope not. I love it. It is my little friend  --  Until Now.)

So the little, previously charming fridge apparently swung itself open somehow, and a Venti Nonfat Latte, two Trenta (that is Big Gulp in Starbucks language) green teas, a Diet Coke, and a really awesome bottle of wine that I love and is not everyday wine but super special and I love it, have crashed, LOUDLY, onto the white subway tiles of our guest bath.

The splatter.
I cannot put it into words, other than, EWWWWWWW.
Also, because I have irrational need for many beverages at all times, there was a lot of liquid to splash in copious, messy ways, all over the white tiles, the painted walls, the CEILING, the white armoire-y furniture thing, everywhere.

The toile shower curtain looks like it was used to clean up after the first scene in the movie Trainspotting.
(Note: I apologize for such a gross description, as that Trainspotting scene is VILE, but it fits, and was all I was thinking as I stood, in horror, trying to figure out which pathetic mess to clean up first.)

Get this? None of my variety of liquid friends wants to mix and mingle.
Is like science experiment, they all ooze separately,
I know this because of how long I was on hands and knees or on ladder removing evidence of World's Most Trivial Predicament.

I don't think it is going to change my behavior pattern of carrying two giant teas wherever I go, or bringing absurd numbers of beverage items along if I am away from access a source for more than an hour.
2 go to the gym, 2 at violin, 3 or more for Girl Scouts, and you can ask Matt how much fun it is with me juggling spillables on car trips.

My reasoning is this:
What if I get thirsty?
What if I want something I don't have, and can't get it, and die?
Or need the wine?
Or the tea for the antioxidant infusion after the wine?

I have always been this way.

Used to be only Diet Coke, and I'd leave a can on the roof of my car, almost always, forgetting I put it there, but I had to have a supply.
Matt's brother drank the last Diet Coke once, and he is 6 foot 5, can handle just about anything, and he went running as fast as he could away from my deranged fury.

I justify it this way: There was a movie once, it was terrible, one of those by the Sixth Sense guy:
OOOH! Tangent Alert!

Tangent: I totally figured out the SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT fact that Bruce Willis was dead like, right away at the theater watching The Sixth Sense.
And I could not tell anybody, because that would be rude and mean, so I like, scribbled down on a piece of paper in my purse:
 "I figured out Bruce Willis is dead, he has the same outfit on this whole time. Same outfit. Totally dead. I am not ruining this for you guys, but I want credit for my Sherlock Holmes meets Anna Wintour skills of deduction here."

So when the reveal of him being dead was all "oooooooh" by the audience, I brandish my paper that in my crazy head is proof of what? I win? What do I win? I don't know, I won something, or thought I should.

Tangent over!
So the bad movie I'm talking about by the Sixth Sense guy had aliens in it?
Mean ones.
And the world was saved by the little girl leaving her glasses of water and drinks all over the place, it was referenced throughout the movie, how this girl was so weird and annoying with her many drinks everywhere.
I of course had no problem with her and her drinks, seems reasonable to me, what if she gets thirsty at the piano?
Or upstairs?
Or whatever?
AND,  the multitude of available beverages defeated the aliens and she won!

I use this as further justification for my abundance of beverages at all times issue:
I am fighting the aliens.

So you can imagine when the airline security rules changed years ago, after that awful lady tried to do bad things using a baby bottle, and for a period of times it was no liquids, ever at all ever ever,
I was alarmed for all of our safety, for the sad state of the world, for plain horror of it, and also, the restrictions were very, very restricting.
For good reason, and sorting out what bad stuff people can do with seemingly non-weapon weapons is a seriously stressful, hard, and important job, and gold stars to all of those people who do that.

We of course were traveling immediately after that rule was invoked, like 2 days later.
And everybody at the airport was totally wigging out and stressed and not sure how to implement the new rules.
And I am all for whatever security needs be. 
Seriously I know I am the worst, but I get it.
I realize the world was grappling with what horrible things could be done, how and travelers just need to suck it up.
I got that.
I was ok.
I was totally cool with coping with my insane anxiety over dehydration, I was planning to pretend to be a reasonable person.
Unfortunately,  I am also a total, complete idiot.

My trainer had advised me that Airborne tablets were good before you travel, for warding off airplane recycled germ petri dish environment.
Matt douses himself in Purell, not kidding, I think he pours it in his ears too, but I am not usually a germ freak.

Except, my trainer has this glow of health like she is permanently in a yogurt commercial, so I buy Airborne, and right before we are to get on the plane, I pop one in my mouth.

You aren't supposed to do that.

You are supposed to put it in water, it is fizzy, like Alka-Seltzer.

I would know this if I read the instructions, and yes, fine, this validates all of the people my entire life telling me to read the instructions.
I did not read them, and I chewed that tablet for half a nanosecond, before realizing I was foaming at the mouth.
With no water or liquid at my disposal.

I looked rabid.
I felt like the innocuous looking tablet was expanding, effervescing, whatever, exponentially. 
Both foamy and cement-like in texture.

It was both startling and alarming, and Matt laughing did not help.
He stopped laughing when it became clear that I was probably going to die by foaming at the mouth due to not reading the Airborne instructions.

That is an embarrassing way to go out.
I realized I needed some fake incidents written up for Matt, in case my idiocy and stubbornness leads to a totally preventable, stupidly stupid nonsense expiration of me.

At the time, though, we were kind of almost boarding the plane, and there was not a thing we could do.
And do you know how many people rush to help a foaming at the mouth, possibly rabid person?


I think we patted my mouth out with paper. Which is not very thirst quenching OR foam-absorbant.

That is why I am crazy beverage hoarder.

I never know when I may do something totally idiotic and need my green tea.  I have to be prepared.

So that is one tiny reason, well I guess two:
1. Fighting aliens
2. Remedy for ridiculous ingestion of fizzy vitamins that present symptoms similar to rabies.

I am not even reading up to see how many ways I just detailed one of my weird eccentricities.
(Charming quirks? Can I call it that instead?)

One of my Charming Quirks (I am making that a thing)  that led to me spending my afternoon NOT reading Zelda Fitzgerald book.
Spent scouring guest bath to remove latte, green tea, Diet Coke, wine fiesta of "really?????" instead.

It would have been way more fun if Zelda Fitzgerald were here to help.
I bet she'd totally get my Charming Quirk, and also teach me how to do pin curls and tell me scandalous stories about Paris in the Gilded Age, and then we'd do the Charleston.

But since that didn't happen due to pesky time/space continuum issues, I am on my own when I idiotically accidentally wreck stuff.

I really, really want an intern.

Authentically Fantastic, Rightously Real, Super Great: "Ain't In It For My Health," Levon Helm Documentary, It Rules, by Allison

So it is a known fact, at least to me, that one of my superpowers is this:
Ability to have the coolest and most talented friends, ever ever.
I do enjoy my music summoning superpowers, and expound delusionally about those all the time, but the Best Friends Ever one is totally fab as well.
And when they intersect?
That rules.

I have proof!
Otherwise known as, one of my lovely, smart, talented, and so cool friends, Mary Posatko, is Exhibit A in my Proof I Have Superpowers, Friends That Are Amazing Category.
Here is why:
She's a documentary filmmaker, and that in itself is awesome.
But get this:
She just produced the most soul-stirring, triumphantly, hell YEAH documentary about musician Levon Helm.

Levon Helm, legendary musician, drummer for The Band, actor (Coal Miner's Daughter, The Right Stuff), and cancer survivor, who fought off throat cancer and regained his singing voice, winning a Grammy for his comeback album.

"Ain't In It For My Health," is the film, premiering soon, details at

Levon Helm is mind-blowingly mind-blowing, and also a compelling inspiration for a documentary about passion and gifts,  and being able to laugh at what comes at you,  and see the good stuff that is still there.

I mean, this is "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" dude.

Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz," 1970's documentary on The Band, is fantastic, just great.

But Mary's documentary is a whole other thing. 

 "Ain't In It For My Health," (directed by Jacob Hatley and produced by Mary (did I mention she is my friend????) and Ken Senga, cinematography by Emily Topper), has the same phenomenal music, you know, who does not get chills when you hear "I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead . . "

His music is just right, always.
But "Ain't In It For My Health" is a movie about the man as well as his music. Woven like a tapestry, interspersed and infused with Levon's life struggling with a killer disease, fighting to have a voice and play his stuff while he could.

Dancing, living, with the gleam in his eye of someone doing what they love, and getting away with it.

And there's not like this, immediate tear-jerker manipulation thing going on. No "Ok cry HERE. See, he's fighting an awful disease, and singing again. CRY. Oh look, he's still loving life. CRY. Here this timeless music. CRY."
I mean, you can, sure, I do, but it is organic.
There are not any scenes of him embracing Ryan Gosling in the rain.
And yes, I know documentaries are about real things and don't often lift scenes from The Notebook (That would be cool though, if a bit odd. But Mary, totally think about that for other projects, and invite me that day.)
but many documentaries are tone-deaf.
Heavy handed.
It may be my innate stubborn mule tendencies, but I hate lunkish demands for my outrage, sorrow, happy, whatever emotion.

None of that here.
"Ain't In It For My Health" is fantastic, and like, actual famous directors and Oscar nominees and music people are saying this,  not just me.
I am in good company in my opinion on this fab documentary.

Totally go see it. I hope it comes to your city. If not, acquire it via your whatever method of movie-getting is, you will be glad you did.
Giant Opinion (Note: I am totally right, though, so listen to me) Of Why This Movie Rules:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Homework Help With Poetry? I'd Love To, Or How Our Evening Descended Into Blackmail Threats As A Parenting Tool, by Allison

So it is a known fact in our household and probably elsewhere that I am:
Total nerd
Compulsive reader
Writer of jibber jabber that is often not at  all succinct
And music freak.
Also, that combination of things is usually happening all at once.

So E, in preparation for Poetry Coffeehouse for her Fourth Grade,
(Which, note: I love the girls' school.
I love they have poetry coffeehouse events in which fourth graders, parents invited as audience, have to both recite a poem they like, read a poem they wrote, and usually the violin kids play something too.
Also, at V's Coffeehouse 2 years ago, the theme was Mardi Gras/Sports, which is a hysterical example of a class totally not agreeing at all, and the end result being absurdly delightful. V wore her lacrosse jersey and Mardi Gras beads.
They served us fruit, there was a program, it was darling, I have photos)

So  E has to ask what my favorite poem and/or favorite song is, as they bind them together for the class
(Note: I learned the folly of telling V my favorite poem when she was in fourth grade. 
Because of course,  I have eighty million favorite everythings, but this one seemed to suit her/my mood, so I picked The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.
And since I am tremendously excited whenever anyone asks me what I like and why,
I print out the poem, make notes, highlight important passages, and chase her around trying to talk about the mermaids singing.
And this giant, long poem, with my Important Insights gets bound in with all the other  normal parents' normal, non-humongous poems, in which they did not write their interpretations on it, and I get the "Ug Mom really?" face from V, even though I totally bet she loves that poem later on, when I am not leaving annotated copies of it on her bed.)

I am guessing E remembers this vaguely, but she is also a word collector, and we have had poetry reading in the rain -- "Take that, Parenting Perfect Mommy Fun Time Magazine!!!" -- evenings.
So I am thinking talking about poems (and songs, they added that, I bet  somebody's dad was like "My favorite POEM???? Can it be about a guy from Nantucket?) will not stress out E.

I can DO this. 

It's not like lunch duty when I lose kids.
I can TOTALLY give favorite poem AND song, and tell why, Are there any word limitations??

And since E  has recently amused me to no end:
In choosing a verse to recite when her school did a back in time to ye olden days, Method Teaching Day, where they had to dress in calico and bring lunch in a sack and give a verse at roll call -
she asks for help and I pulled out my various books on quotes, verses, poems, great sayings, etc
(You may imagine I have collected a vast library of these over the years, and you would be right)
for her to choose from.
Kind of  steering her towards a Poor Richard's Almanac thing, based upon the time frame and sartorial challenges
facing her.

But she instead chose Voltaire.
I love her.

She chose Voltaire's last words on his deathbed, when asked to forswear Satan:
"This is no time to make new enemies."

Honestly, that ruled, and even though I am guessing calico lunch sack child may or may not have known Voltaire at age 10, I am super glad my kid does, and chooses that as her verse to share.
 Her analysis: "It is easy to remember and hard to forget."
(That is when I did a little happy dance in my head.)

So I am not worried about the assignment tasked me, favorite poem and song, other than:

I cannot possibly choose, is ludicrous, I must have some boundaries in which to work or I will go off the rails.

E remembers the very eco-non-friendly mass production of Prufrock 2 years ago, so I have word limitations set upon me.


I was going to go with Eloisa to Abelard, because I was recently trying to explain why bad memories are better than no memories, even if it doesn't seem that way at the time, and that poem has the "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" concept that I used as a reference point  --   until the entire room cleared out and I was left alone.
But with an awesome Alexander Pope poem, their loss.

But fine.
I will pick something non-prolific.

E also does not want me to embarrass her.


I am not sure I know the exact way in which NOT to embarrass her, so I decide I will give myself my own boundaries:

1. No snark, even though E is already a fan of  Dorothy Parker and I have shared some of her pithy wit, I can't unleash the majority of Dorothy Parker's caustic and scathing slashes of phrase on my ten year old, it will get either one or both of us in trouble.

2. No ee cummings, the punctuation issues would stress her out.

3. I will be normal.
I will totally not chase her around asking for themes like "Tragic Irish Poets and Tragic Irish Musicians, An Analysis."

 (Actually, I did that, she said NOOOOO.)

So, I am going very mainstream, and offer up "She Walks In Beauty" by Lord Byron, because that guy could craft a swoony phrase.

And she won't even let me write the whole poem out, and tells me I am writing the title too big, and then what am I doing writing a paragraph, stop it MOM.


I am having to scribble a song, one second of thinking, as she is yanking the paper out of my hands.
NO time to come up with song that I think links to the poem somehow in style or sentiment.

No time to even hold the pen properly, so her teacher is going to think I am insane
(Note: he already knows this, he was V's teacher too).

I scrabble out "Moonlight Mile," Rolling Stones, as fast as I can before she runs off with this assignment and leaves me NO time to add thoughts or even lyrics or ANYTHING.


But as I am an eternal optimist,
 (Note: total lie. I am, however, an eternal scouter for blackmail opportunities in which to force my children to behave properly), I realize that there is a silver lining.

Which is?

"Oh, E?
Get this.
You're now on notice. You know what's going to happen if doors are slammed, words are shouted, feral wild savage behavior exhibited? 
I'm emailing Mr. B not only the entirety of my poem, but I will write a thing on it, and its context in its era and how it holds up now, including biography on Bryon.
And then I will list all the songs I think work with it, that you wouldn't let me write.
And then I have a whole thing on the Rolling Stones song, you know that already. I just have to cut and paste.
And I have way, way more poems, songs, and thoughts on them.
Like, seriously, you better behave.
Santa, his elves, their "better be nice?"
Junior Varsity.
Mommy will rain down poems and songs and What I Think until the end of time."

"And if Poetry Analysis Blackmail isn't enough?
 Ponder this: I've halfway cooked up a mashup of "Thrift Shop" to suit the swim team. You know I'll flash mob in a heartbeat."

I am now allowed to print out the entire (short) poem! Ha HA!!

Poetry and Flash mob blackmail as a parenting tool.
If that is not already a thing, I am making it one and trademarking it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why Is It Watery, Has Things Floating In It, and Probably Toxic? Or, Mixing Drinks, Yet Another Thing I Cannot Do, by Allison

So, today, here in beautiful island paradise of heaven, please can we stay forever, I learned yet another thing I am truly, horribly bad at attempting.

I do not have a formal list of these things because I am a known List Hater, and that List in particular I do not want to see ever ever.

But never fear! My brain jambles around and reminds me of my misguided attempts at (fill in blank) all the time.

This evening, lovely breeze, mountains and twinkly lights out on the sea, could not be any better.

So how can I wreck it?

Answer: Many ways, too long to write all of them, so tonight I will focus on this:
I cannot make delicous fruity blended beverage for adult consumption and enjoyment.

In fact, I think what I made was both watery and thin, yet clumpy and chunky (in colors of things I did not put in there), and could probably have started a car with its fumes.

Total fail.

And I know how to use blenders!
I am not afflicted with a No Appliance Ever issue!
I made the girls baby food, pureeing it up!
We make protein smoothies at home a lot.!

The problem is, I've gotten spoiled because I have (not here, booo on that) stealth mixologist RTB who is wizard delicous beverage conjurer
(Note: Have waxed poetic on his delightful delights and the aftereffects and the naming issues involved, but most importantly recipes for these elixirs here :
and they mayhem that followed here:

And trust me, and I know good from bad since I am declaring myself the worst ever, RTB's mixes are fab, and why can't I do that?

I was attempting to conjure up a delightful frothy drink for this evening, and was faced with some challenges:

1. No idea how to froth up something appropriately in blender and am too lazy to read what I wrote last summer.

2. Lack of fruit or juices that come from fruit.
I had some strawberries, one banana, questionable lime, and an apple I was not going to use because I wanted to eat it later, it looked like an excellent apple.

3. Nary a clue on what to mix in with it, other than the rums we have here in paradise (Note: I am being a humanitarian, supporting the local economy in this rum acquisition. They hand it out at the airport! It may be a law!)
so I put some of this and that.
I do not often or ever make mixed adult beverages, so I am thinking I overpoured.

And then I thought maybe a little bit of orange juice, cranberry juice, and vodka would be a nice element.

I know there is something missing, like a substance that makes things frothy and not "please sir, may I have some more" Oliver Twist gruel.
I just don't have it in my brain, or in this lovely house.

So I blend, and blend and blend, and it seems to look OK, so I pour a glass, and  . . . . my sinuses are totally clear now, FYI.

I took one in to Matt with no warning to see what would happen, but he was engaged in bonding with his children and not making alcohol soup like his wife, so I did not get his thoughts on the horror.

(Which, in my defense, Matt used to have this Crockpot theory which was: put stuff in, everything is good after crockpotting all day.
This very very WRONG theory was proven false after the episodes we have named:
1. Menace-strone : he put in cans of ministrone soup, a whole box of uncooked squiggly noodles, and random other nutritious things as i was pregnant with V and we were observing the food pyramid.

The concoction he made was honestly the gooiest, gloppiest, unidentifiable blob ever.
But I ate some, and then both in vitro V and I protested vehemently. That was bad.
 But not as bad as:

2. Tuna Spaghetti. I don't even have to elaborate on that, nor do I want to.

So I learned tonight that the same theory of, throw it in there, it will be good, does not work for blenders either.

This thing  I concocted was so watery, just EWW.

And oddly it was also still chunky.

It was the color of the walls of a government institution.

Bonus!  Things were floating in it.
Like, chunks and bits of things that were not the color of anything I put in it, AT ALL.

Also, unlike RTB or others' delightful drinks that seem innocuous but are not -
This one declared from the rooftop,
"Don't light a match near here!
Give me your keys!
Save some and you can use it as fuel later on!"

I valiantly tried to drink some, or at least identify the detritus.

Is mystery.

But no worries! Am in island paradise! 

And here's someone dudes who know how to chill waaay better than me: G. Love and Special Sauce's "Recipe" and Willie Nelson's "Whiskey River."