Friday, January 28, 2005

Gratuitous Zoey POD

In the children's zoo area there's a prairie dog exhibit which includes three tunnels for kids to crawl through, where they can pop up at the end and look out at the exhibit through a plastic bubble. It is supposed to give them a greater prairie dog experience, as well as provide the parents with a nice photo op of their kids' heads popping up out of the ground, like a prairie dog (duh...also like themselves in their work cubicles). Zoey and Olivia discovered the tunnels for the first time this week, only they're not tall enough to be seen through the plastic bubble.

Also, I redid Trey's work Web site. If you feel the inclination, check it out at It's a very simple site.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Postal Failure

This package has been to Greece and back. It's seen more of the world than most Americans. In the course of its travel, it's been dropped, opened, dropped, tossed, and probably forgotten on a shelf somewhere. Unfortunately, it didn't ever get to Bethany's. Oh well.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

My guitar is on tour with Camper Van Beethoven

It’s true, it gets to play shows in New Orleans, Tallahassee and Orlando before it gets passed on to Trey (who’s in Florida for a convention) and comes home with him.

For the second time on this tour, Camper’s gear was stolen, this time in Dallas (the first time was in Montreal). I imagine some obsessed fan who follows them around so he can decorate some hallowed room in his basement with incense, candles and loads of Camper Van Beethoven equipment. The band put out a call for loaner gear until they are able to get their replacements through the insurance company, and Trey made me offer them our stuff. I hadn’t bothered at first, because I thought they’d get lots of offers, but Trey insisted and I got an email response later that day asking if I could bring my strat to their instore at Cactus Records. I hadn’t planned on going to the instore, because I was already going to the show that night, but now I had a reason to go and hey, my parents are always willing to watch Zoey for me.

I brought my guitar to the instore, thinking, naively it seems, they’d get there early and set up. Ha. I walked in with my guitar at 5:30 and there was nobody there. Well, nobody except Thane, who’d gotten there even earlier. He was really happy to see me, and I him, and we got to chat with each other instead of blindly looking through the CD racks to avoid looking like losers. I was the only one who brought any loaner gear with me, and my guitar sat next to the wall for about an hour while the store slowly filled up for the instore. By 6 there was a good crowd, but no band, and the crowd waited around, rather patiently, for them to show up. It was definitely an older crowd, and a number of people brought their kids with them. We all waited, and I was about to give up on the show when they pulled up, quickly got their equipment together and started their show. I did manage to introduce myself and told him I’d brought the guitar.

The instore was great, short, but very satisfying. I think I enjoyed watching the crowd as much as the band. We were near the front and off to my right there was that guy. The one who was defined by Camper music in high school or college who was transported back in time to that space of his in the dark with the headphones on. He swayed, rocked and very nearly swooned to the music, all the while singing along to every word. I thought, “how awkward for the band to have to play these songs for the millionth time with this guy having his little orgasm in front of them.” Over to my left there was the other guy. He was older than the first guy, but was clearly resisting the whole aging thing by keeping his long hair (tied back in a ponytail). He’d just come from work (gray trousers, black buttoned-down shirt) and had downed some of the beer. His dancing was less joyous, more metal-influenced with constant twitches and pumped fists. While it was obvious everyone enjoyed the music a great deal, I think these two expressed their love more openly.

Here's a shot of the crowd watching the band. If you look closely you might recognize one or two faces. There are a few more pics from the evening on my smugmug site, in the Random Shots gallery.

After the instore, the band quickly packed up while one of the Cactus employees informed the audience that they were going to be available for signing records and such in the usual Cactus place. I was a little disappointed he didn’t use my guitar, and thought the whole thing was going to be a wash, but when I went to talk to him he told me he wanted to use it at the show that night and offered to put me on the list. I said great, and told him that if he liked using the guitar he could take it all the way to Orlando and give it to my husband who would be at the show there. He said okay, and that he might do that.

I should point out that the whole situation made me feel very oddly insecure about my guitar. I hadn’t played it, hadn’t even taken it out of its case in about a year, and for some reason was terrified he’d play it and decide it was a worthless piece of shit. I really expected him to pick it up, strum it a bit and think, good god, what the hell did this girl offer me? I don’t know why I felt this way; it’s a perfectly good guitar. Maybe I felt the guitar was a weird, musical extension of myself and, like me, musically, totally unworthy, or worthless, or even downright terrible. He was going to play my guitar and see that it/me was just a waste of his time.

I felt like this for the rest of the evening leading up to the show, and it actually got worse once we (me, Piam and Thane) got to the show. I was glad Thane wanted to go, because by putting me on the list, I then had four tickets to the show as I’d already bought two in advance. Thane’s girlfriend was going to come as well, but she blew it off, which was fine as it ended up being a mini SLC reunion evening of sorts, and I enjoyed hanging out with those guys for the evening. In any case, we got to Fitzgerald’s in time to miss the opening band, and only had to stand around for about 30 minutes for Camper to start. He played the first two songs with his brand new hollow body Ibanez replacement guitar, broke a string and disappeared off the stage to get guitar #2, a black Les Paul. He obviously didn’t like that guitar, as it only lasted one song, and disappeared again. There was a flash of seafoam green and Thane nudged me. It made me anxious, full of dread and expectation of his shock at the pathetic instrument I’d brought him (I know this is ridiculous), and the whole band had to kill some time while he tuned the guitar. At this point, he actually got heckled by a couple of yuppie losers near the front who didn’t seem to care for the back stories to the songs, or that the band had the added obstacle of playing with unfamiliar instruments. I think they actually said, “shut up and play.” Dave Lowery didn’t take too kindly to that statement and started scolding them, which was actually kind of cool. At the same time, it added to my own anxiety; I mean, he just put on my guitar, which was apparently way out of tune, and it was accompanied by heckles from the audience. I was doomed. I just knew he was going to play one song, and then quickly exchange it for one of the many other guitars people had volunteered to lend him for the evening. Hopefully, when he did this he wasn’t going to make some condescending remark about what a piece of crap guitar it was. The band started in on a cover of “White Riot,” and I thought that at least I could say that Camper Van Beethoven played “White Riot” with my guitar the night of the president’s inauguration. I mean, that’s not such a bad thing. I didn’t have to add anything else to the story and it would still be a cute little anecdote to share with my daughter’s friends (who undoubtedly would roll their eyes and wonder just how out of it and old-fogey I could be).

Well, like I said, this whole anxiety episode was stupid. It’s just a guitar, a Mexican-made Fender Strat, and it plays just like it sells. He only had to retune it two more times during the rest of the set, and it sounded, like the rest of the borrowed instruments, really good when played by group of professionals who have written a slew of phenomenal songs throughout their 30-year career. He stuck with my Fender and at the end thanked me from the stage and told me (also from the stage) that he wanted to take it with him to Orlando and he’d give it to my husband. I don’t know that I felt, hmmm, validated (?) by the experience, but I was relieved and happy that the guitar worked out for him. Certainly, I was glad to let them use it, and happy that Trey had made me offer it to them.

I only spoke to him briefly after the show, but I did find out that he did not have a slew of guitars available to him, and that he was grateful to use mine. It would have been really perfect if he’d offered me a free CD or one of those nice, olive green long sleeve T-shirts. Or maybe just a bit more effusive in expressing his gratitude, but oh well. I may never get to go on a real tour, but at least my guitar does.

Okay, enough babble. I do want to add that all three of us agreed it was a great show. If you get the chance to see them, go.

Sorry for the excessively long and narcissistic post.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Zoey P.O.D.*

Kelly does a cute thing with Olivia where she gets her to "shake her booty," and the other day, during our playdate, I started saying it, too (to which Olivia tends to happily oblige, especially when there's music involved). Zoey, being a toddler, and toddlers being mimics, imitated me patting Olivia on the behind while Kelly stood behind them saying, "booty-booty!"

BTW, thanks to Philippe for that link to the photoblog site. I think it'll cure me of the Bejeweled thing.

*Picture of the day

Saturday, January 15, 2005

It's been a long time since my last post, and like Ashlee Simpson, I come bearing excuses. You see, it's not my fault I haven't done anything worth writing about, or that Zoey's kept me so busy I haven't had time to think about anything. Because in order to stop and write something, one has to think something, and lately it's been pretty much all Zoey. She's at a stage now where she won't let me do anything. If I try and pick up a magazine, or even look at the mail, she comes up to me and says, "No more reading." She also makes me sit down and play with her. "Mommy, play with blocks," she'll say, surprisingly clearly. Or we'll have to put on one of her CDs and dance to the music. Fortunately, she's on to some new CDs, so we don't always have to listen to Sesame Street or that lame Tunes for Toddlers.

It's also not my fault that I've been playing Bejeweled every time I have a spare moment.

Zoey's current top 10 songs (in no particular order): "Pig on her Head" by Laurie Berkner, "We are the dinosaurs" Laurie Berkner, "I'm a little Dinosaur" Jonathan Richman, "I'm a little Airplane" Jonathan Richman, "Bumblebee" Laurie Berkner,"This Hat" Laurie Berkner, "Kukenhaken" Jonathan Richman, "The Rules have Changed" New Pornagraphers, "Hey Diddle Diddle" anyone willing to sing it, "Twist Around" from the Bunny Collection CD for her music class.

Ok, so, we're a little heavy on the Laurie Berkner, but fortunately, she's great. Her songs are simple and fun, and she sings easily within my vocal range. I could even pick up her songs on the guitar, except that Zoey doesn't let me play the guitar.

Any second now, she's going to realize I'm not in the living room with her and wander this way, screaming "MaMA" the whole way, in her innocent, yet accusing voice. Of course, having just written that sentence, you might think, "Oh my gosh, is Mari leaving her child unattended?" Well, yes, but just for a moment. Besides, she's reading. ("reading") But yes, it is bad of me. I never leave her alone for long, because I will undoubtedly at some point have a vision in my head of her lying dead on the carpet having picked up some random piece of cat poo or something and choked on it.

Wait, I hear her little footsteps coming toward me now. She's going to come into the room and walk up to me, grab my hand and lead me out of the room. Goodbye.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Photo of the day

Saturday, January 01, 2005

bye bye 04

I’ve been trying to find the time and momentum to write a short little I’m-grateful-for-the-following-things kind of post (a la Astrobleme), but haven’t been able to really get my hands (fingers) around it enough to really tackle the subject. 2004 was a pretty good year, mostly for all the joy it brought in watching Zoey transform from a crawling, nonsense-talking infant to a walking, talking little toddler who can barely keep still. It’s pretty amazing, when you stop to think about all the little logistics it took for this transformation: She learned to walk, about a million words (hyberbole), how to eat with a fork and spoon (which she knows how to do now, but still rarely bothers with because hands are so much easier), most of the lyrics to about 10 songs (she mumbles over the words she doesn’t know, much like the rest of us do), how to ask for what she wants (and how to manipulate us into getting it for her), and many, many other little things that I can’t even bother to identify at this moment.

What’s weird about it all, what makes all these accomplishments hard to pinpoint, is that there’s just so much going on in the life of a toddler that you can only really focus on the surface levels, the stuff you can see every day. Right now, she can’t really put her own pants on, though she tries every time she gets a hold of a pair of her pants (or mine). And she’s really, really close to accomplishing this, but not there yet. In a few months, it’ll be old hat, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to look back and exactly pinpoint her little “A-ha” moment when it all came together for her regarding putting on pants. Me? I don’t even think when I put on my pants, but there’s really a lot to master. For instance, do you realize there are two leg holes in your pants? And you have to put one foot in each of the leg holes, which means you have to hold your pants just so, because not only do you have to get a foot through one big hole with an unstable border, but you also have another little hole to navigate after that. And all this using your feet.

Zoey’s current favorite phrases: “No more,” “You like (insert name here),” “I like (inset name here),” and “Two points!” That last one is a result of the cheap little mini-basketball and basket set her Gun-Gun gave her for Christmas. It’s literally one of those last-minute gifts he saw at his local Fiesta. She loves it and keeps putting things in the basket, not only every conceivably round ball-like object but just about anything that will fit (or not fit), like her stuffed Ernie doll. Sometimes he makes it all the way through and she yells, “Two points!” Sometimes he gets stuck in the net and she says, “Ernie’s sleeping.” She’s nothing if not flexible. This is a good thing.

Let’s see, back to 2004…we almost moved to Colorado. Zoey and I had our first road trip there in October and it was fun. We’ll miss that nice park that was about four blocks from our Pueblo where we went almost every day. And the wonderful weather we had there. Of course, now it’s rather cold there (and quite balmy here…hmmm).

Wow, I don’t know what button I accidentally pressed, but my computer has started talking like Stephen Hawking. Wait, that’s irritating.

Whatever, in any case, the year, the holidays are over and we can all start out the new year fresh. I'm really glad I got to hang out with Kilian and Tricia a few times while they were in town--I even got to spend one evening in a bar! Tricia took some good photos of Zoey, which you can look at here. I'm looking forward to seeing how the black and white ones come out. Zoey, btw, loved the Sweeneys, and uttered many a "I like Tricia/Kilian/Carlotta" each time we left Carlotta's house.

One last thing re the photos: I signed up with a new photo service called Smugmug, which allows me to link to photos (Yahoo does not). It also allows much bigger pics to be put online, so anyone can just right click on a photo and save it in the original size (though you may have to select viewing it at the original size). You can visit my galleries at