Monday, August 30, 2004

Fuddy and Duddy

On the way home from the beach yesterday I said, "I'm sleepy." H. asked, "Why are you guys always sleepy?!" I said, "Because we haven't been getting much sleep." "Why haven't you been getting much sleep?" "Because we've been worried about getting you into a school." "Stop worrying!" Boyfriend and I looked at each other like, yeah...right. I said, "Once we have you settled into a school, then we'll relax."

We wanted to watch the Little League World Series last night. H. was rooting for California (which he has begun viewing as his new adopted home state, since he's hot to move there with us). Boyfriend and I felt compelled to root for our Caribbean neighbor, Curacao. I was lying on the couch and slept through maybe the first hour of the game. When I woke, I reheated leftovers for dinner and we finished watching the game. (Curacao won.) Then we switched over to the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, which were airing at the same time as the VMA's (Video Music Awards for those of you who don't follow all things MTV). Like most teenagers, H. wanted to watch the VMA's.

Even though I'm so far removed age-wise from an MTV demographic, I'd like to think I still keep up on who at least some of the artists are. And jeez, boyfriend IS a musician. But we flipped it on at one point during a commercial on the Olympics show and boyfriend and I gave each other a certain look. I said, "Baby, we're old." H. was lying on the couch and nodded his head in agreement. I said, "Daddy and I used to be hip." H. muttered, "Used to." Ha!

So we finished watching the closing ceremonies and told H. we were retiring and leaving him to his VMA's. Then the old fuddy-duddies went into the bedroom, closed the door...and got busy. We may be old....but we're not that old! :)

Frances, Pt II

We arrived at the beach yesterday to meet up with our friend L. and her son M. We knew they would be with other friends of theirs and it would give H. a chance to meet some of M.'s friends. (We had dinner at L.'s house about a week and a half ago, and M. and H. hit it off.) I plopped down into my sand chair once we got everything settled and I asked L. what her husband B. was doing for the day (he typically doesn't join them at the beach). She said he was at home putting the finishing touches on their new hurricane shutters (which he built). She added, "So they'll be ready on Tuesday." I was momentarily confused, thinking maybe they were heading out of town for a few days. I asked, "What's happening on Tuesday?" She looked at me like: Duh...a hurricane? With everything else on my mind, I had completely forgotten about Frances yesterday.

On Saturday, Frances was a category 3 hurricane. L. said she had since increased to a category 4 and was expected to increase to the even more dreaded category 5. Even more alarming, she had shifted from a northwest track to a due west track...AND she was moving very slowly (giving her lots of time to gather more strength before nearing our island). Although boyfriend said word among long-time residents on the golf course yesterday (during a golf tournament) was that she'd still pass north of us.

We live at latitude 18.3. At 8 pm last night, Frances was at 18.8. WAY too close for comfort. But at 5 am this morning, she was at 19.0 and wind speeds had decreased to a category 3. Even so, both St. Thomas and St. John were placed on hurricane watch last night. Frances is expected to travel about 130 miles north of us, but hurricane and tropical storm force winds extend more than 200 miles from the eye of the hurricane. So residents have been advised that we could experience tropical storm or hurricane level winds during the day tomorrow as she passes by. Forecasters are also reminding residents that Hurricane Charley was expected to hit Tampa, but passed 80 miles south instead--catching Charlotte County residents off-guard.

We'll prepare today just in case--securing items on the balconies and picking up additional bottled water, matches and batteries. H. and I bought a lot of groceries on Saturday, so we have sufficient food supplies. If the power goes out, we can still cook because we have a gas stove.

We've been keeping H. apprised of this whole hurricane situation. He sat next to me at the laptop last night while I surfed the weatherunderground site. We want him to understand, but didn't want to cause him great fear. He seems okay with it, confident even. He's pretty sure we don't have anything to worry about. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2004


The front-page headline in our paper this morning is that Hurricane Frances is now a category 3 hurricane. The latest projection is that by Tuesday morning, she should be 150-200 miles north of us. I'd prefer a little more breathing room, because anyone who lives in a hurricane area never really breathes a sigh of relief until the storm has actually passed, since they can change course. When I checked the computer models at my favorite hurricane tracking site this morning, they all show her moving north of us. (A few days ago, a couple of the models had her heading straight for us.)

So we'll continue to hold a good thought that she'll stay away from all the islands and hopefully weaken and dissiplate before she moves closer to the mainland.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Indecision Redux

Never underestimate the power of women's intution. I had this nagging feeling all evening and told the boyfriend that we must go to the school this morning. He had preferred to wait until Monday when we'd have all of H.'s documentation that his mother is sending to us today via overnight mail. But I insisted and he understood my reasoning. I can't bring myself right now to write what it looks like the outcome of all of this will be. But suffice it to say that I finally lost my composure at the school earlier today. The three of us were tucked into a hallway amid some classroom furniture because there'd been a sudden downpour...and I suddenly couldn't hold back the tears. I'm trying hard to remember that I've always believed everything happens for a reason--I really do believe that. But, shit, it's hard to hold that thought when you feel like you're in an emotional blender and someone has pushed the 'liquify' button.

I promise to detail everything in a few days. Until then, I'm just gonna hang in as best I can. One thing's for sure though: I'm gonna need a real vacation after this one's over.

Thank you for all of the unbelievably supportive comments and emails you've sent. They've meant more to me than you could possibly know. More soon....

Sunday, August 22, 2004

St. Croix

We had a wonderful weekend on St. Croix. The only ‘iffy’ part was the Cessna 402 we flew over and back. When we arrived at our gate at the airport for our noon flight on Friday, I noticed that our group comprised the entire passenger list for our flight. Our leader, S.S., who was the bandleader for the weekend’s gigs and the promoter of same (he’s often just the promoter), wandered over to the large windows looking out on the tarmac, strolled back toward the group and said, “I’m pleased to announce that our plane does have two engines.” To which his wife. H.S., responded, “Yes, but the ‘one pilot’ thing makes me nervous--what if he’s not feeling well that day?” I had never flown this airline, but the boyfriend had--a couple of times to St. Croix for gigs. I did remember him remarking that the planes were quite small. So I wandered over to the window to take a look (and maybe gear myself up mentally for the trip, since I’m not a lover of flying to begin with). The plane was parked down a bit from our gate and it looked…teensy. I turned around and asked incredulously, “That’s our plane?!” H. came running at that, had a look for himself, turned to me and said, “No, it’s not.” Yeah, buddy, I’m afraid it is. Looking at that little plane and back at our group of eight, which included three larger-size men…well, the math didn't compute. (I was suddenly very glad the guys hadn't brought their golf clubs.) It was a nine-seater (excluding the pilot); we managed to get H. seated in the co-pilot seat. I did okay, except for a few bumpy moments right after takeoff--even the tiniest bit of turbulence causes my heart to leap into my throat. Thankfully it’s only a 15-minute flight.

Once on St. Croix, we rented cars and drove straight to the motel, which was right on the beach just south of the town of Fredericksted. We had lunch at the motel’s restaurant, which is open-air and facing the beach. Their food is quite good. After lunch, H. and I hit the beach and the boyfriend retired to the room for a little relaxation before his two gigs.

Friday night they played Sunset Jazz which is at a beachfront park in Fredericksted. There was a large turnout and everyone seemed to really enjoy the music. (Our PBS affiliate always tapes the event, so we’ll be able to watch it at some point.) It’s an event the boyfriend has played two or three times before--held the third Friday of each month. That show was followed by dinner at a wonderful French restaurant. The owners (an older couple) are French; both had attended the concert. The man came by our table at one point to tell us how as a young man in the late 50’s he’d worked (as a chef) at a restaurant in Paris where many of the American expat musicians liked to hang out and jam in the afternoons, and what a joy it had been to listen to them during his break between the lunch and dinner shifts and how he’s had a great love of jazz ever since.

After dinner, we strolled two doors down the street for the next gig at another restaurant, an open-air place with a stage in a courtyard. Boyfriend and I had been on St. Croix with S.S. and H.S. in early February--that weekend had also included a gig at this venue. H. and I only lasted about half an hour before we headed back to the motel for some Olympics viewing.

Saturday morning we rose early and the guys drove about two-thirds of the way across the island to one of the golf courses. I spent my morning on the beach and relaxing in the room and managed to snag a late-afternoon appointment with the massage therapist at the motel’s little spa facility. After my massage, the three of us hit the beach for some frolicking before boyfriend had to get ready for his Saturday night gig. Fortunately, they were playing right there. in the gazebo at the motel’s restaurant. I hadn’t thought to make dinner reservations for H. and me, but they squeezed us in. We had a scrumptious dinner, H. wandered the beach finding rocks and shells to skip in the water and then we retired to the room for some gin rummy and more Olympics watching. Boyfriend joined us in the room for his break. We could hear the music from our room and the moment it was over, H. was back in the pool. (I had detained him from swimming while the music/dinner was happening since I figured most would want to enjoy their pricey meal and accompanying jazz without having to listen to a kid thrashing around in the pool a few yards away.)

We got an early start this morning because we wanted to get in some swimming before our 10:50 flight. We started out in the ocean until the boyfriend got stung by a tiny jellyfish--that prompted us to move to the pool. Continental breakfast was laid out next door at the café. I wandered over to the café first; they followed a few minutes later. I was on a chaise, stuffing a peanut butter-slathered English muffin in my face when a huge bee flew right under my nose. I’m terrified of any type of stinging insect, so I immediately flew into a panic (always a good move) and began trying to get away from it. It was (of course) following me, so I climbed into the pool only to find it was still buzzing near me. I did the only thing I could think of: fully submerge myself. It was while I was underwater that I realized that not only was I wearing my sunglasses and hat, I still had half my muffin in my hand. Smooth. The boys missed the entire episode, although I did later ask, “Didn’t you hear me squealing over there?” H. said, “We did, but we didn’t know what had happened.” Good to know I shouldn’t rely on them in an emergency when it’s a choice between me…and free food.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Update: School Options

It's been a dizzying 72 hours. (Has it really only been that long since it was decided that H. could live with us??) After discussing various school options early Tuesday morning, the boyfriend went to work investigating our best options. We've looked at four private schools. Although I have nothing against public schools (and H. has attended public schools for most of his school career), the public schools here are really in pretty bad shape. We agreed after much discussion that if one of our chosen private schools didn't pan out, we'd homeschool.

The school that's considered the 'best' private school here is way out of our league financially. Eighth grade runs $12,400...and that's just for tuition. But we have other issues with this school, besides the financial one. It's a bit uptight for our tastes--okay, a lot uptight for our tastes. They have maybe one or two black teachers, but we live on an island with a predominantly black population. We feel that sends the wrong message, regardless of the fact that H. is one-half African-American. It's where all the wealthy, white expats send their children. We'd prefer he be in a more egalitarian atmosphere. They offer financial aid, but they told the boyfriend that there's no guarantee of aid (even though many qualify) and it would take at least two weeks to find out if we've qualified. H. would have to supply a math recommendation, a reading recommendation and go before the review board. It sounded like a lot of pressure for a kid who suddenly finds himself living 4,000 miles from (until now) his support network. And the fact that the boyfriend and I couldn't sleep last night (I was having financial aid nightmares) confirmed for us this morning that it's simply not a good option, for many reasons.

We checked into the Montessori school. It's also quite pricey (about $8K for everything). But it's way out on the east end of the island and just wouldn't work logistically when we both work full-time and have only one car.

On Tuesday boyfriend went downtown to check out the Catholic school. He said it seemed, well, sort of okay. But he was pretty turned off by the surroundings. It's in the heart of a not-good neighborhood downtown (there's a brothel next door), even though it's just a few blocks from the main shopping district. And it's a concrete jungle--not a blade of grass in sight. You can imagine--coming from Portland, OR--how that's a big turn-off...and our island is very lush. Even so, it has to be seriously viewed as one of our options. Tuition is $4,100. It's about a 10-minute walk from my office (ideally, I'll drop H. on my way to work and he'll walk to my office at the end of his schoolday to ride home with me). It's two blocks from the public library.

This morning boyfriend called the Episcopal school, which is even closer to my office. We've heard good things about this school. Tuition is $4,700. I walked over at lunchtime to pick up an application (it's only a 5-minute walk). I completed the form, and the boyfriend and H. came by my office about half an hour before I finished work to pick up the application and walk to the school so they could both take a look. This one looks better. Things are pretty old here, so many of the schools look different than what we're used to in the States. But it has a nice little grassy courtyard area and it's tucked away on a side street. It's a bit of a borderline neighborhood but better than the Catholic school's location. Boyfriend and H. delivered the application, paid the $25 application fee and the admissions secretary gave H. a testing date. He's scheduled for the three-hour test on Monday at 9 am. When the boyfriend said it would be three hours, I exclaimed, "Three hours!" to which H. immediately quipped, "That's what I said..." :) They told us eighth grade is pretty full and it will be up to the principal's discretion to decide if he's admitted. Please hold a good thought for us--this is our first choice. Classes begin September 2. (All of the other schools we checked out begin class on Monday.)

In the meantime, I'm now officially on vacation until August 31. We fly to St. Croix tomorrow at noon. The airline we're on has small planes that allow one of the passengers to sit in the co-pilot seat. We're going to see if we can secure that seat for H. (He said, "I won't touch anything." To which I replied, "I should hope not!") We return late Sunday morning. (It's only a 15-minute flight.)

We'll be spending the weekend at a beachfront motel in Fredericksted with some other musicians and a promoter. We're all flying over together. The band will be playing an outdoor jazz show tomorrow evening on the waterfront and then in a club on Saturday night. We plan to really, really relax and enjoy our little family getaway before H. has to buckle down and put his brain to work on Monday morning.

We thought we were taking vacation time from our jobs to give H. a great vacation...and we're still trying to do that, to a degree. It's just extra sweet that we can have this quality time with him as we all make this big transition and right before he begins attending a new school. (He asked on the way home from my job today if 8th grade is 'different' here. I assured him it's very much like 8th grade in stateside schools.) I'm really looking forward to the next 10 days. (The two of them have already had 10 days together.)

Enjoy your weekend! More later...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

change in the moment
to feel the gift in your dreams
now open your eyes Posted by Hello

Monday, August 16, 2004

page*crawl v. 1.3

He’d had quite enough of tapping out code with a telegraph key / a few minutes of unpleasant mental vacancy / the sunken light of late day stretches on their propane tank / the dark brick doorway of the tavern / I think copulation is involved / brandishing a wilting bunch of blue marigolds in what appears to be a doily / how do you think this thought will come back to you? / I had explained all of this in detail to my magician / soda fountain recipes aren’t working anymore / years of exposure to the caustic dust / she had her excuses ready and he accepted them without protest / terminal spike as piercing as a thorn.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sea Hunt!

After seeing one of these sea cucumbers in the petting pond at the aquarium a couple of days ago, boyfriend and H. were quite pleased to find one lounging in the swim area of our neighborhood beach today. We later saw several swimmers startle and yelp when they accidentally grazed a toe against this squishy guy. :) Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 14, 2004

drummer cool

Every drummer needs a pair of wraparound shades, don't you think? (Atop the floor tom.) Boyfriend had a recording session Thursday evening and I encouraged H. to accompany him. H. plays drums in his jazz band at school (he was in 7th grade last year). It had been a criminally long time since he'd seen his father play drums. I suggested he go and pick up some tips from the master. :) And he got a little action in the drum chair himself. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


If a 13-year-old walks into the room with a too-large smile on his face and offers you a bowl of popcorn, be warned: it probably means he and his Dad have concocted something bearing the dreaded Tabasco. You love popcorn, so you'll grab a big handful as you absentmindedly type away on your laptop...noticing the orange stain on the kernels, but ignoring your brain as it says, "Don't eat that!" This will not be a practical joke at your expense--this will simply be two males who think the popcorn-eating experience is exponentially heightened if they can simultaneously numb their taste buds with searing heat.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Men x 2

We had some drama yesterday morning when the boyfriend's son, H., went to check in for his flight. (The phone call came, of course, when I was in the shower with a head full of shampoo.) It was a little dicey there for a moment, but it got worked out. I called our travel agent as soon as her office opened so we could try to piece together how the snafu had occurred. Boyfriend (who's typically very mellow) said before I called her, "If I were you, I'd be on her like a monkey on a cupcake." Ha! (That's going to be my new phrase.)

It was a rather frenzied way to start the morning, with much phoning back and forth. H's itinerary was changed and it worked out better for him because he ended up with shorter layovers. He arrived at 9:00 last night. Boyfriend couldn't stop smiling when he saw him. We both marveled over how much taller he seemed than when we saw him in October. What's remarkable is that he always seems exactly the same, personality-wise--a touch older and/or more mature each time, but still the same wonderful, sweet kid. (I know, I know, enjoy it while we can.)

We went to Wendy's, came home and showered him with a few gifts, then popped in a DVD. I knew I wouldn't last long (it was already past my bedtime), so I left the two of them to their movie and crawled into bed with Albert Brooks (or at least one of his DVD's). I slept past the alarm this morning (and it's set an hour later than usual because my hours have changed for the next two weeks). That's unheard of for the Insomnia Queen!

The guys picked me up at work at 5:00 today and we went straight to the beach for a swim. H. hadn't been to the beach yet (they played golf today). We swam and frolicked, and then came home and made a big pot of spaghetti for dinner. They're in the living room watching Barbershop 2. I'm in bed, sated from a piece of cake, and waiting to do the next load of laundry (I've already done four).


When I posted the previous entry, I was marveling over some men's sense of priorities. At the moment I wrote it, the boyfriend had decided it was imperative that he spray paint the Weber grill. The funky, came-with-the-condo Weber grill. The one he's used maybe once in the last year. It just didn't seem to me that that should be at the top of the 'your son is due in two hours' list. I thought he might want to do something a little more useful--like scrub the tub or put away the two-foot-high mountain of clean laundry he had piled in the middle of our bed. Ah, the mysteries of the male mind...

Monday, August 09, 2004


Men are insane.


You know you've been slacking off in the housecleaning department when you wake up after a major bout of it to find that your hands and arms are sore. Gee, I guess it had been a while since I gripped some cleaning utensils and actually, um, cleaned. The cleaning's not completely done, but most of it is. The boyfriend's vacation time has already started, so he'll finish up today while I'm at work.

His son arrives tonight at 9:15 (Atlantic Standard Time, same as EDT this time of year). Poor kid, he's got a 12-hour travel day--he leaves at 6 am Pacific. But it will all be worth it, because he's looking at three weeks in 'paradise' where Dad is going to try to squeeze in:
  • golf
  • tennis
  • swimming
  • snorkeling
  • fishing
  • beach hopping
  • island hopping
  • a weekend on St. Croix (where Dad will be performing two jazz shows)
  • hiking on St. John (Three-quarters of the island is Virgin Islands National Park.)
  • an aquarium
  • a submarine
  • a walking tour of historical sights downtown
  • shopping
  • movies
  • BBQ'ing
  • drum lessons (He plays with his jazz band at school. He also plays cello.)
We bought him a set of golf clubs last year, but they don't come with a putter. He's been using one of his Dad's old ones. He's bringing his clubs and as a surprise, he's got a hip-looking Ping putter waiting for him. We also picked up another tennis racket. (We brought ours from Portland and haven't played once here.) In addition to having a good golf game (for his age), he's gotten quite good at tennis lately and attended a tennis camp this summer. So it'll be fun to finally hit the courts. (Not that I'm very good, but I like to play.)

There's also a boogie board waiting for him and an extra set of snorkel gear. We've been looking for a badminton set, but haven't found one yet. That was always a favorite backyard pastime in Portland. We'd like to find one to use at the beach.

So if you're picking up a vibe of two 40-somethings standing at a tropical airport at 9:15 tonight with insane smiles on their faces...that'll be us. :)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

liner notes

I had two music dreams about the boyfriend last night; in both dreams we were back living in the States. In the first dream he was called to do a Pink tour. He was getting ready to fly to L.A. to start rehearsals when I asked, "Don't you at least want to listen to her CD's to see what kind of music you'll be playing?"

The second dream involved a call to do a national tour with Joan and Melissa Rivers. We were like, "What the he....?!" We couldn't imagine what that would be like. Surely they didn't plan to sing...did they?! We thought there must be some kind of cheesy lounge singer opening act that necessitated the need for a band. But then it occurred to us that the boyfriend might have to sit at the back of the stage and fire off rimshots as Joan went through her act. It was beginning to sound like a nightmare. I had that dream right before I woke, and thinking of rimshots made me think of Steve Allen. I don't think I've posted the Steve Allen story here--can't remember, to be honest. Here it is...

Right before leaving Portland, boyfriend did a gig with Steve Allen. Steve was the headliner at an all-day Senior Expo at the Convention Center. Boyfriend used to play with a big band in Portland (among a zillion other gigs); he loved playing with that big band. Out of all the genres of music he plays (and he plays many), whenever someone asks him his favorite, he always responds, 'Big band." For him, it's like driving a big ol' musical locomotive--he loves it. (And this is a man who can lay down a funk groove like nobody's business and play the shit out of straight-ahead jazz, but he loves him some big band.)

The big band was scheduled to do sets before and after Steve Allen's set, so it was an all-day gig. The boyfriend and bass player were hired to back Steve Allen and his pianist. As preparation for Steve's gig, they were given a cassette of a show he had done at Jazz Alley in Seattle. The boyfriend was a bit stressed over the gig, because Steve Allen is known as an improviser, so he knew the set on the cassette might end up bearing no relation to the set he'd end up doing in Portland. And boyfriend would be pulling double duty--he'd not only be playing the songs, he'd also be expected to play rimshots at the appropriate comedic moments.

The gig was on a Saturday and I went because I wanted to take some pictures. It's not every day that you get to play with a show business legend, and I wanted to capture the moment. For all you young'uns out there, Steve Allen was an innovator. He invented "The Tonight Show." Those of us of a certain generation think of Jay Leno as an upstart (even though he might be older than some of us), because we grew up watching Johnny Carson. But before Johnny there was Jack Paar...and before Jack there was Steve. Steve invented the show and its format and is often credited for having first used what are now considered talk show staples: a live band, celebrity interviews, man-on-the-street interviews, reading headlines, etc. He was also a prolific composer and wrote literally thousands of songs.

So the big band did a set, then there was a brief intermission during which Steve's pianist briefly informed the boyfriend and bass player what tunes they might do. The set went well, the seniors loved it and there were moments during the set when Steve looked over at the boyfriend and gave him a smile (after a rimshot) or laughed and said, "That's right, drummer!" He didn't even know the boyfriend's name because neither he nor the bass player had been introduced to Steve before taking the stage.

There was another brief intermission after Steve's set. There were some food kiosks at the back of the exposition hall. I ran to one to grab a couple of slizes of pizza so the boyfriend could eat something (since there was no food provided backstage, even though it was an all-day gig). We were standing backstage, wolfing down the pizza, when one of the stage hands tugged on the sleeve of boyfriend's sport coat and said, "Steve Allen wants to meet the drummer." So we went to the little curtained-off area serving as a dressing room and introduced ourselves. He asked the boyfriend where he was from (Portland), what his musical background was and if he had a business card. He gave Steve his business card and they chatted for a few minutes. We asked if we might have a photo; he said, of course. The photo I took of the two of them sits atop our stereo as I write this.

Eight months later (we were in the tropics by then), Steve died at the age of 78. Some of the obituaries I read mentioned that he was obsessive about recording the details of his life. As we left the dressing room that day, we heard him dictating into his cassette recorder the details of the moment: where he was, the gig he had just played...and then we heard him say, "Remember this drummer" followed by the boyfriend's name, address and phone number. He touched our lives in the sweetest way that day; it was nice to know that the boyfriend had touched his, no matter how briefly.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Singin' Cowboy

I phoned my parents this morning. I wanted to make sure they had picked up a digital camera when they were in the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago. My father had mentioned that they planned to buy one during their visit since they'd be cheaper there. There's a family reunion in two weeks and I'd like my father to take pictures of everyone and send us a CD-ful. The reunion is the same weekend as my father's oldest first cousin's 90th birthday; a lot of my family will be there and I'm sorry we're missing it.

I asked my folks what they have planned for today. My stepmother said they'd be attending the rodeo. I had forgotten that this is 'fair weekend' in my hometown. When we were kids, we lived for two summer events: 4th of July (it's still one of the highlights of the year there) and the County Fair. I was surprised that my father would willingly give up his Saturday golf game in favor of attending the rodeo, since he has no interest in the sport. Then it dawned on me that my (step)nephew, B., must be competing. He is competing, in the Junior Rodeo barrel racing and another event (which I've already forgotten). AND, he's singing the national anthem at the main rodeo. This tickles me no end. B.'s only NINE. Picture a little redheaded boy, with a delightfully sweet and freckled face, singing in his cowboy get-up. I told my stepmother that I had no idea he was singing these days. She said that he's been performing for the last year with a German choir in the next town (which is in the next state). (His father attended a year of university in Tubingen, hence the German influence.) B. asked his Dad if he thought 'they' might let him sing the national anthem at the rodeo. His father told him he didn't know--that B. would have to ask the people in charge. So he did. They asked him to audition for the Fair Board, which he did.

The next part of the conversation involved me trying to coerce my father into using his digital camera to shoot a little video of B.'s performance...while he played dumb, as if he couldn't possibly figure out how to do that. But he will (shoot it, I mean) and hopefully he'll eventually figure out how to copy it onto a CD so we can take a look. (I won't even try to tell him how to email it as an attachment...we've already been down that road...) :)

So my (cowboy) hat is off to B. today. He knows what he wants and has the chutzpah to chase after it. I hope he sings his little heart out. (And does well in the barrel racing, too.)

Thursday, August 05, 2004


"This country is fascinating not only for its spectacular aspects but also for its everyday routine. To love America, it's not enough to appreciate the natural beauty or the architectural heritage. You also need a special predilection for the obvious and, sometimes, for the horrific. In other words, you very soon become unable to live without America's sheer predictability." -- Beppe Severgnini in Ciao, America!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Male impatience drives me batty sometimes. By unhooking the car battery (to disconnect the brake lights, below) the boyfriend disabled our Honda anti-theft radio. There's a code that has to be entered to get it going again. Fortunately, we have that code. (I pity the people who've lost theirs and have to try to get it from their dealer.) It's on a laminated card that sits in a particular (semi-hidden) spot on the counter between the kitchen and dining area that serves as sort of of our office area. But instead of waiting until he read the code off the card (not having had to enter it in some time), the boyfriend convinced himself that he could remember it. So as we drove down the road the other day after our little home repair, he began punching in a 4-digit code that he was sure was the right one. No go. He tried different variations, several times.

When we finally looked at the card, it turned out it was a 5-digit code and he really hadn't been close at all. We've subsequently tried entering the correct code several times, but it still hasn't worked.

I just Googled the problem and found a solution on a message board: If you've had more than three failed attempts (written by a man who had also tried to guess the code), you must leave the radio on for ONE HOUR and then enter the correct code. No biggie, right? Except we live on a tiny island--that car hasn't been on for an hour at a time since we've owned it! It doesn't take that long to get anywhere! And it's not like we have a garage. So it means we've gotta leave the keys in the car for an hour while it's sitting up on the road (a flight of stairs above our condo). Just one more little annoyance. Men, grrrr. When will they learn?