Lucia has something to say

Monday, July 31, 2006


I have had a lifelong romance with words.

A new word I learned today: au·toch·tho·nous (adj.) = native to the place inhabited; indigenous

Words that sing: quartz, mirage, doodads, spangle, surf

Thai proverb of the day: All work and no play makes me psychosis, and work without enjoyment makes me a doll.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Useful Saints

Saint Anne: Patron Saint of Lost Objects. "Protector of lost objects, miners, broommakers, grandparents, and old-clothes dealers.

Prayer to Assist in Finding Your Stuff

Glorious St. Anne, I beseech thee to grant me guidance in finding all of those things I have lost. I also ask that you provide me with the foresight to put things in places that I will remember." (From the box of my very useful mini figurine of the saint herself. The box also includes the warning: Choking hazard. To be followed by the headline: Small Child Chokes on St. Anne)

Saint Brigid of Ireland:
"If you find yourself in need of a cold beer, just pray to Brigid, the patron saint of travelers, poets, and bastard children." (From The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore)

Between them, two of my most frequent life problems are solved.

Thai proverb of the day: A bad dancer blames music.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Uninspired Snarky Muse

I really do love the word snarky. Snarky voice. Snarky wiseass. Snarky comment. Snarky review. Oh-so-snarky. Snarky band boys. Snarky question. Snarky remarks. Snarky reaction. Snarky bitch. Snarky banter. F*@king snarky.

Thai proverb of the day: The bald man getting a comb, the blind a spectacles.

7.27 PS: In response to the question: Snarky = Irritable or short-tempered; irascible

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Time to Travel

Well I know it'll be alright if I just get on the road...
-If I Run, Semisonic

It's time for me to travel again. To take a 4 x 4 to Timbuctou. To see the mud mosques firsthand. To be challenged. To visit the fistula clinic in Gao (or is it Mopti?). To watch mudcloth being produced. To travel light. To fly into Douala. To remember how life elsewhere is not like life here.

Thanks to pei wei from Malaysia who astutely observed that Miss Universe was once again won by a "walking toothpick with a marble for a head."

Thai proverb of the day: Don't sell coconuts to gardeners.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Free Pants

Inevitably, anyone put on a pedestal eventually falls on their head. Mike Doughty tilted to the side (right, not left) by playing a gig for The Gap on 54th St in NYC. Playing in front of a wall of denim and adding, "Did I mention I got free pants?" doesn't quite cut it. I suggested he give the pants to someone in Eritrea or Ethiopia to clear his conscience. He's been there. He knows. Nothing's really free when it's made in a sweatshop.

It's not that I don't have any Gap clothes in my closet. I do. But I use a few strategies to get around the corporate cesspool that is the garment industry. One big one is buying used. It means somewhere, someone else committed the offense. By the time it gets to me, the money usually goes to a good cause. A small way of circumventing the evil empire. The other is to buy less (which is less successful than buying used).

Listening to a big pile of Jayhawks CDs ("some rare") I got off of eBay, and enjoying having a pic of a Chilean friend with Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile (their first woman President), on my fridge.

Second Thai proverb of the day: Do not try to break a knife handle on your knee.

Summer Saturday Mornings

Sweet summer Saturday mornings when the weather is cool and I can sleep. There's the Farmers Market. And cruising to a few garage sales with the old Pleasure/Semisonic demo cassette (since the only place left to play a cassette is in the car). Finds o' the morning: a red embroidered Indian bag, a Belgian waffle maker, a book of Thai proverbs, and what I thought was a ring with a black band, but seems to be some sort of mood ring since the band turns shades of green, indigo and purple (or alternatively, my mind has skipped over the edge).

Thai proverb of the day: Do not borrow another nose to breathe.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tryst at the Parking Garage

I'm seeking girls
In sales and marketing
Let's go make out
Up in the balcony
Your business dress
So businesslike...
-I Hear the Bells, Mike Doughty (aka "Former Soul Cougher")

Don't make assumptions that you're alone. There's a couple who meet now and then on the roof of the parking garage for a little lunch hour lovin'. They probably work together. Their clothes scream, "I work in insurance sales!" or "I work in a financial institution!" or "I work at the state capitol!" They meet on top of the parking garage, where they think no one will see them. But our office windows are just across the way, and if he had looked over her shoulder, he might have noticed eight, count 'em eight, women howling with laughter. They weren't comfortable together. She'd kiss him, and when he was facing her, he stood back a bit, with his hands on her hips. When she moved to the side, he was more relaxed, throwing his arm around her. His wedding band flashed in the sun. No doubt about it, he's one uncomfortable, but very flattered, married man.

Disappointed I have no tattoo yet. To make a long story short, I won't tell it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Only-Days-Away Tattoo

My first tattoo is only days away. I say my first, because I've already got a 2nd in mind, but will take 'em one at a time. A symbolic attempt to fortify the funk.

Monday, July 17, 2006


"Certain images create private little excitements in the mind."
-E.L. Doctorow

Pluck the brightest fruit from the wooden arm
Furthest from the road on the apple farm.
Carve an applehead man, put him on the fence.
You can hear him tell his apple friends,
“Yes I grew up sweet till I fell from the tree,
Things have gotten bad, take one look at me.”
-Applehead Man, Trip Shakespeare

The words are there. Scribbled in travel journals. On post-it notes. On the back of envelopes. In my mouth. The elements are there. The photos. The old typewriter keys, the paint, the raffia wrapped around the stick. Is creativity the impulse? The idea? The image? Or is it tied to harnessing the idea into a physical entity--a poem, the lyrics, the assemblage, the painting? What are the rhythms of the creative process? The beginning, middle and the end?

My current creative inspiration: Mike Doughty - urban poet, songwriter, world traveler, photographer

My circus train pulls through the night
Full of lions and trapeze artists
I'm done with elephants and clowns
I want to
Run away and join the office.
-American Car, Mike Doughty

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Road Trip

I can count the number of bands I would drive hours to see on one hand. Semisonic is one of 'em. I took a road trip from Mad City to the Twin Towns just to see them at the Aquatennial block party. I like road trips. Cranking tunes from Semisonic, Mike Doughty, the Dixie Chicks and John Mayer to keep me company, I hopped in the car. (Oh, yeah, I had to take Friday off work to do it.)

The trip is pretty rural. Corn fields. Hawks. The Dells. Roadside wildflowers. Relatively billboardless. Signs to towns like Baraboo, Osseo, Elk Mound, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie. Past the big orange fiberglass moose. Past the buffalo farm. To the Minnesota state line. A quick stop in Falcon Heights and then on to Hennepin and 3rd.

Three stages. Fried food vendors who crawl from state fair to the Aquatennial, making the place smell like grease. Free 2-minute chair massages. Time to pass before they play.

I've often wondered if we choose music or if it chooses us. All music goes into your ears, but some goes farther down, hooks the soul and gives a little tug. Semisonic does that for me. I like DW's playful, willing-to-be-vulnerable songwriting style.

The show was GREAT from beginning to end. Well worth the drive. I was happily very near the front so go to snap some pix, which are in Pics at

From Jake's "Better than Toast" shirt to the beach ball sailing overhead, it was really fun. The music is still fresh and playfully sexy and sweet. By the end we were a sea of people whipped into a happy puppy dog frenzy singalong of Closing Time and Singing in My Sleep. Absolute magic.

Glad the new Tim O'Reagan came today. Looking forward to giving it a listen. Met with Engineers without Borders folks working on water projects in Rwanda. The quiet cafe we chose (so we could talk) had loud music and a belly dancer, which was a little distracting for the Ugandan priest.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Things I Don't Get

-People who need 2 bus for their butt and one for their bag...while others are standing.
-Where the phrase "in a pickle" comes from.
-Making yourself a "brand."
-How I'm going to get to Tombouctou once I get to Mali.
-Why someone thought "A Scanner Darkly" was a good name for a movie.
-Otherwise polite Midwesterners in transit who yell and flip the bird at bikers and other drivers.
-Why I went to Blogthings' Exotic Dancer Name Generator. (It's Secret, BTW. And while I'm at it, I might as well reveal my Elf name as well...Grumpy Snowballer.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Band Boys

As my dear friend so eloquently put it, "'s not looks and/or smarts that snags those boys. I think, in fact, that those factors get in the way. It's VACANCY they crave. They want to fill you with their tortured poems and then watch disinterestedly while you throw your ruined self away. They chew you up, spit you out, and don't even burp.

Band Boys generally have very bad taste in women. Their women are SO BORING that one could die just being around them. There's not much to meet."

[And spurred on by this post, she added, "You'll probably find that Band Boys still look great. That's because they're babies mentally. But it's like a tooth with a cavity: pretty outside, rotten inside."]

True or false? Enough said.

Wandering conversations made more interesting because she lives in Kunming. Root beer floats. Painting the crosswalks. Aging parents. Endless skewers of food grilled on the street. Gillian Welch. TV trays. No call lists. Mosquitos and lightning bugs.

I'm not a summer knitter, but knitting is sneaking into my summer through the back door.

Listening to Mike Doughty, Haughty Melodic, which just arrived in the mail today. Busting up a Starbucks...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Life Passions

There are people I associate with certain passions. She belly dances. He plays pedal steel guitar. She knits. They share a passion for tea. She rides her horse. (Y'all know who you are.) What about the others who just seem to go through life without a single driving passion? Do they not have passions? Do they not have one overarching passion? Do they, like me, have passions that look like the end of frayed rope--many smaller passions to drift among?

And what about those odd passions? The 20-something in the grocery store who was shopping in what looked like Spiderman jammies said he'd loved Spiderman since he was a kid, and now his house is chock full of Spiderman stuff.

What I'm listening to get my weekend off to a good start: Live version of Toolmaster of Brainerd. Good memories and big smiles.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hurtling Toward the 4th

Oh, 4th of July, I detest thee. Let me count the ways. How did I manage to be in the U.S. for this freak "holiday"? I completely avoid NPR around any holiday because the human interest drivel makes me question their cred all the other days of the year. we hurtle toward the holiday, I needed a good laugh, and thankfully, Keyhole, whoever and whatever Brit band guy he is, threw this out there which had me rolling in the aisle with glee.

Related to Q mag in the UK:

In the 'Where Are They Now?' section was an old pic of those Semisonic jokers. Each band member then tells us what they're doing now.

Sadly it's pretty dull stuff, and I really wanted one of them to say something like: "I'm in me kitchen, just having a bit of cheese on toast, and writing out a birthday card, while trying to avoid covering it in greasy finger marks. Then I'm off down the Post Office to get a stamp, and have a nice little chat with Mrs Watkins at the paper shop".

Rockin' and bluesin' out to John Mayer. Good love is on the way. And bought the new Johnny Cash...which I thought wasn't supposed to be released until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

My Shrine to Virgin Mary Kitsch

I have a cupboard devoted to the Madonna - glow in the dark; gilded plastic; recuerdos from Panjachel or Tampico embellished with shells; the Virgin of Guadalupe on black velvet; a stamp to create the miracle of the Madonna on toast (holy toast). My friends know this and bring back delightful icons from around the world.

Garage sale plastic rosaries mingle with Greek icons and St. George triptychs from Ethiopia. A prized Virgin of Guadalupe gearshift knob lives between carved Madonnas from Kenya and Guatemala sporting Mexican milagros. And, of course, there are the ever-popular fridge magnets.

Special religious kitsch works its way in, especially the useful like the Wash-Away-Your-Sins Moist Towelette and a plastic St. Anne, the Patron of Lost Objects. (Who doesn't need help finding lost objects?)

The great thing about religious kitsch is that anything goes. Wait! Is that the face of Mary I'm seeing in the mildew at the bottom of the stairs? Are those real tears?