Lucia has something to say

Thursday, August 31, 2006


When I was 5 and wore a plaid dress and patent leather shoes, I believed I'd write a book. When I was 8, I wrote pages and pages on lined notebook paper which I carried around the house. For a while, I let myself love literature as an English grad student. This was where I fell in love with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and I looked at brochures of places where writers go to retreat and write. When I was older, I realized how competitive the writing world is backed off.

So tonight I went to a book reading by Rae Meadows. She's a friend of a friend, and wrote Calling Out, a novel Publisher's Weekly describes as follows:
After a rough breakup followed by a few months of wanly suicidal gestures like "switching to nonlight cigarettes, not washing my hands after the subway, forgoing my seatbelt and driving fast," Jane (no last name) packs her life in her car and leaves New York, headed west. When she stops in Utah and takes a job answering phones at a Mormon-approved escort service, she is adamant that she won't go any further into the sex trade than the front desk. But perhaps inevitably, she finds herself working as an escort and coming alive through her "dates."

After the reading my friend turned to me and said, "I think you have a novel in you." We've never talked about this, so it surprised me, and I told her how far back in my life and how often I've thought the same thing.

I don't think about it much. It comes up when people hear about my travels, and they say, "You should write a book!" But, for the most part, it's buried, kept tight under lock and key. But a lot of things are surfacing in me these days, and this may be yet another.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Birthday Sh*t

I'm having a cranky snarky birthday. Daisies on my desk, cake in my stomach, and an aura of crabby ass attitude. I don't want to get another year older. I don't know how I got this freaking old in the first place.

So, I'm trying to make a turnaround now that I've left work early because it's my g*dd!mn b-day.

So, in the spirit of birthday-ness, here goes a list of the good stuff...

- I share a birthday with Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley who was born in 1797. A brilliant woman who wrote the great goth novel Frankenstein, which I really love and has nothing to do with all the Frankenstein crap we all know.

- My marido got up to make birthday waffles for breakfast.

- Last week on the bus, I told a co-worker about this older woman I know, who was greeted by a friend who said, "Every time I see you, you get younger!" She kindly put this in my work birthday card. She's also re-working my fortify-the-funk tattoo design, so someone can actually put it on my bod.

- Two CDs arrived in today's mail from different places. Kind of like birthday gifts to myself. Cliff Hillis' Better Living Through Compression and Matt Wilson's Burnt, White and Blue (which after a fiasco with Amazon, I was convinced none still existed on the planet).

- I remembered another co-worker telling me her mother learned to be a yoga instructor when she turned 70.

- I'm healthy, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah.

- I do have a really great job that gets me on the road to exotic, albeit underdeveloped, international locales.

Postscript: I just got an email from friend that sounds like she feels like a princess on her birthday..."I adore birthdays. I always want to wear a little crown! My mother used to bake me white cake with caramel icing."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mad as Hell

I'm listening to these updates on lack of assistance in the area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Why the hell hasn't anything been done? I've just had it with this administration. They don't tend to what they should. And they mucky muck where they shouldn't. After 230 years it seems like the damn government should have some maturity and intelligence. This Iraq war with no exit strategy (when we never should have went in) is nothing short of insane. I'm sick of explaining everywhere I travel that my government does not represent me. (Although, for the very first time in my life EVER, I have people who I feel like represent me in Congress. Thank you Russ Feingold and Tammy Baldwin.) Is it really any wonder that people hate the U.S. when we sit like a big immature kid slapping our hands in other people's mud puddles? Why is no one held accountable? We don't run the effing world.

Oh, yeah, and I have another effing birthday tomorrow, and I'm not too happy about aging another year AGAIN either.

Monday, August 28, 2006


In an interview on To the Best of Our Knowledge on Wisconsin Public Radio, author Douglas Copeland referred to a magazine article he had once read that said only 20% of human beings are hard wired to “get” irony. 20%! That leaves 80% of the population taking things at face value. Can this possibly be? I have always assumed that everyone gets irony. But maybe not. I don't get those cartoons in the paper. I don't even try. Maybe I'm not wired for newspaper comics. Maybe other people aren't wired to get irony--to contain opposites in their brains at the same time.

He said, "People who don’t get irony interpret it as sarcasm.” I do think there's a rampant desire to be hip and clever, which brings sarcasm and irony into play. Sarcasm, though, often has a mean edge, and irony is witty. Jon Stewart is the reigning king of irony.

So “Honk if you know the difference between irony and sarcasm.”

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Up North

Spent the weekend Up North, which some people believe is a state of mind. In this case, it was Door County, the peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. On the way, passed a couple walking their dog and three pigs. Drove past Supper Clubs and resorts and housekeeping cottages. Watched hummingbirds. Dug my toes in the cool sand beach on the lake. Was on a road that is said to be equi-distant from the Equator and the North Pole. Went to a fish boil. Whole red potatoes slide into the boiling kettle, followed by whole onions and chunks of whitefish. The whole thing culminates in a "boil over," and a meal of, well, potatoes and onions and fish.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Stressed Out by Meditation

Going to meditation class was stressing me out, so today I quit. With promises of learning to "cultivate ease, clarity, kindness and awareness in our daily lives," I signed up for a six-week Intro to Meditation. I went to the first one, missed the next two, and today I realized how much it was stressing me out to get there and how next week I'd need to leave early to get to a book reading I really want to attend...and in all this frantic frenzy I stopped myself. I have a choice. If this is making me crazy, I don't have to go. And I'm not. I'm a meditation school drop out, and I'm more serene because of it. where is that chocolate.


One of the things I'd like to think I've gotten better at is trusting my intuition. I have a good friend who was the victim of a terrible crime. When she thinks back on that day and her 18-year-old self, she knows the moment when she didn't listen to her intuition. The lesson? Always trust your intuition. Which brings me 'round to last night and a case in which I trusted my intuition, and went into the basement with my not-so-happy-to-be-woken marido and dog in tow as the tornado sirens blared. And, then...nothing happened. As I was trying to fall asleep in the basement, I had a dialogue with myself. Does this mean I can't trust my intuition? I don't want to apologize for my intuition being wrong. I do want to keep trusting it. So what happened? Is my intuition on the blink? Did it not work just then? Is it working, and it would have kept me safe if something had happened? After all, a year and a half ago, 15 houses were wiped to the ground by a tornado not so very far from here. Who knows? But I want to hang on to always trusting my intuition.

Bonnie Raitt and Keb Mo were great last night. And when I had barely walked in the door at home, the local radio station had free tickets for the Tim O'Reagan deal I want to go to on Friday. Yea for me, caller number 2!

I can tell it's going to be an average day. Rainy. Too many things scheduled. Ironically, meditation is one, squeezed between work and an evening conference call. I'll be happy in what looks to be an ordinary day if a couple of sparkly things come my way. Come hither sparkly things!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

First Birthday Card

My first birthday card arrived today. Does a birthday card say more about the sender or the receiver? The inside, BTW, says "So of course she wore the white pumps."


This blog and my myspace site are a test run for the name Lucia. It's not a first name, but a last name I'm going to legally change to early next year. All my life, I've had a last name that I really don't like. For about 15 years now, I've been looking for a new last name, and the right one just never came. At times I've thought about changing it to my marido's last name, but every time I do, he threatens to change his last name to mine. It's just too non-progressive for him to consider that we'd both have his last name. And maybe that would just be an easy out anyway. Some of my dearest friends have last names that are variations of Rose and Rosa, but that didn't feel quite right. So, I kept looking and looking and looking. And I came across this one, which is usually, of course, a first name, but which I intend to adopt as a last name. My friends love the sound of my two names together. My marido thinks this is all a bit of silliness (much like the tattoo). I don't look forward to telling family and co-workers, but am giving myself time to let their responses roll off. And me? For me it's starting to fit well like an old, much-loved sweater.

My fav headline of the day: Punch Line or Pop Star? K-Fed Raps His Way to a New Round of Ridicule.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


So I got hung up on the word kayfabe this weekend. It started with a Wisconsin Public Radio show (To The Best of Our Knowlege) that had this teaser:

"Kayfabe is an old carny term for fakery. Now it's the code of honor for professional wrestling. Kayfabe means you never, EVER admit to ANYONE under ANY circumstances that pro wrestling's fake."

a) It's a great noun.
b) It has to do with a planned events--like a storyline or script.
c) It seems to have uses beyond pro when an actor breaks character.

It got me wondering if kayfabe ever happens in regular day-to-day life.

I have never listened to the Goo Goo Dolls. Nope. Never. Not even once. But a good friend (we'll call her Kansas City Goo Girl) convinced me to check out Robby's myspace page just for the politics.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

"Radical" DXC

The Dixie Chicks show in Minneapolis rocked. In early June, Dan Wilson, a Minneapolis songwriter I admire and who co-wrote 6 tunes on the Chix CD (so spent some time with them), wrote in his blog: "'Radical Chicks' the headline of Time magazine. Ridiculous. Those gals are true-blue lefty liberals, they criticize the president, and the press calls them 'Radical.' 'Radical' for speaking out against the war? That's not radical."

That pretty much sums it up for me. The show was pretty non-political, and the songs speak for themselves in a very personal way. They do a have a wonderfully ironic and sardonic opening. Four huge glaring red lights shine while in the dark, they take the stage to canned music playing "Hail to the Chief."

The audience was 3/4s women, which didn't surprise me. It did make me wonder, though, why they chose to pull in male songwriters like DW and Gary Louris (formerly from The Jayhawks) to co-write.

While I was pondering women and leftist politics in the Twin Towns, I tripped across a quote by Agnes Nixon, daytime soap maven, in Chris Lawford's book. She said, "Soaps are often the only education on social issues that the underbelly of America ever gets." A bit harsh, but it is interesting to ponder if there are women who do indeed get their only exposure to these issues (AIDS, gay rights, interracial, and for that matter, gay, marriage, etc.) because liberal TV writers manage to slip them into story lines.

Although I love the waves of estrogen washing over at the DXC concert, I needed a little testosterone counterbalance on the long drive home today, which I took in doses from John Mayer's "Try" and Mike Doughty's "Haughty Melodic."

Looking forward this week to more musical delights - Bonnie Raitt & Keb 'Mo and Tim O'Reagan (like GL above, formerly of The Jayhawks).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mid-Life Opportunity

I like to think of it as a mid-life opportunity. I've got a birthday coming up in 2 weeks, and I've been trying lots of new things in the last six months. Listening to music that's new to me. Blogging. Doing art. (Thanks Sacred Kitsch Studios! Got the stuff today.) Getting a tattoo. Trying to stay out of that rut.

It feels like the media tries to make women believe that after 29, we can't be glorious and sexy. I'm sick of that crap. C'mon, I'm not going to live decades (!) of my life not feeling exciting (and excited).

Here's to a subversive, rocking the boat, rebellious, adventurous, balanced next decade!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

“Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure?”

All Things Considered did a story today that I found fascinating. Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford biologist, did a study to answer the question “Is there a certain age when the typical American passes from the novelty stage to utter predictability?” When is it that we lose our openness to new experiences? When do we move from adventure to the routine and comfortable?

His findings?

By age 35, most people don’t care about hot new musicians. Music from high school and college shapes their lifelong tastes. Between 14 and 21, they choose their music, and by 35, the door closes.

After age 39, the adventure window for new food slams shut. And if you didn’t get your tongue pierced between 16 and 23, there’s a 95% chance that you never will. Amazingly, aging bears, cats, baboons, and rats lose their sense of adventure as they age too.

The good news is that some people retain their sense of adventure. Characteristics of these people?

1. They don’t stay in the same job too long.
2. They don’t become good at it. They don’t become eminent.

There must be a balance between daring to do new things as one ages (and not getting stuck in a rut) and having familiarity and comfort.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bad Ideas

Tucking electronic gadgets into thick socks to protect them (a Good Housekeeping “Good Idea”). Right. I can just see some woman in a swanky restaurant wrangling her ringing cell phone out of a wool sock crammed in her evening bag.

Making a “bold move” and painting the house exterior black. Yep, it might have worked for one woman, but if the whole neighborhood does it...

Buying “The Good Fortune Charm Bracelet,” which will not only bring happiness, but wealth, for five monthly installments of $19 plus $6.50 for S&H. Or don’t buy the bracelet and be happy with the $101.50 in your pocket.

Using Jane Jetson (“Meet George Jetson....Jane, his wife...”) in an ad campaign for real beauty.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Unrelated Rambling Thoughts

It's only mid-August and the first big V of honking geese flew overhead. If they're on their way south (Susan as Herself, watch for them, they were headed toward Chicago.), that means summer is nearing its end. I've barely gotten used to it being summer.

I don't own bongos, but I was thinking how wonderful it would be to be known as Queen of the Bongo (in a regal, fruit-on-the-head, Carmen Miranda - Desi Arnaz sort of way).

Hawking "Cheap Tickets to Paradise" has got to be pretty tough right now. I saw this advertised and wondered where paradise is. Turns out, it's a lot of places, some of them not so very nice. The ad said, "Buy a travel toothbrush. Find Fido a kennel. Compose an "out of office" message--and try not to giggle with joy while you're at it." Yeah, buy a travel toothbrush, but not the toothpaste, because you can't take that with you on the plane anymore. I'm going all out from now on with the full size toothbrush and toothpaste in my checked luggage.

(Yep, I meant it when I said unrelated rambling thoughts.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Play's the Thing

Perusing the weekend paper, the local entertainment options included:

Drum Corps International Championships
Walmartopia: The Musical
Over the Hedge ("Movie will be shown on a 20' x 40' inflatable screen!")
Nude Car Show
Susie the Duck Day
The play Oh, God! There's Baptists at the Door!
Pontoon Boat Open House

Given the options, I took the Baptists.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I’m Breaking Up With!

Our relationship was short-lived, but rocky, and as soon as I can get my stuff from his warehouse, I’m outta there forever. The creep!

Having never ordered much from Amazon, I blithely drifted there one sleepy late May afternoon thinking that if so many people shop there, it must be good. (Fallacy #1) The prices looked OK, and they had all the stuff I wanted, and for Super Saver Shipping, I thought I could wait until July for a couple of things. (Fallacy #1.5 - I didn’t want to wait until July. Now, if things had actually come in July, I might have been reasonably happy.)

After my first order for 3 CDs, I placed a 2nd for a travel guidebook. The guidebook shipped right away, but never arrived. Lost in the mail or somesuch nonsense. Not good for a guidebook one needs BEFORE a trip. They sent another, but, y’know, it was late.

By mid-July I emailed to find out where those CDs to be delivered the week before were. Customer Service gave me a response equivalent to “Oops.” (Fallacy #2 - That Amazon might actually care about customer service.)

By late July, one of the CDs trickled out of the Amazon bunker and to my home. Today I was elated that another trickled my way (#2 of 3)–Matt Wilson’s Burnt, White and Blue. I ripped open the package to have HOBEX’ Back in the ‘90s fall in my lap. Not knowing a darn thing about these boys and really wanting to hear Matt, I wandered to their web site and learned they’re “a band of veteran North Carolina rockers melding classic funk'n'soul music with rock'n'roll.” Uh huh. Not the dulcet tones of Matt singing Sun is Coming.

Amazon’s web site has a time-consuming little option for sending them a message and finding a printer and stuffing the rogue CD back in the box and taping and cutting and noodling all their garbage onto and into the box. At this point, I should be invoicing them for the customer service time I’ve spent servicing my own orders. (Bad customer service = negative impact on an individual’s (MY) time.)

Now with 2 outstanding CDs and 3 outstanding books (Crafty Chica's Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life; Slanky (poems by Mike Doughty); and So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful Of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer's Life (by Jacob Slichter - a wonderful rollercoaster of Semisonic fame which I’ve already read), I’m asking, “IS ANYONE MINDING THE STORE?

Update: Amazon corrected the sending me ANOTHER COPY OF HOBEX BACK IN THE 90s! So after listening to "Thank you for calling. We'll be with you shortly." and "Your call is very important to us. We'll be with you shortly." EIGHT TIMES EACH, the representative said, "We'll need time to get this fixed. You can order it again in a week or two. Yeah, right, like I'm going to place an order from late May again. (Yep, breaking up was the right thing to do.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

10 Things To Do Before Year's End

It seems like a good time to set some goals to reach before the end of 2006.

1. Get my tattoo - I just need to find someone who will do what I want instead of sending me packing.
2. Do more art.
3. Go to Mali and Cameroon - Check. Tickets bought
4. Connect with my friends.
5. Go to Bangadesh and Nepal - Plans underway.
6. See the Dixie Chicks and Bonnie Raitt - Tickets bought for both concerts. (And Mason Jennings and Tim O'Reagan are on my short to-see list soon too.)
7. Finish at least one of my partially-completed knitting projects.
8. Get to Tierra del Fuego - Plans underway.
9. Integrate meditation into my life.
10. Get fit.

We're getting pretty close here to the big Madison trash-a-thon fondly know as Hippie Christmas, when all the students kick their nearly new stuff to the curb when they move. It's a veritable bonanza for finding zippy free stuff.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And Back

Spent the day in the car, driving back from South Dakota through Minnesota and Wisconsin. Once again passed the Spam Museum, where I always mean to stop, but am usually trying to get somewhere else. I think I need to make a pilgrimage there, but after a visit to Casa Bacardi in Puerto Rico in March, I'm a little leary of the corporate museum thing. (And, there are free drinks at Casa Bacardi. I'm not sure the Spam Museum can measure up.)

Always on the lookout for the weird and wonderful (or the weird and frightening), I noticed the motto of a crop dusting business -- "We Kill By Air!" -- painted on the side of their hangar. I also spent a moment contemplating the blue green water in the toilet bowl at the truck stop.

Going through my head...all day...from Haughty Melodic... "Sunken-eyed girl in the sandwich shop / Ladle my soup from the kettle pot..."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lucky Penny

Yesterday's wish for a lucky penny was granted. At the farmers market, looking at the corn and beans and Thai eggplant, I watched a penny miss a woman's wallet and land on the sidewalk right in front of a bakery booth. I knew it was my lucky penny, so I waited for a few pairs of shoes to trod over it and then swooped in for the pick up. I am now in posession of a 1982, undoubtedly lucky, penny.

Sometimes I really love the "words" that come up to verify comments. Here's a gem I got today--byyja. So, creative ones, feel free to leave a definition of the word byyja in comments.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Wish...

...that I had a studio, where I could put my loom, and all my yarn for knitting and weaving, and all the paint and glue and grout, and the broken plates for mosaics, and all the gewgaws and trinkets and bottle caps I've collected for assemblage art. And all around would be finished pieces, and half-finished pieces, and things waiting to become pieces of something.

...that I'd find a lucky penny on the sidewalk.

...that I had written The Traveling Death & Resurrection Show instead of Ariel Gore. (This is intended as a compliment of the very highest order, since I can think of only a handful of books in the world I would like to claim as my own.)

...that I spoke Spanish like a first language.

...that my yard would magically weed itself.

...that my dog were a little brighter and understood that laying right next to me on hot days and then panting is not a good idea.

Thai proverb of the day: Do not drink water under another's elbow.