Archive | May 2011

Mama’s Gonna Make All of Your Nightmares Come True

My family is certifiably insane.  Truly.  I love them.  And they love to ask me to do them favors.

There is no interaction with my family that is not filled with drama (yes, I used a double negative.  What are you going to do about it?).

Today, my mother called.  Sigh.  She is on vacation and she called to tell me where she keeps all her important documents.  I could lie and say that I couldn’t understand her because of the rubbish cell phone connection.  It was a rubbish cell phone connection but that’s not why I have no idea where she’s hidden her paperwork.   The truth is, once I start hearing the crazy, a very important safety mechanism in my brain kicks in.  Once I hear the crazy, my brain only processes a tiny percentage of what’s being said.

Really, when I hear my 70 year old mother start telling me to look in this cabinet for such and such paperwork and go to this room for some other paperwork, it’s in my best interest to just zone out.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t tune out the most disturbing part of her speech.  My mother tells me, in complete seriousness, the following:

If something should happen to us (her and my stepfather), since you don’t have keys, you should break into our house and immediately change the locks.

WTF?!?!

She went on to explain that my stepdad’s family has been written out of their wills.  So why am I breaking into my mother’s house?  Well because my mother is so paranoid that someone might steal from her, that no one, including any of her children, have a key to her house.

And then why am I changing the locks?  Well, because she believes that my stepdad’s family will break in.

Let’s recap.  My mother calls me to tell me that if her and her husband die on vacation, I should immediately go to her house and break in.  And the next thing I should do, again immediately, change the locks.  I need to be sure to perform these actions before my stepdad’s family are notified of his death.

That’s messed up for so many reasons.

I try not to get into disagreements with my mother.  It is useless to try and reason with a completely irrational person.  I couldn’t stop myself from asking one question though, because I want to know why I need to change the locks on my mother’s house?  So I asked:  Does my stepdad’s family have a set of keys?

My mom assured me that no, my stepdad’s family does not have keys.  But they are sure to break in if they know that my mother and stepdad have passed. I didn’t go for the obvious  follow up: if my stepdad’s family is going to break into the house anyway, why would it matter that I’ve put my own locks on the house? I have many super powers, but the power to install locks that are burglar-proof (or merely crazy-stepdad-relative-proof) is not one of them.

The conversation was very telling though.  Even in death, my mother is most concerned that no one should get her stuff.  Little does she know that my siblings and I don’t want her stuff.  I don’t want her old magazines or her 6 crappy cars (or however many are in that driveway.  Sell them all and just have two good ones).  I don’t want her costume jewelry or her china or her 5 ancient, barely functioning computers or her linens or whatever other things are stacked to the ceiling in every room of that house.  If my stepdad’s family is stupid enough to clean out some of the ridiculous, worthless stuff that her and my stepdad have amassed, they’re doing us a favor.

My mother is so well-known for her massive amounts of garbage that it was the neighborhood joke.  See, before she moved to her current house, the neighbors joked that they were going to sell tickets to watch my mom try to move all her junk.   They would try to guess how many movers and trucks would be needed to complete her move.

Years ago, my siblings and I decided that when mom passes, we are just burning her house down.  There’s nothing worth having to pour through my mom’s junk.  So, we’ll set that house on fire and drink some beers while we watch it burn.  It’ll be a good time.  Well, at least until the cops show up.

One Bourbon, One Shot, and One Beer

Except, lets forget the bourbon and the shot.  I can’t hold my liquor anyway, but I am a cheery drunk.

I have some Sierra Nevada Kellerweis which is a hefeweizen.  Mmmmmmm.  Hefeweizen.  It is a very good hefeweizen.  It’s not as good as a good batch of Fathead’s Gogglefogger, but few things are.  Plus Gogglefogger has an advantange because beer always tastes better on tap.  I’ve tried many bottled hefeweizens and Sierra Nevada’s  is probably the best. I’ve had some other Sierra Nevada beers and wasn’t really impressed, but the Kellerweis is on my short list of favorite beers.

And, just for fun, I’m going to crack open an Indigo Imp Blonde Bombshell.  It is an American blonde ale.  This beer is one of my favorites, when it is fresh.  Unfortunately, if it’s not fresh, it turns sour and is a bit like trying to drink vinegar.  I can’t even use it for cooking. As there’s no way to tell if it’s gone bad, save opening and tasting it, buying a six is a bit of a gamble.  Especially as it’s around $12 for a six.  I guess some people like when it’s gone sour as they purposely sell sour batches.  Ugh.  It’s not for me.  But, lucky for me, Indigo Imp has a brewery store that’s open from 2:30 -5:30 on Fridays.  I finally made it down there last Friday and picked up 2 six packs of Blonde Bombshell and it’s fresh and yummy.  It goes really well with some  sharp, aged cheese.  Actually, almost everything goes well sharp, aged cheese.

Blonde Bombshell has a very odd aroma.  This probably has to do with their brewing process, which you can read about on their website.  The first time I had it, I was a bit put off by the aroma to the point where I almost didn’t try it.  But when I did, I was so pleased that I had.  I really wish it had wider distribution, but as they already have a problem with going sour, this might not be better with them.  I’ve tried some of Indigo Imp’s other brews.  I would think that I would love the Jester, as it’s a Belgian style ale, but I don’t recall being in a hurry to try it again.  And so I haven’t.  Like I said, the beer seems to have a short shelf life so it’s hard to tell if I disliked the beer or if it was past it’s prime.

Thing 1, my oldest, brought down this lovely bottle of Trader Joe’s 2010 Vintage Ale this morning.  Apparently, I bought this as a present for the husband and hid it in her closet.  Then we both forgot about it.  Well, what a lovely surprise.  It is dark and complex.  There are hints of caramel and a bit of lovely maltiness (I’m receiving help with this description as mine would read “it’s yummy and I like the bubbles”.  I’m just not that sophisticated).  It is made by Unibroue, a brewery in Montreal.

Unibroue has some lovely beers but my favorite, of those I’ve been lucky enough to try,  is Ephemere Apple.  It’s a hard cider rather than a true beer (although the Unibroue website lists it under ales).  It’s is delightful, sweet and crisp.  I see that there is also a Ephemere Blackcurrant.  OMG! I must try this.  Where can I get this?  Dammit, I may just have to go back to Montreal and that would be awful (geez, I adore Montreal).

If only I had a bottle of Abita’s Purple Haze (this is an unfiltered wheat beer with a slight – very slight – raspberry flavor.  it has the best mouth feel of any beer. It is so lovely to drink) , and some Gouden Carolus Cuvee (this is so creamy and has hints of raisin, it reminds my of bread pudding),  I would have all my current favorites.  And I’d probably have a hang over in the morning.  I’ll just have to save those for another day.

Slainte.

The Airborne Toxic Event at Cleveland House of Blues 2011

I love the Airborne Toxic Event.

The first time I saw them play it was at the House of Blues in Cleveland and they opened for The Fratellis in September of 2008.  They walked out on stage and the lead singer said something like “none of you know who the fuck we are so we’re just going to play”.   Anything else he said was so mumbled that it was impossible to understand.  Stage presence be damned, I liked their music so much that I went home and immediately downloaded their album from Amazon.

The next time TATE came to Cleveland, they were the headliners for the  92.3 Cheap Date in August 2009 (I wrote a blog about the, you can read that here.)  By this time, I could sing almost every song off of their album.  Unfortunately, most of the rest of the audience didn’t know any of their songs save Sometime Around Midnight, which isn’t even the best song off of that album.  Gasoline is.  It made me sad to see everyone just standing there.

I have been waiting for a new album, and the resulting tour for a long time.  I got tickets the day they went on sale and preordered the album as part of that purchase.  I love the new album, All At Once.   I love the single, Changing, and there are so many other good songs on the album (I think the song that I find to be the biggest departure is Welcome to Your Wedding Day).  I would’ve been excited to see them again anyway, certainly, I bought the tickets having only heard Changing (and at that point I think it was still called Something You Own).  But after hearing how great the new album is, I was especially excited.

I was way in the back so my pictures aren’t very good.  If you want a better view, break down and buy tickets yourself next time they come around.

The show just rocked.  These are true musicians.  I was so excited when I saw the upright piano on the stage.  And to see a cello, a bass, a piano, and keyboards with traditional rock instruments is fantastic.  And to see almost all of them can take a crack at the keyboards is so cool.  The band has really grown.  Their stage presence is amazing.  Mikel seemed really at ease, his stage banter flowed naturally.  There was no half-hearted mumbling.  The crowd was very into it.  I was so happy to see so many people singing and dancing.  They played almost every song off of both the albums.  They did a cover of Goodbye Horses.  There was a cool thing where they played the beginning of the song Missy and then broke into I’m on Fire and then Folsom Prison and then I Fought the Law before going back into Missy.  That was pretty cool.  I think that was an encore song.  Anna fell again.  I just have to know, does she fall every show or just in Cleveland?  This time, she fell over, well, I don’t know what she fell on.  She was standing behind the keyboards and then she was lying on the ground behind the keyboards.

Mikel ran up the stairs between songs, hoped out on this ledge on that runs on the outside of the rail to the balcony and sang an entire song up there.  As I was in the back of the balcony, I really appreciated this.  I liked it even better because it showed how comfortable he was.  He just owned every bit of that place, not just the stage.  He is a rock star.  I love that.  Anna stage dived (dove?) and crowd surfed with her violin.  Sweet!  It is so much fun to see people enjoying what they are doing.

When the band played The Kids are Ready to Die, Mikel said that European interviewers kept asking if the song was anti-American.  And his response was “Fuck off.  It’s not anti-American, it’s anti-sending-kids-to-die-for-a-lie”.  And then I knew I was in love.  Go Mikel!  Honestly, I hate that every criticism of America is interpreted as being anti-American.  And I like when musicians use their gifts to address political/social issues.  I hate that my generation seems to have a dearth of political musicians.  Where are our Neil Youngs and Bob Dylans?  Sorry, slight tangent.

The show ended with the song All At Once, which wasn’t probably the best song to end on.  Something with a little more bite would’ve been better.  Maybe the Missy medley?  But All at Once is a bit too mellow with which to end a show.  But that is my only negative comment on the show.  They always sound good and now they have so much fun, they are so into it that they may be my new favorite live band.  I am in awe.

Some random thoughts: I don’t get the umbrella motif on some of the tour shirts and as stage props.  The album is called All at Once.  There aren’t any umbrellas on the album cover.  There aren’t any songs called umbrella.  A clever poster on the band forum suggested that they were leftover from Rihanna.   That works for me.

The umbrellas on the stage were very artfully lit.  And the womens’ umbrella shirt is really nice.  I hate when bands don’t have any good shirts.  I want to buy a souvenir when I go to a good show.  I won’t buy traditionally cut tees (I want something that shows off curves. I work hard enough to have them, I’m not going to hide them in some yucky boxy mens’ tee).  Form-fitting, v neck shirts are great.  I wore mine to work with a black mini skirt.  Most people probably didn’t even realize it was a concert tee.

I feel like I’m watching these guys (and Anna)  grow up.  I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

Cleveland Marathon 2011

(you can also find this post on my Cleveland-related blog at http://onlycleveland.wordpress.com/)

Today was the Cleveland Marathon.   I participated in the Half Marathon with a friend of mine.

I have never been into running, and today was my first experience with any serious foot race.

Wow! What a first experience.  They estimated there were 19,000 participants.  Just wow.  I was completely relaxed for the event because I was just there for my friend.   I ran in the 5K on Saturday (completely different vibe, and very cool, but there’s just no comparison to today) and had a personal goal.  Today, I just was there to have a good time, get a little exercise, and cheer on my friend.  No pressure.

First, it took 10 minutes to cross the start line.  There was just such a huge mass of people that it took a solid 10 minutes from the start clock until I crossed the start line.  I really hated this part of the race.  I was way too close to way too many people.  It was claustrophobic.

As soon as I crossed the start line, things thinned out to where I was comfortable and I was able to just enjoy myself.  I am a lifelong Cleveland suburbanite.   I completely enjoyed being able to ambulate through the city.  I’ve been on the closed shoreway before, walking to Edgewater Park to watch the fireworks (before they moved the Fourth of July fireworks to Whiskey Island or wherever they’re held anymore.  But being able to go through blocked off streets in the different neighborhoods was pretty bad ass.

I loved getting to go all the way from Brown’s Stadium to Edgewater on the shoreway.  Going through the part of Cleveland where the shoreway ends, where all the beautiful houses are, was excellent.  I enjoy this by car.  It was way better on foot.

We went through Tremont, the Edgewater neighborhood, Ohio City, downtown (not in that order).   Going over the Hope Memorial Bridge, while it was closed to traffic was extremely bad ass.  I love the sculptures on the pylons.  I call them the Pillars of the King (because I am a geek, it’s a Lord of the Rings reference.  They are the giant statues of the kings of Gondor on the river Anduin from the Fellowship of the Ring movie), but apparently these are the Guardians of Transportation.

It was really chilly today, and at the four hour finish time (by four hours, I’d been done for a long time) while I was waiting, in only my race shirt, running shorts, a sports bra, and my socks and shoes, the rain really started in earnest and it got really, really, terribly cold.  The day turned pretty miserable about then for me.  It was even more miserable before I finally was picked up, able to kick off my soaking wet shoes, and able to put on some dry clothes.

Aside from the crap weather, which is a given in Cleveland, and some poor planning (I should have checked a bag with warm clothes and a cell phone or some money or something), this was amazing.  Seeing everyone else out there, and the big swarm of people behind us, was really inspiring, motivational.   I loved the cheering stations.  Some where race organized and that was cool but the spontaneous ones from people who lived around the route were the best.  The people in Tremont who set up their own water station were so enthusiastic!  You have to love Tremont.

There was a guy somewhere, it’s all one adrenaline-fueled blur, playing Born to Run on his guitar next to the course.  I wish I would’ve been around long enough to hear if he played any other songs or just that in a loop! That was so cool. Unless you’ve done one of these, it’s really difficult to properly convey the just general sense of community and energy and accomplishment.  Anyone who finishes is amazing.  I am in complete awe of the runners.

I met too girls with shirts that said “punk Rock Runners” or something like that.  One had a sequined hot pink tutu.  The other had a sequined black tutu.  They told me they had just run a marathon the previous Sunday!  Those sparkly girls are my new heros. If I ever become a true runner, I’m going to have to rock some silly outfits too.  Right now, I’m just trying not to attract to much attention and keep going.

My friend told me there’s a runner in me somewhere.  She must be buried deep but I want to see if I can find her. I do know that after hitting the finish line for the half marathon, I wanted to keep going.

With that frame of mind, I’m looking into signing up for the full marathon in Columbus.  My friend is already signed up.  And she’s talking about doing a triathlon.  I love biking.  I take 20-30 mile bike rides almost every week when it’s warm enough (and sometimes even when it’s not).  I love swimming.  I’m a strong, not fast, swimmer.  I could consider this.

I’d really like to do a silly race.  The Warrior Dash appeals to me.  Maybe I’ll go down and watch one this year to see what it’s like.  What’s not to love about beer and viking hats and mud?

Right now, I’m really grateful to my friend for motivating me to try these things.  She says I helped her with her time today.  Well, that’s a very small thing.  I was so happy to be her cheerleader and to do this with her.  She rocks.

And so do our medals!  I might never take mine off.  The guitar spins!

Cleveland Marathon 2011

Today was the Cleveland Marathon.   I participated in the Half Marathon with a friend of mine.

I have never been into running, and today was my first experience with any serious foot race.

Wow! What a first experience.  They estimated there were 19,000 participants.  Just wow.  I was completely relaxed for the event because I was just there for my friend.   I ran in the 5K on Saturday (completely different vibe, and very cool, but there’s just no comparison to today) and had a personal goal.  Today, I just was there to have a good time, get a little exercise, and cheer on my friend.  No pressure.

First, it took 10 minutes to cross the start line.  There was just such a huge mass of people that it took a solid 10 minutes from the start clock until I crossed the start line.  I really hated this part of the race.  I was way too close to way too many people.  It was claustrophobic.

As soon as I crossed the start line, things thinned out to where I was comfortable and I was able to just enjoy myself.  I am a lifelong Cleveland suburbanite.   I completely enjoyed being able to ambulate through the city.  I’ve been on the closed shoreway before, walking to Edgewater Park to watch the fireworks (before they moved the Fourth of July fireworks to Whiskey Island or wherever they’re held anymore.  But being able to go through blocked off streets in the different neighborhoods was pretty bad ass.

I loved getting to go all the way from Brown’s Stadium to Edgewater on the shoreway.  Going through the part of Cleveland where the shoreway ends, where all the beautiful houses are, was excellent.  I enjoy this by car.  It was way better on foot.

We went through Tremont, the Edgewater neighborhood, Ohio City, downtown (not in that order).   Going over the Hope Memorial Bridge, while it was closed to traffic was extremely bad ass.  I love the sculptures on the pylons.  I call them the Pillars of the King (because I am a geek, it’s a Lord of the Rings reference.  They are the giant statues of the kings of Gondor on the river Anduin from the Fellowship of the Ring movie), but apparently these are the Guardians of Transportation.

It was really chilly today, and at the four hour finish time (by four hours, I’d been done for a long time) while I was waiting, in only my race shirt, running shorts, a sports bra, and my socks and shoes, the rain really started in earnest and it got really, really, terribly cold.  The day turned pretty miserable about then for me.  It was even more miserable before I finally was picked up, able to kick off my soaking wet shoes, and able to put on some dry clothes.

Aside from the crap weather, which is a given in Cleveland, and some poor planning (I should have checked a bag with warm clothes and a cell phone or some money or something), this was amazing.  Seeing everyone else out there, and the big swarm of people behind us, was really inspiring, motivational.   I loved the cheering stations.  Some where race organized and that was cool but the spontaneous ones from people who lived around the route were the best.  The people in Tremont who set up their own water station were so enthusiastic!  You have to love Tremont.

There was a guy somewhere, it’s all one adrenaline-fueled blur, playing Born to Run on his guitar next to the course.  I wish I would’ve been around long enough to hear if he played any other songs or just that in a loop! That was so cool. Unless you’ve done one of these, it’s really difficult to properly convey the just general sense of community and energy and accomplishment.  Anyone who finishes is amazing.  I am in complete awe of the runners.

I met too girls with shirts that said “punk Rock Runners” or something like that.  One had a sequined hot pink tutu.  The other had a sequined black tutu.  They told me they had just run a marathon the previous Sunday!  Those sparkly girls are my new heros. If I ever become a true runner, I’m going to have to rock some silly outfits too.  Right now, I’m just trying not to attract to much attention and keep going.

My friend told me there’s a runner in me somewhere.  She must be buried deep but I want to see if I can find her. I do know that after hitting the finish line for the half marathon, I wanted to keep going.

With that frame of mind, I’m looking into signing up for the full marathon in Columbus.  My friend is already signed up.  And she’s talking about doing a triathlon.  I love biking.  I take 20-30 mile bike rides almost every week when it’s warm enough (and sometimes even when it’s not).  I love swimming.  I’m a strong, not fast, swimmer.  I could consider this.

I’d really like to do a silly race.  The Warrior Dash appeals to me.  Maybe I’ll go down and watch one this year to see what it’s like.  What’s not to love about beer and viking hats and mud?

Right now, I’m really grateful to my friend for motivating me to try these things.  She says I helped her with her time today.  Well, that’s a very small thing.  I was so happy to be her cheerleader and to do this with her.  She rocks.

And so do our medals!  I might never take mine off.  The guitar spins!

Run To the Hills

I ran (jogged, participated) in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 5K today.

I am not a runner.  I never ran in school.  I was really heavy and out of shape for many years.  I have asthma.  I am not a runner.

I ran (jogged, participated) in my first 5K last November.  It was the Rainbow ‘Round the Zoo 5K at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  My goal was to train all winter and shave about 5 minutes off of my (very slow) time.

That didn’t happen.  I worked too much and then got sick and then just rather freaked.  I really almost talked myself out of going today.  I left everything to the last minute.  I didn’t look up any info on parking or where the start line was until just yesterday (actually, the husband looked up parking stuff).  Last night after work I bought some real running shorts (I usually run in some ratty lounge shorts.  Shhhh, don’t tell), a dri-weave, form-fitting tank, and some new socks (the socks I usually run in are too short and I get these evil blisters where my heel rubs against the top of my shoe).

I couldn’t sleep last night (I haven’t slept much all week).  I was fretting.  I couldn’t eat this morning.  I couldn’t drink anything either.  I forgot my rescue inhaler.  And I forgot to take my asthma meds before I let.

The pre-race stuff was just inside Browns Stadium.  It’s actually the first time I’ve been at the “new” stadium.  I got there way too early.  And just paced and fretted.  By the time the race started, I was in complete scary, angsty mode.  I really wanted to do well, but had completely set myself up for failure and couldn’t get out of my head enough to just relax and enjoy my run.

It was warm enough.  I wouldn’t have minded the drizzle if I didn’t end up with wet trainers after the first mile.  Running in wet shoes is yucky.

I wish I could have relaxed, I used the Army ROTC runners as my pace setters (they were carrying a flag and doing running cadences, not full on running) and I kept up with them until the last 1/2 mile.  I finished rather close to them.  If I didn’t expend so much energy being angsty, I would have had enough energy to finish before them.

In the end, I finished in about the same time as my first 5K.  I could be disappointed that I didn’t do better, but I also realize that I didn’t put in the training.  I didn’t deserve to finish any faster.  I am pretty happy that I finished where I did because that means I haven’t lost much in terms of fitness level.  I’ve only been regularly exercising the past month or so after a very erratic or non-existent exercise regimen since about the time of my last 5K.   And I’m not exercising at anywhere near the intensity that I was last summer and fall.

Anyway, there’s no time to angst, I’m walking in the 1/2 marathon tomorrow.  I have no delusions of running at all.  I’ll be happy to keep a good pace for the entire thing.  I learned a bunch today.  1) breathe, 2) relax – if I let all the doubt in my head I don’t do my best, 3) it’s much more communal without my earbuds (it was nice to chat with my fellow participants last year, seriously, I ended up jogging with a really nice couple), 4) wet shoes suck and I’m pretty sure it’s going to pour tomorrow 😦 , 5) having the finish line in Brown’s Stadium is super bad ass.  It doesn’t matter how slow one goes, getting to run/jog/walk/amble/crawl over the finish line in the field made me pretty damn happy.  The pictures they took at the finish line made me slightly less happy but hey, whatever.

Happy Sing in the Shower Day Eve!

I figured I should remind you all tonight, so you’ll remember in the morning.

I often sing in the shower.  Maybe not on weekdays though.  5:30 am is awfully early to be that awake.  But I will make the effort to be more energetic tomorrow and sing something lovely.

Now I have to pick a song.  Should I go for show tunes?  classic rock?  pop?  some good indie rock?

I know, in honor of the Airborne Toxic Event, I should sing their music.  I love them.  I can’t wait to see them Saturday night.  Ah, now that was a good decision.