Sunday, November 30, 2008

A thrill of hope

I have been practicing singing and playing "Oh Holy Night" for Christmas carols. Jon remarked that he preferred the less religious carols. While I do not consider myself a religious person, I do love the beautiful songs and do not want to shy away from them because they are religious. After all, I am a bluegrass musician, we like the old-timey gospel stuff.

Then I listened to the words:

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices-for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!"

What a gorgeous thought. A friend remarked that it reminded her of Obama. Listening to only those words--not the rest about the Saviour, etc--there is a nice bit of truth to that.

We certainly live in a weary world. How beautiful the idea that for this weary world, there might possibly be a thrill of hope. Whatever that hope is, it is lovely.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Southerners vs. Yanks

...part one of many, I am sure.

There are several things I will never understand about Mainahs:

1. Why they insist on complaining about the weather unless it is 76 degrees. Otherwise, it's either too cold, too hot, too cold in the shade, too hot in the sun, etc. Um, you live in MAINE.

2. Why they insist on eating fruit that is not remotely close to being ripe, and then they insist that it's really good. Peaches, nectarines, and pears should absolutely never crunch. And no, they are not good that way.

3. Why they insist on eating huge holiday dinners at 2 PM. Why not at a regular meal time, so your body is actually hungry when you eat? And so you don't get a weird hunger pang at 9 PM?

4. Why they really don't say much ever. Believe it or not, in the south, we actually do care how the people in the coffee shop line are doing. We actually do call lots of people, "Honey," and we actually bond over things like the grocery store being out of pecans.

5. Why they say they don't like grits. Most of the time, they have never had grits. (Once they try some cheese grits with garlic, like any smart person, they realize their folly.)

6. Why they don't pay attention to basketball. I understand that they don't have great college teams to rally around like we do in Louisville (go Cards!), but UMass is good, and being from Boston has not stopped the Red Sox from being the object of many a Mainer's affection. I ask this in true astonishment: how can anyone watch the thrilling action on the NCAA courts and not get totally wrapped up in March Madness?

7. Allen's Coffee Brandy.

8. Why they don't see the importance of serving bread warm as opposed to at room temperature.

OK, on the flip side, here are some things I love about Mainahs:

1. They tend, and I do say tend (ahem), to mind their own business when it comes to whom you worship, to whom you are attracted, and the color of your skin. At least they tend more than the south.

2. They know how to make some good chowder.

3. They like their beer strong and flavorful. Mmmmmmmmmm Geary's. Southerners are pretty darn attached to their cans of Bud Light.

4. They are not afraid to eat their own lobster.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A wish list...

..that has nothing to do with gifts, and yet is still completely self-centered.

1. I wish that predictive text weren't so prudish as to not have in its dictionary words like, "pissed" and "damnit."

2. I wish that Veggie Sausage weren't so expensive.

3. I wish that there were a faucet in my apt. that would pour bourbon.

4. I wish that I had planted butternut squash and a few more beets this summer.

5. I wish that people from my past did not think it is OK to scan pictures of me from age 15 and post them to facebook.

6. I wish that we could claim Thanksgiving as a "friend" holiday without insulting our families.

7. I wish that one could choose a few default dreams to re-dream at night upon demand, especially when one is dreaming about fending off child murderers.

8. I wish that Mabel were not a "sinker".

9. I wish that I had a job whose contribution to society were greater than the ability to make a good latte.

10. I wish that there were a radio station that played music that might challenge the masses.

Friday, November 21, 2008

my xmas list

1. Still looking for that air-brushed t-shirt that says "Tooken" on it.
2. A second earring to match the one I lost, made by the very talented local artist Alicia Allen
3. A jar of Smith's Family Farm yogurt.

Considering no one we know has any money right now, I guess that'll just about do it. Although there are plenty of free things I would love for Xmas:
-rock and roll band of my very own
-a question
-a gift card for a one on one day with some very busy friends
-jobs for the several people I know who really need them
-Upping the amount of funny stories, smiling eyes, occasional southern accents, and bone-crushing hugs that help me get through my days.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cheap Living

Hey, anyone hear about the times lately? They're tight. Jon and I are on a semi-spending freeze. Which means that we are not spending money outside of necessities (a loose word in our book.)

When I was a student I learned some ways one can conserve money while still consuming lots of the all-important carbs. While I do not advocate dumpster diving (gross), with a little of the Artful Dodger in you, you can eat quite a few meals for free.

Openings: art openings, grand opening celebrations, book signings, ribbon cuttings, any kind of community celebration. There is always free food at these and often free wine. First Friday art walk is a good choice for even supplementing the carbs with some protein-rich cheese. But you have to get there early. Just think, you could eat for free and culture yourself at the same time.

Jobs: There are two kinds of jobs in which free food is available. The first is, obviously, a food service job. (I highly recommend working for a local company vs a chain restaurant for many reasons, not the least being that large corporations often do not include free meals in their benefits.) The second is a job at a place that hosts a lot of events, meetings, workshops, etc. I worked at a National Park for a year and ate so many free bagels, muffins, and scones, and an occasional score of a veggie wrap left behind that I gained several pounds.

Church: Almost always, where one finds God, there is also coffee and donuts.* (The exception being Catholics--they're pretty hit and miss on the donuts.) Many churches give out free food as well. The pastor at the church across the street once said to me, "Excuse me, are you homeless? Cause this is for the needy!" My response (in my head, as I was too shocked and embarrassed to speak) was two-fold: "Uh, lady, this is a residential neighborhood. And, yes, I am needy, I am unemployed and have a $40,000 student loan and my rent is through the roof. It's Portland. Heard this story before?"

*The problem with this is that they do it after church so you have to praise the Lord to get the donuts! If you're stooping this low, you might as well wander your way into weddings and funerals too! I can assure that my family is so large no one would ever notice that there was an unfamiliar face.

Greedrinks: Could it be any better? The second Tuesday of every month, Greendrinks rocks again with free beer and free food and a lovely crowd of eco-conscious folks! Tomorrow it's at the Maine Rock Gym. Happy hour time.

More cheap living skills soon to come.