Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's Greek to me

My "Road House" plans of last night were waylaid when I saw that "Steel Magnolias" was on, and when that ended, "Revenge of the Nerds" started.

Talk about a double whammy of guilty pleasure! It's always fun to hang out with the Tri-Lambs!

At Ball State, the Greek culture wasn't as prevalent as it is on other campuses, like at Indiana University. In fact, among my friends, the Greek culture was pretty much despised. We were anti-Greek. For a while, I considered becoming a little sister of the Phi Delts, but ended up just going to lots of their parties. All the fun with none of the work. I had some friends who joined sororities, but they were pretty cool. In retrospect, what I actually disliked about that whole scene wasn't the fun, party frats like the Phi Delts, but the preppy, sweater-vest wearing Greeks. That was during the height of my punk phase, and the sort of white bread conformity espoused by "those" organizations made me want to vomit.

Oddly enough, many years later, I ended up joining a service sorority. My sister was (and still is) in it, and I went ahead and pledged. We had a lot of fun, and did some good things for the community, but I think I only lasted about a year. I got tired of the ritual, and at that time, I was very stressed at work. We'd have a meeting and instead of focusing on the business at hand, it turned into asides and digressions and chat. I would be worn out from work, and it reminded me so much of the nonproductive meetings we had every week in the department! So I went inactive, and have no desire to go back. However, I still see some of the women when Diana has a party, and it's always great to see them--I don't believe there are any hard feelings there. But no, I won't be going active any time soon. Like ever. I'm just not a "joiner," you know?

Change of topic, although my not being a "joiner" may come into play here. I read the Feb. 23 issue of Time, and the cover story is about faith and healing. I won't go into that, and actually just skimmed the main article. But there was an article called "Faith and Healing: A Forum" that I found really intriguing. They talked with three men: a chaplain, a radiologist/psychiatrist, and psychiatrist. The topic was how much of a hand a physician should have in talking with their patient about faith and/or spirituality. Should a patient's spirituality be a part of what a doctor asks when they take a history of the patient?

All three felt that the physicians' role is mainly to treat the patient's physical or mental problems, and if needed, they can point the patient to a chaplain or someone to help them with their spiritual needs. Even the chaplain agreed with that assessment, and so do I. If my doctor started asking me about my religious beliefs, my reaction would be one of distrust, as in "Why do you want to know?" One of the psychiatrists said that the idea of a divine interventionist is a supernatural explanation, and science doesn't deal in supernatural explanations. He believes that faith and spirituality can definitely play a role in a patient's outcome, but religion and science are different domains. They all agreed that the research of the neuroscience of religion may be an interesting exercise and lead to some discoveries about brain chemistry, but it's pointless to reduce spiritual beliefs to neurochemicals, and that is the business of science: to find the chemistry behind the phenomenon. And what would be the point of that?

The chaplain had some remarks that really struck me, concerning the difference between religion and spirituality. He said that religion is an organized set of beliefs, like his own, Lutheran. I'll put up an entire quote here: "Spirituality, I think, is a much broader concept, and it has to do with probably a personal quest. Lutheran is what some other people have said Lutheran is. Your spirituality is what you say it is, and so my job as a chaplain is to discover what you say it is and to help that spirituality be helpful to you in coping with the illness or whatever is going on in your life."

Thank you, Rev. Handzo, for putting it so perfectly. I won't go into the gory details here, but some of you know some of my feelings about this subject, and know why I have them. I have little use--okay, I have NO use--for dogma, or for the sort of judgemental attitude I've seen at various points in my life. Yes, I know not everyone is like that, and there are people in my own family who have very strong beliefs but manage to restrain themselves from using them as a sledgehammer and beating me about the head and torso. I appreciate that, because I have encountered some who aren't afraid to point out their firmly held belief that if I don't believe exactly as they do, I've got a one-way ticket to hell.

Rev. Handzo said, "Your spirituality is what you say it is." A while back, someone criticized me for not going to church, saying that I "worship outside with the birds" and implying that just wasn't good enough. (They left out the part about going to hell.) Personally, I can think of very few places that are better to meditate or worship than outside with the birds. You have the peace and quiet to think, you are left to your own thoughts so you can ponder life's great enigmas, and you get to listen to the sounds of nature rather than having to put up with the crappy music. (Results may vary with your particular place of worship.)

My philosophy is one of "each to their own." I may not agree with your beliefs, but I'm not going to debate you and try to convince you that mine are right. Everyone has the right to their own personal beliefs and concepts of spirituality, and I respect that. In turn, I believe I have the right to that same respect. It's called tolerance.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sleaze Parade

Ken is working a couple of long night shifts this weekend, so I'm left to my own devices. I'm sure I can scare up some trouble.

And for all you wise-asses out there, I am not the sleaze on parade, and I'm not talking about scaring up that kind of trouble! The picture has nothing to do with Ken working nights, so stop thinking that. It's from the website of Ashley Madison. Have you heard about this? It's a dating service, but not your average bear. It's a service for people who want to have an affair. In fact, their slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair™," and they guarantee that if you use their service, you'll have an affair to remember or they'll give you your money back! Wow, what a deal!

Yuck. That just seems really sordid to me, and sort of cold and calculating. I'm not going to be overly judgemental, because in a previous life, I was no angel, and neither was my ex. But it seems to me that affairs are things that you sort of fall into...there may be weakness and dishonesty involved, but I think most people don't set out to purposefully have an affair.

In reading some of the testimonials, most people talk about being stuck in a loveless marriage and trying to fulfill their needs in other ways. That's a convenient excuse, but it's still just an excuse. Have the balls to stand up and say this isn't working, then do something to solve the problem, or cut bait and be done with it. I suppose some people get off on the illicit nature of sneaking around, but that takes way too much energy, and sooner or later you'll probably get caught. (Or maybe you'll feel guilty enough that you'll confess. I honestly had no idea that anything had gone on, but after I asked for a divorce and my ex moved out, he called me up and told me that he believed God was punishing him because he cheated on me...a month after we got married, when he was in Officer's Training School and I was staying with my parents. How charming!)

Why not just end whatever unhappy relationship you're in and then move on to one that you'll find more fulfilling? Everyone makes stupid mistakes, but hopefully they're a part of foolish youth. I know that I would rather cut my own foot off than hurt and betray Ken in that way. I really don't get the thought process behind someone using a service like this, although it seems that they're using it quite a bit.

With Ken working nights, I suppose I'll mess around a bit tonight. I think I'll burn a CD, I'll read the latest issue of Time, I'll play with the cat (although I suspect he's actually playing with me), and if I'm feeling really crazy, I think I'll watch "Road House." Ahhh, what a Siren I am!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Caught on tape!

Remember when I said that Shane and I got knocked down by a guy at the concert...toppled like bowling pins? I didn't see this at first, but Shane said it DID get captured on one of these videos! It happens around :30, Ken moves in, and Shane and I are back up by :40. I'm totally cracking up that this is on YouTube!

So much for spring

As Milwaukee Dan #2 would say, "GYYAAAHHHH!"

Freakin' lake effect snow again last night and this morning. Ken took the truck because the roads looked bad enough, and I went out and tried to clear off some of the driveway before my dentist appointment. I was able to get out of the driveway, and back in, with no problems, but it was cold and windy and NOT what I wanted! Waaaah!

Okay, no more whine unless I serve some cheese with it. Tasty, tasty cheese.

One of my new Facebook friends is Tony, from the Godfathers message board. Today he put up a video from the St. Valentine's show of "I Want Everything," but I couldn't get it to play on Facebook. I sent him a note, and he said it's up on YouTube, too, so I went over there to check it out. Someone has posted several videos from the Chicago show, I've spent the past 20 minutes or so watching them. God, what a great show! What's really funny is that in some of them, you can see me, Ken, and Shane. Sam was right there by us, but I can't see him in the crowd.

We're right in front of the lead singer, right in front of the monitor, and you can see my white shirt and dark hair. Shane is just to my right, and you can tell that we were really diggin' the show! Ken is behind me in the white shirt, and he's a little more subdued. I wonder if I'll eventually see a video that shows when Shane and I got knocked down? I would totally crack up! In some of the videos that are up from late in the show, like "Birth, School, Work, Death," Ken has moved over to our right and is playing bodyguard to keep away the guy who knocked us down. And nope, we didn't get knocked down again.

Bless his heart...when I get caught up in the moment like that, I can be pretty oblivious. He's a good guy for watching out for me!

Here's the video. Can you spot us? What was that Monty Python skit? Spot the Loony. That sounds about right!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feelin' in-betweeny

I'm not quite sure what has me feeling in limbo, and not the good kind of limbo where you get to drink mai tais on the beach and contort your body in order to ooze yourself underneath a bar, while shirtless, tanned surfer-type dudes cheer you on, obviously impressed by your flexibility, chutzpah, and sheer party girliness.

Umm...where was I?

Oh yeah, feeling in limbo. Coming down off of a totally fun weekend, one that was a long time coming (and by that I mean that it's taken me 20+ years to see the Godfathers live). Getting back into the reality of day-to-day life, things like doing laundry, going to a dentist appointment, working out...all necessary, but all seeming somewhat mundane at the moment. Caught somewhere between a boy and man--wait, that's Kid Rock. I'M caught somewhere between winter and spring, and I tell you, I am feeling terribly antsy. We've had a taste of warmer weather, and although I tried to be philosophical, pragmatic, and realistic and say that I knew there would be more cold weather, apparently it was a futile effort. As cold weather approaches in the coming days, I'm thinking bad bad words and wondering how long this is going to last.

I want to open all the windows and let the breeze blow through the house. I want to break out all my summer clothes and wear those skorts I bought last year, and I want to wear them with my cute little wedge sandals. I want to get outside and feel the sun on my face and arms. I want to walk around here in a big T-shirt and my underwear if I feel like it (and I do). I want I want I want.

I know summer will get here soon enough, but I've got a serious case of cabin fever, folks, and it could get ugly. I'm feeling a little fierce right now.

Because I don't want to turn that fierceness on my loved ones, it seems like a perfect time to talk about Sarah Palin and the back taxes she owes for the thousands of dollars that she took for per diem and travel expenses for her husband and family. How's that "reformer" thing working for you, Palin? Taking thousands of dollars in per diem expenses because you choose to live in Wasilla rather than the governor's mansion; asking the people of Alaska to pay for your husband and children's travel expenses; claiming none of that as income. Priceless!

As I wrote on my Facebook page, perhaps she can add IRS agents to the list of animals that can be aerially hunted in Alaska. That would solve this problem, pronto!

My Superhero persona

Don't make me come after you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Did you know...

...that fondue is the national dish of Switzerland?

So it says on the booklet I picked up in the cheese section at the grocery store today. It's got yummy recipes in it using delicious Swiss cheeses like Emmentaler and Gruyère, and some Swiss cheeses I've never tried like Vacherin Fribourgeois (it's such a common cheese), Appenzell, Tilsiter, Raclette, Tête de Moine (I hear they love it in Iowa), and Sap Sago.

*sigh* So many cheeses, so little time! And money...some of this stuff is about $15 a pound. I do enjoy trying different cheeses, though! It's fun to get small amounts of exotic cheeses and try them. I think I'll try something really funky next time we do a snack food feast, like Zhand'on, the Tibetan mountain goat cheese, or Ataturkanaa, the cheese made from the milk of the yak, buried in the Alaskan permafrost, and then fermented for 20 years in a barrel of wine made from the ziga grape.

Yeah, that's all a bunch of crap I made up. Anyone want to be my partner in Balderdash? I can talk a good game.

I'm feeling quiet today, still a little bit in Chicago and still a little bit rock and roll. I guess that makes me the Donny Osmond of Nutwood. Hmm.

We will shortly return you to your regularly scheduled feisty Beth. Please be patient and please do not adjust your set. This seems like a good time for a visit to the cheese shop. What a senseless waste of human life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Playing catchup

I think I'm caught up on blogs for now. If I didn't comment, it's not because I didn't read, but even the short time we were gone made me get behind!

Well, in reading the Yahoo message board for the Godfathers, a guy from Detroit posted that there was indeed an after-party backstage. I was just heartsick about it last night, but like Ken said, there's not much more we could have done. Everyone we asked at the Metro seemed absolutely clueless (I think Ted might have put it better when he said they were idiots), and no help at all. I was really down about it last night, but I'm snapping out of it. It really was a great show, a chance to see one of my favorites...of course, it would have been even cooler to hang out with them a little bit! You know, the thing I think I hate the most about it is that I would have liked a chance to say thanks for coming to the States for one show, and thanks for all the great music over the years. Peter thanked the fans for their support, but I wanted to say thank you to them, too. I'll be sure to write and tell them so, because I think they would probably appreciate that. And who knows? Maybe they'll stick together for a while, and I'll get to see them again here in the States...or maybe even one day in London!

And you know what? If I do get to see them again, I'll freakin' kick in the backstage door if I have to! [grin]

Anyhoo...onward and upward!

I'm sorry to report that the Great Backyard Bird Count of 2009 was really a bust here at Nutwood. I counted again this afternoon, but the little bit of snow we got on Sunday melted today, and there is mostly bare ground out there. Very little action at the feeders. One bright spot was that our pair of red-shouldered hawks showed up, so I got to count them!

When I was working out today, I was reading Good Housekeeping, and there was a recipe for Harry Connick, Jr's Jambalaya. Harry, honey, if you're cookin', I'm eatin'! (Doesn't everyone love Harry?) It did get me hungry for some New Orleans food, so I'm just going to do a Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice with some sausage tonight, and make some cornbread. I'm thinking I'll try Harry's recipe, though. It calls for a little ham, and I don't think I've seen a Jambalaya recipe that calls for ham. Sounds pretty tasty and easy, and I think I just might have some chicken thighs down there in the freezer. HEY! Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to shout, but I just realized that I've got two big turkey thighs in the freezer that would work perfectly for that, and I know I've got some andouille sausage. I think I'll be making us some Jambalaya this week! Mardi Gras is coming up next week, so it seems like a good time to do some Cajun or Creole food. (Mmm, Shrimp Creole, there's an idea, too!)

Gee, do you think I'm hungry?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Am I getting too old for this?

Hell to the no! It was a freakin' blast!

There was one bad part, and I'll get that out of the way right off the bat. I was all excited about the after-party, and got confirmation from Peter that we all were "on the list." But when the show was over, no one knew anything about any after-party. We went downstairs to Smartbar, but it was just boring dance music, and the DJ told Ken that it was last Wednesday. Pfft. He was just making crap up. How do you have an after-party 4 days before the show? Ken tried one more time with a security guy at the Metro, and they told him that several other people had mentioned that they were also invited to a party afterwards, so I don't know what happened. Maybe I'll hear something on the message board or at their Myspace page.

So I was disappointed. It seems that the only thing massacred at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre show was my poor little heart. *sniff*

Being the glass-half-full kinda gal that I am, though, I decided to focus instead on what an awesome show it was! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We had an uneventful trip on the way up, listening to Godfathers the whole way. Ken asked a little about them, when they were formed, etc., and what type of music they're considered. I said pretty much straight-up rock, but they're sort of post-punk...for me, they always had the energy punk and a bit of that punk anger, but were much more polished, and great musicians. As we came into the city, it was great to see the Chicago skyline again--it's been a while since we've been up there!

We got to the hotel with no problems (although traffic was heavy downtown), and had a little time to relax before we got ready for the show. Ken kept teasing me about running off with the band. Things like "Guess I'll be going home alone tomorrow" and "You should probably take a clean pair of underwear for when you take off with the band." He was cracking me up! We cabbed it over to the Cubby Bear, a famous sports bar right across from Wrigley Field. There we met up with Ted, the guy from Canada who came down just for this show. He turned out to be a really nice guy, and he'd never seen the band live, either! He figured this might be his only chance, so he went for it. We also met Cousin Shane and his friend Sam, and we all had a nice dinner (their food is pretty good for a sports bar--I had some very yummy crab cakes, and Ken had some mighty tasty filet mignons fixed three different ways) and a cool beverage or two.

It was finally time to head over to the Metro, and it was just a couple of blocks, so we walked. We were first in line, but the place didn't fill up for a while, so we had no problems getting right by the stage! It was so cool! The first band was so-so, but the second band, the Javelinas, were so good that Shane bought their two CDs online today! By the time they were done, the place was starting to fill up, and we staked out our frontstage spots in earnest. I wish I could remember their entire setlist, but I can't! It was the usual suspects, and I don't think there were any surprises in there. It was so much fun! I was right in front of the lead singer, and my neck is so sore today from looking UP almost the entire time, but it was worth it. He was looking quite natty in a suit and tie...very Godfather-ish, ha ha!

Only one incident, in which a guy got a little overly exuberant, fell into Shane, who fell into me...we both went down like a couple of bowling pins! No harm done, and we were back up and dancing right away. We were shouting along to "Birth School Work Death" and the very last song was the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop," so we shouted "Hey! Ho! Let's Go!" When was the last time I pogoed before last night? I honestly can't remember. I'm finally starting to get my voice back.

Peter sounded great--I'm not sure how old he is, I'd guess about our age, but the guy has got some pipes on him, let me tell ya. Not a real big guy, but a very powerful voice. Peter's brother Chris plays bass for them, but apparently there was some problem with him getting into the country, so there was someone filling in for him. It was a shame that Chris wasn't there, but the fill-in did fine. George Mazur plays a mean set of drums, and they have two guitarists, Kris Dollimore and Mike Gibson. Kris was always the "flashy" one, and he's an amazing guitarist, but I was really impressed by Mike last night. I didn't realize he was that good! Oh, and I did get to meet him. He came up behind me while the second band was playing, so I said hi and that I was really excited to hear them and so happy they were here! He said thanks, asked my name, seemed like a really nice guy.

The Godfathers had a reputation as being one of THE best live bands during the late 80's and early 90's, and I think it was well-deserved. I've been to many, many concerts, and this was absolutely one of the best, sound-wise and energy-wise. I know I'm biased, because I love them, but they were just fantastic.

After our fruitless attempts to find out what was going on with the after-party, we ended up next door at a bar called the Ginger Man and had a pint. We talked with a guy who lives on Route 66 and came up to see the show, and he invited us to come by and see him when we take our trip. Pretty cool! Shane drove us back to the hotel, and they headed home. We crashed, slept late, had breakfast at the Original Pancake House across the street, and hit the road. A quick trip, but a fun one. I told Shane last night, "Now if only the Clash would get back together." That's not going to happen, because Joe Strummer died in 2002, and you can't have the Clash without Joe Strummer. But I've gotten to see one of my all-time favorites, and I'm a happy (if exhausted) girl.