Dec 7, 2012

I'm happy it's Friday

I'm behind on a project that I haven't even started yet. I'm also behind on one that I have started. My big toe on my right foot is still numb from my morning walk. An old woman shook her head at the dirt of my jacket. I walk fast so I didn't get to explain that a big dog had tackled me in the dog park this morning because I put my hand in my pocket which the owner said was asking for trouble. I ran a "network test report" on my printer but then couldn't get it to stop flashing "FAIL"at me. So I unplugged it. I need to print my friend's screenplay draft. I finished off a jar of Nutella. I'm not sure what to have for snack now. Or lunch.
None of this mattters. Not even a numb toe or empty Nutella jar can get me down on a Friday.

I like the chorus on this new song from Villagers. "I waited for something and something died. So I waited for nothing and nothing arrived." I hope Terence Bliss (as in "momenTerry Bliss") feels better that it's Friday. I hope you're happy it's Friday, too.


Nov 27, 2012

Major Tom to Ground Control

Hello from Brooklyn.
Current temperature: 37 (although my nose-thermometer says 27).
Skies: There is no sky today -- just a blank canvas dripping a slushy rain. 
Mood: Chill. I'm editing a lovely project, hot cup of tea at my side and passed-out-puppy on the couch. I'm feeling optimistic and all is well with the world.
Sounds: Jazz on shuffle. Right now Kermit Ruffins with the Rebirth Brass Band (wha?) are belting out the "Happy Birthday" song and it's not my birthday so I don't mind Kermit rasping "how old are you now?" Such a nice song when other people are not ruining it with wrong keys and scene stealing cakes. Car-splashing out front. Slight rumble of subway underneath. Puppy whelping in his sleep as he chases other dogs in the clouds.
Light: Fading. I pulled a light fixture from the ceiling a week ago in an I-don't-like-this-I-should-spray-paint-it-tomato-red fit but now think I should go for yellow or bright green and maybe I should paint the walls turquoise. Or maybe I should find a new, bigger fixture or a vintage one that I can spray paint tomato red or yellow or green? Or maybe turquoise? I should probably get a desk lamp in the meantime... It's getting dark early these days.
Book: Country Girl. I'm really enjoying Edna O'Brien's memoir, Country Girl. I've been too busy to sit and read it all at once but I am enjoying teasing it out. I love spending time with Edna in the evening. I knew nothing about her, beyond the fact that I love her books, but she is a fascinating, lovely person and I will genuinely miss her company when I finish this book. 
Plan: Bake a Christmas cake this weekend. I have never baked a Christmas cake but my English friend at the dogpark —the only person who doesn't have prolonged conversations with her dog (speaking his part as well as hers), and so can chat with me—just baked four Christmas cakes this past weekend and has inspired me to give it a go. The fact that she made four means it can't be that bloody an activity — unless she's mental ... or lying.  Maybe she doesn't do her dog voice at the park because she's afraid her dog would give the game away. The dog did look at me funny when she suggested I order my glace cherries from Nuts.com. Regardless, I will give it a go, if only so I can show off to lesser humans. Everyone knows that only the truly together bake their own Christmas cake. It requires planning, patience, and lots of alcohol. Not sure where I will find two of those ingredients.



Oct 29, 2012

Waiting for Sandy


The scene a few doors down, a little while ago.

Quiet. Cars, buses, trains, and butts are parked. Stores are shuttered. Cabinets filled. So eerie that there are no trains rumbling underground, triggering a call for a "speech, speech!" from the glasses in my cabinet. No cars honking at "sunday drivers" at the corner. Just wind calling for quiet. 

Out my window, trees grip the small patches of ground they are allotted in this urban landscape, their limbs flailing as if on tightwire. The roaring winds rise and fall like the tides we have been hearing about for the last few days. 

Reminded that tides, full moons, and nature -- and quiet -- are still there in the background. Even if we're not paying attention.

The city that prides itself on never sleeping is still awake, but waiting. Agitated, as though forced to a slow pace behind ambling tourists on a narrow sidewalk. Waiting for an opening to pick up speed again. 

A frantic sawing sound a few houses up suggests a forced amputation. Bloody and wet. The other trees on the block grip tighter. Then quiet again. Every so often I see faces at the windows of the houses that abut my backyard. We are all watching the wind. 

My Irish self is only delighted that for once other people are as obsessed with weather as I am.  

Oct 21, 2012

Bonzie Folkster Collaboration


I'm going to be finishing up my full-time gig in a few weeks ... just when I've finally figured out how to dress for the office. Getting dressed to leave the house every day might have been my favorite part of this job (that, and reading time on the train), although it definitely took me a while to find my new basics. Office fashion has changed a lot in the seven years I've been working from home, and knowing I was on a temporary contract meant I never wanted to spend much to build out a new work wardrobe. I did eventually find a formula that works -- nothing trailblazing, just simple basics with interesting accessories. Classic blazers, shirts, pants, and pencil skirts with statement shoes or jewelry, and the occasional crazy blouse, dress, or shirt. 


Exhibit A: sequined tiger sweatshirt.
(Yes, I'm still sending my niece outfit-photos from the bathroom ;-)

While I've been excited about returning to a more flexible freelance schedule, I will miss making an effort every day. Especially now that I've come across the final piece of the dressing-up-basics puzzle: Bonzie's collection of statement neck collars for Folkster.







Brainchild of Irish Stylist, Blanaid Hennessey and Sister store to Shutterbug Vintage Boutique in Kilkenny, Folkster is a one stop shop for everything trendy/vintagey/you should be wearing. Irish design brand Bonzie is best known for its quirky and romantic vintage-inspired wraps, bridal shrugs, and tiered skirts, but I am loving this collection of handmade Tribal/Aztec/Masai inspired collars. These dramatic pieces are exactly the thing to tie on over a simple white shirt (even a white t-shirt); they're like an instant outfit. Seriously, five of these and you would be dressed in a jiffy (and top style) Monday to Friday. Not a bother. But also not boring. I am already looking for another job so I can justify a Bonzie-Folskter purchase (or five).

Folkster.com
Bonzie.com

Oct 15, 2012

Soundtrek: Heritage Centre and Villagers

Even when I’m running late, I pause before I exit the subway every morning to select music for my short walk to the office. I used to listen to the news, but lately I need music to tune out the noise in my head. I deliberate at the bottom of the subway steps, especially long on a Wednesday (when my heart is wishing it was Friday and my workload is wishing it was Monday), and I belabor the choice of the right tune for my five-minute trek.

This past week's selections have included "Little Black Submarine" from the Black Keys ("Stolen friends and disease, operator please, patch me back to my mind"), "Walk" from Foo Fighters ("I don’t want to die, I’m on my knees I never want to die") U2’s "One," "We’re one, but we’re not the same." Analyze that.

I'll be finishing up this contract I've been working at the end of the month and I think I might need some new music to get me to the finish line. I kind of wish this gig could have worked out and turned into my next thing, but ... well, it didn't. 
In that elipsis is the need for music. 


Here are a few tunes I'm adding to my soundtrek for the week:

Heritage Centre

I have mentioned Dublin band Heritage Centre here before and a little while ago got a heads up from the band about their shiny new album Alright, Check It Out. It's taken me ages to get to listen to it, but I gave it a spin on Soundcloud today, and I am kind of digging this band. I can so see myself singing along to "The Boss" ("Oh mon cherie, I'm born again, I'm born again") on my walk through Times Square in the morning, and "Don't You Ever Give Up On Yourself" ("Don't you saa-ay that I know better than you!") when the elevator spits me back onto 8th Avenue after dark.I'm a big fan of Conor O'Brien and Villagers and have Becoming a Jackal on constant rotation. I saw Conor O'Brien at a small venue in Brooklyn last year and would love to catch his upcoming UK tour with Grizzly Bear (a Brooklyn band I love) -- but will make do with this first song and video, "The Waves," from Villagers' new album, out January 2013. 






Villagers


WeAreVillagers.com

Mmoths' langurous and haunting remix of "The Waves"is exactly what I need for the train ride home late at night. I can see myself whizzing over the Manhattan Bridge, too tired to read, too needy to listen to anything needing attention, staring out at the busy skyline, feeling like I was riding in a scene of an Indie movie. Wondering how the director would feel about me improvising and taking off my shoes to relieve my pinched toes.

Sep 13, 2012

Postcards from the Edge (of Autumn)


I need to write my grandmother a letter. I've been sending her postcards all summer, relying on the picture-tells-a-thousand-words stopgap until I can coordinate a pen, paper, and window of time to actually write my own thousand words of news, weather, whines and rambles.


It's somehow okay to write postcards in August; the heat and humidity doesn't permit much more exertion than the large-script-to-squished-script and feck-I-didn't-leave-room-for-the-address exercises a postcard demands.


September is another story. September is all about sharpening pencils and getting down to business. I'm somehow halfway through September, and not half as organized as I should be. I decided not to do any back-to-school shopping this year, embracing my new role as "that mom." I feel like the actress who has always played the good guy and is suddenly liberated by her new evil-villain role. I am a natural bad guy. You need how many pencils, sanitizing soap refills, and rolls of paper towels? Sorry, no can do. Shrug.


I've also been sending postcards to my nieces in Ireland. We had gotten into the habit of regular Facetime sessions, where they showed me their new shoes, favorite outfits, haircuts, and princess costumes, and sometimes I would show off a new nailpolish color, bracelet or shoes in return. We talked about sunglasses and tans, hair days and favorite colors. My sister is so not a girly-girl so I thoroughly enjoy  that she has three fashionista girls (just as she thoroughly enjoys that I don't have fashionista offspring!). To stay in touch, I've been sending them daily what-I-wore emails from the bathroom at work. Yes, I take pictures of myself in the bathroom. Corporate life will do that to you.


Finally, I've been sending myself mental postcards of the Summer that seems to have gotten away from me. I look at these pictures and try to suck the sunshine and fresh air out of them. 



Now, it's time I got to thinking things that are best stuffed into envelopes and ferried with extra postage.


I stopped at a Japanese store in Times Square (a store where I ogle perfectly-designed cups and socks and kitchen utensils when I need a break from my desk at lunch) and bought myself a new pad of paper and one of those multiple color pens so that I won't have to catch up on news, weather, whines and rambles in black and white. Bring on the letters of Fall.



Aug 5, 2012

Five Things I Learned This Week


My children don't love me. If they did, they would have gutted the couch and chewed on cushions in protest at my return to an office-job this past week. My puppy loves me. Very very much.

I love to commute. I love the starting and stopping, the standing-clear-of-the-closing-doors, the people watching, and the eavesdropping. Most of all, I loved having almost two hours a day to spend with Sebastian Barry and Luciano Pavarotti this week. I realized early in the week that the transition from home to work and work to home is the key to my sanity, so I consider my travel-buddies carefully. This week I will travel with Guglielmo Marconi (did you know his mother was Irish?) and Jack White.  

I don't want to do just anything. I know the economy is shite and I should just be happy to have a job that pays decently ... but it's not enough. I've been lucky enough (spoiled?) in my career to work with creative, exciting, and inspiring people who believe in what they are doing. I don't know how to process—or function within—anything else. It's sad. The kind of sad that makes you watch Disney movies on a Friday night—knowing they always kill off a parent or animal—so that you can cry it out. 

Go to laundry ladies for the dirt. I know Kim Kardashian has been a bit dull of late but I was still surprised to find a camera crew tailing me yesterday while I was buying my eggs and avocados and dropping off my dry-cleaning. Laundry Lady told me that two local shopkeepers had been shot in the past two months (while I was living under a mossy stone), and there is reason to believe it is the same killer and that he will strike again ... all based on her own investigations and theories. I was tempted to grab the cameraman and film a pilot for Murder She Laundered but she was a little too deep for Primetime. She warned that with gun shots over our heads and streets falling away under our feet (we've had three instances of sinkholes in the neighborhood—one taking a car with it, another a tree), now is not the time to dilly dally: "You need to live your life and fast before you find a hole in your head or under your feet. When do you want to pick up this suit?" 

I'm not getting any younger. My current commitment is for two months and at that point I need to be ready to jump straight into projects that I have been too afraid to start. I didn't realize that I had gotten seven years older in the past seven years. Nothing like a week of meetings about meetings, local murders, and sinking streets to light a fire under your arse. 

Jul 29, 2012

The Things She Carried




I started a new job Friday. It's a two-month commitment with a start-up travel website (more later I'm sure) and it requires long hours, nerves/balls of steel, and leaving the house. I haven't worked in an office in about seven years so the leaving-the-house part is the biggest change. 

I prepared like someone preparing to enter a bunker for two months:
I bought a new handbag



... in bunker-green and gold. Utilitarian but a little flash. It seemed like the right thing to do.

A pocket umbrella to fit in one of the front pockets of my new bag ... because unexpected rain can mess your hair when you don't have a roof over your head (and an unused pocket is a sin in New York City, where space is at a premium).


Band-Aids. Not the generic store-brand bandages; the three-dollar-extra industrial-strength Band-Aids with Quiltvent technology and superior breathability. I also bought Band-Aid's Advanced Healing Blister Cushions, with cushioning gel pads no less ... because when you commute at rush hour you have to wear shoes that give you blisters.




Pond's Evening Soothe wet cleansing wipes with chamomile and white tea. They "lift away impurities while soothing the senses." It seems they are designed for evening use, but I use them before, during, and after a subway ride, and on the elevator on the way up to the office. If I was Oprah, these wipes would be on my Favorite Things list ... and I'd give a case away to everyone in the audience.


I'd also give away my other Summer-in-the-city essentials (no self-respecting handbag can be toted without them): Boscia B.B. Cream–a super-light foundation/moisturizer that hydrates, protects from Sun (that I will only see through a window), and evens out skin; Bare Minerals All Natural Lip Gloss (so you can take lip-gloss breaks);  and Moroccan Oil Hydrating Cream for frizz-control (travel-size, of course).


Tea bags and a mug. There's a Starbucks on the corner—and almost every corner where I work—but I need me some Golden Moments in a breakable cup (with bamboo cuff) thank you very much. It turns out I also need me an electric kettle for the office. WTF? I can't believe I forgot to ask about a kettle in the interview. Will add it to my cover letters going forward ...


Coconut Water and Seaweed Snacks. Healthy choices won't endear me to M&M-scoffing officemates, but to quote reality-show contestants—"I'm not here to make friends."



Finally, Ginger Chews to put a sweet and spicy spring in my step and my fave worn-in (with teeth marks from my pup) flat sandals for the end of the day when I don't have the time/energy to walk in heels.

Next week's bag will include a sweater to ward off agressive air-conditioning, a kettle, and a good book to take advantage of an hour-long commute each way. And maybe some Valium.

Jul 23, 2012

Brew Your Own Brand!

I'm very particular about tea. I care about the kettle, the mug, how recently the kettle was boiled, how long the tea brews, how long I have to savor it, and of course, the brew itself. I go back and forth between Lyons and Barry's—usually dictated by availability—but I'm mostly a Barry's woman, enjoying several "Golden Moments" a day. 


A box of Barry's is a regular go-to gift for tea-drinking friends because I am nice like that (and possibly because I want to be sure my friends will have a decent cup of tea for me when I pop in for a chat), so when I saw that Barry's offers custom-printed tea boxes, I ordered a few to gift for upcoming birthdays faster than I fly through a pack of biscuits with my afternoon tea. Personalized boxes cost $14 each and will make a great gift when packaged with a pretty mug.






You can also play with Barry's('ssss) Facebook app to make a virtual box for yourself; handy activity while you wait for the kettle to boil. (Kind of wish I'd ordered a bunch with my own name to elevate my tea-drinking experience/add "tea-blender"to my resume ...) 
Put the kettle on love.


BarrysTea.ie
Barry's Tea on FB


Jul 12, 2012

The Project Twins

I see dead people.

way more dead people than living people.


The fellows who designed this Living & The Dead poster would be very interesting fellows to have at a party. You know, those offbeat guests who are as good at breaking the ice as George Clooney is at breaking the hearts. I'm not sure that Cork-based designers Michael and James Fitzgerald of The Project Twins actually attend dinner parties, but they do design very interesting posters, books, and the like. And even interesting designing twins need to eat. Especially if you make an effort with dessert. Again, who knows, they might be too busy designing cool logos and posters (so you should have a few ice-breakers ready yourself).

A few other items from The Project Twins online shop pictured below. My fave is Yonderly, the print with the bubble head, representing someone who is "emotionally distant or absent-minded." The twins thought they could remove the hair and I wouldn't recognize myself, but I'd know that blue shirt anywhere.



The Project Twins Shop

Jul 11, 2012

Sighted and Noted Whilst Squandering Time

I'm between freelance gigs at the moment, the kids are off gallivanting with friends and girlfriends (says she as she blesses herself and launches into the tenth decade of the rosary), and the pup has boarded himself into the closet after hearing mention of thunder in the evening forecast. I should be hanging the pictures I've been meaning to hang for two years, sanding the table that I've been meaning to finish sanding since I decided to rough it up before a New Year's party, or writing pitches for articles that I've been meaning to pitch for-ev-er. At the very least, I should probably tend to the dishes in the sink. 
Instead, I've been pottering about the interwebs all afternoon, questioning if Fairy Cakes really have to have raisins because I'm not feeling the raisins, and wondering what kind of bra I should wear with that white dress I got on sale last week.
I suppose Rome wasn't built on a Wednesday. 

HairyBaby
I spent fifteen minutes trying to remember the names of these infamous 80s Irish gangsters ... before I realized that the names are printed at the bottom. In my defense I was viewing on my phone while wearing sunglasses that sometimes fog up when my brow overheats. Should you suffer a foggy brow: Cornelius the Crow, Flaherty, the Plonsters, Bosco, and the Tongue Twisters (shudder).

Heritage Centre



Singing along to this new song from Irish band Heritage Centre's forthcoming debut album "Alright, Check It Out."Catchy, no? The album is out in September. Watch this space.

Origin Green

A lovely video with a lovely vision for Ireland narrated by the very lovely Saoirse Ronan.
Sign up for a clean green Ireland at Origin Green, BordBia.

Bloghopping
I spent much of the afternoon skipping about the blogosphere like a well-flung stone on calm waters. Noted:
Helen James' personalized wrapping paper
GoIreland's infographic of Irish family names
Joanne Hynes' suggests for shopping in Galway
Pol O'Conghaile's 50 Free Days Out in Ireland


Blog(S)hopping
I'm obsessed with finding an army jacket at the moment despite the fact that it is too many degrees to count here. All I can say (to rationalize jacket thoughts in bikini weather) is that one has to be armed to combat aggressive air-conditioning. I used to live in an army jacket in secondary school (in fact, my mother used to say that I'd be buried in it) and I can't believe that I let that much-loved jacket go AWOL. 

Angela Scanlon's post on army jackets (from back in March--see why I got nothing done today? ages to catch up on) reminds me that I need to sign up, fall in, and get my camo on. I'm also reading The Things They Carried (it's on my son's reading list for Summer, and I read what he reads so I can catch him out for not reading) which means, among other things, I will pay particular attention to my accessories.


Follow-on note: Blanaid often has army jackets in her Shutterbug store like the one pictured above. I know I could prob find one stateside but Blanaid has a great eye and I have a great need. 

Bookshelf

I love when a book I want to read has a cover I want to look at. Writing the Irish West by Eamonn Wall examines seven contemporary Irish writers—John McGahern, Martin McDonagh, Tim Robinson, Richard Murphy, Mary O'Malley, Moya Cannon, and Sean Lysaghtin their west of Ireland context. It'll look great on my bookshelf.
Speaking of bookshelves ...


... once I finish diddling here, I will spend the dredges of the evening wondering if I am cool enough to have a black/charcoal-grey/dark wall with black/charcoal-grey/dark bookshelves. That should get me to Thursday. Where I will be very productive. I bet Rome was started on a Thursday. (Oops, sorry for draining your Wednesday).

Jul 3, 2012

Yeats: In Rings and Rhyme


I consistently love Irish transplant Macha Jewelry's edgy-chic collections, but their latest Yeats ring collection, available in an array of tropical colors, makes me want to muck up Brooklyn's highways and byways in the hopes of a pothole-induced delivery. I'm loving the Yeats ring in white and tomato shades, but the sea mist ring has inspired a longing and infatuation of Maud Gonne proportions. I'll be devastated if it won't be mine.


Speaking of Yeats ... The other day, I tried to recite The Lake Isle of Innisfree in a fit of poetic summer longing/an attempt to dress up Coney Island beach, and I was horrified to find that moths had eaten holes in a few lines. It was a low moment. I really thought I could rely on my Yeats, but it seems he can only stand so much neglect. So I have been relearning my Easter 1916, my Sailing to Byzantium, and my Lake Isle of Innisfree, this time with the freedom to listen and feel (without having to consider what I'm supposed to hear and feel, as dictated by teachers and tests). I'd forgotten how much I loved to say "bee loud glade"... and how the class sniggered that time at my enunciation.  


—Pause here to say "Bee loud glade" —



Instead of getting out of bed in the morning, I arise and go now. Instead of patching together bits of lines, I feel it in the deep heart's core. Instead of lighting up with mortification, I'm just lighting up. Snigger away.

Reviving "old school" faves from Mr. W.B. has inspired a thorough watering and weeding of all the poetry planted in my brambles; so far I've found Patrick Kavanagh, Maire Mhac an tSaoi, and Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, and I'm pretty sure verses of Keats, Donne, Thomas, and Kinsella are rooted in the depths somewhere, too, awaiting a little sunshine. 

My next task is to decide on a new poem to take to heart. It's kind of shocking to realize that all the poetry I know was beaten into me with rulers and red faces in school ... that I have never taken the time as an adult to learn a poem by heart. 


—Pause here for emphasis—

I'm randomly pulling poetry (from the likes of Seamus Heaney, Dermot Bolger, Ogden Nash, and Margaret Atwood) off the shelf for a visit and I'm excited to possibly pick something to stay. Perhaps I should mark this new passion with ... I don't know ... a little sea-mist on my finger?  Yes, a little physical poetry to suggest lake water lapping while I stand on the roadway  ... digging potholes. (Phew, isn't rationalizing a potential new purchase exhausting?!)



Jul 2, 2012

Song of Good Hope

I saw Glen Hansard in concert at the Beacon Theater last Friday night. I've seen him a few times now and he still exceeds my expectations every time. He's a gifted musician and storyteller, but he's also hardworking, grateful, and genuine. Most songs were prefaced with "this is for my friend ..." and a little story about an old friend about to make a big decision, or a new friend he just met today. He even invited musical friends he'd met earlier that evening on stage to close the show (something it seemed he was in no hurry to do, once he'd already paid the fine to Beacon for going over the allotted time.) The crowd listened intently, smiling at the rambles and curses, returning well wishes for his friends, singing along when invited (Hansard obviously pulls a very musical audience because the harmonies were really beautiful), and leaving a few hours later, warmed and sated—after spending a lovely evening with a good friend. 

Hansard dedicated Song of Good Hope to his friend Ezra, a bike maker and close friend in New York who was diagnosed with cancer; for a while it looked bad for Ezra, but he is now back on his bike to good health. It's a lovely song of hope for anyone sailing rocky waters.

Sing it with me:
"And take your time babe, 
It's not as bad as it seems, 
You'll be fine babe, 
It's just some rivers and streams, 
In between, you and where you want to be, 
Watch the signs now, 
You'll know what they mean, 
You'll be fine now, 
Just stay close to me, 
And may good hope, walk with you through everything."




Pardon the iPhone camera quality and the woman in front of me coughing right when you are wishing good hope on everyone you know (and I am wishing a collapsed lung on a stranger).


Buy Glen Hansard's new album, Rhythm and Repose on Amazon.com

Jun 24, 2012

Rhubarb (and Memory) Crumble



If you saw a Match ad seeking "Sugar and spice, and unsalted butter would be nice" in the past few months, I apologize; it wasn't the perfect fifty-shades-of-sweet man, it was my spatula. See, I've been undergoing a bit of a nutrition makeover, cutting out almost everything that didn't at one point swim in open water or sit in organic dirt, so my poor spatula doesn't see much action these days. When I came across a bunch of shiny stalks of rhubarb at a farmer's market yesterday, I knew it was time.

See, now that I've kind of reset my tastebuds, I can't settle for any old dessert when I indulge. No, it has to be special. And what could be more special than simple, homemade rhubarb crumble, served straight from the oven with a dollop of fresh cream, and enjoyed in the perfect fading light of a warm summer's evening? The fireflies even obliged with a light show and Brooklyn muted its sirens, barks, and cries long enough to allow a little space to savor ...


I've always loved rhubarb. I remember pulling thick rubbery stalks from the field next to the chicken shed at my grandmother's, and dipping stubby raw chunks in the sugar bowl while Nana set the rest bubbling on the range for us to spoon onto fresh soda bread later that evening.

I also remember the twenty-one-year-old me, not long enough in New York to have a gynecologist, but long enough to be pregnant. Young and stupid and aching for home ... and rhubarb. I lived in the Bronx and didn't know about farmer's markets or specialty stores or Google searches; I just knew that my growing belly needed rhubarb to complete its work and no-one in America even knew what rhubarb was. And then one day, my friend Mary came home from her job waitressing at an Irish bar in the city, with a bunch of rhubarb under her arm that she had charmed the chef into sourcing for her... for me. If I was an actress and needed to tap a personal moment of exquisite joy to convey the bliss of walking into the light/sleeping with Don Draper, I would access the overwhelming, pure happiness I experienced at the sight of that bunch of comfort food. I will never forget dipping chunks of stubby rhubarb in sugar while we waited for the rest to stew on the stove. My friend Mary is pregnant right now, and I sorely wish I could show up at her door in Kildare with a bunch of rhubarb flowers. Instead, I am eating an extra portion, just for her, and sending a little happy wish her way on the back of a firefly's wings.

xojac


Quick and easy rhubarb crumble:
Chop rhubarb into thumb-long stubs and add to an oven-proof dish along with a few tablespoons of water and a handful of sugar. Rub a couple of handfuls of flour with some chopped up unsalted butter and a handful of sugar. (Sorry, I'm not trying to appear all I-just-toss-ingredients-together-and-it-works; I  just eyeball everything based on how much rhubarb I have.) Add oats if you have some in the press. Preheat oven to 350 deg F and let it simmer and bubble for about 45 minutes until golden brown. Just add tart-sweet memories ... or make some with this dessert.

Jun 7, 2012

New Music from The Funeral Suits

I have no food in the house ... which reminds me that I need to build a summer dog house to shelter my pup's little tail ... which reminds me that I'm chasing my own tail ... which reminds me to remind myself that there is light at the end of the tunnel ... which reminds me of walking into the light ... which reminds me to get my suit cleaned ... which reminds me of the new album from Irish band The Funeral Suits ... which reminds me that I need to take a break and give it a listen ...


The Funeral Suits have been gaining momentum since last year's huge hit Colour Fade; they've played a bunch of festivals, including SXSW, and gathered more and more buzz and confidence along the way. With this new album, Lily of the Valley, it seems the boys are set to explode.




I've listened to "All Those Friendly People" twice this morning and I'm ready to explode myself. I might even get something done today with this intense, frantic, upbeat Indie soundtrack. Who am I kidding? I'm about to spend the rest of the day tracking down their tour plans for this side of the Atlantic ...

 
Lily of the Valley was released June 5. Get it now. Hurry. You can build the dog's summer house later.

FuneralSuits.com
Stalk Funeral Suits on FB
Stream the album for free on Soundcloud

May 24, 2012


I didn't get a job I thought I might get. Maybe because I told the interviewer that I liked the second half of the job description but wasn't so pushed on the first. Yes, I still thought I'd get the job. I forgot that an honest employee is only half as valuable as an unpicky employee.
Anyway, it's all fine because I have a tan. In the rain. Well, looking out at the rain from the Starbucks I hang out at every late Thursday afternoon. The one where I feel appreciated by the person at the cash register who always remembers my name. (Confession: I didn't know her name so I just bought a tall Awake tea to surreptitiously find out. It suddenly seems to represent everything wrong with my life right now. All fixed; her name is Liz.)

The tan. Yes, I sunnied up my grey morning/mission-writing process this morning by applying some gradual face and body tanner. Now, the smell of depastification along with my gradually emerging  orange glow makes me think about less rainy days, summer afternoons, and the luxury of time to read. My pale golden (by Jersey Shore standards) self is immensely relieved that she told the truth and won't have to do the first part of that job. She won't even have to do the second half. She can instead compile a reading list of a few books—old and new—she's meaning to read in the coming weeks.



Mother America, a new collection of seventeen short stories by Nuala Ní Chonchúir.

Dubliners by James Joyce, in anticipation of Bloomsday on June 16th. Wish I could read this $4,000 first edition copy but that might require interviewing again.







Mistaken by Neil Jordan. Released last year but I missed it. I assumed there'd be a movie of it by now.










Blind Man's Bluff, a (soon to be released) book of anecdotes and cartoons by Aidan Higgins.










Saints and Sinners, a collection of short stories by Edna O'Brien. Missed this last year so high time I read it now.










Claire Keegan's Foster. Another one I've been meaning to get around to.


Sigh, so much to read, so little time.