Summer Music

This has been an excellent summer for music.  Unlike the last couple of years, I’ve been excited to turn on the radio because the Top 40 is full of great tunes.  I don’t think I’ve enjoyed the radio this much since 1985.

Some of my favorites have been:


This video is weird as all get out, but I love the song



This video is disappointing in a number of ways, but for me, it’s how cheap it looks.  Good lord.  At least match the mouth to the singing–because the song is infectious.



I’ve loved everything I’ve heard out of this band, but this is probably what I’ve liked best





Friends, Food, and Fishy Secret Santas

I decided to audition for a cooking show, and one of the questions on the application was, “What type of food describes you, and why?”  I spent a few minutes googling, “Foods that look bland, but are actually spicy,” and then gave up and turned to Facebook, hoping my friends could help me out.  In a matter of minutes, I had all kinds of hilarious suggestions.
My friends who answered range from family members, who have known me all my life, friends I’ve known since 6th grade, friends I’ve made as an adult, eFriends I adore, but have never met, and friends I’ve made through work.  They all tickled me.  They all flattered me.  But most of all, they all reminded me that maybe what I’m best at in life is finding good people.
Dianne Brill wrote about being the cream filling of the social donut.  The idea is that you go into a party/office/classroom, and you find little social donuts there.  Every donut has a center of influence.  What you do, is go and make friends with that COI and carry her/him along with you to the next donut, where you make friends with that donut’s COI, then move on to the next, and the next, until you have tasted all the donuts and carried along the best parts of them with you.  That’s when you find yourself in the center of the best social donut, because it is made out of the best part of every original donut.  You end up with a diverse, lively crowd of interesting, fantastic people, and they make you look interesting and fantastic by proxy.
When all your donut centers of influence start interacting, it looks something like this:
I have to say what type of food describes me. Ideas?
Wonder Bread?
Vanilla Wafers?
Saltine Crackers?
Mashed Potatoes?
Boiled Grits?
  • Suz  Suz Angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream.
  • Lane  Aw! You love me! I also have to say why the food describes me. So I will probably go with Wonder Bread. I’m fluffy, white, and look good in polka dots.
  • Suz  You’re white and fluffy but sassy and sweet at the same time. You’re as comfortable at a tea party as you are at a wild bachelorette bash. Everyone loves you!
  • Lara Smoked Salmon!
  • Suz You can’t be wonder bread. That’s too boring. And YOU my dear, are NOT boring.
  • Lane Lara!!!! HAHAHA!!!!!
  • Lane  Suz, I <3 you
  • Robyn Thai-spiced butter and honey souflee…that someone else made.
  • Kat Garlic-cheddar potatoes- a spiced up traditional favorite
  • Lara I think it suits you on many levels!
  • McTabby Deviled egg?
  • Woody Something southern and jazzy…just what, escapes me at the moment
  • McTabby Okra: it’s covered in a light colored fuzz and not everyone likes it.
  • Woody No no no. Okra is SLIMY inside!!
  • McTabby So is Lane. We all are.
  • Woody Uh…no.
  • McTabby You haven’t splashed around in guts enough!
  • Woody Now I’m just scared. =-O
  • Jo Rice crispies… Snap, crackle n pop baby!
  • Suzanne  You’re a grits girl.
  • Dreama Oh come on! Nothing short of red peppers describes you.
  • Stephanie kettle corn? salty, sweet and entertaining
    See?  Fun people.  Good times.
    Now I have to explain the smoked salmon.
    Lara and I worked together in an HR department for a major retailer.  Every year at Christmas, we would get massive baskets of goodies, which we would spread out on tables, and share as a department.  One particular Christmas, there were two, tiny, 2oz packages of smoked salmon in the baskets.
    Lara and I asked around, and no one wanted them, and they weren’t items that could be left open to share, so we ate them.
    Apparently, the head of the HR department was really into smoked salmon because he went around to every desk in the department asking who had eaten it.  He was loud.  He was angry.  “Have you seen the salmon?  Did you take the salmon?  Where is the salmon?  Who took the salmon?”  When he came to us, where we sat side-by-side, and all was revealed, he lost his freaking mind.  He went off for minutes about our deplorable manners, and our terrible American-ness, made worse by virtue of his posh, British accent.
    He ended it with a sniffy, “I do not know what you think, but here, we do not smash-and-grab.  We do not simply take what we want and leave.  Here, we share.”
    My response was to go to the store, buy the biggest pack of smoked salmon I could afford, and take it back to him with a letter of apology.  He was horrified, and tried to give it back to me, but I only like smoked salmon at about 2oz a serving, so I thanked him kindly and said no.
    For the next couple of years, someone always anonymously gave that man smoked salmon for Christmas.  It wasn’t me.  It wasn’t Lara.  We never found out for sure who his secret Santa was, but we did laugh.
    Maybe I should have said I was a smoked salmon.  I know I’m not okra.  (I probably am a deviled egg.)

Hymenah Hymenah!

I love and hate the same thing about the internet:  How easy it is to share information/misinformation.  You know those quotes from Abraham Lincoln about loving aliens?  Misinformation.  But this series about women’s health and sex from Laci Green?  Excellent information.

I’m a grown woman, and I’ve learned some things from her*.  Since I saw this video today, and since I learned something about the hymen, I thought I’d share it in case anyone else needed the info.

This is something I need to remember to share with my son (or have B share with him), when he’s old enough/showing enough interest that the conversation is appropriate.  The more we all know about how our respective parts work, the better life will be for everyone.

*I purposefully made a low grade in my high school “health” class, and actively avoided paying attention because I was afraid the teacher would think I was a trollop if I did well, or seemed too interested.  How sad is that?  Then, I started taking Human Sexuality in college, right as I became a religious zealot.  I decided it was unseemly to do well in that class, so I only learned enough to make a middling grade, and skipped all the classes about The Act.

I’m an old lady now, and I am telling you, “You need to know this stuff because it’s as normal, and as important as knowing about nutrition.  Knowing the mechanics of your body/your gender opposite’s body is important.  There is nothing dirty, or bad, or shameful about it.  Just be responsible when putting any sort of sexual knowledge into practice.  Like Proverbs says, get wisdom AND understanding.  And use lube.”  That last bit isn’t in Proverbs.  That’s in Song of Solomon.

We Saw Wild Dolphins

While we were on vacation, we had a really wonderful thing happen.  We were out at the beach on Okaloosa Island, when a pod of dolphins came fishing.  B and I saw them from the shore, while Thor was building sandcastles, and they disappeared before he got a good look.  About ten minutes later, when he and I were in the water, the dolphins came back.  We were close enough to them that we could see their eyes.

They were swimming in their fishing circles, and I don’t know how long we stayed out there just bobbing and watching.  It took me back to Madeleine L’Engle and A Ring of Endless Light.  That, and The Jungle were two books that radically changed my thinking in high school.  I would never again enjoy sausage, and I would never again enjoy a dolphin show without guilt.

I read about the Blackfish documentary a couple of years back, but never watched the movie until tonight.  You know that scene in Dumbo, where Dumbo’s mom is jailed for trying to protect Dumbo, and she sings Baby Mine to him?   So, I break down every time I see that.  A good half of Blackfish is dedicated to painting a picture of what life in the wild is like for an Orca, how close the family unit is, and how strong the bond is between mother and calf (the calves never leave their pods, and always stay close to their mothers.  I can identify with that.)

I had a complete meltdown when they showed where the wild babies, now in captivity, come from.  And I cried up my glasses when they showed how the captive mothers cried and keened after their babies (born in captivity) were taken from them.

These aren’t goldfish.  These are extremely intelligent, emotional animals–like us.  And here’s what we do to them:

  • We separate them from their families when they are the equivalent of pre-schoolers (females live up to 100 years in the wild, and males up to 50.  we are separating calves from their mothers at age 4.  Imagine being separated from your mother at age 4, and being forced to perform in shows for the rest of your life.  Basically, you turn into Lindsay Lohan, or Dana Plato, or Anissa Jones–either way, it doesn’t end well for you.)
  • We pen them up in what would be the equivalent of a toddler pool to us.  So imagine that you can never walk more than 10 feet in a straight line before you have to turn a hairpin curve to head in the other direction.  Imagine that is your life.  Imagine that your physiology requires that you keep moving, so you have to just walk in these long ovals all day.  All day long, you walk in ovals.  All your life.  Over, and over, and over, and that’s all you can do.  You walk in ovals, and people stare at you, scream at you, beat on your walls, take pictures of you, and force you to perform.
  • We place them in solitary confinement–these social creatures who are wired to exist in complex societies, who thrive on contact, who need each other, we place in solitary confinement.
  • We make them perform.  We make them dance.  Now imagine that you only got fed if you did tricks.  Imagine what that would do to your brain.  You only get attention, love, food, or comfort if you do tricks.  You are four years old.  You are separated from your mom.  And you only get love, comfort, and food when you do tricks.  If you misbehave, you are locked in a tiny room by yourself, in the dark.

By we, I mean Seaworld.

In calling Seaworld us, I mean that they wouldn’t exist if we weren’t making it profitable for them to abuse animals.

And here, I wonder just how much of a hypocrite I am because we’ve been taking Thor to zoos and aquariums since he was old enough to start screaming at the sight of unfamiliar animals*.  I’ve elbowed my way through crowds to get Thor a good seat for the dolphin show at the Corpus Christi Aquarium.  When we accidentally came up on a tiger show at the Houston aquarium (why are there tigers at an aquarium?) we sat and watched.  We checked out the shark tank at the Golden Nugget hotel the same as all the other Vegas goers.  So where is the line?

I don’t know.  All I am sure of is this:  We are not a Seaworld family.

We will not pay to watch kidnapped babies as they are forced to perform.

Thor can see all the whales he wants on the internet, and maybe one day we’ll be fortunate enough to see some in the wild.

You can watch the Blackfish documentary here, for $2.99.  I highly recommend it.  I especially recommend it if you have children who are asking to go to Seaworld.  Mine asks.  I’ve been saying no for nearly a decade now.  After having seen Blackfish, I will be saying it with more feeling.


*Actually, the only time he ever did that was when I took him into a pet store at 9 months, to let him look at puppies.  He was fine, fine, fine, then he saw a bulldog puppy and went insane.  Something clicked and he started screaming like I’d rolled his stroller up to a murder scene.  Otherwise, his general reaction was usually somber interest, save for that one time in Colorado, when he kept declaring, “I do NOT LIKE-a those BEARS!  I do NOT LIKE-a those GIRAFFES/MONKEYS/BIRDS/SNAKES/TIGERS!”  He hated that zoo to bits.