Monthly Archives: June 2007

Random Friday–Something Real (does) Not Fade Away

1. Read Dress – Jonatha Brook (Steady Pull)

2. Groovin’ – Aretha Franklin (Lady Soul)

3. C.C. Rider – Grateful Dead (Dick’s Picks)

4. Something Real – Indigo Girls (All That We Let In)

5. Lucky Ball & Chain – They Might Be Giants (Flood)

6. Marx & Engels – Belle and Sebastian (Push Barman to Open Old Wounds)

7. Opening – The Kinks (One for the Road)

8. Best of My Love – The Emotions (Boogie Nights)

9. Not Fade Away – Grateful Dead (Dick’s Picks)

10. Civil War Trilogy -Gibson & Camp (Live at the Gate of Horn)

CD I bought because I needed it for an assembly during high school: Aretha Franklin’s Lady Soul.  During my junior and senior years of high school, I was the assembly commissioner at Lincoln High School in Portland, OR.  This meant that I was responsible for planning and executing all the school assemblies (a fact that confirms Mara’s assessment of me as a bit of a geek in the PW article this week).  This included setting up all sound equipment and providing the music that would play in the gym while the students came in.  My senior year, our school theme was “Respect” (it was actually an acronym, although I would be hard-pressed to come up with the different statements that went along with the letters of the word at this juncture) and so we played Aretha’s rendition of that song on repeat at the beginning of every assembly.  I still cringe just a little when I hear it.

Two degrees of separation: From way back in his hippie days, my dad knew a guy named Hamid Camp.  Hamid had several names over the course of his life, some days he went by Hamilton and when he was born, he was known as Bob (his parents were probably going for Robert, actually).  Bob grew up and became a folk singer, at the time when folk singers were breaking ground and shaking the music scene pretty thoroughly (think about the time when Bob Dylan was first making music, long before he went electric).  He teamed up with a guy named Bob Gibson, and they made an album called Live at the Gate of Horn.

For most of my life, I was only aware of Hamid a friend of the family, occasional cameo-maker on Startrek: Next Generation and member of another band, a thing called the Skymonters.  My dad’s friend and former business partner, Lewis Ross, had also been part of that group, and the album was always on the shelf when I was growing up.  Hamid died a couple of years ago, and I happened to be out in Portland right around when it happened and got the opportunity to hear Lew talk about Hamid, the music he made and how hearing Hamid play music was in large part what had propelled him into music.

I continue to be a big fan of the Skymonters (several years ago, my dad took the time to record the vinyl album into the computer so that I could have it digitally) despite the fact that they broke up long before I was born and only made one album.  The story of that band is a good one, filled with intrigue, hardwork and downfall brought on because David Geffen didn’t like Hamid (I believe they went to high school together).  It would make a really interesting piece of writing (if anyone is interested in paying me to put it together, let me know).

Anyway, enough of that!  On to the links…


I am not a quick-change artist

When I was a kid, I was really terrible at handling change. I couldn’t stand it when activities and events would alter from the path that I had been ready for. Unexpected moments would send me into teary conniptions. My mom would often have to prepare me when we’d go out, reminding me that I may have to eat things I wasn’t used to, or that the other kids might not want to play in the same way that I wanted to. We’d walk through possible scenarios so that I’d be mentally prepared to accept the variations as they came.

The birth of my sister, the ultimate in adaptation, took me years to adjust to. Before she was born, I suggested to my parents that we paint the baby’s room black (despite the fact that there was no baby’s room, only the bedroom we would be sharing). Soon after that, my mother walked into that bedroom to find me stabbing the crib mattress with a metal nail file* (she thought she had left it out of reach, but I was a craft two and a half year old). After Raina was born, I spent several weeks pulling the hair of every adult who came into reach (the grown-ups around me soon learned to keep their heads away from my fingers).

Over the years, I’ve actively worked at become more adept at handling change. I’ve learned through experience that the old adage, “The only constant in life is change” is deeply true. But the knowledge that change is necessary doesn’t actually make the event of it much easier to deal with.

Right now I’m working hard at letting go of something I thought was going to happen in the near future and adjusting to the reality that has been left behind in its stead. I’m not pulling hair or stabbing things, but I admit to having had a few teary moments (although I’ve always been quick to tears). While I wait for the discomfort of the adjustment to ease, I remember that with every change comes gifts (I need only look at my sister to know that this is true).

*This used to read cuticle scissor, but my mom called this morning to correct my facts and so I’ve set the post straight.

Just a little local press

Make sure to check out the edition of the Philadelphia Weekly that hits the streets tomorrow, as there is a story in there about my Reading Terminal Market blogging project.  I was both taken aback and flattered that they were interested in doing a story about me so early into the project, but I’m hoping that it means that I’m on to a good thing, idea-wise.  They also ran a recipe of mine in an accompanying article, a little green bean, tomato and mozzarella salad I conjured out of a craving sometime last week.

Loving action, Dilbert-style

Growing up, I was the luckiest kind of kid, because I had two parents who loved me beyond measure.  No matter what crappy things happened in my life, I knew absolutely that my parents adored me, would take care of me and that there was nothing I could do to stop them from loving me down to my toes.  Being loved like that gave me a firm grounding in kindness and respect and helped me turn into the person I am today.

Because of that foundation of love that was built for me from birth, I believe that part of responsibility of being a living and breathing human being on this earth is to work every day to infuse the world with love.  It’s not always easy and often times it doesn’t come naturally (especially living in a big city), but I try to be kind and helpful and respectful to everyone I encounter.  Not everybody thinks or behaves this way, and often times I wonder if I’m one of the few who are approaching life this way.  Just when I starting to sink into that pit, wondering why I keep tossing loving action into an abyss that never seems to fill, I see or hear or read something that helps me remember I’m not alone.

This morning I was glancing through my RSS reader, and I stumbled upon Scott Adams’ (creator of Dilbert) most recent blog entry.  Today is his 50th birthday and he’s asking for a particularly lovely gift from his readers.

Here’s what I want you to do for my birthday. Send someone an e-mail and tell them how much you appreciate them, or love them. Do it right now. Then tell me about it in the comments. That’s what I want. It’s my birthday so you have to do it.


What are you waiting for?  Give the man a birthday gift and in doing so, brighten the day of someone in your life.

Random Friday–Hark! Oh Sister!

1. Paths of Victory – Bob Dylan (The Bootleg Series)

2. Forever For Her – The White Stripes (Get Behind Me Satan)

3. Some Day You Gotta Dance – Dixie Chicks (Fly)

4. Can’t Take Love For Granted – Mary Chapin Carpenter (Shooting Straight in the Dark)

5. Jaybird March – Classic Old Time Music (from the Smithsonian)

6. Oh, Sister – Bob Dylan (Desire)

7. Mary, Mary – Paul Butterfield Blues Band (East-West)

8. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Frank Sinatra (It’s Christmas Time)

9. Sights and Sounds of London Town – Richard Thompson (Mock Tudor)

10. I Still Miss Someone – Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson (VH1 Storytellers)

Most incongruous song for the set: Frank Sinatra singing a Christmas carol. To be honest, when this one popped up I was sort of confused. I have no idea where it came from or how it got on here. An iPod mystery.

Live event I would have very much liked to witness in person: The filming of the Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson Storytellers. I imagine that it was a singularly spectacular moment of music-making.

More music…



Pineapple Memories


When I was 22, I spent the summer in Indonesia.  While I was there, I took a two-day bus trip across the island of Java.  We started out in Jakarta and made our way over to Bali.  Somewhere towards the end of our time on the bus, but before we rode the ferry that took us to the next island, we stopped in a small village for food.  There wasn’t much there, just a few cinder block and blue tarp houses, a small store and a woman selling some food.

She had an assortment of tropical fruit, including small bunches of tiny bananas, sliced papaya and perfectly cut halves of pineapple.  A friend and I watched as she fired up a propane stove that created a large blue ring of flame and set a wok of oil on top of it.  She proceeded to fry two very small, whole chickens in the oil, without any of the trappings that we tend to think are necessary when you fry chicken.  They were done fairly quickly.  She wrapped them in brown paper and handed them over, along with several slabs of pineapple.  It cost something like $1.50 for both of us.

Back on the bus, we ate the chicken (which was delicious and suprisingly ungreasy) and followed it with the pineapple, which was perfect.  Juicy, sweet and just a little tart, I have never had pineapple taste so good again in my life.  It was one of those meals that was perfect in its simplicity, even though I wouldn’t have matched plainly fried, essentially unseasoned chicken and fresh pineapple together on my own.

A couple of days ago, I bought a pineapple at Reading Terminal Market.  It’s been sitting on my kitchen counter for the last couple of days, waiting for a little attention.  I find that I am fickle about food preparation.  Some days I crave the quiet activity of chopping, measuring and cooking, while on others, all I want to do is open the fridge, take something out and eat it.  I ran out of the apartment this morning in order to make a haircut appointment, and didn’t get a chance to eat anything before I left.  I returned home hungry (although with significantly cuter hair) and headed for the kitchen.  My eyes landed on the pineapple and I figured now was as good a time as any to open it up.

I always dread cutting pineapple, because it’s sort of labor-intensive, but once I start doing it, I find it satisfying.  I like carefully cutting off the rind, before laying it down on its side and methodically cutting little slits, so that all the remaining eyes are gone with minimal flesh loss.  I enjoy the pattern that develops as you slice, so that it ends up looking like a primitive sculpture.  I particularly enjoy the reward at the end, a big bowl of fresh fruit that tastes like summer, on a bus, in Indonesia

It's official. I know everyone in Philadelphia

Sitting at the stoplight at Midvale Ave., waiting to turn left onto Kelly Drive, I noticed a car was trying to cross over Midvale from the gas station parking lot to the right turn lane.  I made some space and the grey Honda Civic scooted through.  Only after it passed did I realize that it was Karin, a woman I know from the Unitarian Church (she also happens to be my friend Georgia’s mother).

From there I headed to Whole Foods.  Getting out of my car in the parking lot, I looked to my right and realized that my friend Tim was sitting at one of the picnic benches that are situated along the perimeter of the lot.  I had run into him last week at Trader Joe’s, and so instead of even offering a greeting, I threw up my hands in mock-exasperation and said, “Tim, I’m beginning to think you’re stalking me.”  He was on his cell phone but mouthed the words, “It’s because I love you!”

Heading towards the entrance to Whole Foods, I ran into Julie, who had been a student in the MPH Program at Penn during the time that I worked there.  We stood around for ten minutes catching up, before she needed to get going.  Walking through the door, I bumped into a woman with whom I had been in a book club (I continue to completely blank on her name).

I did my shopping quickly and without spotting anyone else I knew (although a baby did flirt with me behind his dad’s back while I was checking out).  But walking back to my car I ran into another woman I once worked with, two jobs ago.

It made me feel like I was living in a very small town, as opposed to the 6th largest city in the country.  Which, I suppose, is actually a very lovely thing.

A brief check-in during which I don't say much of anything at all

I promised myself that when I started up the Reading Terminal Market blog that I wouldn’t forsake this one for that new and shiny website. Well, that resolution is falling all to pieces, as I’m having a hard time keeping up with the pace of writing I’ve set up for myself these days (and I’m not even working on the beginning of my thesis the way I’m supposed to be).

The one bright light I can offer you is that even though I’m not writing much of substance over here in this space, new sentences from my brain are appearing daily over at Stories from Reading Terminal Market. That should be some solace for you (if you are among the three or so who hang on my every word. My mother uses this site as her homepage and refreshes it throughout the day so that she can keep up with the comments).

There are a few cool things in the works over here in Apartment 2024, including the possibility of some press for the other blog in the near future (I will, of course, keep you posted). But at the moment, that’s all I’ve got.

Fork You: Rub Your Breasts*

Check out this latest episode of Fork You, in which we roast a chicken on top of a bed of veggies. Easy and delicious. Especially good with a side of steamed broccoli.

*I would just like to comment, for the record, that Scott names all the episodes. I had nothing to do with this title (except for the fact that I did rub herbs into the breasts of the chicken. But that’s just what you do to make it yummy).

The most influential teacher of my high school career has died

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was on my school’s Constitution Team.  Each year more than 100 students applied for the 30 available spots on the team, so it was an honor to be awarded a position on the team.  It was an intense, year-long commitment, in which you attended a three-hour class every Tuesday night and met with your unit at least once during the weekend.

All the work was done in preparation for district, state and hopefully national competitions.  The heat was especially high at Lincoln, because in the 10 years we had been competing, there had never been a year where we had not placed in the top ten in the nation.

The program was run by a man named Hal Hart.  He had attended Lincoln in the 1950’s and had met his wife Sally there when they were teenagers.  He was a mostly-retired attorney who had a successful career and valued the importance of giving back to the community.  So he started the Constitution program, enlisting the help of two other local lawyers and Mr. Bailey, the civics teacher at the high school.

The program was run like a first-year law school class (or so we were told).  We had to stand when we wanted to ask a question and there was always the chance that we would be called on.  We learned the Constitution and Bill of Rights cold, as well as the bounty of applicable Supreme Court decisions that altered the landscape of rights available to the people of this country.

The entire year I was on the team was a powerful learning experience.  Not only did I gain a wealth of knowledge about constitutional law, I also learned how to work on a team and in small group.  I learned first-hand how to travel en masse.  And I learned how one man can have an immense impact on 30 students x 13 years.

My mom called me today to tell me that Mr. Hart died this last Wednesday of a massive heart attack at the age of 77.  When she said the words, I gasped and I felt a clunk in my heart.  I walked around all day feeling a little heavy with the knowledge that this wonderful, giving, smart and talented man wasn’t on the planet anymore.  It’s been more than 12 years since I last interacted with him and I am still moved by the loss.

When our team went to DC for the national finals in the spring of 1995, Mr. Hart brought his wife along, despite the fact that she was blind and needed assistance with all things.  I would watch the two of them together and was touched by the tenderness with which he treated her.  Throughout the day I’ve thought of her, unable to imagine the grief she must be feeling to have lost the man with whom she spent nearly half a century.

Lawyer and ‘father figure’ Hart dies at 77 [Oregonian]