Category Archives: My Life

This Goofy Thing I Did

The things you do for love.

If you know me you also know that I kind of sort of like totally really love and am maybe obsessed with the band Arcade Fire. I suppose my level of love and obsession can’t quite name me their number one fan. That title probably goes to someone younger with more energy and perhaps more predisposition to obsession. I don’t run a fan site. I don’t follow them around the country. I haven’t memorized every lyric of every song (though I know a good many). There are no Arcade Fire themed tattoos (or any tattoos of any kind) on my body. I listen to their music. A lot. I can be found regularly perusing the Arcade Fire posts on tumblr. I cannot bring myself to delete the recorded performances on Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon.

Last March we made it to Minneapolis to see their Reflektor tour. It was amazing! With a good stroke of luck I was right near the stage front and center. I had ample opportunity to touch the long legs of lead singer Win Butler. For most of the 2 or so hours I stood with my hand to heart, in definite awe and definite bliss.

There was only room and budget for one Arcade Fire concert, though. They played 2 dates in Chicago recently but I knew it would be too difficult to go.

Then I heard that the lead singer, Win Butler, was going to be doing his DJ thing at a Chicago bar after one of the shows. Win Butler up close. I had to go.

I fretted. It seemed like a stupid thing to do. You know, drive four hours on a work night/school night to hang out at a bar way past my usual bedtime. But still, I had to. I have friends in Chicago with spare rooms. So I asked to stay. I talked my husband into taking the day off work. I secured babysitting for the kid by way of my parents (halfway between our city and Chicago). She would miss school, but this was Win Butler! I made it happen.

And we went.

Here’s the bad part: I got a rip roaring headache. Probably because I put on some eye shadow. Whenever I wear eye shadow I usually get a headache. Pretty much anything that could possibly cause one a headache gives me a headache. Lack of sleep, too much sleep, poor diet, msg, pms, changes in weather, stress, lack of caffeine, make-up, cleaning chemicals, wine, cheese.  I don’t really know about the cheese part, I’m just guessing. But I’m 40 years old and I was going to a bar and it was Win Butler! I really wanted to wear eye shadow.


So it’s only like 7pm and I’ve got a terrible headache and still hours to go until Mr. Butler would be arriving at the club. Because I have a certain amount of paranoia about missing out on things, I figured we should get there early in case there was a line. There was no line. And we were really early. Mark and I had one drink each and then we left the bar to wander the area. There wasn’t much to wander. We walked up and down the street like 5 times. Finally we decided on getting dessert and drinks (coffee for me) at one of the restaurants. I chose the stupidest dessert ever. It was a ginormous cookie ice cream sandwich and I ate it. It didn’t help. I don’t think dairy mixes well with alcohol. At least in my stomach.

We went back to the bar–The Beauty Bar. They offer manicures. I didn’t get one. Mark and I sat in old hair dryer chairs (the kinds with those plastic half bubbles that come down over your head). We drank and we waited. A couple other DJs played music before Win arrived. The second one was a bubbly semi-androgynous dude. Super skinny, long black hair. He was mesmerizing as he bounced about to his beats. Skinny girls holding drinks swayed nearby. Everyone else in the place looked Latin and a couple guys danced like no one was watching. I am fond of this type of dancing.

Finally he arrived. It was so weird to see him just walk in and be standing right there. I mean, when you are a fan, you know the person is real but it is still hard to make sense of it when they stand there in the flesh. So tall. And adorable. Wearing a goofy hat and a Dr. Dre shirt.

I seemed to be some sort of novelty because people kept talking to me. The androgynous dj play danced with me and told me I must be a big fan and when I said he was a good dj he held my hand to his heart. It was weird and kind of lovely. Other fans (when they arrived, after the concert got out) talked to me, too. Maybe because I’m 40. Was I an anomaly? I’m sure there were other 30-40 year olds there. Not many, but I spotted them. Win Butler is in his 30s. It’s not like I was trying to hang out with Ezra Keonig (not that I wouldn’t want to). I’m hoping I looked interesting and not out of place. Either way, people were nice.

He played for a couple of hours. David Bowie, the Talking Heads, Nine Inch Nails, Michael Jackson, Kate Bush, The Knife. I sort of danced but mostly I just stood near the DJ booth and stared/not stared. I wanted to stare. I was trying not to stare.

The conga players from his touring band had come along. They were enormously friendly Haitian guys with long braids. They shared a bottle of something (rum? something. It was strong. I had a sip because one of the conga players poured me one but I couldn’t take more than a sip). One of them gave Mark some drink tickets and urged him to head to the bar. It was fun. It was weird.

And then I left early. A four hour drive to Chicago, hanging out hours before, kid out of school, and I left early. But, I swear, I felt terrible. Terrible terrible. The headache was so bad and on top of that I was nauseated. It wasn’t because I had too much to drink. I only really had one cocktail, but the night was not agreeing with me.

Yes, I’m mad at myself for leaving nearly. If I had stayed just a half hour longer I probably could have perhaps really met him (and not just shook his hand from behind the DJ boot–this after I communicated with him a couple of times via notes on my iphone–once to ask him if Regine was sleeping 😦 and once to thank him for playing Kate Bush–to which he smiled and then shook my hand. God.).  But all I could think of was getting to bed and putting ice on my head. So we left and I never could really meet him and yes, I’m 40.





fall is here

I would share a photo but I’m having trouble figuring out photos. I know it isn’t officially fall yet. Not for another week. But school is in session and the football games are happening and there are even some leaves changing. Bless fall. Bless it! It makes me giddy.

It’s OK to go to the farmer’s market

Are you like me? Have you wasted way too much energy thinking you should be someone you know deep down you are never going to be?

Someone who has the endless energy to knit, sew, create fantastic and creative projects for their kids, learn to play an instrument, start a club, cook amazing meals, blah blah blah.

Someone who gardens. That person who actually grows vegetables and then eats the vegetables they grow!

I would like to be that person. I’m never going to be that person.

For several reasons, really. 1. I don’t do well with plants. Every plant I have owned has died a sad, tragic death. 2. I don’t have the patience. If you tell me I have to figure out what kind of soil I have in my background I’m going to immediately feel in need of a nap. 3. I don’t like bugs. I don’t want to deal with bugs and worry about bugs and touch bugs and know that bugs have been crawling all over my food. 4. I am not good at finishing projects that I start and will likely end up with a messy pile of dirt. 5. I am cursed. My vegetables would probably not grow, even if I did everything right.

So, no garden for me. And I’m OK with that. I’m OK with being the person that goes to the farmer’s market and gets other people’s homegrown veggies. Someone has to be that person, right?

I wasn’t always OK with this. I wanted to be the other kind of person. The person that sits and knits by the fire place and knows too many facts about tea and makes adorable dresses for my daughter and feels all in touch with the earth and stuff. So in touch that I can make my own food!

We all have our things. Some have more things than others. Some have too many things. Some of us have just a few things. Let’s be OK with that, shall we? Let’s not feel bad anymore that we aren’t the lead singers of a rock band and no one asks for our autograph. Let’s be OK with not having made our own scarf and hat ensemble as well as the abstract painting over the fireplace.

I can feel good that I gave someone a compliment today. I made them feel good. I can feel good that I didn’t blow my money on eating out for lunch. I’m good that tomorrow I’ll go to the Farmer’s Market and get locally grown asparagus that I had nothing to do with raising. And those people that did grow it? They’ll be happy to have someone buy it.

I will admire others for their talents and be good with my own. Whatever they may be.

to be loved

In honor of Valentine’s Day, a list of some of the things that I love (or at least am very fond of):

It goes without saying, but of course my family and pets
A good number of excellent television shows (Breaking Bad, Justified, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, etc.)
Curb Appeal The Block and its charismatic host, John Gidding, who always makes me smile
Win Butler & Regine Chassagne and heck, all the rest of Arcade Fire
All songs by Vampire Weekend
iced cold cokes
a meal at El Banditos in downtown iowa city
iced soy white mochas
a good donut
watching otters
Raylan Givens and his cowboy hat
all things Merlin Mann
a fresh post from Mimi Smartypants
midwest country roads
Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games Trilogy, too)
Wes Anderson movies, especially Rushmore and Bottle Rocket
West Elm
Ellen Page
Indian food
Agent Cooper
sensible shoes
modern dance
Irvin Yalom
Talk radio in the morning
cobblestone streets
Red brick houses
1920’s women’s fashion
tea with jam, cream, and scones
back rubs
a good lentil soup
reading magazines at Barnes & Noble
Madison, WI
Country Living magazine
Design blogs

2012: a list of small things I’d like to accomplish

Find a reason to make punch. People should have more punch in their lives.

Walk more. Walk more places.

Go sledding with the kid. Needed: snow

Try a new salad. Make it myself.

Read a book a week.

See The Notebook. I’m tired of hearing about it and how it turns every woman into a Ryan Gosling fanatic. I need to see it for myself. Even though it is probably overwrought and goofy.

Buy a bicycle. With a basket. Take some bike rides with the family.

Go on at least one decent hike.

Have a picnic.

Take Dulcie to the Field Museum in Chicago.

Buy a house. A house I love.

Spend Christmas in my new house.

Visit Lake Geneva, WI in the summertime.

Write a short story.

Make own veggie burgers.

Kiss more.

Dance more.

Enjoy more soups.

Some Good Things about 2011: a list

Arcade Fire wins a grammy.

A few days spent at The Wisconsin Film Festival.

Meek’s Cutoff

Game of Thrones with Mark

Black bean tacos and margaritas at El Banditos.


3rd grade!

A.V. Club TV recaps/reviews

The Tree of Life

Breaking Bad

Games Nights (Ticket to Ride, Tichu, Puerto Rico)

10th wedding anniversary spent in Minneapolis.


Parks and Recreation


Pumped up Kicks

Sister and her family come home for Christmas.

Dulcie wants (and gets) a microscope for Christmas.

Finally getting to send in the application for my mental health counseling license. Everything is done!

a little life improvement

I visit the website Apartment Therapy pretty regularly, but rarely do I do more than skim the posts and look at the pictures; however, I’m quite enjoying the 20/20 home cure series. I haven’t actually DONE anything in the series–at least not as homework on the day prescribed–but I do find them inspiring and good reminders how much one’s home and environment plays a role in one’s happiness and satisfaction. Clean a room! Get some flowers! Cook a meal! Yes yes yes. Of course. OF COURSE!

Quick Advice from me to you

Here are some things you should not do if you consider yourself a sane, personable, respectful and polite human.

1. Grab food off someone else’s plate. Personally, I think unless you are in a comfortable committed relationship or that person has offered you some of their food or you are under the age of 8, you should just assume that person’s meal is off limits to you.

2. Talk on the cell phone while you are in a public restroom.

3. Not obey the line. If you are in line, be in line. Do not assume standing directly next to me is being in line because you are making me seriously uncomfortable and giving me anxiety that you will try to butt in front of me.

4. Not let me change lanes when I am signaling the intent to. Wouldn’t you want me to do the same for you?

5. Not reciprocate. If I do you a few big favors, the least you can do is offer me one.

6. Never allow me to pick. You can’t always pick the movie, the event, the restaurant. It isn’t fair.

And by “me”, of course I mean the universal “you”. Thank you for listening.


Here is my new dog, Betsy. Or Ms. Betsy Pudding. She was once Susie Q. but we changed that when we adopted her.

In her old life she was a breeder at a puppy mill. Now she is happy and loved and named. I hate puppy mills. I hate stores that sell dogs from puppy mills. And I hate that people buy dogs from stores that get dogs from puppy mills. Betsy spent six years of her life making babies that would be taken from her and sold for many hundreds of dollars. I’m glad she doesn’t have that life anymore. I’m glad she is ours.

She’s weird. She’ll sit next to you and turn and stare at you until you show her some love. She rarely licks, but she’ll give a kiss when she’s really happy. When I pull in the driveway I see her watching for us in the window. I wonder if she spends hours looking out that window watching for our return. She’s weird, but I like weird. She feels like our dog.