“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Monday, April 23, 2018

Me and Hyla-O Down by the Schoolyard - a true yet pointless story

My car, my music.

In general, I don't listen to regular radio much. Most of my music is enjoyed in a form such that I don't hear a lot of current songs or new artists. I listen to Sirius, Pandora and my ipod. All three of those musical avenues are all pretty targeted and mostly tailored to me. I listen to First Wave with Richard Blade, Deep Tracks with Jim Ladd, Classic Vinyl on Sirius, whatever strikes my mood on Pandora (I've been listening to a lot of Phyllis Dillon or Adrian Belew lately) and my ipod, filled with guilty pleasures, hula stuff and the one-off songs my kids ask me to add.

I'm always excited when my kids sing the music I like. It's like I'm passing along to them not only a snapshot of music and history they wouldn't otherwise be exposed to, but also I'm sharing with them a piece of myself I wouldn't know how to otherwise share; an intangible understanding of my inner-self. I stood up a little taller the day my boy was annoyed he couldn't get "Thela Hun Ginjeet" out of his head and the time my little one busted out with L'Trimm (we're Tigre and Bunny and we like the boom) while she was coloring quietly on the living room floor.

It's one thing to actively expose my kids to my music in the car, but something happened yesterday that just turned my love of sharing music with my kids to 11. My love of sharing music with my kids just created its own intelligent life.

My daughter came home from work today and said "Mom, I heard this song today and I can't get it out of my head."

I asked her what it was (hoping it wasn't Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean) and she told me it was "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon. Paul Simon? She likes Paul Simon? She got a Paul Simon song stuck in her head?

She heard a song that I have loved all my life an she liked it too, all on her own! Yay. It made me happy.

In the early 80's, Saturday Night Live reruns played at 11pm weeknights. During the summer it was my goal, my duty even, to stay up until 11 and watch SNL. One night, I must have been about 10 or 11, a rerun with Paul Simon came on. During Weekend Update, we saw Paul Simon play a game of basketball with Connie Hawkins, while "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" played. That song instantly became my favorite song of the moment. We had a Paul Simon album at home. I was so stoked to see that "Me and Julio..." was on it. I played it over and over and over again, practicing the whistling part until I got it down perfectly.

I looked for the clip on youtube but couldn't find it. I did find a recording of the song. I also found the transcripts for the SNL bit. Bummer I couldn't find what I was looking for.

Friday, April 20, 2018

For the Love of Hot Water Based Beverages

My folks are big coffee drinkers. They drank coffee at every meal, even dinner. I thought it was weird they would order coffee as their beverage at every meal, even dinner at Hof's Hut for soup and muffins. I'd always be mad that after we finished dinner we would have to sit around while they drank more coffee. I finished my dinner. I was ready to go. They'd been drinking coffee all throughout the meal, why did they need more? Then as I got older I mellowed, as I started realizing the benefits of a delicious cuppa joe. They've since switched to Sanka, but their coffee consumption routine hasn't changed much.

I was a senior in high school when I started drinking coffee regularly. Winchell's Donuts was a major contributor in the forming of my caffeine habit / ritual. Every morning before school, I would drive my dad's F150 (3 on the tree!) to the Winchell's on Sterns and Palo Verde, get my coffee and fill it with a good 15-20 second pour from the sugar dispenser, add a few inches of half & half and be on my way. I would put it in the drink holder, drive to school, and pound my coffee as I was running to my first class of the day.

Then I discovered 7-11 coffee. There's something about bad coffee and how much better it gets with the addition of artificially flavored creamers (irish cream was my favorite) and poured into a styrofoam cup.

Over time my coffee drinking became more "sophisticated". I discovered mochas at Midnight Expresso in Belmont Shore. Still, with the sugar, though. Tons and tons of extra milk and sugar.

Shortly after I moved to SF, I lived across the street from a bakery, and later I started working there. Coffee became a necessary staple; I kept late hours and woke up early. Coffee was necessary. A good 2 inches of sugar and an equal amount of cream in a 12 oz cup did me nicely.

I still drink coffee, but not as much. I prefer black tea these days, Barry's specifically.

I do not, however, add sugar anymore, unless it's hotel room coffee, then it's necessary. I stopped adding sugar because it was easier; my boyfriend back then would berate me every time he would bring me coffee, make snide comments about my sugar use. "How can you drink this so sweet? It's so gross. I can't believe you like it this way. I don't want to accidentally drink your coffee or I'll throw up. I put so much sugar in your coffee I started gagging." Two years later we were married and I was drinking coffee just like his, just cream.  Although I prefer the taste of no sugar in my coffee these days, I'm still bitter about being bullied into giving it up and add sugar out of spite once in a while.

What's your caffeine ritual?

My caffeine ritual is simple. I wake up, have a cup of Barry's and milk (no sugar) while getting ready for work. I get to work and have a quick shot of espresso while the tea kettle is warming up, pour myself a 2nd cup of Barry's (sometimes PG Tips), but no milk (or sugar), and head to my desk. Most of the time I get through half of it before I get busy and forget about it, but by then I'm sufficiently caffeinated and don't need anymore. If I'm still looking to enjoy a hot beverage, though I'll switch to green tea. My favorite green tea right now is Green Tea with Coconut from Harney and Sons Fine Teas. It comes in a pretty pink box and I keep it at my desk so I don't have to share.

Once in a while I'll stop at my local coffee house by my house on the way to work, but 80% of the time, I forget about it on my drive to work, it gets over-steeped and bitter and I don't drink it and I proceed with my usual caffeine routine at work.

This morning I had my morning Barry's, stopped at my local coffee house, got a 2nd cup of Barry's and had most of it consumed by the time I got to work. Being sufficiently caffeinated, I didn't have my espresso shot while waiting for my kettle to heat and I didn't bring the subsequent cup of tea back to my desk.

I feel off; like I missed a step. I will have to correct that and get back on track with a late morning tea.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

What's in a Name? - An Examination of Naming Shibboleths

Fussy Perfume Heiress Bibi Gallini
My dad wanted to name me Babette. My mom said no. I was a little disappointed when I found that out. I have to say, I would have made a rockin' Babette. I would have made that name proud. I totally could have pulled off Babette. I could have been called Babs, Betty, Bibi. Ooh, I would have liked to be called Bibi; just like the fussy perfume heiress Bibi Gallini..

Mostly everyone calls me by my whole first name; Andrea (pronounced ANN-dree-uh). About 1/2 of the people who call me by my whole first name mispronounce it (awn-DRAY-uh, ann-DRAY-uh, AWN-dree-uh). It sometimes bugs me, but not enough to actually say anything about it. I guess it's just the territory that goes along with having my name. I also have a short name, two actually. Andi is used by my extended family; aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. And still another, Ani is used by my immediate family; parents, siblings, niece, nephew.
My partner, Captain Awesome calls me by the familiar, immediate family moniker, but my friends, even my closest ones, never made that leap; not even my ex. I've often wondered if that was a failing on my part not or just a personal preference on their part, in any case, habits are formed, damage is done. There's a guy at work who calls me by my "extended family" name. I am totally cool with it. I had a boss once who called me Ms. XXX, then when I took back my maiden name he referred to me as Ms. LLL)

My kids names are Penny, Maximilian and Gabrielle.
I'm lying, that's not their names, but for the point I want to illustrate, these names will work nicely.

Penny, my oldest.
Everyone calls her Penny. Only a few people call her Pen, but only a tiny tiny few, and not very often or consistently. I call her Pen and refer to her as Pen in texts, but not all the time. She doesn't go by Pen, she goes by Penny.
Her name is 2 syllables. Most people use both of them when addressing her. She doesn't mind being called Pen and will answer to it just fine, but nobody ever does and she's not all that bothered by it.

Maximilian, my son.
He's a bit different. He prefers Max. I call him by his whole name, but if I use his whole name in public, around his friends, he gets mad. He prefers that short version of his name. (There was this one summer where he told everyone at YMCA camp, including counselors, that his name was Nick and nobody knew who I was asking about when I picked him up until I used his "camp name.") Maximilian is for official stuff, important stuff, stuff for strangers and doctors. Stick with Max with him. I equate it to when someone used to call me Mrs. XXX, I would be confused and think "but Mrs. XXX is my mother-in-law, not me. I'm Mrs.... Oh wait, I guess I am Mrs. XXX" (note - I am no longer Mrs. XXX, thank God, but the point is still valid.) Max also has a name some kids use at school too. I like the nickname. I think it's cute, but I'm not allowed to use it, only the students in his class are.

Gabrielle is a bit different. She tells everyone her name is Gabrielle. She offers no other option. One has to earn Gabby, one is not allowed to start with Gabby. One has to work towards Gabby. She wants to be introduced as Gabrielle. She introduces herself as Gabrielle. At home we call her Gabby. I call her Pua.

It's a social shibboleth of sorts. What people call me and how they refer to me, and how they pronounce my name, put them into buckets of how I know them, what we talk about, how we interact.

I find it interesting that the path to each person's comfort level depends on the callee, not the caller.

Welcome now my friends to the show that never ends

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Nice Pictures - Where'd you steal them from?

Some of the pictures in my blog were taken by a photographer called Julie Michele. Some of the pictures were either taken by me or someone I know. Some of the pictures were ripped right from the internet, mostly from google image searches from photographers to whom I may or may not give credit.

Rest assured I make no money from any of it.