Archive for March, 2005



Steve Miller Band Sucks. Mostly.

2:20 am · category: Uncategorized

I grew up fewer than 70 miles from the Riverfront Amphitheater in Little Rock, AR. Now, I’ve seen the Arkansas River — on which the Riverfront Amphitheater sits — a gozillion times, but most of those times I was either driving over it or carousing in one of the glass-plated elevators (which overlook the water) in the Little Rock Peabody Hotel during a scholastic competition or convention to which I’d taken my (former) students.

But I’m not a total dud. One of my earliest dating memories is of attending a concert at the amphitheater c. 1990 with my first boyfriend. We went to a jazz festival that was headlined by — I believe — the Benny Goodman Orchestra, even though good ole Benny had been dead since 1986. And even though it rained the whole time, there was a vendor booth with Thai food and none of the trumpets forget to bring their mutes.

A couple of years ago I went to the RiverMarket (the area in which the Riverfront Amphitheater is located) with a gay male friend. I remember that we stopped to talk with a man who made a big deal out of being a Gypsy. When I asked if he was a Roma Gypsy, he got all pissed off and ranted about how Romas give other gypsies a bad name. (There was a lot of spitting involved, too. I thought that was just a stereotype, but perhaps not.) Then he took off on a tangent about being a former professional wrestler who was, at one point, a tag-team partner with the Junkyard Dog. At that point I asked him how Sylvester was, and he said “Sly” was doing just fine, even though JYD (AKA Sylvester Ritter) had been dead for more than four years. I was polite but left in disappointment, even though when my companion and I arrived at the gay disco club the men outside the club kept saying things like, “Mmmm, she’s cute,” and, “Damn, I wish I’d brought one of those with me.”

And then, right at ten years ago, I went to a concert at the Riverfront Amphitheater with a high school friend. The Steve Miller Band headlined the event, and in light of such I was looking forward to the evening. Because, hello! He’s a picker, grinner, lover and sinner.

But, you know, it turned out that the Steve Miller Band sucks live. Fortunately, the Doobie Brothers opened for them. Now, it might be that I hold a special spot in my heart for the Doobies because of their long-forgotten appearance on What’s Happening!! — one of my fondest childhood memories. (Yes, yes. My television choices have never been particularly remarkable.) But honestly, who doesn’t love Black Water?

Ohhhh! I almost forgot the whole point of the post. It turns out that the quickest way to disengage the kittens from any spot they desire that I don’t want them to be in is to sing — at the top of my lungs —

Some people call me Maurice!

….. and then the kittens disappear…..

Okay, it’s late now. I must go to bed soon so that I can



Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!

12:14 am · category: Uncategorized

Oh, my very goodness gracious. It’s been another long weekend — the fourth consecutive one for which I’ve been out of town. This weekend took me back to my school teacher days, what with spending so much time on a bus and staying in hotel rooms and attending endless seminars-workshops-small group sessions. My first reaction is to say that I’m far too old for this and that my body doesn’t allow for such interruptions. But my second — and abiding — reaction is to say that it was incredibly fulfilling and was, somehow, a much-needed reminder that I am at my best when I’m with kids.

I took 15 members of my youth group to a Conference-sponsored United Methodist Youth convention about three hours from home. (The UMC has an episcopal form of government and a specific heirarchy that goes something like this: General Conference (more or less international); Jurisdictional Conferences (regional in the national sense, putting me in the South Central Conference); Annual Conferences (regional on a more local level, with my annual conference being my whole state); District Conferences (regional on a very localized level and usually grouped by counties); and Charge Conferences (very local, almost always the church or churches served by a particular pastor). Anyway, this particular event was sponsored by the Annual Conference, meaning that United Methodist youth in grades 7-12 from across the state of Arkansas were present — which ended up amounting to 920+ teens.

I know this is probably the point where I should explain how important the event was for the kids and how much I enjoyed seeing them benefit from it. But honestly, all I can focus on right now is how fulfilling it was for me. And I’m not talking about the organized, pre-planned events. Rather, what I realized was that I have an incredible gift for this sort of thing. I can organize and carry out such trips with ease. I can deal with obstacles like poor hotel service with ease. I can make sure my kids are in their rooms and stay there at room check — and then make sure that they have tons of fun the following day while also being well rested.

It was also wonderful to see the kids’ reactions to the weekend’s activities — especially the junior highers who had never been to an event of this size and nature. They were so excited on the way home and found it to be a truly wonderful experience.

As much as I like being with my kids and/or being on the road, there are downsides to constant travel. Foremost among these are my kittens, who apparently feel completely abandoned when I’m gone for more than four hours at a time. This is evidenced by their clawing their way into my lap as soon as I sit down and thereafter refusing to budge, even when I have other things to do like write letters or pay bills or pluck hairs out of my chin.

The kittens also have a nasty habit of destroying any- and everything. Case in point: I had to buy a new computer two weeks after I got the kittens because they tumped a flower vase onto my laptop one night and completely short-circuited my computer. I quickly forgave them for that because it was my fault for putting the vase on the shelf above the computer.

Lately the kittens’ penchant for destruction has related to paper products. I have a (bad) habit of eating supper at my computer desk, and sometimes I’m lazy and don’t put everything away. That’s not completely true, either. It’s not as though I leave food (or drinks, anymore) lying around — but I did leave paper napkins on the desk the first weekend I was away. When I arrived home that Sunday afternoon I found at least six napkins shredded and littering my carpet. It was as though the Brawny man threw a party in my house and used his own products as confetti. I quickly learned to return unused paper napkins to the appropriate drawer in the kitchen. Problem solved!

…..Except that the removal and proper placement of paper napkins forced the kittens to become more creative. The second weekend I was out of town, I returned home and discovered that the pussies had become enamored with the Kleenex box. An entire box of tissues lay empty and forlorn in the middle of the living room floor, surrounded by tiny bits and pieces of that soft paper that used to fill it. Experience is a good teacher, though, and I realized that I had to turn my Kleenex box upside down when not in use. Problem solved!

……Except that during my third weekend out of town the kittens found the Holy Grail of paper destruction: the toilet paper roll. I ran into the house that Sunday afternoon needing to pee so badly I thought I would burst. But the roll — which I had replaced just before I had left — was completely empty because the toilet paper was strewn throughout the house. And I mean throughout the house: starting in the bathroom, weaving its way down the hallway and into the living room, snaking into the dining area and around the kitchen, then back through the living room and bathroom. My toilet paper was figure eight-ed within my house! And the kittens were entirely too pleased with themselves. Sitting there on the toilet, gazing at the yards of (somewhat unusable) TP marking a mysterious path throughout my home, was entirely disconcerting. (“Paper, paper everywhere, but nary a piece to wipe…”) I did manage to salvage a good bit of the toilet paper, but it’s an entirely different kind of pain in the ass to find a segment of TP large enough to adequately do the job. No one should have to rifle through a plastic bag of toilet paper remnants to wipe her ass.

There’s really nothing to be done about the toilet paper issue, short of keeping the bathroom door shut around the clock — which I do now. But it’s a bitch on cold mornings, because I have gas heat and the blower is in the living room.

If I had posted about my kittens’ paper antics two weeks ago, I’d have been all bitter and disgusted because I had a crap vacuum cleaner. But I treated myself when I got my last paycheck and purchased a brand new one for the low, low price of $39.99. Now I don’t spend Sunday evenings crawling through my house picking up tiny fragments of paper. It is so very, very sad that I find pleasure in vacuuming.

In other news, I bought $67 worth of Tupperware last night. I am becoming tragically domestic. What have I become? WHAT HAVE I BECOME?