Sunday, November 27, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Why is it every time I foray into Los Angeles with the goal of cultural enrichment something crazy happens, and I find myself in an oh-my-goodness-we-are-going-to-be-late -- we-will-never-make-it-on-time situation?! I mean, really?! Here I am trying to expand my arts and culture palate and something backfires. (South Pacific, Wicket, and Barbra Streisand come to mine...)
Last night my mother and I saw Celtic Thunder at the Greek Theater. It was my first time at this venue, and since I was a little concerned by its location in the heart of LA traffic I suggested we leave 2 hours before the concert. Now, I'm a Southern California girl, born and bred. LA traffic is not a new concept. As a child I provided backseat support while we drive what felt like hours to tour a museum. I interned in Century City for a semester (that was fun) and made the commute twice a week. And by now I think I know every side street around the Ahmanson. Suffice it to say, I know the drill and thought two hours would be ample time for the drive.
Wednesday. October 26, 2011. I left work 30 minutes early and had just enough time to grab a bite to eat, quick change, and check traffic before leaving for the Greek. I plotted a route guaranteed to provide the least resistance, and off we went. Things were going along just fine...until the 110. Suddenly, I went from the lovely carpool lane to the parking lot that was the freeway and we sat...and sat...and sat. 6:30. 7:00. We still had to take the 101 to Vermont Ave and head into the hills. Things were not looking good.
Now, for those of you who know me, I do not like being late. At all. Neither does my mother. I think it’s inbred because I’ve been this way since I can remember. In recent years I’ve learned to tame my I’m-going-to-be-late anxiety and adopt more of a Que Sera Sera attitude when it comes to circumstances beyond my control. However last night I failed. Miserably. I was seriously uptight about the possibility of being late and finally stopped looking at my watch because it only made me feel worse. Of course, when I finally checked the time and discovered it was 7:27 I was more than a little frustrated. We were just entering the maze the Greek calls "parking," and it was a zoo. After navigating through a zillion orange cones and making one wrong turn we were finally parked and power walking to the venue. When we entered the premises the lights were still up meaning the concert hadn’t started yet. Whew. But wait! I wanted a program, the concession stand is right here, and there’s no line. Might as well buy it now, right?! The transaction took less than 90 seconds but in that time the lights dimmed, and we raced into the venue and to our seats. Just in the nick of time!
To the Celtic Thunder stage manager/lead decision maker who started the show late: thank you.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
If you read my D.C. checklist you may recall I really wanted to see a sunset from the steps of the Capitol. (thank you 24 for encouraging this dream) Well, after our Tuesday interviews, Amanda and I grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to our room for a few minutes of recuperation. Interviewing is HARD work! After resting our slightly over worked brains, we decided to tackle a few of the Smithsonian exhibits one or both of us had yet to see (Julia Child's Kitchen, Hope Diamond, and butterfly exhibition) and then walk to the Capitol. Our timing wasn't bad. By the time we arrived the sun wasn't exactly setting but it was on its way down. Enter the unexpected surprise...
A couple of months ago I heard about free concerts around the Capitol but couldn't find any information pertinent to August. (There was plenty of concert dates for June, but that didn't quite help my cause.) Lo and behold, Tuesday just happened to be Air Force night, and the band was setting up when we arrived! Perfect timing to rest our very tired feet and enjoy an evening of Disney/Pixar tunes. We made ourselves comfortable on a nearby ledge spent the next 75 minutes listening to great music by a very patriotic band. And nothing could beat the view! Toward the end they played the themes to all five branches of the military (how appropriate) and honored the men who perished in last weeks helicopter crash.
It was completely unexpected and a wonderful little gift from above. The sunset may have been so-so but, it was an ideal way to end the day. :-) Three cheers for perfect moments.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
- Watch a sunset from the steps of the Capitol
- Visit Grandma Cole at Arlington
- Tour the Capitol
- Udvar-Hazy Museum
- Eat at least one delicious chocolate chip cookie
- See Julia Child's kitchen
- Enjoy Monday's excursion (awesome details to be revealed after 8/8)
- And while I'm at it, I should probably bring home five oral histories
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
This afternoon I took a break from work and made a bank/Starbucks run (yes, she's resorting to caffeine to get her through 3 very late nights and 1 very early morning). My perfect moment snuck up on my in the Starbies drive-through. I was in line waiting for my drink, window down, looking up at the blue sky, and listening to my current musical obsession, Matt Monro's Impossible Dream. And I had my perfect moment. In spite of all that is wrong and sad in the world, for a few minutes everything felt right and I was at perfect peace.
My plan was simple: get up at 2:30 (timed to see the Queen arrive), watch wedding, and head back to bed at 4:00. (some of us still have to work...) I followed my agenda to the letter. Unfortunately, this meant two things 1) I missed the royal exit from Westminster Abbey and 2) I should have stayed up because it took me forever to get back to sleep.
Friday, April 22, 2011
*I would be more specific but since certain members of this blog readership are not allowed any details until mid-May I shall refrain from providing any...after the mystery event I shall elaborate in full. :-)
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Launch of STS-1, shuttle Columbia
April 12, 1981
April 12, 1945
April 12, 1983
April 12, 1961
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Tweet Less, Kiss More
By BOB HERBERT
Published: July 16, 2010
I was driving from Washington to New York one afternoon on Interstate 95 when a car came zooming up behind me, really flying. I could see in the rearview mirror that the driver was talking on her cellphone.
I was about to move to the center lane to get out of her way when she suddenly swerved into that lane herself to pass me on the right — still chatting away. She continued moving dangerously from one lane to another as she sped up the highway.
A few days later, I was talking to a guy who commutes every day between New York and New Jersey. He props up his laptop on the front seat so he can watch DVDs while he’s driving. “I only do it in traffic,” he said. “It’s no big deal.”
Beyond the obvious safety issues, why does anyone want, or need, to be talking constantly on the phone or watching movies (or texting) while driving? I hate to sound so 20th century, but what’s wrong with just listening to the radio? The blessed wonders of technology are overwhelming us. We don’t control them; they control us.
We’ve got cellphones and BlackBerrys and Kindles and iPads, and we’re e-mailing and text-messaging and chatting and tweeting — I used to call it Twittering until I was corrected by high school kids who patiently explained to me, as if I were the village idiot, that the correct term is tweeting. Twittering, tweeting — whatever it is, it sounds like a nervous disorder.
This is all part of what I think is one of the weirder aspects of our culture: a heightened freneticism that seems to demand that we be doing, at a minimum, two or three things every single moment of every hour that we’re awake. Why is multitasking considered an admirable talent? We could just as easily think of it as a neurotic inability to concentrate for more than three seconds.
Why do we have to check our e-mail so many times a day, or keep our ears constantly attached, as if with Krazy Glue, to our cellphones? When you watch the news on cable television, there are often additional stories being scrolled across the bottom of the screen, stock market results blinking on the right of the screen, and promos for upcoming features on the left. These extras often block significant parts of the main item we’re supposed to be watching.
A friend of mine told me about an engagement party that she had attended. She said it was lovely: a delicious lunch and plenty of Champagne toasts. But all the guests had their cellphones on the luncheon tables and had text-messaged their way through the entire event.
Enough already with this hyperactive behavior, this techno-tyranny and nonstop freneticism. We need to slow down and take a deep breath.
I’m not opposed to the remarkable technological advances of the past several years. I don’t want to go back to typewriters and carbon paper and yellowing clips from the newspaper morgue. I just think that we should treat technology like any other tool. We should control it, bending it to our human purposes.
Let’s put down at least some of these gadgets and spend a little time just being ourselves. One of the essential problems of our society is that we have a tendency, amid all the craziness that surrounds us, to lose sight of what is truly human in ourselves, and that includes our own individual needs — those very special, mostly nonmaterial things that would fulfill us, give meaning to our lives, enlarge us, and enable us to more easily embrace those around us.
There’s a character in the August Wilson play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” who says everyone has a song inside of him or her, and that you lose sight of that song at your peril. If you get out of touch with your song, forget how to sing it, you’re bound to end up frustrated and dissatisfied.
As this character says, recalling a time when he was out of touch with his own song, “Something wasn’t making my heart smooth and easy.”
I don’t think we can stay in touch with our song by constantly Twittering or tweeting, or thumbing out messages on our BlackBerrys, or piling up virtual friends on Facebook.
We need to reduce the speed limits of our lives. We need to savor the trip. Leave the cellphone at home every once in awhile. Try kissing more and tweeting less. And stop talking so much.
Other people have something to say, too. And when they don’t, that glorious silence that you hear will have more to say to you than you ever imagined. That is when you will begin to hear your song. That’s when your best thoughts take hold, and you become really you.
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on July 17, 2010, on page A19 of the New York edition.