Saturday, December 27, 2008

Goodbye, 2008!

I don't know about any of you, but this is one year that I have both cherished and hated all at the same time. The long and short of it, minus the gruesome detail, is that it all came out well. It was one of those years where my feet were held to the fire again and I discovered what I am made of. At the end of the year, I am relatively happy and content after a whole lot of upheaval, but feel it was all a part of what life is and part of the process of becoming who I am.

I lost my drive for absolute perfection. But that's OK, because it was part of what was wrong. I discovered what unconditional love means in many different ways. Let me tell you folks, it sounds all pretty and stuff, but it isn't always fun and sometimes carries a heavy price, but in the end, the dedication pays off. We all deserve to love and be loved. Sometimes it just takes a little more work than we thought it would. I have learned that those memories that you store are worth more than gold. This past year, in fact this past month, I lost a beloved aunt and an uncle. I've watched my cousins grieve in a way that is all too familiar for me. I've held the hand of a person who was dying and who looked back on her life with me and shared with me the treasured moments and memories of her life. I will never forget the moments we shared. I hugged my cousins today that had suddenly and tragically lost their father. After being the recipient of all the hugs surrounding my mother's death, it was nice to be able to give some and provide the comfort for other loved ones. Family is so dear and so irreplaceable.

My own children are growing and changing. I now have a high school aged daughter. I've worried about changes, but have realized that our relationship is just as strong, if not stronger. I am watching the fruit of my labor as a parent blossom before my eyes. It is truly magical. I sometimes think I got lucky as a parent and then I think that maybe I get to take some of the credit for myself. Years of love and time and tears come to fruition. My job is not done, but I am happy where I am on the journey.

I am still in school and have my own goals in the crosshairs. I am happy for those I work with for the optimism that is surrounding their care. Truthfully, it makes my life easier as well, but it should and it's about time. I find myself in the predicament of being in some ways more on my own than ever, but it's OK. I've lost every crutch I've ever had and I've realized that I can stand on my own, but I also realize that I would rather stand with those I love by my side.

May each and every one of you have a most blessed 2009. I am hopeful. I always am. That's who I am.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let the Day Begin

Up early. Trying to give it a positive start instead of cursing it. Looking forward to having the monkey off my back and starting to celebrate the holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We Could Be Heroes Just For One Day

In the most unlikely of times, Governor Rod Blagojevich was my hero for one day. On December 12, 2008, in the midst of a career-destructing scandal, Gov. Blagojevich managed to make it into work to sign the bill that will create adequate insurance coverage for children with autism. No matter what you think of the man, I can tell you first hand that I watched him being courted by those in support of this bill, and I watched as he promised to take care of it this term. For all the wrong that has been done, this is certainly a big right. Not only will families who up until now have not been able to afford care receive care, but school districts will sigh a huge breath of relief as the burden is taken off of their shoulders. Not that the schools no longer are required to provide services, but the fact of the matter is that they have never been equipped to provide the intensity of services necessary and really should never have had to shoulder the burden for so long. Private services are required for adequate care and thanks to Gov. Blagojevich, private care will now be rendered. I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Too bad such a wonderful deed is overshadowed by unbridled greed.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Just Because

Why am I posting this? No reason really, just because. Just because it makes me happy and its goofy. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I am just hanging back and waiting for January.

SLADE-Run Runaway

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rockin' My World!

Barack Obama isn't even in office yet and he is already drafting legislation that has been a long time coming. For many years, I have only served the rich and privileged. In general, and with very few exceptions, treatment for autism is not covered by insurance companies because it is considered "unrecoverable." This has been a gross oversight on the part of the insurance companies. While it is true that those with the disorder will never be fully "cured," all who are treated make progress and if treated early enough and intensively enough, these children can go on to lead fairly normal productive lives.

This morning I was alerted that there is legislation that Barack Obama has had drafted in order to provide coverage for treatment of autism. Sounds to me like at least this promise was not an empty one, not that I expected it would be. If this piece of legislation goes through, I will no longer only treat children from wealthy families. Everyone will have fair access to the best possible treatment. In my world, this is nothing short of a miracle. Go Obama!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rock the Vote!

I voted. Did you? Seems like such a simple thing to do. Take time to appreciate everything that has happened throughout the course of our nation's history that allowed you the chance to vote today. Be thankful and take advantage of this awesome privilege that we have as Americans.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Potluck at the Trump Hotel and Other Tales of Woe

Last night I went to one of my friend's bachleorette party. Her bridal party had rented a suite at the brand new Trump Hotel in Chicago. The view was magnificent. To make up for the splurge on the room, dinner was potluck in the suite with lasagna, meatballs, and shots of Jagermeister. I'm sure the Donald would approve.

Anyhow, we all drank and ate and "enjoyed" the entertainment, a bananahammock-free stripper who sounded a bit like Ahnold, the gubnerator. Hey, he licked my face and told me I was pretty. I bet he says that to all the girls. The better part of the evening was when we went out and managed to stumble into a club that had a great DJ working a small floor with a great sound system and filled with friends. I don't think I've danced that much in years. It felt really good. Possibly an alternative title for this post could be, "How Tenacious S Got Her Groove Back.'

You know, I've been a bit absent lately. I don't really know why. Just haven't felt like writing. While I was out, I saw The Squeeze for the first time (it was Glen Tilbrook's birthday and the other guys in the band surprised him with dancing girls with a birthday cake on stage and he got all sappy), RiotFest (which was highlighted by the final performance of The Bomb and a stellar set by The Horropops), and a very beat-heavy night at Metro watching Crystal Castles. So, it's not like I've been sulking around the house or anything. I've had some serious fun. Just didn't feel like writing.

For your entertainment, here's a sample of a couple of my woeful nights.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Just in Case

Not being one who sits back idly and lets things happen, I've been working on a plan to bolster the Tenacious S clan's financial bottom line in the event of a dramatic recession. Back in the Great Depression, my grandfather was an out of work painter. Deciding to take his fate into his own hands, he built beehives and then sold honey door to door. I figure if it worked then, hey, that could work now! So this weekend I plan on putting Sweetness and Bink to work painting the beehives. This plan is genius! I'm totally relaxed now. No financial worries at all. We'll just raise bees and sell honey. The whole family can pitch in! There's only one small problem...I'm allergic to the things and Sweetness and Bink cry and run when they see them. Minor glitch.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is This Thing On?

Ah hem..Is this thing on?
To the people who made my week hell and my client's life miserable, I'm coming to get you. You will not be able to hide behind policy. Words that come to mind are "unmitigated disaster" or "gross negligence." I'm writing a very long report that will expose your incompetence. I know who the good guys are. The rest of you better hide. Have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Black and Blood

About a year and a half ago I wrote a post about the tattoo that I was thinking about getting. For at least 20 years I have considered getting a tattoo. For at least 15 of those 20 years, I was a little indecisive about what I really wanted, which is why I never got one...until last weekend.

For the second year in a row, I went to a conference in Santa Barbara. This year's conference was even better than last year and I definitely learned a great deal. What was different was that although I casually knew a few people that were attending, no one I work with on a regular basis was there, so outside a couple of dinners and the conference days, I had some time to myself.

I arrived on Wednesday early in the afternoon. Hungry and looking for lunch, I headed out onto the main street in town, State Street. I grabbed a quick bite and continued on my walk, just intending on doing a little shopping and enjoying the day. One of the very first places that caught my eye was Golden Eagle Tattoo. I liked some of the work they had on the walls and found myself looking through some of the artists' books. I liked one of the artists in particular and walked away with lots going on in my mind.

The next couple of days were a blur of conference and dinners with colleagues with little time left for myself. When it was all over on Friday night after dinner, I went back to my hotel and finally had some time alone. I woke up on Saturday still thinking about getting a tattoo and decided to go for a walk, get some lunch and head over to the shop. Somewhere between Wednesday and Saturday the thought had become a plan.

I walked in and talked to Jason, the artist that I was interested in. He was very kind and had me look more carefully at his work to be sure I wanted to use him. We looked at my post about what I had in mind and then he came up with a sketch that I thought was perfect. This is about when it all took on a very surreal feeling for me. I heard entire discussions going on in my head about what I was doing and all the implications. In the end, I felt very calm and relaxed and finally took my seat at Jason's station.

For the next two hours I sat there hugging the back of the chair. There was never a moment where I felt like I was in pain. It felt warm and slightly irritating, but that was about it. It was the nothingness of sitting there for two hours that put me into a very meditative state. On the wall in front of me were sketches of tattoos that Jason was working on. One of them was of two small birds sitting on some dogwood branches. It was very beautiful and the birds made me think of my daughter. The eye of one of the birds was particularly captivating and I found myself staring into it for long lengths of time.

At no time during the process did we take a break other than Jason asking me quickly if I was feeling OK. I felt fine and he kept working diligently. By the time we were done, the trashcan on floor next to me was full of used gloves and toweling that was covered in black ink and my blood. The blood just seemed like a reminder of the fact that this was now a part of my body. Something that I would have for the rest of my life. I'd already made my peace with it. As I stood to look at my new addition in the mirror, I felt completely pleased and fell in love with the work.

When he was done, Jason cleaned the tattoo and wrapped it, giving me instructions on how to care for it as it healed. I knew that there was a healing process, and was glad that he was careful in repeating instructions to me. I settled up and headed back to my hotel room feeling like I had the greatest secret on earth. When I got there, I realized that even though the process was not as painful as I had expected, my body had been through a lot and it was tired.

Four days later, my tattoo already feels like a part of me. I'm over the surprise of seeing it there in the mirror. It feels like it was always meant to be there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Funny Things to Do

This past weekend I had possibly the oddest night I've had in quite some time. We were invited by our friend to go see his band, 4 Star Alarm, play at the Lincoln Park Fireman's Cookoff. Saturday was a gorgeous day and I thought that being outside at a cookoff with a band sounded like a brilliant idea.

When we got there, attendance was pretty sparse. Apparently this was the first year that these particular firemen had attempted this kind of fundraiser and they had not done a very good job publicizing it. At first I just thought they really liked us when we were greeted with showers of thank you's and a free calendar (which if you know me, you know is sooooooooooooo not my thing). Some girls like beefcake, I go for the triple "T" threat...tall, thin, tortured. Anyhow, once we were in, we realized that pretty much everyone else there was a fireman or belonged with a fireman (Lulu, eat your heart out). The food was good. The beer was bad, and worse, served by "beer dancers" as my friend calls them. Think Coyote Ugly.

So, our friend's band is a little emo and a little punk. They showed up in full regalia, standing out like sore thumbs in the crowd. It was funny to notice that as time passed, the lead singer lost some of his "flair." Off went the big chunky belt. Off went the '70's rock star shades. On went the headband bandanna. I think he was trying to camouflage himself. As they started to play, my friend pointed out that the crowd was stepping further and further away from the stage. Sadly, they actually did one of the best shows I've heard from them yet, but I think it went unappreciated.

The band finished at about 10, so Mr. Ten S and I decided to take a walk in the neighborhood. Our first bad plan and ultimately funny moment was when we decided to go into one of the local bars to use the restroom. Woooooooo! I forgot all about the Trixie and Chad culture in Lincoln Park and had to take a huge step back when I realized that :

A. They all looked exactly alike and were clones of the people I had spent my entire youth avoiding.
B. They all looked far too young to be so inebriated.
C. These are the people who spawn and move to Glenview.
Frightened, we made a beeline for the door and continued our walk. The highlight of the walk was spending some time in a real record store and scoring some vinyl. The next amusing moment was when we decided that rather than head into a Trixie bar, we'd go to Neo for a drink. Now mind you, we're in Saturday evening outside cookout gear. Woooooo! I forgot all about:

A. Everyone dressed in black.
B. Sprockets Redux atmosphere
C. How much more time these people put into their "outfits."
Uh yeah, we didn't really fit in there either, but they had better beer on tap and at least were playing some pretty cool tunes.

After our little adventures, we decided to call it a night. Other than the way North Shore boy on the train who was trying his best to be both cool and friendly, we made it home without further incident. The whole night left me realizing that I really like my crowd at places like The Beat Kitchen and Bottom Lounge. There's a little bit of attitude, but on the whole, they tend to be a whole lot more accepting of just about anybody. Well, unless you're too much of a Trixie. Then they'll just mock you behind your back and go back to what they were doing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just When You Least Expect It...The Friday Random 10

After a long hiatus from the Friday Random 10, the Tenacious One returns. Summer is winding down and schedules are once again taking over my life. Sometimes it's a good thing.

Fall promises to be busy but rockin'. Shows on my radar are Wire, Live, RiotFest and Crystal Castles. That ought to get me through October. Sweetness starts high school in a couple of weeks and Bink is about to start his year as Top Dog 5th Grader at his grade school. As for me, it's back to the saltmines of grad school after a long break due to an unwieldy life. Things seem to be both settling down and winding up.

Here's the soundtrack to the dog days of summer:
1. Chalkhills and Children-XTC
2. Glass-Joy Division
3. (Everyday Is) Halloween-Ministry
4. Pour le Monde-Crowded House

5. Headache-Liz Phair
6. Kiss Off-Violent Femmes
7. Bored on Television-The Methadones (Great show a couple of weeks ago at the newly reopened Bottom Lounge. Also saw Pegboy there last weekend. Sweet!)
8. Hours-TV on the Radio
9. God on my Side-World Party
10. Empty Bottles-Voodoo Glow Skulls

Monday, July 21, 2008

Socks Rocked Off? Check.

I am a sleepy kitty after a weekend of fun at Pitchfork. The big draw for me was to see Mission of Burma play their album Vs. in its entirety. And I have to tell you, they rocked my socks off. In their music I hear the roots of so many bands that I adore, and for that, I worship at their feet.

Pitchfork was pretty much planned to be the highlight of my summer. As my therapist said, "It's the poor man's Lollapalooza." At times I could feel my age as Lulu and I wandered through the crowd of hipsters, but it didn't stop me from having fun. Amazing posters at the Flatstock convention, cool arts and crafts and best of all...vinyl. Lots and lots of vinyl. The second I spotted it I could feel the cold sweat bead up on my forehead as I anticipated the possibility of scoring some. I ended up buying a couple cool compilation CDs, but of course, I purchased four brand spanking new discs. I picked through a bunch of stuff, but purchased all the vinyl from the Touch and Go booth. Picked up some Big Black that I'd had on tape that disintegrated years ago and purchased my first two Shellac records. I felt the wave of relief run through me as I stuck my purchases in my bag.

All in all, I'd say it was a completely fulfilling outing. Incredible live music, ice cold beer, new cool posters for the walls, CDs, and sweet sweet vinyl. I'm a tired but happy kitty. Hope you enjoy a taste of Pitchfork.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pennies From Heaven

You know how sometimes when you need it most, something simple and really nice happens. Yesterday I went next door to my neighbor's home to wish her a happy birthday and ran into another friend of mine. Turns out that she had this extra ticket to go see Yaz tonight that was already paid for. She asked if I was interested and told me it was mine if I wanted it. Really? Who says "no" to a free Yaz ticket? Truthfully, I had thought about going, but felt that it was really more than I could afford at the time. So now, here I am, thinking about going to the show tonight and feeling really fortunate that I have friends who are so generous and gracious. I have been the recipient of this kind of graciousness quite a bit lately and it has made all the difference in the world to me.

Yaz is one of those bands that is part of the soundtrack of my life. Not only do they bring back memories of late nights of dancing, but some of their quieter songs remind me of driving around or sitting in my room and just contemplating my then young life and all of its ups and downs. Alison Moyet is one of my very favorite female vocalists and I am looking forward to hearing her voice live more than anything else right now. So I guess tonight is kind of a trip down memory lane, but also an ode to friends who seem to show up at just the right moment.

Update: The show was absolutely fabulous! Everyone was either dancing or, for the more introspective songs, just sitting in awe of Allison Moyet's voice. She was flawless live. Just as powerful and perfect as she sounds on record. She also seemed to be having the time of her life and was all smiles between each song, seeming to just be soaking in the praise of her fans and having a blast doing what she loved. It was very clear that she has a very positive connection to their music and that she adores Vince Clarke.

Thursday, July 03, 2008



Happy Fourth of July! Having just returned from the land where children can still buy sparklers (and other fun stuff), we are fully stocked for the holiday. We'll be attending the Evanston fireworks on the 4th at the lake, just a few blocks from our house, which is perfect for our slow and lazy family. We're looking forward to seeing some of you on the 5th at the Compound party as well. And remember, after you light the fuse, you're supposed to run.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Slow Show

Life often goes far too fast for my taste. At heart, I am a slow moving person. I might appear at times to be a flurry of activity, but really, going fast just stresses me out and makes me anxious. Vacation offered me the chance to see my life in slow motion again. All those things that sometimes we are just moving too fast to notice or notice too much because we are moving too fast and stopping to notice seems like an annoyance. Instead of the Puppy Uppers, I took the Doggy Downers this last week and realized that I definitely like it better that way.

I took the time to appreciate the Wisconsin clouds and sky, the ferns that grow large and lush on the floor of the woods with sunlight dappling them, the sound of our trusty rowboat bumping up against the pier, and the wonders that are my children. They possibly had the best time of all. Removed from the pressures of school and the influences of the world we have to live in, they found joy in nature and rushed to greet it every day.

Life has a tendency to be too complicated. We rush through days forgetting who we are and who we can be in our best moments. Maybe sometimes we just need a reminder of what matters and what we love. While it certainly is never a permanent cure for the ferocity of a life lived to fast, it softens the impact at least for awhile.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gone Loony

I know, I know. We just got back from Kauai. This time we are off for our annual family vacation to Northern Wisconsin, my favorite place on earth. While I realize it's not exotic, other than perhaps the loons, it is where I often dream of being on a regular basis. It's all tied up in childhood memories and long afternoons of nothing but peace and quiet. It is possibly the only place on earth where I cannot be reached by phone and I like it that way.

I suspect that I will probably play shuffleboard, tetherball, air hockey (if it rains), and a serious game of Monopoly or two. This will be accompanied by swimming, fishing and my favorite, laying on the dock in the sun. I'm sure that we'll catch enough fish to grill some one night and if not, we'll head up the road to a quaint supper club. This is the land that time forgot and I like it that way. Nothing has really changed all that much since I was a kid. Sure there's the new bypass around the big town of Eagle River, but other than that, really, not much has changed. As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Steaming Mad

Why is it that every time I bend a little further than I should for someone, I end up wanting to commit a jailable offense? You know, if this was just me involved that would be one thing, but I have a little guy whose family doesn't have much money and has been patiently waiting to start his therapy and the week he is finally supposed to start, the therapist that they hired bails. It's a good thing I don't know where she lives.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ready to Rock

I know I've been a bit elusive lately. Busy season at work and in life. Just wanted you all to know that I am alive and kicking. In typical Ten S style, I will be heading out to R.E.M. tomorrow night and am equally excited that Modest Mouse and The National are both opening up for them. Perhaps a dose of loud music will bring me out of my semi-hibernation.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The "Squirrels" of Kauai

Within moments of being on the ground in Kauai, I noticed a strange phenomenon. Chickens. Hawaiians call them "moa." They were everywhere. At first I thought it was just a loosely guarded farm area we were going through. Then, when I had been to several places on the island, I realized they were omnipresent. Roosters were cock-a-doodle-doing at all hours of the day everywhere we went. Hens scurried along with chicks in tow. Parks were full of them. I called home one night and talked to Sweetness and told her about the rampant chickens. She said, "Are they the squirrels of Kauai?" Indeed, they are. While I am sure that the water off the coast has abundant fish, the island itself is full of chickens. I was pretty pleased.

The second day we were there we took a boat ride around the island with the hope of going snorkeling. Unfortunately, the swells were too big and they left the water churned up and full of sharks. The island was beautiful from the boat. The only word that I can think of to adequately describe the Napali coast of Kauai is mystical. There are these great huge cliffs that are green and sheer at the same time, with narrow dark canyons between them. We also visited one of the tropical botanical gardens on the island and had a fabulous time just wandering almost on our own through an Eden-like garden with wild orchids and lush foliage everywhere.

I can't say I was super excited to come home after such a lovely adventure. You know you've had a good vacation when you really want to stay. But here I am, back home with my nose stuck in my books again. A little jet lagged, but a little more relaxed than I was a week ago.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm Gonna Get Lei'd!

It's been far too long since I've been out and about in the world. My last vacation was last June, and needless to say, all the effects of the relaxation have worn off by now. Well, thank goodness for Mr. Ten S' company, because they are sponsoring our trip next week to Kauai. That's right. Saturday morning Mr. Ten S and I are boarding a plane and are heading to a place far far away from here where people will bring us drinks and we can lay around in the sun all day long if we feel like it.

Good thing this came around, because I am royally burned out. Too much work and school are again sucking the life right out of me. Truthfully, I plan on spending much of the time pretending I'm a sleepy cat, always looking for a good place to nap in the sun. So bring on the tiki bars and leis! I'm ready to lounge.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Keeping It Close To Home

Much like the woman in this video, I have now come close to completing the items on this checklist. Eating local has been the challenge of the year. I will admit that sometimes I fail, but more often than not, with just a little bit of extra effort, it is absolutely possible to eat local. It helps that Bink's favorite food is Whitefish, which is a fish of the Great Lakes. It helps that Sweetness' favorite snack is apples. It helps that we all have a fondness for root veggies, which kept us on track this winter. I'm looking forward to a summer of fabulous local crops, including our own. If I could keep a chicken, I'd do that too! It's all the small things that we do that will keep our beautiful earth healthy longer. And don't forget to turn out the lights!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Cat and a Cup

Much thanks to Beth for her partnership and camaraderie in our tribute to college radio. I am what I am today because of college radio. I'm not going to say I'm smarter, because I certainly "skimped" on my study time when devoted to the station, but I have great memories and music that I carry in my heart everywhere. That's worth way more than the sheepskin on my wall. Please feel free to click on the link above to view our cooperative labor of love and thank Beth for me!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Left" Out

In the late eighties, Split Enz frontman Neil Finn formed what was to be a band that went on to eclipse the Split Enz fame. Crowded House, for me, was one of those bands who even though they attained fairly wide commercial success, never was nor became anything less than a group that consistently produced impeccable music. Their lyrics and harmonies have stayed with me through many years now. Rich and luscious, with Neil's pure voice layered on top, they were and are again one of the best bands that have straddled the alternative/commercial line. While they were a little too commercial to get played on most alternative stations and a little too alternative and thoughtful to get ridiculous overplay on commercial stations, they managed to find their audience, and I for one, appreciate the music they've left for us. This is my very favorite song by them.

CROWDED HOUSE-Into Temptation

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Back in the Game

Aw hell, this video has nothing to do with anything, but it's kind of the frame of mind I'm in right now and therefore, I'm posting it. School starts again tomorrow. Gratefully, the break seemed really long and I actually feel refreshed and pleased that I took some time to remind myself why I'm putting myself through this torture. The good news classwise is that I have the same professor I had for Statistics and he is great. I'm looking forward to another class with him. Even though this is all online, you defintitely get a very strong feel for people's personalities. So, rock out glam style. I'm letting my hair down one last time before I suck it up for the final push. As Bink said today, "Just think, in about a year Bush will be gone and you'll have your Master's. Perfect timing!"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Verdict

Unless they are wrong, my knee problems have been sorted out and the result is not a very happy one for me. My right knee is now feeling fine after being therapized for the last three weeks. My poor left knee, however, is barely better than when I started therapy. Today they told me that it most likely is a problem with my medial meniscus (see illustration). What this means is that this is not just tired muscles or something that has been pulled. This is a piece of my body that basically said, "Screw you. You will never run again."

More than likely, it was damaged because of my faulty mechanics due to ye olde ankle injury. Damn, if that thing hasn't come back to haunt me time after time. If I had known that taking a study break to play in the snow would ruin a portion of my life forever, I would've stayed planted on the sofa. Now I fell like I'm stuck planted on the sofa for an eternity. Today I had to have the "Well, what can I do?" talk. I can swim, ride my bike and maybe walk. Lifting weights is OK too because the movement is controlled. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to run.

As I sit here, about to start school again for the final year and change push, I feel like I didn't accomplish what I wanted to in my time off, which was to get in shape. Actually, my legs are in great shape right now, thanks to physical therapy and the task masters there. I feel my body getting older and I feel like it's time to fight back. If I let go now, it really is all downhill. I'm not ready for that and probably never will be. I just need to wrap my head around the new reality. Maybe if I continue with therapy, and maybe if I regain a little more function in my ankle, I might have a shot at running again. But for now, it's an aborted mission. And it was starting to feel really good again, too.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

When the Lights Go Out

Although Earth Hour Chicago only managed to produce a 5% reduction in energy usage, hopefully the longterm impact will be greater. As I looked out our windows last night, I saw that about a quarter of our neighbors had clearly heard about Earth Hour and were active participants in turning off all their lights for an hour last night. We turned out ours and are going out today to purchase the new CFL lights to replace most of our old lights. For us, this is step two in a plan to lead a more energy conscious and efficient life.

I read article after article about how we are ravaging our planet and how our planet is no longer able to withstand our constant onslaught of abuse. As I've grown older, I am no longer paralyzed with the feeling of helplessness when confronted with issues like this. I know that if we each do our part, we can create change. While I realize that not everyone will support this kind of effort, it is no reason to give up hope. It's my job to do my part and that's what I'm trying to do as best I can. Once again, education and personal action can make a world of difference.

BLACK KEYS-When the Lights Go Out

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rock Band Hall of Fame

Tonight Bink and I have a mission. To rock Moscow. If we succeed, we will be inducted into the Rock Band Hall of Fame. The only thing standing between us and the honor is an eight song set. Bink is hoping it doesn't include "Enter the Sandman." I hope it doesn't include "Run for the Hills." That song is crazy high and I have to sing almost all of it in falsetto, which makes my throat feel like raw meat by the time I finish it. Wish us luck. This is our proudest moment.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Peepster!


Happy Easter, if that's your thing, everybody! I had to share our peeptastic adventure. Sweetness was offered extra credit by her Social Studies teacher if she created a Peeps diorama portraying any historical event. My contribution was providing the widest variety of Peep product as I could. Sweetness took them and ran. We used to live in California. We used to live on Donner Avenue. Really. We did. So, of course, she chose that moment of history and her odd personal connection to it as her inspiration for some Peep magic. She used blue Peep bunnies, as she felt they were anatomically closer to humans than the chicks and therefore better to create cannibalization, and the lovely new yellow Peep tulips to represent the fire that they roasted the poor soul over. She's a nice girl. I swear. So, hope you all have a Happy Easter and if you are planning a journey out west, I recommend you take the path most travelled, as opposed to the shortcut.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Achy Breaky Random Ten

This week's random ten finds me a bit achy and a bit breaky. I have a fever and I managed to damage my knees at the gym. I'm Adviled up and iced down and feeling a little less tenacious than usual. Hopefully this won't stop me from seeing Negro Commando tomorrow night at the Cobra Lounge. Negro Commando was the incubator for Naked Raygun. It consisted of Marko Pezzati, Jeff Pezzati and Santiago Durango. I doubt they will ever play together again, so it sure would be nice to be well enough to go. Here's some fuel for your weekend:

1. We Used to be Friends-The Dandy Warhols
2. Challengers-The New Pornographers
3. Seagulls Screaming Kiss Me, Kiss Me-XTC
4. 1000 Tons of Ice-The Bomb
5. Sad Transmission-The Raveonettes
6. Alex Chilton-The Replacements
7. Hit a Nerve-The Methadones
8. Mirrorful-Jawbox
9. Give Me Novacaine-Green Day
10. Plots and Plans-Film School


Monday, March 10, 2008

Mixtape Madness

I am one happy kitty! For all of you who know me, you know how much I love to win! And win I did. I will be assisting the lovely Ms. Cup on an upcoming Mix Tape. You betcha there'll be Raygun!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Return of the Friday Random 10

I know. I know. I have been a horrible slacker. No excuses this time. Let's rock!

1. Bittersweet-Hoodoo Gurus
2. Target-Fugazi
3. Jumping Someone Else's Train-The Cure
4. When the Rainbow Comes-World Party
5. Always in Love-Wilco
6. This Wheel's on Fire-Siouxsie and the Banshees
7. West End Girls-Pet Shop Boys
8. Hours-TV on the Radio
9. Etheriel-Lush
10. Idiot Princess-Guided By Voices

HOODOO GURUS-Bittersweet

Many years ago, during my last year in undergrad a bunch of my friends and I lived in a house together. We all worked at the radio station together and each room had its own vibe. Next door to us lived a bunch of guys that were in a local Columbia, South Carolina band that I can only describe as The Cramps meet Guns and Roses. Their house was not surprisingly called Voodoo Mansion. We decided our house needed a name as well and my roommate, Heather, who adored the Hoodoo Gurus named our house the Hoodoo Hut. Now anytime I hear their music, I am transported back to that time and place.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mutant Pets

This is Ed. Ed is the main act in the mutant pet parade that we have going on at our house. Ed is beautiful, but as you can tell by the look in his eye, he is no angel. Ed spends his days alternating between sleeping on any clothes that might be laying around the house (he especially has taken a shine to Bink's down parka) and blazing through the house, sounding much like an entire herd of wildebeest. Ed believes that because he is beautiful, he is also dainty. He frequently likes to jump on top of my dresser or Sweetness' dresser thusly clearing the decks with his large furry hindquarters. Except for the attempts when he crashes on the way up and sulks off, licking his fur and his pride. Ed likes his water fresh from the tap and yowls for us to turn it on at 6 a.m.. Ed also likes the following two pets and is often found perched on top of their cage with his paw swiping down into the cage hoping for an afternoon snack.

Our next mutant pets are Mandy the guinea pig(*break into Barry Mannilow in your mind at this point*) and Moon Unit the "dwarf" lop-eared bunny (*break into "Valley Girl" in your mind now). Mandy has been with us for a couple of years and really, other than the copious quantity of poop that she produces, she is pretty cool. Sadly, lately, she has become the bunny's bitch. We bought the bunny a few months ago at the insistence of Sweetness. It was the smallest bunny in the hutch at the pet store and we were told it was a "dwarf" rabbit. I think what they meant to say was that it was a baby bunny and would be getting much larger. At this point, I am convinced it is doubling in size each day. Moon Unit has decided that Mandy is not clean enough and has taken to grooming her 24/7. Poor Mandy cowers in the corner and submits to the bunny's incessant licking. Then there's the hopping. I don't know about you, but I really wouldn't want to be steamrolled by what looks to be a bullet out of a shotgun that was twice my weight and size. I know I shouldn't, but I do laugh really hard when the bunny gets a full head of steam on and crashes into Mandy, literally sending her tumbling end over end.

Last, but not least, there is lowly Grottle the tortoise. Grottle has been with us almost a year. She is slow but as sweet as a tortoise could possibly be. Sadly, she is our constantly ailing pet. Just like the lizard that went before her, she can't seem to keep healthy and has cost way too much for anything so unfuzzy. Her story is not so funny. I soak her and put drops in her eyes and give her supercharged vitamin water and she still is sickly. I think if anything happens to her, I'm going to give up on the whole reptile thing. They aren't meant to be pets. Ed does enjoy watching her soak in her little tub, although not as much as he enjoys watching guinea and bunny when they are in their big pen for a run. For that show, he hides behind various Hot Wheel track inching closer and closer, as if we don't see his large furry self sneaking up on them.

The point here is, well, there isn't much of a point. I always wondered as a kid why my parents wouldn't let me have more pets. I think I have my answer now. I just didn't want to be one of those parents who wouldn't let their kids have pets. As odd as they all are, they are part of our family, for better or for worse.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Just Sayin'

I realize I am stating the obvious when I make this comparison, but come on. Is this really the personification of rock and roll or just a horror film gone wrong? And I sit and watch it all. What does that say about me?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sorry...I've Been Sleeping

I think I am slowly perfecting the art of hibernating, or at least semi-hibernating. I've had busy days and have been in bed around 9:30 most nights. Life just has no pull against the thought of warm blankets. Just making the most of the end of the hibernation season.

Please enjoy this video while I nap.

THE CURE-Lullaby

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Annual Checkup

The recent shootings at Northern Illinois University have raised questions once again as to why these events keep happening. While I can't say that this is my area of expertise, I do think that our failings in dealing with mental health issues is one of the roots of this problem. In this article (, the issue of both stigma of mental health issues is raised as well as how effective we are in dealing with them. It is a fact that many mental health disorders begin in late childhood and early adulthood. It is not uncommon for a mental health disorder to have rapid onset. Knowing the signs and symptoms of the most common disorders should be as widely spread knowledge as women knowing how to do a self breast exam. We know the signs of a heart attack. We know many of the warning signals of cancer. Why do we still as a society seem mystified by mental health disorders?

I believe part of the reason for our failing level of knowledge in this area of health is the stigma that mental health issues still carry. Just like many other illnesses they are often genetic in nature. Much like the rise in other illnesses due to the environmental pollutants we live with, mental health disorders often are triggered by many of these same elements. We fill our food with additives and preservatives. We drink water from lakes with barely acceptable mercury levels. Is it any surprise that there is an increase in mental health disorders? Yet, unlike their medical counterparts, mental health issues carry with them a stigma. Only with widespread knowledge will this stigma ever be lifted.

So, what should we do? My suggestion is to take mental health issues just as seriously as physical health. Know the signs and symptoms of some of the most common disorders. If you have concerns, take yourself or your child immediately to a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. You wouldn't attempt to treat yourself for cancer. Why would anyone think that they could attempt to treat a mental health disorder on their own?

Monday, February 18, 2008


Those who have known me for a long time know that once upon a time, I was a runner. My freshman year in college I was goofing around in the first snow of the season in Grand Rapids, Michigan and broke my ankle. I wish I could say it was a simple fracture, but the truth was that I literally shattered the joint and couldn't even walk for longer than I can even believe. For years my ankle was weak and even with physical therapy, I was left with seriously curtailed range of motion. I really, in some aspects, have never been the same.

At the time of the accident, I was a pretty physically active person. I enjoyed running, riding my bike and skiing. After the accident, all of these things were very painful to me and usually ended up in further injury due to compensating for my less than perfect ankle. I really haven't run in any serious way since then. I have missed it all these years. When I think of who I am, part of who I think I am is a runner. I still think I am a runner. Today for a short time, I was a runner.

I am always afraid of breaking into a run because of the pain that it frequently involves. I have been busy with school and more out of shape than ever lately. Today at the gym, I was warmed up and walking at a good speed and with a steep incline and when I lowered the incline and upped the speed, I kind of thought, "Why not?" What was the worst thing that would happen. I might fall. I might not be able to handle the pace. The worst thing that did happen was that I immediately noticed the extra weight I have been carrying.

In a heartbeat, or a few hundred, I felt like a runner again. I immediately found my stride and my old running posture felt like a friend. I like the feeling of pushing myself further than I think I can go. I like crawling up into the far recesses of my brain to find that extra bit of strength to get me through. I am very good at moving through pain. I realized today that I can run again.

Two seconds after this realization, my dream of one day running a marathon also came springing back to life. I thought of Bubs' sad experience this past year, but I also thought of another friend's positive experience a few years ago. At 43, I am not ready to give up on my long held dream. I'm a girl who likes a project and a challenge. It's what I live for.

So here's the deal. I really want to run a marathon. It's early in the season and I do think I could be ready by next fall. The thought of seriously being a runner again makes me giddy. Keep in mind that I ran today in walking shoes and those suckers are heavy! I can do this. I want to do this. I'm not sure yet how I am going to balance this with school when it starts again, but I'm tired of being unhealthy and I desperately miss running. I'm putting this out there so that people will check in with me and make sure I'm not slacking. I want to bring back that part of who I am. I want to hear that gun go off. I want to run.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Belly of Winter

The holidays are over, the first few beautiful snows have come and gone. The temperatures have hit rock bottom. Is it any wonder that many of us start to feel a little uneasy this time of year? Even though T S Elliott has said that April is the cruellest month, I have always felt that February is far worse. There really is no promise of spring yet. Winter is growing old. The lack of sun starts to take its toll on the collective psyche of the metropolitan area, leaving most people a little crankier and sullen than usual. When I think of Chicago, I think of people with a big warm smile, but not so much in February. This is the month that I wonder why people don't hibernate. I'm jealous of bears. I want nothing more than to curl up under a pile of blankets and stay there until the sun moves further north and the world is a little brighter again.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Start Making the Dream a Reality Today

I don't know about any of you, but screw Mardi Gras this year. I am so much more excited to go vote and begin changing America. I know I only have one vote and that this is only the primaries, but today I feel like I can have a hand in reclaiming our country. It's finally happening.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Despite All My Rage I Am Still Just a Rat in a Cage

Can't think of a more fun way to spend a weekend than to have multiple observers while you do therapy. I'm in the process of getting an additional certification for my job and today I got to try out the new therapy technique with one of my clients while several people watched from another room. In all honesty, in many ways it really doesn't fluster me at all, I just hate the idea of it. I have no real fear of failing in front of others in part because I know that therapy is such a crap shoot anyways. Each kid is different and every day is different and depending on who is in what kind of mood, sometimes you are just more successful than others. It's a harsh reality, but it's the truth.

So this new therapy shows a lot of promise, but in some ways I feel like I am being reined in a bit too much. A lot like my experience with religion, I have a hard time really feeling like anything is the be all and end all in the world of therapy. I have learned to trust my years of experience and my knowledge of the child. So, to be hobbled by one particular approach is a bit difficult. Even though I claim to be an ABA practitioner, my boss likes to call what we do "enlightened ABA." This essentially means that if something isn't working, fix it.

I guess in some ways I don't mind being poked at and stared at as long as it gets me closer to having a better solution for my clients. I have a lot of questions for our teacher tomorrow. I get critiqued in the morning and I hope I learn something. Later in the day I get to do my best rat impression again. Sometimes I wonder if my clients feel the same way.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another Year Older and Closer to Death

Mr. Ten S and I will be at Exit tomorrow night where they will be spinning '80's and industrial music upstairs from about 10 until we tip over. Just wanted a chance to hear the music that I love REAL LOUD for my birthday this year. Love to have you join us! Let me know if you're thinking about heading over, so I can save a chair for you!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

5 Things I Had No Clue About When I Was 25

While it often seems that time flies, when I think about being 25, that was a LONG time ago. So thanks to Bubs, I am supposed to come up with five things that I didn't expect to be in mylife when I was 25.

1. Being Married to Mr. Ten S-When I was 25, we had just barely started dating. Although I did like him a whole lot, I had no idea that we would be spending our lives together.

2. Attempting Graduate School Twice-Because apparently once was not enough for me. I almost finished a MS in Communication Disorders, but then kids and life set me on a slightly different path. I think I always knew though that I would not be satisfied with myself until I completed a Master's degree, hence, round two.

3. Losing My Mom-My dad is a full ten years older than my mom and I think everyone in my family just assumed that we would lose dad first. Not that I wished death on either one of them, but it was a shock when my mom got sick and it is the one thing that has changed me more than I could ever tell anyone in words. I am not the same person. I will never be the same person again. I'm OK, just very different. Unless it has happened to you, you will never understand what I am saying even if you try.

4. Being Around For a Naked Raygun Reunion-Come on. I had to lighten it up. I love Naked Raygun. You all know that. It goes far beyond just liking the music. These are great guys in a band that to me is part of my hometown and part of who I am and how I identify myself. I was sad when they did a reunion when I lived in California and feared I would never see them live ever again. I had no idea that when I contacted Jeff Pezzati on a whim and a dream to play my 40th birthday party that it would buy me a frontseat to their reunion and a rekindling of a friendship that I now treasure.

5. Two Kids That Amaze Me-Although I think I always knew I would have kids, I never really dreamed about who they would be. From the very beginning I have tried to not impose expectations on them and to let them unfold as their own person. By doing this, I am constantly amazed and surprised by them. Sweetness is an interesting and artistically talented girl with an old soul. Bink is crunchy on the outside with a gooey center that is all love sprinkled with curiosity.

I couldn't have asked for more and I have more than I ever imagined in many ways. Loss has taught me to appreciate every moment with every person. Distance has taught me to appreciate my hometown. Struggle has taught me to appreciate the moments of calm. I consider myself a very fortunate person. I have done many things that I wanted to do. I love and feel loved. I know who I am.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Important Update!

I look like this again! Because I am Tenacious S, I tracked down my professor just so I could get an explanation of the grade. I wasn't going to accept this easily. She emailed me almost immediately and was full of apology because she said that when she printed out my paper the last six pages didn't print. WTF? As if I would write an impeccable paper and then just not write a Summary or a Reference section. Well, thank goodness my tenacity paid off. My grade is now the A it should have been all along. I knew it! Back in the hunt for Magna Cum Laude. Or not.

I feel a little bad that I have been a blog slacker lately. The good news is that I actually have been busy working and having a life. Saw Eddie clearwater last night at Bill's Blues in Evanston, which is owned by our friend. I hung out, heard great music and drank until I literally fell off my chair. That's when I decided it was time to go home. See? I really am smart!

Monday, January 14, 2008

This is What I Look Like When I Am a Little Angry

I just found out today that I got a B in my last class. I am not happy. I am especially not happy because I worked harder and longer on that term paper than any other. It virtually ruined Christmas for our family. I deserve an A for the sacrifice alone! Further irritating me is that I was given a grade with no explanation of anything. Last I checked, I was still getting an A. What the hell happened? This is exactly why I hate grad school. This is what I remember from last time.

Last time I was in school, I had to drive well over an hour to get there. One semester I drove all the way down to pick up a copy of our take home final only to find out that the professor hadn't made enough copies and that she was nowhere to be found. Mind you, this was before the days of email. I had to *&%$$%%% drive back two days later to get a copy and then had two days less to complete the stupid thing.

What I remember is that if you didn't read your professor right, you could have your grade lowered just because they never really articulated what it was they were expecting. I followed the rubric exactly for this paper. It was edited over and over again. It was plenty long and well supported. I just want to know at this point what I did wrong so I don't do it again.

In a way, as irritated as I am, it is a blessing in disguise. I no longer have a prayer of Magna Cum Laude. That was a ridiculous pressure I was putting on myself. I guess now maybe I'll be a little more relaxed about this. I'm not perfect. My grades aren't perfect. Oh well.

I am even happier that I am taking this quarter off. I probably needed a little perspective. Towards the end, I kind of felt like I was on a runaway train with no hope of controlling it or stopping it. It was a bad ride. Maybe when I go back I'll be able to enjoy it a little more. I am learning lots of cool stuff and all that matters in the end is that I get my degree and get on with my life.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Seven Things You Don't Know About Me (But Lulu Might)

I always feel a little weird writing these types of posts. I think part of it is because I am not a particularly secretive person and have a tendency to just blab whatever comes to mind with little filter. So, are there seven things you don't know? Let's find out. Thanks to Flannery for hooking me up with the ability to potentially embarass myself.

1. I have a few vivid memories from when I was two. I've been told that not many people have memories from when they were that young. Bink, my son, also has very early memories. What this means or if this is of any benefit, I don't know.

2. I named my first cat Tabitha, after the girl on Bewitched. We later found out it was a boy and changed his name to Charlie.

3. I punched a hole in the wall of the duplex I lived in during my junior year in college. The guys who lived on the other side would not stop playing Night Ranger and I was in full Bauhaus mode at that time. Yup. I hate Night Ranger that much.

4. I preferred playing with GI Joe to Barbie, which made my childhood friend Laura cry more than once because I ran off to play with her brothers. I never really liked girls' toys very much. Unlike Flannery, I didn't want to be a boy, but I preferred their company.

5. The first few times I DJed at the college radio station I refused to talk. My friend, Jeanne, did the shift with me, so I would spin the records and do all the technical stuff and Jeanne would talk. It didn't last very long. I ended up liking it and spent far too much time at the station before it was all said and done. It's a minor miracle I graduated college.

6. Being a big fat chicken probably saved my life once. I went on a wilderness trip to the mountains in southeast Colorado when I was in high school. While we were there, we went on several rock climbing excursions. Because there was a large number of us climbing, those who reached the top and were waiting were clipped into an anchored ring for obvious safety reasons. When I reached the top, I was supposedly clipped in with everyone else. A bunch of people were getting silly and were running for the edge of the cliff, only to get yanked back when they ran out of rope and were anchored. Almost everyone did this. I hate heights and it was a amazing that I even managed the climb, so I clearly chose not to participate in this game. I found out as we were leaving that they had made a mistake with my ropes and I wasn't clipped in like the rest of them. I would have gone sailing off the edge of the cliff.

7. I have almost zero knowlege of primetime TV from my younger years. My parents were very strict both with what we could watch and how much we could watch. I really only remember Flipper, Little House on the Prairie, some Waltons, The Muppet Show and Emergency (which I lived for since I thought that Randolph Mantooth/Johnny Gage was totally hot). So if you all refer to retro TV shows, I haven't a clue.

Seems like lots of folks have already done this, so I'm only going to tag Lulu. Anarchy!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Really Important Announcement!!!!

Just noticed that none other than the New York Dolls are playing at the Double Door on Saturday, February 23. I think this may need to be an event!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A New Leaf

As the new year unfolds, I find myself thinking more and more about what I can do to make this world a better place in the coming year. I have often thought about getting one of the local farm delivery bushels, but I live in a house with one very picky eater in it and worry that some would go to waste, as the selections are made for you. I don't really have the money to buy food that will go unused and, well, it kind of seems like it would defeat the purpose. So I started searching around for alternatives and I think I have arrived at a couple. I've long known that there is a local poultry seller in neighboring Glenview. I pass nearby at least once a week in my travels. We eat a lot of chicken. Today I was cheered even further by the discovery of a local market that sells mainly local produce. Even better, it is an independent business, which I prefer to patronize. Best yet, it's no further than I used to travel to another store that I frequented, so I don't feel like I'll be burning tons of fuel to get there.

Time off of school has given me the chance to reflect that I kind of didn't have time for in the past year or so. I'm hoping I can start some new habits during these three months off that will carry me through the rest of my schooling with myself, my family and our impact on the planet in better shape. We have already gone on a "lights off" campaign and I have taught the kids to turn off the lights while proclaiming, "Save the polar bears." I know we have only begun to make some changes, but we are all mindful of the consequences and I think that's a good place to start.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Friday 10, Better Late Than Never

1. Give Me Novacaine-Green Day
2. Highwire Days-Psychedelic Furs
3. Funk Pop A Roll-XTC
4. Save It For Later-The English Beat
5. The Mule-Naked Raygun
6. Falling Forward-The Methadones
7. Gary's Got a Boner-The Replacements
8. Pump It Up-Elvis Costello
9. Bright Fresh Flower-Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians
10. Green Gloves-The National

After a long absence from the Friday 10, I've returned. My only comment is that there was no monkey business regarding the connection between #7 and #8. I swear. Happy Friday!