Last Week Delight 9/12/2022

I feel like I have fewer delights than normal this week. Let’s see what we do have though.

  • I saw something the other day online to the effect of cats’ purring being a singular expression of love. I don’t think that was the exact quote, but it was essentially the idea that there is nothing else that duplicates purring, which is really true. Scientists still don’t really know why cats purr, but it’s something special they do that let’s you know they’re happy and that endears you to them. Do you ever not feel great when you do something that makes a cat purr?
  • I have been doing 2 jobs since December 2020. In March 2022, in addition the extra job I was already doing I got handed two other jobs. I’m slowly, slowly divesting myself of them. We finally hired someone to do the job I had been doing for a year and half back in June. This week we hired someone to do one of the other jobs I’ve been doing since March. So now I’m back down to only two jobs again. It’s an improvement even though the one I’m left with is my least favorite of all of them. We haven’t had luck filling it so far, but we just re-posted it, so fingers crossed. I’m not sure I’ll even know what my actual job is anymore when this is all over.
  • We met friends for dinner at Cypriana on Friday night. It was a beautiful late summer evening, and they have a really nice patio plus delicious food. It’s been a really long time since I’ve actually gone out to dinner with friends. My husband and I have occasionally eaten outside at restaurants, but mostly we do takeout. It might be almost a year since since I actually ate at an actual restaurant with anyone but him though.
  • Speaking of the delicious food at Cypriana, I feel like I’ve mentioned this here before, but they have the best salmon. It’s literally the only entree I’ve ever eaten there and it may be the only one I ever eat because it’s so good I never want to try anything else.
  • Yesterday was our annual neighborhood festival, which has been canceled the last several years. It was nice to have it back even if it was not quite back to the same scale that it was before the pandemic. It was actually more like it was when I first started going. Then someone came up with the idea for the toilet bowl race, which was essentially a box car race except that your car had to include a toilet. That made the festival much more popular and drew a lot more people from outside the neighborhood. They didn’t have that this year. I’m not sure why, but I hope the race will be back someday at a future festival. I went up and wandered around for a little while and got some food, but I also just opened more door and listened to the music from the stage set up at the end of my block for awhile throughout the day.
  • Rainy Sundays. Sometimes it’s nice to have a rainy Sunday to give you the excuse to not do anything. It’s not like I had anything big planned anyway, but the rain made it so I didn’t feel guilty for just being lazy. With the heat of the summer I’ve been getting up early to get outside an exercise, but with the rain I had an excuse just to lie in bed hours later than I normally would have. Since church is outside right now, even though it’s covered I used the rain as excuse to watch online instead. That meant I had time to make french toast for breakfast. I also would have read and watched tv anyway, but the rain made it seem like a solid plan rather than just being lazy. I would have felt totally differently if I had outdoor plans. Next weekend I would like the weather to be really nice the whole time because I am going to be outside for pretty much the entire thing except sleeping. This weekend though it was nice to have a rainy day. Sorry to anyone whose outdoor plans did get ruined.

I almost didn’t have a musical delight for this week, but after I wrote this but before I actually posted it I came across this lovely tweet that is musically related.

Last Week Delight 9/5/2022

We have a lot of delights this week, many of them musical. At one point I thought I was going to have an all music delights post this week, but things seem to have evened out at the end of the week. I’m realizing that most of the non-musical things are about food. I guess I like to eat and listen to music. So let’s get to it.

  • On Sunday I got to visit with friends who I haven’t seen in a long time, some of them in a very long time. Friends that used to live in Baltimore but moved out to Colorado over a decade ago were back in town visiting this weekend as part of a crazy cross-country trip they are currently taking. Some of our other friends invited a bunch of people over for a bbq to see them while they were here. That meant I also got to see other friends that I haven’t seen in awhile. Another friend got married and moved out to West Virginia where his wife is from last year. It was great to see him and finally meet his wife. There were also some other friends who do still live in Maryland but who I’m not sure that I’ve seen since the pandemic started. So it was a great afternoon of catching up with old friends.
  • I also got to pick crabs at the party, which I enjoy doing exactly once a year. My Facebook memories inform me that it often happens on Labor Day weekend at these very friend’s house that I was at this weekend. Due to a screw up with our order we even got some larger crabs for cheaper.
  • We made s’mores over their fire pit at the party as well. I had seen something on social media at some point earlier this year recommending using Ghirardelli chocolate squares in them, and I was like why have I never done this before? So I stopped on the way to the party and picked up a bag of milk chocolate caramel squares and a bag of dark chocolate sea salt caramel squares. It was indeed an excellent decision and something I highly recommend. Though it does make the s’mores much more expensive than if you’re just breaking up some Hershey bars to share.
  • My husband and I went out to dinner on Thursday night. The restaurant we went to had a section of spiritless cocktails on their menu. As someone who can’t drink, I always appreciate when restaurants do this. I don’t know why more of them don’t because it’s really in their best interest. It got $6.50 out of me that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise because I would have just drank a free glass of water instead. I don’t care for soda, so usually I just wind up drinking water at restaurants. I suppose I could ask the bar to make me something non-alcoholic even if it’s not on the menu, but I wouldn’t even know what to ask for, and it seems like a lot of work. I like being presented with a list of options and getting to choose something instead of just hoping the bartender can whip me something good.
  • The same restaurant had Smith Island cake for dessert, which is the state dessert of Maryland. The distinguishing feature of a Smith Island cake is that it usually has somewhere between 9 and 12 thin layers of cake with some sort of icing sandwiched between them. The original version is sort of a dense vanilla cake with a very fudgy chocolate frosting, but they make them in all sort of flavors. I made one when they were debating making it the state dessert and there was a recipe published in the paper. Although they are delicious, they are a big, fat pain in the butt to make and I vowed never to make another one. My friend kept bugging me to bake one. Around that time she was house hunting and I often went with her to look at houses. She’s super picky and wouldn’t commit to anything, so I told her if she bought a house I would bake her a Smith Island cake for a housewarming. She never did buy a house back then, but when she eventually got married I did finally bake a second one to surprise her at her bridal shower. Despite it being the state dessert you don’t see Smith Island cakes on too many restaurant menus, so I’m always happy when I can enjoy one that someone else has baked for me.
  • It was fried chicken biscuit day at blacksauce kitchen. It’s my favorite of their biscuit sandwiches, but they only have it a couple of times a year. I was happy to enjoy one this weekend.
  • My friend sent me a link to some other t-shirt that she was looking at on the Snorg Tees website, so then I started looking through designs and stumbled across this Animals of the World one. I’m not going to buy it, but it cracked me up. Death floof! Formal chicken!

And now for your many musical delights for the week:

  • In my post about seeing Mary Chapin Carpenter in concert the other week I mentioned that at the concert she had mentioned a series of videos she did during the first year of the pandemic. They are all still available, so I have been making my way through them. I started with One Night Lonely, which is the full concert she did with no audience at Wolf Trap. She sang the first song standing backwards on the stage so that you could see out into the empty venue. It didn’t make me happy, but it did give me a lot feels and make me nostalgic for some of the pandemic musical experiences that got me through those early days. I’d never actually want to relive that, so nostalgia for it feels odd. The human brain is weird y’all. I’ve also been watching the Songs from Home series she did on Youtube and came across the song “Don’t Need Much to Be Happy”, which I had not been familiar with before. It seems like the theme song of this blog post series.
  • I’m doing a rewatch of One Tree Hill while listening to the Drama Queens podcast. One of the reasons I loved that show so much is the use of music and how integral it was to the show. In the episode that I was watching last week they used the song “World Spins Madly On” by the Weepies, which is a song I haven’t thought about it in years. I really love it though and it fit perfectly in the episode.
  • For some reason I’ve heard the song “Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin multiple times recently. It was a song and an album I adored when it came out, but then the song got way overplayed and I grew tired of it and could no longer hear what I loved about it to begin with. Apparently 30+ years is finally long enough to bring me back around on it somewhat as I really did enjoy hearing it again.
  • In other songs that I haven’t heard in a really long time, I heard the song “True Companion” by Marc Cohn. Most people if they know any of his songs know “Walking in Memphis”, but I was also partial to this song. My mom had this album on cassette tape when I was a kid. When we went on road trips we would take turns choosing what cassette to listen to, and I remember this being one of my favorite choices.
  • I’m going to leave you with this hilariously awful version of “Summer Breeze”, a song really love normally. I don’t know much about the origin of this video other than it was recorded at some benefit concert thrown by Judd Apatow at Largo in L.A. I don’t know what it’s a benefit for, but it did feature this cover of “Summer Breeze” performed by Dave Grohl, Beck, Tenacious D, and John C. Reilly.

TV Diary

I’m back with another roundup of what I’ve been watching since the last time I wrote one of these posts.

The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty is an Amazon show based on a YA book by Jenny Han, who also wrote To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, which was a smash Netflix movie. I have never read any of the books, but I preferred this over To All the Boys. Probably partly because it was a series instead of a movie which gave more time for the story to breathe. The things that annoyed me the most all had to do with the debutante ball, but I’m sure all that stuff is straight from the book and not some plot pulled out of thin air. So I don’t hold it against the show itself. I too would like to live a life where my rich friends invite me to live at their beach house with them all summer, but alas I think this is only something that happens in book, tv, and movies. This show has excellent YA romance love triangles/squares plus rich people beach house porn. What’s not to love?

Our Flag Means Death

Our Flag Means Death is definitely for a particular taste and sense of humor, but luckily it was to my taste. It’s a Taika Waititi show, which should give you some general idea if it’s for you or not. Stede Bonnet is a rich, married man who abandons his wife and children to become a pirate despite not actually liking anything that pirates have to do. He pulls together a rag tag bunch of sailors for his crew and they set out to prove themselves as pirates despite Stede’s aversion to actually torturing or murdering anyone. They get into battle and then join forces with Captain Blackbeard (played by Waititi) and his crew. It’s got a dry, sort of twisted sense of humor and some nice slow burning love stories.

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel is the only one of the Disney Marvel tv shows I have watched (though my husband is making me watch She-Hulk now). Overall I enjoyed it though sometimes found it to be a clunky mix between a coming of age story and a superhero show. I vastly preferred the coming of age parts of the story and really wish that it had been about a Kamala’s life as a teenage girl trying to figure out her life without all the superhero stuff tacked on.

Uncoupled

I’ve seen a lot of shade thrown at this show, but all the things that seemed to bother a lot of other people didn’t bother me as such. I don’t care that I’m watching a show about rich people problems with a bunch of unrealistic characters. I also love/hate Emily in Paris by the same creator, though he also created Sex in the City, which I did eventually watch all of but never liked. This I more straight up like, but I also don’t think it’s the best show in the world. It’s for sure living in a different reality than most people. Neil Patrick Harris’s character is for sure annoying and self-centered, but the reason that it works is because his friends call him on it. He doesn’t get to just wander around being self-absorbed without anyone pointing out what an ass he’s being. I found it an enjoyable way to escape from regular life for 5 hours.

Yellowjackets

Thanks to an Amazon Prime Day deal we subscribed to Showtime for a month for 99 cents to finally watch Yellowjackets, which everyone else had been going on about months and months ago. They did a phenomenal job casting the adult and teenage versions of the characters. I’m interested in it enough to watch another season, but I’m not in love with it as much as everyone else seems to be. I just don’t care enough about whatever evil mysterious thing is wherever the plane crash landed that’s leading the girls to do whatever it is that they did. I know they’re adding adult versions of some of the other girls, so I guess it will be interesting to see how they expand out the present day world as I did sort of wonder what happened to everyone else and why we were only focused on these four women.

God’s Favorite Idiot

God’s Favorite Idiot is a Netflix show starring Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone. He is apparently chosen by God for something that is unclear to him. While he’s trying to figure that out Lucifer comes after him. It’s a comedy and all a little bit non-sensical, but I enjoyed it well enough.

Severence

Based on everything I heard about Severence on AppleTV+ before I started watching it, I had kind of assumed it was a comedy. It’s not really. It’s more of a drama, though I guess it has some twisted comedic undertones. It’s certainly not a straightforward, laugh out loud comedy. That’s for sure. People seemed to love this show, but I did not. I mostly found it boring. It definitely lost my attention and I either slept through parts of it or was playing on my phone enough to not really know what exactly happened. I for sure could not tell you what happened at the end of the season. If there is another season of this show, I shan’t be watching it.

The Bear

In keeping with the trend of shows that everyone seemed to love that didn’t do much for me, we have The Bear. I centers on a renowned high end chef who moves back to Chicago to take over his brother’s sandwich shop after his brother commits suicide. He tries to make lots of changes to how the business is run and everything sort of falls apart. People talked a lot about how stressful the show was to watch. I can see that. Literally every episode I don’t know how these people managed to serve food to anyone. However, I personally didn’t feel stressed watching it. Perhaps because I never worked in the food industry so it didn’t bring up any personal experiences for me. I thought the show was okay, but not the masterpiece other people seem to think it is.

Last Week Delight 8/30/2022

Before we get into this week’s delights, a little behind the scenes info. I keep track of my weekly delights in the Notes app on my phone. When something brings me a little joy or makes me smile I try to remember to jot it down in my Notes app, so that when I’m writing these posts I’ll remember what happened over the last week. I have a handful of things in that Note that have been there since the beginning of this process as they are perpetual things that make me happy. I figure they are delights in my back pocket in case I have a week where I don’t have a lot of other things to talk about. I believe that one or two of them have made it into previous posts. Another one is going to make it in this week’s list for a very specific reason unrelated to the fact that I don’t have as many things to post about this week as in some previous weeks.

  • That thing is stickers on poles. Many of the light poles and electrical boxes in my neighborhood are covered in stickers that people have put on them. I enjoy looking at the random stickers that get put up on them.
  • That leads into this second delight. Since January 11, 2021 I have been posting a photo a day in my Instagram stories of the flamingos I find in people’s yards within walking distance of my house. Flamingos are a thing in my neighborhood, but I honestly never thought it would go on this long. This week is about to mark the end of that project as I have run out of new flamingos to post. I warned people that #FlamingoaDay was about to come to an end. One of my friends was very upset about this and sent me a pack of 50 flamingo stickers. I guess she expects me to go around defacing light poles with stickers myself and then posting about it to keep the project going. One of the things I enjoyed about doing this is hunting for the flamingos, so it won’t really be the same if I’m the one putting them out. Another friend is also very disturbed that as it stands now this project would end just shy of 600 flamingos. So to please both of them and remedy what I have always thought is very odd that despite all the stickers and all the flamingos, I have never seen a flamingo sticker, I am going to stick up a few flamingos around the neighborhood just until I get to 600. I’m not going to do all 50.
  • Someone posted about their missing cat in our neighborhood Facebook page the other day. They said that she responds to food, her name, and pspspspsp, which cracked me up.
  • There is a stand at our farmer’s market called blacksauce kitchen that is famous for its biscuit sandwiches. Most Saturday’s I get breakfast from them. Last week I was in line behind this older woman who had apparently never been to blacksauce kitchen and had no idea what it was. I guess she just saw a really long line and decided to get in it to see what everyone was waiting for or something. I have no idea. All I know is that she started asking all kinds of questions when she got to the front of the line like literally what is a biscuit sandwich. The woman taking orders was like um it’s a sandwich made on a biscuit. There were a lot of questions many of which seemed to have obvious answers. She finally managed to order something. When I got up to take my order the woman working there said to me, I just gave myself a raise after that. I guess that woman must have liked what she ordered though because this week when I got in line she was right in front of me again. This line is always crazy long. Like what are the odds that I wind up right behind this same woman two weeks in a row? As soon as I got in line and my husband saw her he just looked at me and started laughing.
  • Someone I follow somewhere shared this lovely Twitter thread. It’s a crazy story, apparently all true, and with a wonderful ending. Just go read it.

And now for your musical delights.

  • As I’m writing this I’m watching a replay of a livestream of the Trampled by Turtles concert at Red Rocks that happened earlier this week. One of the few good things that came from COVID is the acceleration of livestreams of concerts being available. There’s still only a real minority of shows that you can livestream, but it’s way more than pre-pandemic. It’s not the same as being there, but I was never going to get to Red Rocks to see this show in person despite Red Rocks being at the top of my concert venue bucket list. Even better I didn’t even have to pay for this. I’m on their mailing list and got an email saying that if I pre-saved their new album on Spotify I would get a code to watch the replay of the livestream this weekend for free. It’s been a great show, so I’m very glad I got to watch it. Multiple of their children have come out to sing with them on songs as well as Erin Rae and Caamp who opened for them. Caamp joined them on “Alone”, which is my all time favorite Trampled by Turtles song, so that made me very happy.
  • On the most recent episode of the Song Exploder podcast Madonna was on talking about the song “Hung Up” from her album Confessions on a Dance Floor. I hadn’t thought about that album in a very long time despite the fact that when it came out it I listened to it pretty much daily for months as the soundtrack to working out back in the days before podcasts were a thing and I replaced listening to music while exercising with listening to podcasts. Listening to it brought back a lot of memories of a very particular time in my life. It led to me actually listening to the full album for the first time in probably at least a decade. It’s definitely of a time, but I still enjoyed it.
  • Apparently Billy Joel brought out Olivia Rodrigo to sing her song “Deja Vu” and his song “Uptown Girl” with him during one of his recent concerts at Madison Square Garden. I thought that was pretty great. I like how he’s just kind of grinning at her watching her sing. Delight.

Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter at Wolf Trap

Last night I went down to Wolf Trap to see Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter at Wolf Trap. It was actually a show rescheduled from sometime in the summer of 2020 when it didn’t happen for obvious reasons. I actually didn’t have tickets to the original show. It must have been scheduled for a date that theoretically conflicted with some other plans I had, but I was able to make the rescheduled date for this summer. So I guess COVID did one good thing.

It wound up being an absolutely perfect outdoor summer concert. The weather was warm and a little humid, but not uncomfortably so. Sometimes with outdoor concerts I can’t dress appropriately for how warm it is at the start of the show when the sun is still up and how cool it is at the end of the show after the sun has gone down. This was just perfectly warm all the way around. There was also the wonderful ambient sound of crickets and cicadas to add a little extra harmony to the music.

One thing I like about me is that my musical interests are varied enough that I can sometimes go to concerts and be convinced I’m the oldest one there and then other times go to concerts and be sure that I’m the youngest one there. This concert was decidedly one where I felt like the youngest person the audience. That’s not really true because I did see one kid who was probably about five who was definitely younger than me, but for the most part it was a very grey haired audience with most people more like my parents age including Emmy Lou Harris herself who was the most glorious grey hair. I don’t even really have any memory of her having anything but grey hair. It’s rather impressive as someone in the public eye that she’s just owned it. But also she really is grey hair goals. If my hair looked as good as hers, I wouldn’t dye it either.

Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter were co-headlining the show. I felt like it could go either way who was in the actual headlining spot though. Emmylou Harris was up first. I did feel like she should have been in the headlining spot, but it turns out according to Mary Chapin Carpenter she would have been had she not immediately left to travel for something in New England. That also explains why Mary Chapin Carpenter came out and sang a song with Emmylou at the end of her set instead of them singing together at the very end of the show like you would expect. They sang “All the Roadrunning”. I was also amused that it seems like Mary Chapin Carpenter came out to sing that song while she was still getting ready for her set. I wouldn’t have thought anything about it if she had come out for her set with her hair up in a messy bun and in jeans, but when she came back out for her set her hair was down and the jeans had been replaced with black pants.

This was the first time I had ever really seen either one of them in concert. Back in 2015 I did go to an Emmylou Harris tribute concert that had the most amazing lineup of artists ever, which she was also at and joined in singing some of her songs at. Mostly though it was listening to other people sing her songs. This was the first time I’ve ever actually heard her songs really sung by her. Even at 75 she still has a great voice. She has a huge catalog of music, which she did a good job of playing a selection from. Though with so much music to choose from it was inevitable I wasn’t going to hear everything I wanted to. She did sing 3 songs off of the Red Dirt Girl album including the title song, “Bang the Drum Slowly” and “Michelangelo”, which I was happy about. However she didn’t sing “One Big Love”, which I would have liked to hear off that album. I was also happy that she sang “Pancho and “Lefty” but was honestly shocked that she didn’t sing “Wrecking Ball”. We got “Goin’ Back to Harlan” off that album instead. It was still fantastic even if I didn’t get to hear everything I wanted to hear. She just needed a longer set.

Both Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter did a good job of telling stories and talking about the inspirations for their songs. I love when artists do that at concerts instead of just singing. Some artists I’ve seen so many times I could tell the stories behind all their songs, but in this case since I’d never really seen either of them live before the stories were all new to me.

And that brings us to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s set. She told a story that is probably the best thing I have ever heard an artist say from the stage before in all the many concerts I’ve been to. In introducing her band she said that some bands do things like do drugs and trash hotel rooms. They play croquet, and they all have handles they use during their games so she was going to introduce them with their croquet handles. She said whenever they finish sound check some place they find a little patch of grass and set up their croquet set and play a game. I love this so much.

A lot of the songs from her set came from her newest album, The Dirt and the Stars, which was released in 2020. That album completely passed me by as did the fact that she apparently did a live YouTube thing called Songs from Home for the first 62 weeks of the pandemic playing a song a week into her phone which was apparently duct taped to a ceramic jug. That apparently led to an actual live concert with no audience performed at Wolf Trap which aired on PBS as One Night Lonely and won her a Grammy. Obviously there was a lot going on in the first year of the pandemic, but I can’t believe none of that ever made its way before my eyes in all that time. Luckily it looks like she still has all the YouTube videos up on her channel and you can watch the PBS special if you’re a Passport member, which I am. So I’ll have all that to go back and watch now. Anyway, all that is to say that I didn’t actually know a lot of the songs that she played. It didn’t really matter because they were great even if I wasn’t familiar with them. She did in fact play the three songs that I wanted to hear “Passionate Kisses”, “I Take My
Chances”, and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her”. So I can’t complain at all.

There was nothing at this concert that made it particularly special. It was really just two legendary musical artists doing their thing. But the simplicity of it, the beautiful venue, the wonderful summer weather all just came together to create a perfect concert.

Last Week Delight 8/22/2022

Buckle in. I’ve got a lot of delights for you this week because I have a backlog on my list of delights from before I went on vacation and didn’t write a delights post for a couple weeks.

  • Pete Seeger stamps. The USPS just released some new stamps celebrating Pete Seeger, which whey released in conjunction with this year’s Newport Folk Festival. I bought some to use on the rare occasions I have to physically mail something. I thought it was very appropriate that they arrived on the same day as my socks from the sock of the month club my husband gave me for Christmas, which happened to have records on them. I also used the stamps to mail a deposit check to the woman I’m re-renting a place from for next year’s Newport Folk Festival, which also felt very apropos. I hope she noticed.
  • While we were gone on vacation I got a jury duty summons, which is the opposite of a delight, but my friend who was cat sitting took a photo of my summons next to Scout and caught her in a photo cleaning herself at a moment that her tongue was out such that it looks like she’s sticking her tongue out at my jury summons. She texted me the photo and said that she and Scout feel the same way about my jury summons. I agree with both fo them.
  • I had doctor’s appointment last week and people in the waiting room were friendly in the exact right amount. Not overly friendly like forcing you into some conversation you don’t really want to be a part of, but several people said good morning to the entire room of people and one woman told everyone to have a blessed day as she was walking back to see the doctor. I feel like I don’t see strangers interact like that very much and it was kind of nice.
  • On Tuesday morning I was confused when I woke up and got up earlier than I need to. I was thinking about what time I was getting out of bed on vacation to make sure I got down the beach before the sunrise, which is about 10 minutes earlier than I normally roll out of bed on work days. It meant that I actually made it out for my walk in time for Baltimore’s sunrise, and I was very glad I did because it was a spectacular sunrise of the sort that I don’t get to see too often because since there are too many trees and buildings blocking the horizon I have to rely on just the right kind of high clouds to reflect the sun and give me really great color. This was perfect.
  • My street is like the harbinger for friendly orange cats. For a long time we had Killer, who was the unofficial mayor of Hampden and who people still talk about even though it’s been several years since he died. Now there is another friendly orange cat roaming around. Based on posts in the Hampden Neighbors Facebook page I think his name is Sam. I’m pretty sure he’s the same cat people have been talking about anyway. He decided to pay my stoop a visit the other morning when I was trying to leave for work. He was sitting there and every time I tried to open the door he would try and sneak into my house. It was very adorable. It’s nice to have another neighborhood cat roaming around again.
  • On my walk the other morning I passed this squirrel with a cartoonishly large amount of dried grass stuffed in his face that he was trying to get down. It made me chuckle.
  • On Saturday night I drove down to DC to visit a friend and we went to some Jazz in the Parks thing that they’ve been holding on the Great Lawn in front of the original location of Walter Reed, which has long since moved to Bethesda. In the original plans it was supposed to be us plus our husbands, but I failed to put it in our calendar so my husband agreed to work to do some off-hours testing for his job. I almost didn’t go because I didn’t feel like driving down by myself, but I’m glad I did. It wound up being a lovely evening to sit outside, picnic, and listen to some music. I’m trying to remind myself take advantage of things I can do outdoors while it’s still nice before my social life goes back into lockdown with the cold weather.

And now for your musical delights:

  • I honestly don’t remember in what context I heard the song “We Built This City” by Starship and added it to my delights list. But my list says “We Built This City” and I vaguely remember hearing it recently, but that’s about it. I do love that song. I always have and presume at this point I always will. I know people like to say it’s a terrible song and it routinely gets put on worst song lists, but despite the fact that it is pretty hokey and definitely very much of it’s time I will never not listen to it when it comes on. And for a song that everyone apparently hates it has over 106 million views on YouTube, so I think people love it like I do, but just feel like they’re supposed to say it’s awful. I would never.
  • As I’ve previously mentioned the Mark and Sarah Talk About Songs podcast is doing a season in which they’re ranking 40 songs to determine which one is the most Lilith Fairest. In last week’s episode they talked about the song “I Know” by Dionne Farris. It’s not a song that I could pull based on the name alone, but as soon as they played a clip I got huge sense memory. It’s not a song I ever particularly cared for and still really don’t, but it is definitely a song that has the power to evoke the feelings of a certain time in my life that I very much appreciated.
  • I was driving home from work on Friday and passed someone riding an electric scooter while wearing one of those mirrored motorcycle helmets that makes it impossible to see their face and makes them seem kind of robotic. This was at the exact same time I was listening to the song “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. The speed at which he was riding fit the song so well, and it was this perfect 10 seconds where I was like this feels like it should be a scene in a movie soundtracked to this song.

Brandi Carlile with the Indigo Girls and Allison Russell at Merriweather Post Pavilion

On Thursday night I went to Merriweather Post Pavilion to see Brandi Carlile with Allison Russell and the Indigo Girls opening for her. It was like a mini modern day Lilith Fair with so many amazing musical women lifting each other up. Allison Russell has had an amazing year and deserves all the accolades she has received, but she will tell you that Brandi has helped lift her up and achieve all those dreams. Brandi talked about how much the Indigo Girls mean to her and how she used to busk outside their shows as a teenager and then how she opened for them early in her career and they would invite her to hang out on their bus and how much it meant to her. Now she is at a place in her career where she is headlining the large venues that the Indigo Girls would not be able to headline anymore and she’s bringing them out to open up for her in some kind of full circle thing. Allison Russell is following in their footsteps and using whatever power she has to help bring up people behind her as well. She has an amazing band of women backing her up who all have their own other stuff going on and she never misses an opportunity to highlight them and their work and encourage people to go seek it out. That includes SistaStrings who were doing double duty with Allison and Brandi. I first got introduced to SistaStrings, who are sisters Monique Ross on the cello and Chauntee Ross on the violin, back in February when I saw Allison Russell play at the Barns at Wolf Trap. Then when Brandi started this tour I saw that they were playing has half of the string quartet she’s been touring with the last few albums. I was like she stole them from Allison! Anyway, they played in both sets, and they are a real force. My favorite part of the whole show was the last minute and a half of the Brandi’s song “Sinners, Saints, and Fools” when they were basically headbanging while playing stringed instruments. It was pretty amazing. The sound in this video is pretty terrible, but I’m linking to the part I’m talking about from someone’s cell phone video if you care to look.

Allison Russell was up first. She only played for a half hour, which was what I was expecting, but I still wish it had been longer. She did come back out and perform with both the Indigo Girls and Brandi Carlile though. I love watching her and her band perform. It’s just a big old love fest out on the stage with them, and they can all really jam.

The Indigo Girls were up next. I expected that they would have an hour, but I was surprised that they only played for 40 minutes. That’s because Brandi is really giving it her all this tour. Her set clocked in at 2 hours and 15 minutes. That’s almost unheard of these days. If you get longer than 90 minutes from the headliner at most shows you’re lucky. Anyway, parts of the Indigo Girls set were a fun singalong, which was great. Sadly, most of their set was ruined for me by the obnoxious women who finally showed up to sit in the seats in front of us 2 songs into the Indigo Girls’ set. I wish that my super power was not attracting the absolutely worst people in any concert venue to be situated directly by me. I’m out here saving the rest of you from them I guess. They were obviously already drunk and/or high when they stumbled in. They would not shut up. They were having obnoxiously loud conversations even during quiet songs when everyone else was sitting and trying to listen to the music. They were paying zero attention to the concert. I’m not sure why they bothered paying hundreds of dollars to be there. They could have done the same thing at a bar for free. I guess then they couldn’t have had the zillions of selfies they took of themselves at the concert. Mind you this was two women who looked like they were probably sisters in their 50s plus a twentysomething woman who was one of their daughters. Not who I would have stereotypically pegged to ruin my night in this manner, but they did and not just mine. Other people sitting around them finally ran them out of the show with a little over an hour left in Brandi’s set, so we at least got to enjoy that. The people in front of them and sitting next to them kept yelling at them to shut up. It still didn’t get me completely away from them, but once it was clear that no was coming to sit in the 6 seats to my left a couple of songs into Brandi’s set, I moved down 4 seats to get away from them. They finally took the hint and left, but I can guarantee when they tell the story they will not be the villains in it. It’s too bad because I had been enjoying people watching until they showed up and ruined it. That included realizing that the man in his 60s and the girl maybe in her late 20s/early 30s a few rows ahead of us were in fact a couple and not the father and daughter I thought at first.

Brandi’s set was great. As I already said she played forever. A good mix of stuff of her new album and her previous ones though mostly the newer ones aside from “The Story”. That was the most singalong version of that song I’ve heard at all the many concerts of hers I’ve been to. This crowd was obviously in the mood to sing. I’ve been to a lot of Brandi Carlile shows as you probably know if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, so I know it’s not unusual for her to say that a show is one the best nights she’s had in her life or the last decade or something to that effect. She doesn’t say it 100% of the time, so I honestly think she believes it when she says it though it’s definitely part of her act. It doesn’t matter though because she will 100% convince you she’s never said that to anyone else with her performance. She and her band put it all out there. They always put on such a good show. During her encore, which was over 30 minutes long she had Allison Russell out to sing “You’re Not Alone”, which they had just released as a single earlier that day. She also had the Indigo Girls come out and sing a couple songs with her including “Least Complicated”. Talk about a singalong. It was a great night and it would have been perfect if it wasn’t for those dumb women. I’m glad that they only impacted half my night, but it would have been better if had been none of it.

OBX Vacation

One of my friends has been going to Corolla in the Outer Banks with his family for a long time, but they stopped doing the family beach trip a few years ago. He missed going down there with a group of people larger than just his wife and their two kids, so he suggested to the rest of the group of us who religiously did Saturday night virtual game night for the first two years of the pandemic that we get a house together and do a beach trip this summer. Surprisingly enough it actually came together and happened this past week.

There were a total of 8 adults and 5 kids ranging from ages 6 to 9. We had a 6 bedroom, 4 and half bath house. So it worked out for every family to have a dedicated bathroom plus a half bath in the room the kids slept in. There were some let’s say cleanliness issues with the house, but as far as the set-up it worked really well at least as far as I was concerned, and it was the most well stocked rental kitchen I have ever seen.

It was on the sound side of Corolla with the closest beach access about a half mile away. That was completely fine for my morning sunrise beach walks, but when we dragged all our stuff and the kids down to the beach we drove and parked. That worked out fine until the last day we were there when the beach access we had been using was flooded out. There were crazy thunderstorms on Wednesday night that caused crazy flooding around Corolla including the house next door that was lying just enough lower than ours that water was three quarters of the way up the tires on their cars. The entire block from the parking lot to the boardwalk where we had been accessing the beach was under knee high water that didn’t recede before we left. It was gloomy and occasionally drizzly on Friday so we never went to the beach to hang out there, though I still did my walk. When we tried to go back Saturday it was still under water so we made a quick pivot to another beach access, but some people had problems finding that access and parking since we hadn’t planned it ahead of time and not everyone had phones on them, but eventually we all made it there.

I’ve never been to the Outer Banks, but I was not expecting that the water would potentially be cold this time of year. Apparently it’s very dependent on how the jet stream is moving. A few days before we got there it was apparently quite warm, but that brought in a jelly fish swarm. By the day we got there the water was only about 60 degrees, which was freezing, but at least drove the jelly fish away. It was quite hot outside, so the water didn’t feel too bad as long as you didn’t stay in too long and after you got over the initial shock getting in. It’s been a long time since I’ve really played in the water at the beach, so that was kind of fun. It did get warmer as the week went on and by Saturday we were starting to see jelly fish pop back up again, so I wasn’t sorry to miss out on that.

Mostly I just went to the beach while we were there, but we did take a trip to the Corolla lighthouse and walked around the little historic village which didn’t have that much to offer but now I can say I’ve been. Friday since it was gross out we decided to play mini-golf. My husband and I have been to a specific chain of pirate mini-golf in several locations and we thought the one in Corolla was part of that chain. It was not. It was part of a different chain of pirate mini-golf, and it was lame. I am terrible at mini-golf even though I love it, and I was getting lots of ones and twos. At the other chain we’ve been to they always have two different courses you can play, so we had anticipated playing both. This one only had one, so we were going to stop and play at the real grass mini-golf course, but we were there an hour too early. However, it turns out most of the rest our friends were going to go to that course later after it opened, so we all went together. That course was hard, and was not made any easier by the fact that it started raining on us halfway through. We persevered though.

Much of my non-beach time was spent doing this ridiculous Lego minifigures faces puzzle that was crazy hard, but just easy enough to keep you going. There were probably 4 of us that worked at it pretty diligently and a couple of other people who would pop a piece in here and there and it took us six days and approximately one billion hours to put it together. We did have a good time doing it though and joking about how awful it was. You should go read the reviews on Amazon. They contain real gems like 5 stars, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever bought on Amazon.

My husband also set up a screen and projector one night so we could do a movie night outside in and around the pool. The kids watched from the pool while the adults decided we preferred deck chairs. We watched Lightyear, which was meh, but it was a fun activity and the kids enjoyed it.

This was my first time in the Outer Banks ever, so I can’t compare Corolla to any other part. However, I have a feeling it would not be my preferred place to go. The fact that you have to basically drive almost an hour south past it to get to a bridge to cross the sound and then drive back up on a two lane busy road that is super trafficy does not make me think that it’s better that some of the more southern parts you would already be very close to once you got across that bridge. Also, it seemed too crowded for the amount of stuff that was there. I surprisingly never felt that way at the beach, but like we couldn’t get all the groceries we needed for like 3 days because the shelves were decimated by everyone arriving on the weekend and wanting to buy food. And there doesn’t seem like very many restaurants for the number of people that are there. We ordered pizza at 5 pm on Sunday night and still had a two hour wait. Luckily we planned to cook most of our meals since I think eating out for dinner every night like my husband and I normally do when we go on beach vacations by ourselves would not have worked out unless we wanted to eat dinner at like 4:00. I’m not sure how it would be in any other part of the Outer Banks, but probably not worse anyways.

So long story short, the trip was a lot of fun. It was super nice to get away for the week and really take a break from all the stuff I normally worry about. I think we all traveled together well, and I would totally love to do it again, though maybe at a different beach if I can convince my friend to abandon the place he’s been going his whole life.

Last Week Delight 8/1/2022

I’m a little short on delights this week because I spent the majority of the last week isolating in my house due to a major COVID exposure. I worked from home because I have that luxury and figured it was best for me and work if I did. My husband and I chose to spend most of our time in separate rooms and masked in common spaces in case one of us got it and the other didn’t. There’s only so much delight I can experience from within the walls of my bedroom all by myself.

  • Obviously my first and biggest delight is that neither of us actually got COVID. I was going to say somehow at the end of that sentence, but I don’t actually think that’s the case. Yes this disease as somewhat capricious, and there are certainly people I know who have been exposed and not come down with it despite doing none of things I’m about to mention, so I know there is a certain amount of luck involved and we both certainly could have got it despite our precautions. However, I do firmly believe that we put ourselves in the best position to not actually get it by doing literally all of the things they say to do to keep yourself COVID free. We are both double boosted as per the CDC guidelines for our age and health conditions. Knowing we were in a higher risk setting with traveling and in the large crowds of a music festival, we tested every morning and thus caught my friend’s positive case right away and immediately all put N95 masks on and didn’t take them off again until we were home. Even though we spent 7 and half hours in a car together driving home we as I said all kept our masks on and drove with the windows partway down to maximize fresh air ventilation. It was long and hot, but we got home COVID free, so worth it in the end. Fingers crossed we repeat none of this next week in our beach trip with friends.
  • Our get out of jail free day happened to coincide with free scoop day at The Charmery for WYPR members. For some reason my husband and I have separate memberships instead of donating the same amount once as a family, so we both got a free scoop. I guess it pays to be disorganized and donate to the same organization separately instead of jointly.
  • Really the best part of going to get the free ice cream was the life size cardboard cutout of Kai Ryssdal, host of Marketplace and co-host of the Make Me Smart podcast, which is my favorite. He has mentioned on the podcast previously that these cardboard cutouts exist in various NPR stations across the country as they were some promotional thing he did for Marketplace years ago and that every once in awhile people run into one visiting a station and comment on it to him. I snapped a photo and sent it to him on Twitter, and he retweeted it with some commentary. It made me very happy, and I very much enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on it.
  • Speaking of podcast co-hosts, NPR’s Code Switch podcast recently announced B.A. Parker as their new co-host. This week’s episode was a short introductory episode to who she is. Gene Demby gave a little intro to her work and then played a song to introduce her like walk up music. It was John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”. I immediately thought she must be from Baltimore or is at least an Orioles fan. I was totally right. She is from Baltimore and an O’s fan. For those of you not in the know “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” is the 7th inning stretch music at Orioles games. Here’s an explanation for everyone wondering why the heck that song is played at every O’s game. I was very excited to be right, and did that thing I talked about before where I excitedly point at my phone while everyone near me must think I’m insane.
  • For your musical delight this week I have a song from the Footloose soundtrack. I recently snagged a cheap, used copy of it on vinyl and finally had the opportunity to listen to it for the first time this weekend. It’s one of my favorite movies, and I love the soundtrack. We had it on cassette when I was a kid, but I haven’t listened to it in years. I still love it. This is the first time I have ever watched the actual music video for this song. It’s so ingrained in my head with the footage from the movie that it was kind of weird as I was totally expecting there to be movie footage in the video. Instead it’s a whole little mini-movie in and of itself. I do have to say *chef’s kiss* for having the characters in the video walk past a cinema with Footloose up on the marquee though.

TV Diary

Still catching up on some TV shows I watched awhile ago.

With Love

With Love is a show on Amazon Prime that revolves around an extended Latinx family and various love stories within it. Each episode takes place on a different holiday so you’re moving quite a bit through time from episode to episode. It made it a little hard to invest in some the characters and relationships, but I thought it was cute. It’s apparently been renewed for a second season. I’m not sure where they will take it from here as it felt pretty self contained, but I guess I’ll find out eventually.

Julia

For the most part I enjoyed Julia on HBOMax. Sarah Lancaster did a great job of playing Julia. I also really enjoyed BeBe Neuwirth as her best friend. It was interesting to see how the show was created, though I have no idea how much of this is fact versus fiction. I did feel at times like Julia was too whiny, and I really could not with her husband. I feel like I always heard that they had this great relationship and that he was so supportive of her. And eventually by the end of this season he had come around and seemed to be more on her side, but good lord what a man baby whose little feelings are hurt because he got forced into retirement and now his wife is having success. Hopefully there will be less of that in the next season.

Heartstoppers

This was a cute adaptation of a series of graphic novels about two teenage boys exploring their sexuality and falling in love. I never read the books, but from what I gather from people online it was an extremely faithful adaptation with literal shot for shot recreations of some of the illustrations. I gather people were really happy with it, which as you know when people have strong feelings about a book is really hard to do. I also heard a lot of queer adults saying that they wish that they had had something like this when they were growing up, so it’s good that kids these days do especially given all the efforts to legally and otherwise try and stuff LGBTQ+ people back in the closet. I don’t think I connected with it as strongly as other people, which is fine. It was not made for me, but I’m really happy that it seems to mean a lot to the people it was meant for.

Ghosts (British Version)

The hit CBS sitcom Ghosts was actually adapted from a British sitcom that is available on HBOMax. They’re pretty fairly equivalent. I think I like the lead actress in this version better than the CBS one, but I also like the actor who plays the husband better in the British version so I guess it balances out. Same with some of the ghosts. There was a joke about not eating rice krispies until they’re dead (i.e. no longer making noise) that I still cannot stop laughing at, and that I mention every time my husband eats rice krispies. Solid bit that.

We Own This City

We Own This City is a show created by David Simon based on a true story and book written by former Baltimore Sun and now Baltimore Banner reporter, Justin Fenton. A lot of critics and people of course compared this to The Wire, which it’s not and isn’t meant to be because it’s not The Wire. They seemed to be mad about that. I thought the show was fine, but I wasn’t upset that it wasn’t The Wire. As someone who read the book and lived through all the news coverage while it was happening the show didn’t have much to offer me other than the way it portrayed the story that I already knew really well. The show was way too convoluted presenting the story jumping around in time with sometimes only very subtle clues as to what year you were in. I could sometimes barely figure it out and I have to think that anyone coming to this story cold would have to be confused a lot.

Under the Banner of Heaven

Speaking of shows based on books, Under the Banner of Heaven is an adaptation of the book by John Krakauer about a murder and a crazy Mormon sect. Again the show was fine, but it in no way did the book justice. I remember loving this book when I read it and finding it super compelling. I didn’t want to put it down. I did not feel anything like that for this show. I could very easily have stopped watching it at any time and not felt like I was missing anything.

First Kill

First Kill is a new teen vampire show where the vampire and vampire hunter fall in love. It’s of course reminiscent of things like Buffy and Vampire Diaries, but it’s also very heavily based on Romeo and Juliet with the families of the two girls warring and telling them they need to stay away from each other. It was in no way actually good. It does have Elizabeth Mitchell in it though, so that’s a bonus. However most of the acting is pretty terrible or the writing is or maybe both.I still binge watche the stupid thing in two days.