Sunday, July 29, 2007

Imaginary Friends

My mom always told me I had imaginary friends when I was young. Their names were Stephen and Naneena. I do not remember them at all (they don't call, they don't write.) When I was in high school, there were a number of people who I befriended over the telephone--yes, we had met in real life once or twice, but it wasn't until we actually had a phone conversation (or twelve) that we became friends. While I definitely have become more introverted with age, I have always been far more charming (or rather more consistently charming) via technological device.

This online world, of blogs and message boards, creates a series of connections. It grants us all the illusion of intimacy. I know people's hopes and dreams and yet I wouldn't be able to pick them out of a lineup. I know details about people's sex lives and bodily functions yet I have no idea how they take their coffee (or even if they take coffee). For all I know, all these people I encounter electronically and with whom I have meaningful interactions may not even exist.

As I have said before, I am wary of crossing boundaries. I have read too many fantasy novels and have too active an imagination. In works of fiction (like the Alan Ayckbourn play Invisible Friends), when one meets an imaginary friend, it usually ends in disaster. The boundaries exist for a reason and we should not dwell long in the border regions. So I remain inside a shell and rarely extend myself.

But, I wonder, isn't all that just a bunch of pseudo-intellectual drivel and psychobabble? Isn't that just my anti-social nature trying to keep me from reaching out and have meaningful interactions with others? Why am I letting my fear do the talking? What is the worst that could happen? What is so great about this shell, anyway?

So it was with all of these thoughts swirling through my consciousness, along with the far more immediate thoughts like, "Will she like me?" and "Will I like her?" that I drove up to the W hotel and picked up Karrie this afternoon.

Of course, I wanted to impress her, so I took her to my favorite book and record stores. We ate at a hipster cafe. She came over to my house and I made her coffee (and now I know how she takes it). She met my cat, husband, and child (in that order). I showed her a closet full of black dresses. There were many threads of conversations which were inadvertently dropped and now I find myself wishing I had remembered to pick them up again. There were many questions I wanted to ask which I forgot to ask. In short, six hours was not nearly enough time and Karrie must visit again (or we will be forced to visit her).

This imaginary friend thing kindof rocks.

And, for those of you who are interested, I took pictures.

Yes, Karrie is very tall and I am not. And she is very fair and I am dark. We could hit the road as a comedy act.

Alas, Karrie failed to get any pictures of me as she is still learning how to use all the special features of the iPhone (!) and the lighting in my house wasn't the best for picture taking. But that just means she has to visit again.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More Pirate Names

ARGH! We Be Happy Pirates!

In yesterday's post, I failed to tell you the names the pirate name generator gave our family.

Fred is "Canker" Guideon Dread
Julian is Cap'n Bobby Skullcrack
I am Disembowlin' Helga Straw

Simon is Pirate Carlos the Cash-Strapped (which is so true, since cats don't come with pockets).

Also, in case you were wondering, yes, I filled out the other pirate quiz for Julian and here is what it said for him
My pirate name is:

Calico William Bonney

Often indecisive, you can't even choose a favorite color. You're apt to follow wherever the wind blows you, just like Calico Jack Rackham, your namesake. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

I am pretty impressed by how accurately they captured Julian's personality. Though where they say "indecisive" I would say "has not yet learned patience and wants everything all at once." Tomato, Tamahto.

I did not do the same for Fred and Simon. Fred is an adult and can fill out his own test. Simon is a cat and I can't even guess how he feels about various pirate fiction and Muppets.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


My pirate name is:

Black Bess Cash

Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. You're musical, and you've got a certain style if not flair. You'll do just fine. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from

I first encountered this quiz years ago. Back before I had a blog. Back before I had a child. But the results were virtually the same, so all is well.

On a related note, Julian has been telling me that he has a peg leg. But this is merely the logical result of him seeing the Pirate Treasure episode of The Backyardigans one too many times. He is not, in any way, planning on sailing the high seas with a parrot and an eye patch any time soon.

All this pirate talk was inspired by Karrie's post.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You Might Think...

That a kid who turns random household objects into beds and pretends to sleep all the time would not resist actually going to sleep. You would be wrong.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Online Dating

I am disappointed. I would like to believe that my blog is wholly unsuitable for younger readers. But then, I want to believe that I am wholly appropriate for humans of all ages. Of course, one would expect this dichotomy might lead to something as boring as receiving a PG-13 rating.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Glass is Still NOT FULL

75.2/100Rate My - Find out if you suck at life

But complaining about the glass being 1/4 empty sounds really princess-y, doesn't it?

I got this from Jackie's blog.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Police at Wrigley Field, July 5

I don't know what to say about The Police concert. It was good. Our seats were not bad (200 level, perfect sight lines, only slightly back and farther to the left than the person who filmed this). My throat hurt afterwards, which is always a good sign.


I am jaded. I am no longer 13 years old, content with just being at a concert. I want to feel the energy of the band, not just watch it on an oversized screen. I now know what it is like to be in the front row and I am afraid I find it hard to settle for less. I wish I had shelled out the money for a floor seat. My friend, Joel, put it best when he said that it would have meant paying twice as much money, but he is pretty sure he would have had twice as much fun. Sure, it would have been next to impossible to get front row tickets, but I know that people on the floor didn't suck the energy out by sitting down during the slow songs (or songs they didn't recognize).

Excuse me for a moment while I address all the people sitting in section 208 on Thursday night:

People, I know you are all old, but you do realize that if you don't commit to the concert experience, you probably should have just stayed home and waited for the DVD to be released, don't you? You know how much fun we all had when we all were singing "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"? Well, you could have had that much fun throughout the concert if you had only applied yourself .

Alright, I am glad we had that talk. Now back to the rest of my readers.

Anyway, Sting eventually gave us all permission to yell our heads off (suggesting that we had to do a better job if we wanted to be louder than the crowd for their second show) and that loosened up enough people so that we were loud enough to get three encores (though I always wonder if they were planning to do the encores anyway. The set lists themselves don't change much from show to show).

As I said, the show was good. It wasn't great, but the band played pretty much everything I could have hoped for them to play (except "Tea In The Sahara") and were in good form for the most part. I think it would be hard for them to live up to my expectations because I have this memory of seeing them during the Amnesty International Conspiracy of Hope Tour (it was supposed to be just Sting playing songs from his solo record, but then, surprise, we got to see The Police instead). They were younger then and probably had more energy. I was younger then and (as I have already mentioned) was just so excited to be at a concert (though I actually was on the floor for that show and was much closer than I was this time around). I have been waiting to see them for over twenty years, believing it would never happen ever again, and then, they announced the reunion tour and I managed to get tickets (thank you, Joel) and I have had months of waiting for this particular show to happen. So the truth is, as much as I enjoyed the show, the most overwhelming feeling I had was relief that it finally came. Because in addition to all the anticipation, I couldn't help but worry that something happen which would make it impossible for me to attend--I have had my attendance at much anticipated concerts almost derailed by everything as gigantic as terrorist attacks and as run of the mill as UTIs. The fact that I managed to get to the shows in those circumstances only makes me worry that my concert luck may eventually run out.

So that is what I thought of the concert. I am glad I went. But I have to remember that I am a concert snob and that my level of appreciation is directly proportional with my proximity to the stage. Being older and wiser means not making the same mistakes twice.

And as a final thought, here is how parenting has changed me in terms of concert going: the first time Stewart Copeland went to play the whistles and bells (as he did for "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and "Walking In Your Footsteps") I thought of the episode of Arthur where D.W. plays the bottles for the local talent contest. So, yeah, I go to concerts and think of children's programming.

P.S. For those of you who do not have tickets for future shows, just go to the venue a little early on the night of the show. You should be able to get tickets without too much trouble (and given the number of people selling tickets Thursday night, I imagine you won't have to pay much more than face value for them either).

The Man In The Zip Cardigan

Did these people watch the same Mister Rogers Neighborhood that I did? Scratch that, did these people even watch Mister Rogers Neighborhood at all? Because no matter how special Mr. Rogers said we all were, I never felt he told us we deserved anything we didn't earn or ever suggesting that anyone deserved anything just for showing up (I mean, even King Friday didn't get a free pass, and he was the ruler of The Land of Make Believe). I don't recall Mr. Rogers ever implied that our specialness made us impervious to the rules or above the law. He didn't tolerate rude behavior from anyone and if you feel the culture of entitlement is caused by children calling adults by their first names, how can you say Mr. Rogers was to blame?

Yeah, Mr. Rogers came from another era. An era when parents were held responsible for how their children behaved and who they grew up to be. You would think The Wall Street Journal would be advocating parental responsibility in these matters, not blaming the media and letting parents off the hook for spoiling their kids.

Also, you would think the writer of the article (and random professors with axes to grind) would actually do some demographic research, because while Mister Rogers Neighborhood was still in production and broadcast when the current crop of college students were toddlers, I have difficulty believing it was the seminal television show that it was for people of my generation. I mean, back in the day, educational programming consisted of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and the Electric Company. We didn't have all the choices available to parents today (or even parents ten years ago) and we didn't have 24 hour channels. I dunno about you, but I wouldn't go pointing fingers at a Presbyterian minister who had a half hour show on public television as creating a culture of entitlement. Not when you have had the 24 hour extended commercial that is called the Disney Channel being broadcast to most homes with basic cable fro the past two decades. Oh, but it's The Wall Street Journal, so I guess turning children into greedy consumers isn't the same as turning them into people who feel they deserve everything they want when they want it.


I miss Mr. Rogers. I wish our local PBS station showed the reruns of his show at a time other than 6 a.m. Yes, Julian has all sorts of television options that I didn't have, but all of them (or at least all the good ones) have a little bit of the 'hood in them. And the world is a colder place without our besweatered friend to talk us through the scary parts.

The Poem I Wrote The Morning I Heard About Fred Rogers' Death

I dreamt of Mr. Rogers the month before he died
In retrospect it may have been his way of saying goodbye
I never had a chance to meet this man who was my friend
And, in truth, I never thought the make believe would end
He taught me about living and he told me about pain
He said that bad things did exist and then he would explain
That sometimes life could be so scary and sometimes I'd get mad
He told me it was quite alright if sometimes I got sad
He also showed that life was always filled with joy and love
With kindness and with gentleness he held himself above
The cruelty, meanness, and cynicism of the everyday
He was a bodhisattva who showed the one true way
He told us not to hurt ourselves and not to hurt each other
Because every animal and person is one's sister or one's brother
So goodbye Mr. Rogers though I miss you more than ever
I hope I keep all the things you taught me in my heart forever.