Sunday, June 28, 2009

Spontaneous Dance Party

So I did it- went to the spontaneous dance party. I made it out to 22nd and the Ben Franklin Parkway at 1 pm for rehearsal of the spontaneous dance party.

When I arranged about twenty women were practicing the choreography for the five minute dance. A couple of guys did meander in a bit later. Two interns from NPR were there to do a segment on the event for NPR.

In talking with the other participants, many of them didn't know the organizer Laura, but came out because of the Facebook invite.

The spontaneous dance party (SDP) emerged from the viral videos of choreographed dances in Europe done by flash mobs. Laura had attracted the interest of the Philadelphia Visitor's Bureau who decided to film the event to attract people to our city.

The event was choreographed where groups of 5-10 would jump in and join the original three dancers, Laura and her two sisters. There was a PA set up with clips of about 5 different songs.

In all about 50 people were dancing, but several others were at the Art Museum to watch. For me, it was an exhiliarating five minutes. It was a great deal of fun and many of us were chattering afterward.

When more video and pictures become available, I'll post them up. In the meantime, here are my stabs at action photography. The top shot is us practicing and the second shot is the beginning of the dance when only a handful people were doing it.

Sunday Spontaneous Dance Party

I'm burning the midnight oil to finish a work assignment and came across this. Tomorrow. The dance moves seem to be more hip-hop than Rocky though. Who's going?

Via PhillyChitChat

The "Spontaneous" Dance Party

Fulfilling life goals, one SDP at a time...
Sunday, June 28, 2009
2:00pm - 2:05pm
Art Museum
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Relaxing by the Airport

This is where I'll be today- at the Making Time pool party in Medford NJ. The resort is the site of an old airfield and therefore, we get to hang out by the airplane shaped pool.

Fun times.

For details visit here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Regular Unnamed Friday Column

I'll remember this week as an explosion of excess akin to the Monty Python sketch of the man at the restaurant. Too much of everything. Even the good stuff seemed more than I could handle. Here's a rundown.

RIP. This was a week full of celebrity deaths. We all know about most of them, so I don't need to explain the roll call here. Steven Wells, Gary Papa (pictured), Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. With the Philly deaths, Steven Wells hit me harder than Gary Papa. I think that's because I read Wells' Philly Weekly columns about his cancer. Here is his last Philly Weekly column. On @PhillyWeekly Twitter, there have been some great tributes like this one being posted up.

Social Overload. Social media is leading to socializing overload. The event invitations on my Facebook are piling up. I received at least 20 social invitations (including personal invites from friends for coffee or lunch) this week. Highlights this week included: Casino Free Philly circus, Philly Tweetup at McGillans, Derrick May at Arts Garage (Saturday), Jake Henry's record release party at Vango (Friday- tonight!).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Casino Free Circus

Need something to do today (Thursday) for lunch. Check out 718 Market Street in Center City, Philadelphia, the new location for anti-casino organizing in Philadelphia.

I'm heading there for lunch with a friend who has been active in this movement. Sounds interesting. At the very least, the flyer is eye catching. We are going to support the cause and also because my friend has a crush on someone who might be involved in the event. But that's no surprise- romantic intrigue spices up activist events.

I realized there is a 99.99999999999999999% percent chance that nobody reading this blog post will be able to make this event. Especially considering I am giving an hour's notice.

But no worries, you can get involved in Casino Free or learn more by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford Made Me Smile

After being bogged down with tales of death and mayhem in Iran, on DC Metro trains, in West Philadelphia neighborhoods, in Pakistan, North Korea, Iraq. Everywhere I turned it seemed like someone new had died or had gotten cancer. Perinatal HIV on the rise. Neda. Ed McMahon. Another child gunned down in a city street.

Plus the minor annoyances like the rain, the Septa delays, the people who say they care, but won't look me in the eye. This week I started losing my optimism. I skipped my volunteer job on Tuesday and stared mindlessly in the face of the tv- something that cannot possibly love me back. But could numb me out for a while.

Today I went for my usual late lunch at 1:30 pm and when I returned at 2:30, I looked at Twitter and saw Argentina, GOP, Sanford as trending topics. And I read the tweets. The stories, recaps, tasteless jokes.

And I smiled. This politician's sordid affair was so big in the world of news. And I suspected we were riveted because we desperately needed a moment of distraction. From the global recession and the death and suffering that seems to be everywhere.

Thank you Mark Sanford for giving me a few moments of rest from the real problems of my life and of the world.

Spoken word and BMX

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 6PM
The Metropolitan
117 N. 15 St. Philly, PA 19102

PW seems to have a series of PR/rooftop events. *According to the site, the RSVP for this event has passed but I'm sure if you bring your dancing shoes and your drinking smile, you can schmooze your way onto the roof.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 8PM
Philadelphia Art Alliance
251 S. 18th St., Phily, PA 19103

Ars Nova Workshop bringing you some avant-garde Icelandic, electronic tech Jazz musicians.

Thu. - Sun., June 25-28, 2009
Various in Northern Liberties
Varies for films, events, networking

Program guide with synopses:

Enticing gems like: "The Perfect Cappucino: One girl’s seemingly-harmless obsession with a yuppie coffee beverage leads her to question her community, her country, and her entire way of life."

Friday, June 26, 2009, 6PM
The Moore College of Art Galleries
20th & Parkway, Philly, PA

Live performance by pro-level BMX rider(s) at 7PM kicks off the art installation and the weekend's Philadelphia Bicycle Film Festival.

Sat & Sun, June 27-28, 2009, 11-8/11-6PM
Main St., Manayunk, PA

In case you needed a reminder.

Saturday, June 27, 2009, 6-9PM
Community Education Center
3500 Lancaster Ave., Philly, PA 19104
$10 at the door

Live music. Live Art. Tap Dancing. Spoken word.

Sunday, June 28, 2009, 12-7PM
The 941 Theatre
941 N. Front St., Philly, PA 19123

Local crafters, artists, vintage clothing

Photo: Creative Commons photo by Djenan

Day 30 - Blogger Challenge

Final Day of our Blogger Challenge!!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Name That Address ... Silver Screen Edition

One of my favorite homes in Philly.

And right around the corner from it, they're shooting exterior shots for a new film with Dr. Horrible himself, Neil Patrick Harris. Also some other people none of whom I've heard. Add to this the Al Brooks project that is slated to start filming in July, and Philly will be crawling with talent and gaffers! Maybe even a best boy or two! If I didn't already have my own best boy ... I'd know where to get one.

Vacation Planning

I want to take a real vacation in September. The kind where I go somewhere new to explore. Or maybe someplace loved and familiar such as the Jersey shore. I'm having a difficult time deciding what I want to do. This are the disparate options I'm thinking about:

1) Explore a new city- With a flying phobia and no driver's license, my options are limited to places where Amtrak goes. I was thinking of going to Toronto, which is only a 12 hour train ride. I'm not sure what is there, but I know the city is bigger than Philadelphia and has a vibrant music scene. Plus, it's out of the United States. It's about the only foreign travel I can handle right now.

2) Go down the shore- My mom has a place in Avalon and I love vacationing there in the off season. It is quiet and many stores have closed down giving it less of a touristy feel. However, the water and air is warm enough for swimming. I don't mind the frequent tropical storms of September. Hurricane season is exciting to me.

3) Social vacation- The tough part about vacationing alone is the loneliness. No one to talk to and laugh with. I have been thinking about finding a conference or retreat and doing something with a group of strangers. A tour is not my speed because I hate museums, walking tours, and anything historic. But maybe if there were a cool convention or festival going on somewhere, I could glom onto that.

If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

Day 29 - Blogger Challenge


Monday, June 22, 2009

How Crazy Would It Be?

To continue the saga of How To Buy A House: Under-Employed Edition, I'm beginning to see the financial possibility of home ownership. I'll have a down payment from my divorce settlement, and the mortgage payments would be lower than my rent. The sticky wicket is this: no employment history to speak of, and a part-time job that barely covers my work wardrobe, let alone my rent! Hmmmph. Buying a house would save on the monthly bills, but I can't buy a house because I can't afford my current monthly bills.

Here comes the crazy part ... I'm considering asking a friend to buy a house with me. A female friend who likes my kid, my cats, and my sensibilities. One who can offer the employment history to coincide with my down payment money, and split the mortgage payments with me. Someone who will be easy-going about the eventual re-financing if either of us decides to move out for whatever reason. Someone I'll like having around.

I've written about how important my girlfriends are to me, and how proud I am to have made some wonderful ones over the past few years. So it really isn't surprising to me that when considering sharing my home with someone, it's my girlfriends I mentally page through. After all, I may be in love, but I'm not going to do the let's-move-in-together thing, not for a good long while. And somehow it doesn't feel like I'm abandoning my independence if I share a house with a fellow traveler--you know, one I can bum a tampon from in a pinch!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play "Sistahs are doin' it for themselves" on my iPod.

Gossip Girl

So on Twitter, I got overloaded with the gossip thing...

Chris Brown court case & Rihanna and the plea agreement

John & Kate announcing a divorce

Perez Hilton & the assault issue

And then the hard news stories of health care reform, North Korea, Iran democracy movement, and deal Barack Obama struck with the pharmaceutical companies to help senior citizens with prescription drug costs. I was a little burnt out by the end of the day. It's great to be informed, but Twitter felt like it was demanding my attention. And I wanted a little time for me.

Day 28 - Blogger Challenge


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stylish Storage Ideas

Since my honey moved back into the apartment, space is at a premium. My pretty party dresses, work suits, flowery blouses, winter coats and fall sweaters fill five Ikea wardrobes even after two major donation dumps at the Salvation Army. Let's not even talk about the shoe collection. Now he wants to hang up a few dress shirts and I just simply don't have the space. How do I let him carve out his own space while still maintaining a clutter free home? A few ideas:



Check out this gorgeous built in cabinetry. If we owned, I would make every wall into built in closets and cabinets.


Here is another version of the "wall of closet". The mirrors make it bright and spacious, a great idea for a small apartment. Now what about those shoes?



I love the acrylic. If I can't see my shoes, I forget my options.


This is the perfect place to store cosmetics and jewelry. I don't like to have anything out on the counter tops if I can help it.


Vintage file folders like this are easy to find at thrift stores in Philly like Uhuru. And it will be a wonderful place to hide all his little piles of change, receipts and mismatched bike lock keys for bikes stolen long ago.

My apartment needs are expanding, and I need to get crafty to make it all work. Let me know if you have any good ideas to share for making a one bedroom into a two bedroom.

(Images Source, Living Etc.)


Summer Solstice event at the Kimmel Center was completely wonderful. I had gotten a 50% of flyer and was able to attend the event for only $5. It was a bargain and definitely worth the trip.

I got there around 8:30 and joined a throng dancing to PhillyBloco, a local Brazilian band. The band is in yellow in the photo to the left. For an encore they left the stage and joined the audience filling Verizon Hall with the hypnotic sounds of drums.

Right after PhillyBloco, I went for the Bollywood dance lesson. That was truly exhausting and aerobic because the dance moves incorporate vigorous arm and leg movements, synchronized and strong. I flailed for an hour, arms akimbo and sweating profusely. Very fun, but my legs are still sore from last night.

It was great dancing in areas where food and beverages were prohibited. No spilled drinks on the floor or in my hair. A nice break from my usual weekend dance experience.

After Bollywood dancing I check out Karen Gross' Caberet show and saw some of a drag show out in a main area. That drew a lot of attention and the performers were quite fabulous and bigger than life. I ran into Pop Culture Casualty who was there with her sisters and some friends.

A great night. Who else went and did you have fun?

I've spent over $500 on adult entertainment

I've spent over $500 on adult entertainment at the Kimmel Center. With my (now-expired) membership, I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see some of the best-in-their-class/best-in-the-world acts. The dirty secret of a Kimmel Center membership is that the general public doesn't have any access to the hottest acts - with a membership, you at least have a chance to buy tickets to some of the best performances they bring to Philadelphia. I appreciate that I have seen Yo-Yo Ma, Harry Connick Jr., Ira Glass, Wynton Marsalis, and now: Jerry Seinfeld.

Previously, I'd seen Seinfeld on his HBO special. I was delighted to hear mostly new material with some recycled content. I'm quickly typing in some of his better lines before the slip through my memory sieve and get replaced with a shopping list - most of them are paraphrased - but I put them in quotes because the essence is uniquely Seinfeld.

Even though Seinfeld is wealthy beyond most people's limited imagination, he proves that we're all connected through his observations on the incongruity/absurdity/hilarity of life that makes him the true master of observation. After the show, during his encore which was an audience Q&A, he mentioned that all four cast members will be on Curb Your Enthusiasm together when the new season starts September 20th.


"I can't talk to my buddies who aren't married. I mean, it's like they're playing Wiffle ball/T-ball and here I am, driving a truck full of explosives down a dirt road [nervous/bewildered expression, pantomines huge driving wheel]"

"The women, they spend all night thinking of questions. Hypothetical questions. How are we supposed to answer them? The other day my wife turned to me and was like 'If you faked your death and I found out - what would you say when I I found out?'"

"I'll take 'Conversations from 8 years ago that I should remember.' Yes, Alex, I'd like to wager everything against the returning winner... Sorry, you lost - you don't win the Weekend Sex package. You don't win the guilt-free sporting event attendance'

"This is my normal tone of voice. I believe all guys - they have to use a tone of voice that is two octaves above their normal tone - otherwise - it's like if I went home and said 'I need something to eat. I'm hungry' with this normal tone - my wife would be like 'Why are you shouting at me?'"


"I used to think I'd be all idealistic raising kids. Show them the best, lead by example. I've turned into a small time mob boss, I cajole I threaten. 'I've noticed you've taken a fond interest in that Elmo doll. Wouldn't it be a shame if something were to happen to him?'

"When my kids make play-doh animals, sometimes I'll sneak and break off their heads and leave them at the foot at the bed where they'll find them. To send a message. To keep them on their toes'

"My kids, only recently, they've been aware why I'm there. Before, when they were little they would see me and come up with a look like 'May I help you?'"


"I don't understand the naming of cookies. They should be called what they really are. Like 'You're going to regret this' [can't remember clever names]"

"I don't like cookies in bags. All disorder. At least, when you slide out the tray of cookies and they're all sitting in their plastic barracks, ready to go into battle [pantomines D-day jump/crouch], you know when you hit the end of the row"

"The morning after you've binged on cookies. It's like the scene of a traffic accident, you've got broken glass, crumbs, chocolate skid marks on your napkins, an empty and crushed milk cart carton jammed in your garbage'


"My entertainment friends - they show me their new phones and I'm like I don't want them. Especially, the iPhone. They always want to show me how they can rotate it. I don't need that, I just do this [rotates his head]"

"These new phones. They're fragile. You can't slam them down when you're pissed. "I'm never talking to you again! [mimes yelling on iPhone, calms down and does the little trademark iPhone swipe, and puts the phone gently on imaginary table"

"I hate this. When your friend sits down to lunch with you and puts his Blackberry on the table. It's like he's saying 'I've got options - you're not the only companion'. I mean, if I want to talk to some people, maybe I should get up and go across the street and call them"

"The Blackberry look down. It's like they have painted doll eyes - they're not really paying attention - what are they doing? [pantomines thumb-texting and looking down]"

"A fully-charged cellphone battery - it's a sign of vitality. We can conquer the world. But when the bars start getting low, it's like 'I don't have any time left. I don't know if I can make it' [pantomines dying signal with collapsing on sidewalk]


"What is it with these large cups of coffee. 'I've got a Venti coffee. Coming through!' And when they walk across the street and they judge you, judge your car [pantomines walking across street with large cup of coffee and pausing and looking back at imaginary car with disdain]"

"My wife says when guests come over I should ask them if they'd like a drink. I don't. Why? Where they just came from had drinks"

Weather and miscellaneous

"I hate 'Do you think it will stay like this?'. I always answer 'Yes'. Hello - we live on a planet called Earth. The weather changes. There is a thing called variation in temperature'"

"I hate 'to the best of my knowledge'. Why can't you just say...'I don't know'"

"What is it with compliments when someone says 'I really mean it, I'm not blowing smoke in your ass.' What does that mean? Why do we have to use ass in every conversation - I've got so much it's coming out of my ass, kiss my ass, don't be an ass, kick my ass"

"What is with public restrooms? Why can't they build the wall longer. How much more money is it to extend the wall another foot or two? For some dignity. If I wanted to be in. Maybe I should just hang my head over the stall door - I mean my co-workers already see my pants around my ankles and recognize my shoes - 'Hey Bob how's it going. Yes, this is why I had to leave your powerpoint presentation prematurely [pantomines being horse in stall]"

"I like the new auto-flush. It sits there blinking and reassuring - 'Are you done yet? You got anymore? When you away, it's like 'I've got this one for you. On me buddy'. But those faucets, they're a little more complicated. [does Siegfriend and Roy impression]"
More than a little bit of truth in one of Seinfeld's closing lines. "I have nothing to do too. That's why I'm here, talking to you."

Life is too long. Spend more on adult entertainment. At the very least you'll rewrite your memories of the night out with fuzzy, warmer ones. If you buy some shiny gadget thing or whatever, it will mock you and remind you of the newer shiny gadget things that came out post-haste (and why it didn't make you happy in the long-term). Seinfeld is forever.

Day 27 - Blogger Challenge


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Top Five Links for the Day

  1. PC World documents ten hidden features of the iPhone 3.0 update, in addition to the "official" ones. Now, if only my screen didn't keep freezing ... time to check if this is a common problem with my update?
  2. SpotCrime.Com shows all police-recorded crimes in a given area, on a map, nicely labeled with what happened, when it happened, and further information that helps the viewer determine if it was a random crime or a personally motivated one. I'm looking to buy a house, and this is proving invaluable and strangely addictive!
  3. I love street art, and I have to say that I think Philly's kind of dead in that area. I know, we have murals EVERYWHERE. And they're gorgeous to be sure. But there's something about the random and un-condoned nature of graffiti artists that I find exciting. Is it because it's subversive? Or because it'll get painted over in a week or so? At any rate, Wooster Collective is perhaps my favorite blog of street art. Ji Lee's "Duchamp Reloaded" (above) caught my eye on a recent perusal.
  4. Apartment Therapy doesn't have a tab for Philadelphia (they have NYC, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and DC) but for some reason they put articles about Philadelphia in their DC section. Hmmmm. At any rate, there are some beautiful images there, great articles with design ideas and how-tos, and resources for where to get some fabulous stuff.
  5. I know you've all seen this already, but I just want to say I've watched this at least five times in the past couple of days. Very Karate Kid of our Commander-in-Chief. Someone get the man some chopsticks!

Post Secret

A blog post published on a Saturday evening is probably not going to get much traffic so I'll put up a couple of pictures and call it a night.

I have noticed that most people look flirty and attractive when they purse their lips on camera. But not me. I look hideous.

See this picture on your left. I just snapped on my computer camera. I look normal and friendly enough. Please excuse the hair- it's been monsoon season in Philly and I've been a frizzball all June.

But look at what happens when I try to do a flirty pouty picture for you all...

Definitely not attractive. What's wrong with my nose, it has become misshapen. I have taken dozens of shots of this pose, but I can't ever make it look good. So I need to stop.

If anybody has a good idea for an alternative pose, I'd love the help. I want to update my profile pictures on several online sites, but can't get a good picture.

Day 26 - Blogger Challenge


Friday, June 19, 2009

Oh so random, oh so lovely!

Okay, I have 15 minutes 'til midnight, and I haven't written my post. I spent the day selling shoes after very little sleep, but then my loveliness began: an evening at the Lombard St. pool courtesy of my friend who's a member! Open bar! Food! Pool! It was so great. And now I'm back home, with my kitties and some great takeout Mediterranean food, and an awesome human being who brought over the rest of season 2 of Rescue Me. I'm set.

Bike Week(end), Philly

Starts at 6PM next Friday, 6/26, one long week from now at Moore College of Philadelphia, 20th and the Parkway. Bicycle Film Festival kicks off at 8PM. Dress to fit in.

Best Week Ever...Not...Week 2!

I almost forgot that Fridays were going to be a wrap up of...borrowing someone else's catch phrase... The Week That Was. I still don't have a name for this weekly segment because I'm a grantwriter by trade, not a copywriter. Nothing gives me chills more than writing for brevity and impact. I like my writing to obfuscate not clear stuff up.

So here are my impressions of week:

Seeing Green, Hearing Green, and now Feeling Green. Of course, I am referring to the Iran elections although I couldn't help but think of my Irish heritage this week. I had a nerdgasm over the use of social media with promoting democracy. That blog post I put up this past Tuesday got a fair amount traffic. On Wednesday, I went to a demo in Rittenhouse Square that was organized by an Iran students association. I passed along the messages of people based in Iran and now that a few days have gone by I would say I am no longer in the social media underground. Now that election candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi is on Twitter and has a Facebook page, I am seeing tons of tweets (Twitter posts) referring us his official Facebook for information. The honeymoon is definitely over in terms of using Twitter for the latest info...I am back to relying on my regularly visited news sources for useful info (and verified) info.

SEPTA as Gender Police Wednesday was a big day for me with being out and about and active. I started following a story that I think would appeal to anyone who uses SEPTA. And that is the plight of transgendered people who are getting harrassed by bus drivers and train conductors questioning the M or F on their passes. The idea of being denied transportation because of your gender is discriminatory and wrong. The group SEPTA RAGE is working on this issue & join their Facebook page to stay informed. They have 564 as of this moment, which is a pretty huge group. Not only do they have a Facebook page, they do stuff. On Wednesday, they had a happy hour, meet and greet event at Stir. It was very well attended with people talking about the initiatives to make Pennsylvania a state that truly doesn't discriminate on the basis of gender. The Philadelphia Weekly had a nice piece about this issue titled Transpassing Prohibited. Carline Arcila, who was featured by the PW was at the Stir event and told her story to all of us gathered.

If Only I Could Clone Myself The summer of insane fun continues with another weekend of activities. Too bad, I'm not like the Citypaper or Philly Weekly and give you a heads up of happenings in advance. Instead I find out about things at the last minute. Usually on Monday I have nothing to do on the weekend and by Friday, I am bursting with way too much to do. Here's my schedule. Probably won't make everything but I'll try:

Friday June 19, 2009:
-Party in West Philly to say bye to Dave who will be in Montreal painting murals for summer.
-Free concert at Electric Factory with Major Lazer featuring Diplo and Drop the Lime.

Saturday June 20, 2009:
-2nd Street Music & Popped Festival sponsored by Philebrity from 2 pm - 9 pm from 2nd & Poplar and north toward Girard.
-Summer Solstice event at Kimmel Center- This party goes from 3pm - 6 am. A true all nighter. I'm a little nervous about their talk about a drum circle at 5 am, but I'm thinking of checking it out.
-Medusa Lounge has some good music on Saturday. Might swing by for a while.

Sunday June 21, 2009: Don't tell me about stuff going on for Sunday because I'm not listening- La, la, la, la. I need a day of rest.

Day 25 - Blogger Challenge


Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Sisters Are Coming to Visit!

Tomorrow night, my sisters arrive for a weekend visit. Myself, my oldest sister, and my youngest sister, will be trying to blend our varied interests into one fun-filled weekend.

My oldest sister is from San Francisco, likes to hike, play soccer and wear breathable pants. My youngest sister is a starving actress/nutrition student/yogi/waitress/vegan living in Manhattan. I am a Rittenhouse brat that thinks shopping is cardio. So how will we all meet somewhere in the middle?

Here is my proposed plan:

Anyone else have suggestions?

Being a Grown-Up

One of the things I always felt was out of my reach was home ownership. Silly, I know, but I put that under the category of Things Married People Do, or Things Lawyers/Doctors/Investment Bankers Do ... not Things Humanities/Arts People With Peter/Petra Pan Complexes Do. I've been a student more of my adult life than I've not been, and am still officially on the college rolls (my perpetual doctoral pursuit). And now that I'm moving towards not being a Married Person, I feel once again like a kid.

But guess what: paying rent sucks. I have a fabulous deal on a pretty sweet spot in grad hospital, but even so that sweet spot is costing me $925/month. Sounds great for a 2-bedroom, but I make somewhere around $500/month in take-home pay. Not so good!

I won't go into all the boring financial details, but part of the divorce agreement will give me enough money for a down payment on a house, IF I can find the right place for the right amount--right amount meaning something that will have a significantly lower mortgage payment than my current rent. Fixer-upper? Yes! Shell? No, because I need to live there, not pay a mortgage and rent at the same time. It needs to be near either the Broad Street Line or the Market-Frankford line, because both of those connect with PATCO, which connects me to my son's other residence in Jersey. Safety is the other hugely important part of that, because I'm not bringing my son into a "transitional" neighborhood where dudes get shot or knifed every other month. Past that? I want something that when I look at it, I can see myself there. With my boy, and my cats. Home.

I need a job, I need a house, and I need a grown-up life. I've spent the last six months working toward self-reliance, but I still have a way to go. I can't be too hard on myself for not landing a job in the worst "recession" since the Great one. I just have to trust that things will turn around, for the country and for me.

And that there's a little rowhouse with a little backyard out there, waiting for me.

Soooo tired

It is 9 pm and as soon as I write my blog post, I can take a hot bath and go to bed. I had an amazing night- one of those times when things work out not only for the best, but also like a dream. On Twitter somebody talked about Vegan Drinks Philly, an event at Horizons restaurant. I'm not vegetarian event, but it sounded so good to me because I hadn't eaten all day. I had skipped breakfast and lunch.

I called a couple friends on the fly, which I like to do when insecure. Naturally, they said no. Notice too short and I invited a vegan friend who seemed a bit haughty when he turned me down. He basically said he already knew about the event and was pre-engaged. His response goaded me into going. I show HIM, I'll go myself.

Which I did and my plan was to eat and then leave. I ordered a lemonade, beet small plate, and a heart of palm fritter. I wish I was a food writer and could write lofty wafty prose about the remoulade and the bitter frisee garnish. I was starving and it was yummy. I ended up chatting up a guy who went to Upper Darby High circa 1988. Since I knew Tina Fey went there, we chatted about he took her to the 8th grade dance. Tina Fey turned him GAY, I tell you. No, she didn't, but he is gay so I was making a specious causal assumption.

I ended up hanging out with him and his friend who brought her friends for about an hour more. While sitting at this table of people who started as total strangers, I thought who took over my body and made me outgoing. I used to read Sark books an envy her wacky friendliness and how she had pals everywhere.

I'm realizing that meeting people is simple. On Planet Caroline all people are good and wanting to connect, laugh, and try new things. However, I recognize that most people aren't in the mood for that a lot of the time. Because their dog died or their boss scowled at them or their too tired of the rain. So, I try to be light about it and wear life as a loose garment. I invite people to chat, to go dancing, to hange out. And I beg them to invite me to things as well. The reason I am so aggressively social is that Planet Caroline needs visitors. Lots of them.

This personal blog post is not totally coherent, but then again neither am I. But I wrote and now I can take that bath I told you about.

(Cartoon credit:


(Photo Credit: Jack Anthony)

Not sure I've tooted my own horn before on this blog, but I also have a poetry blog, over at Karmic Kudzu. I've been preoccupied with, well, everything else for the past while, but I've just posted something, so if you're in the mood, feel free to head over and check it out!

I was extremely prolific back in the fall of '07, spring of '08, then dropped off a little bit, and the past few months I've written so very little. It's a difficult thing for me to sit down and try to write a poem. So I do other things, I blog, I journal, and I go about the work of living. Every so often something occurs to me, and it feels more like a picture -- and that's when something poem-like happens.

You other writers out there: what's your process? when do you write? why do you write?

Day 24 - Blogger Challenge


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anthropologie is Selling Wallpaper

I remember when my parents moved into our old house on Edgewater Drive and every room was wallpapered in a different pink and green pattern. The first thing my mother did was chisel every last piece of paper off the wall, re-stucco and paint. She complained about the process for years to follow and shook her head at even the mention of wallpaper. Well Mom, it's coming back. In a big way.




(Source, House Beautiful)

And it looks like my favorite store in the world is offering their own selection of pretty papers. Wonder if I'll cave to the newest decor trend and ignore the sound of my mother's voice reverberating between my ears.

1. Photobucket 2. Photobucket 3. Photobucket

1. Flora & Fauna Wallpaper, $148.00

2. Vanuata Wallpaper, $198.00

3. Are You Being Served Wallpaper, $108.00

Philadelphia Songwriters Project 2009 Final Show

A couple weekends ago, I hopped the train out to Ardmore to see the 12 finalists for the 2009 Philly Songwriting Contest. 6 of those finalists won and their prize is a gig to perform in three high-quality local musical festivals: 1) Kimmel Center Summer Solstice *this* coming Saturday, June 20th at 6PM 2) Bethlehem's Musikfest (8/6/2009) 3) The Philadelphia Folk Festival (8/14-8/16/2009).

I don't know what my scene in Philly or any city is - I tried going to the Belle & Sebastian show but just felt unhip, watching the hip people roll in on their bikes and oh-so efficiently lock them up (it takes me 5 min) and/or assess that a particular pole is not lockable. What I do know is I love watching people pursue their passions - and Philly Songwriters is where local musicians can grow.

I've been going to the final show for several years now. And I'm always impressed by the talent, even though I come into each year's show with higher expectations. The talent is not only good, the musical acts cross all functional boundaries, from folk to rock to jazz and back.

I strongly feel the Philadelphia Songwriters are one of the hidden gems of the Philly area. If you love music, I can't recommend one of their shows enough (repetition: 6/20 Summer Solstice at 6pm). It's like buying organic, support your local musicians.

2009 Philly Songwriter Contest Finalists
Top row (L-R)
Bottom row (L-R)

"Come on People Now" (Blogger Challenge)

I have something I want to share with you. I recently had a fruitful but difficult therapy session that was scheduled last minute ("emergency") because I felt generally and wholly terrible. There are many reasons why the terribles descended upon me, including a mysterious summer flu that peaked with a bout of bronchitis, a run-in with an ex, and a date from hades. Also included were general anxieties about the direction of my life, but that is not really the point of this post. The point is that I realized just how necessary it is for us to cherish ourselves and each another.

I know, I know -- it's like I've just crawled naked into bed with John and Yoko: all I'm missing is the tambourine. But dammit, I'm serious, even if it means being labeled a 2009 hippie. Forget sexy, lets bring love(-ins) back. I am not completely sure what the hell a love-in is, but in my vision we gather together and are just plain nice to each other. We are kind to strangers. W e pay it forward. Smile on each other, all that groovy stuff. Why not? In addition to just plain feeling good, recent studies show that positive relationships increase our life span.

On a particularly inspired day at the beginning the year, I wrote an optimistic blog detailing my great hopes for 2009. Hope 09 is basically a love letter to everyone I know; I wanted to stop and give thanks to/ for the people in my life-- both the relationships bitter and sweet. Yet, as I brayed through my last therapy session, the thoughts that kept me in buoyant anticipation of the new year were no where to be found. Put bluntly, I felt like crap and forgot my own encouraging words. Ah, life. Good therapy and time has found me, in passing moments, once again excited by thoughts celebrating our connections and settling into an understanding of what it is to be alive and sharing this space with one another. And so I went out and got this great tattoo -pictured above-to remind myself always. JK, JK!

Truly, we are more alike than different, and for this I am grateful.

If Only My Resume Could Say ...

Credit where it's due: Pop Culture Casualty gave me the idea back in March, to wonder what a resume might look like if we could put down the things we're really proud of. The idea has been spinning around my brain ever since, as I've sent out some fifty resumes all over the city for everything from teaching freshman writing at Drexel, to writing reviews of online porn (didn't get either job). Is there something I could put on my resume that would explain to these hiring directors that if I can manage a household through a year and a half of moves, construction, and insurance insanity following a house fire, I can certainly manage their fifteen-employee small business office? That I may not have experience as a marketing director, but I've sold a five-year-old on the idea of broccoli and green beans? So I'm composing a list of just a few of the things I'm proud of from the past several years, that won't ever find their way onto a resume.
  1. Gave birth to a beautiful child, completely free of painkillers, after seventeen hours of pretty intense labor. (If I have the stamina and focus to do that, I don't think a sixty-hour work week could bother me.)
  2. Developed a personal community of a dozen or so truly amazing female friends, each one of whom I treasure for their own unique gifts and talents, and each one of whom makes me feel powerful, beautiful, smart, and loving.
  3. Had the courage to recognize the difference between comfort and happiness.
  4. Started to write poetry almost two years ago, having never done so before--and then was selected as a finalist in a highly-regarded poetry competition.
  5. Cleaned friends' houses for money, with absolutely no sense that I was demeaning myself.
  6. Learned to love my body, no matter what its shape might be at the time.
  7. Developed a taste for brussel sprouts!
  8. Taught (and continue to teach) my son life lessons in open-mindedness, compassion, and self-awareness without self-absorption. Some of those lessons sink in faster than others.
  9. Learned how to open a bottle with a lighter.
  10. Discovered that bangs are a good look for me but not when it's humid, that blondes do not necessarily have more fun, that I look great as a redhead but the upkeep is way too much to deal with, and that my natural hair color really is pretty fabulous. Grey hairs and all.
I know you all have things you'd like to be able to put on your resume. Care to share?

Harry Anderson Hit On Me!

Harry Anderson, the guy who guested on Cheers and the judge from Night Court has found me on Facebook and wants to make my acquaintance. And perhaps more, hubba. I am especially impressed with his powers of discernment as my profile is private to people living outside of Philly. But he isn't after me for my looks unless he has chromophilia- my current picture is a simple green square in support of democracy protests in Iran. But I imagine that he detected my sassiness oozing from my list of tawdry friends.

But, Harry, is 25 years too late from his Night Court stint, which began in 1984. In searching Night Court online, I found a clip of a Night Court eppy with Brent Spiner (you know Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, right?) guesting. Awesome. Clicky to see it.

Now 1984 that was a year. Was anybody old enough to remember Orwell on the cover of Time magazine. I admit I didn't read the dystopian novel until college. But my dad did read Animal Farm to my baby sister, while my other sister and I bleated the sheeps' dialogue like ("four legs good, two legs baaaaaaaad.") Speaking of 1984, oh looky, and you can read Orwell's entire rat infested novel online for free. That was a good year... Historic in many ways. MTV had its first video music awards show. No surprise that Michael Jackson's Thriller swept many of the categories, but it's entertaining to see some all of the nominees. It's hard to believe how much hype there was around the Thriller video and how it was lauded as groundbreaking because it was long. Here is a written summary of the MTV awards show broadcast.

Thanks Harry for bringing back the memories. And I do suspect the Harry who wrote me is not THE REAL ex-magician actor HARRY ANDERSON. According to Who's Dated Who, Harry still gets work in Hollywood and elsewhere. Don't think this Harry Anderson is the major league baseball outfielder who got his start as a pro with the Philadelphia Phillies. See, here I've made a Philadelphia connection in this blog post, wow. I don't think this Harry is my man though... I checked his stats and he's on the Field of Dreams league now.

So this man is probably a flimflam artist, but I choose to be flattered nonetheless. I've reposted Anderson's message for you all.

Subject: hello dear

Hello ,
how are you doing and how has your day been? I am Harry B Anderson, i live in lincolnshire in England,i lived most part of my life in ireland.Im am a graduate of business administration, im a business man doing well in my business im also a philantropist, am new to this website and can even say am new to the internet because am not that familiar with it..... am single and never married, i really enjoy your profile because you have gotten a nice profile out of the millions of profile on this site...iam a very selective man like to choose whom to talk to and whom not to.. .. i will like to be your friend I love the waters , u know , fishing, swimming ,beach,sailing I also believe in helping those who are in need , and i mean those who really need the help and will be very happy if you can write me can add me for a chat using [address removed] or call this no +[number removed] ..... thanks and have a nice time..... time....we talk better when we share address.i am really really expecting your reply thanks HARRY

(Photo credit:

Day 23 - Blogger Challenge


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's Called Social Media for a Reason

As events around the election and resulting protests in Iran unfold, it seems like every blogger, tweeter, and other social mediaer is in on the action. And I don't know how many people in Philly's streets are wearing the green of protest, but I see Twitter and Facebook photos in lovely mossy hues.

Will Bunch, Daily News columnist, wrote a piece about the Iran election story from the lens of a growing gulf between social media and more traditional news outlets: Media revolution: What's Gained, What's Lost.

But I think Bunch missed the point. Social media isn't solely about news transmission, it is about mass movements and activism. Social media is responding to and creating news.

I made a comment on Bunch's Attytood online blog post:

In the 1950's the newly birthed television gave the civil rights movement a mass audience. People were horrified by the sight of dogs and firehoses unleashed on peaceful demonstrators looking for the end of segregation. But people did not simply watch tv, they opened their wallets and gave money to activist groups such as Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) or they simply went down South to participate in direct action. Social media promises to usher in a new wave of activism because in short bursts of information, messages of "Do this" or "Go there" are flooded our consciousness. We aren't absorbing news passively in social media, we are being encouraged to construct it. It is better to go do something and tweet about it in the moment than to read about it in the paper in the morning. With social media, I use my voice, but I also use my feet. I demonstrate, I boycott, and I put up a big ole fuss with the establishment. Talk without action leads nowhere.

In summary, I am very much excited by the potential social media has in shaping our world in more democratic and more humane ways. I want to be part of that.

Noir is the New Black

The other weekend I had the privilege of taking in some classic noir, gorgeous cocktails, and sparkling conversation with the folks over at Rowhouse Productions. Hosted by Rufus Fowler and Sarah Noble, their Rowhouse Film Festival is in its fourth season, and this time the theme is noir. I've been a new addition to the invite-only group, but I can tell you now that these folks know how to throw a cocktail party! In fact, another series midwived by the dynamic duo is SPEC: The Society for the Promotion of Extraordinary Cocktails (featured in Philly Weekly, April 2008). I can't wait to get in on some of that action.

(Photo courtesy of Rufus and Sarah)

Rufus and Sarah rehabbed a gorgeous rowhome on Christian Street some six years ago, banking on the impending Toll Brothers encampment known as Naval Square. (I get my car share car from there: it's like a fancy, fancy mental institution! Show your visitor badge to get in or out, because there's no way past the 12-foot iron fence otherwise!) They chose wisely, and now their delightfully design-friendly space neighbors other recent rehabs and is just down the street from the Sidecar. (Awesome brunch.) What does a fabulously hip, supersmart, gorgeous couple do when they have a venue like this? Entertain!

I'm really looking forward to the next event. Perhaps I'll manage one of Sarah's Grrl's Teas? Here's hoping!

Day 22 - Blogger Challenge

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