Sunday, April 29, 2007

sleepy mcsleeperton


The usual busy week, jury duty, several talks (including a panel discussion at Ball State), yoga, hair cut, all-day accounting class (trying to stay awake during all-day accounting class) working all three jobs, writing 2000 words for the Gazette and three articles for NUVO.

I was really looking forward to attending a party celebrating the 10th anniversary of the film "Going All the Way" tonight.
The Dan Wakefield coming of age book was made in to a movie.
Starring Ben Affleck (before he was Ben Affleck).
A good chunk of the book is set at the Red Key Tavern.
And the bar was used in the movie.
I did not work there then, but I was one of the folks lurking on the sidewalk during filming.
The party started at 7:30.
I woke up at 10:00.
Double damn it.

I went out with my friend MA on Friday.
We had a fun evening of music and art.
(band practice boys band)
And we also talked a lot about boys.
MA had been spending some time with a guy that I kind-of know.
Things had apparently been going well, but he has not contacted her for over a week.
I was defending him -- maybe he's been out of town, really busy with work, broke both of his hands, etc.

We were driving back to the neighborhood from downtown and passed his house.
He lives on a busy street, we weren't driving by on purpose.
(not that I have not done such things)
He was having a freakin' party!
Music, laughter and people spilling out on his porch.
Even I, master of the spin could not explain that away.

I suggested that we stop at the Red Key on the way home.
This development required discussion over a beer.
MA chatted with some folks on the way in, I grabbed a table.
The guys at the next table said hello.
I nodded back.
One of them asked me "if I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior."
I'm Catholic, we do this stuff in the privacy of our homes, not in bars at midnight.
I went to the restroom (it's two rooms, very small -- sink in one room, potty in the other).
A woman that I sort-of know from came through the door to the sink room.
T:Nora, do you find me attractive?
N: Yes T, you're adorable, are you okay?
T: No, I feel awful, tired, blah blah....
N:[shifting from foot to foot, looking longing at the bathroom -- I was in there for a reason] T, you look great you're amazing.
T: [bursts in to tears] No I don't.
Anyway, I convinced her that she was having a bad body image day, and sent her out the door.
Before I could order a drink, the waitress was asking me if I could work a Monday in July.
Um, okay.
Then she launched a really long story, never taking our order.

MA and I wound up going to Steak and Shake.
Cheeseburgers and french fries are just as good for the soul as a beer.

Anyway, I only slept five hours Friday night, wrote all day and worked at the Red Key from 5:00 'til 2:00.
I worked at Marigold from 11:00-6:00.

I came home and laid down for "just fifteen minutes"
Famous last drowsy words.

I missed the party, but my feet sure do feel better.
Maybe I'll be invited to the 25th anniversary celebration.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

miss manners

Living alone, you fall in to bad habits.

No need to be especially tidy.

Dishes are stacked in the sink.
Nothing in the fridge but bottled water, diet Pepsi and beer.
Popcorn for dinner.
Mail is piled up on the sofa.
Hair products on the bathroom counter.
The ironing board is up in the bedroom.
The bed is a nest of books, pens and paper.
Don't even ask about the state of my desk...

There is one thing I cannot do --
Eat ice cream out of the carton.
I still have to put it in a dish, even for just one spoon full.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

rock star

People often think the life of a music writer in the 12th largest city in country is glamorous.
Limos, backstage passes, gourmet meals, massages, trendy clothes, good drugs, tour buses and swanky hotels.

The reality: most of the musicians I write about travel by hatchback, play in venues that barely have a stage – let alone a backstage, drink the crappy beer in my fridge and sleep on my sofa.

I write a lot of previews: promoting the shows and giving people a glimpse of the musicians. I do most of my work online and via e-mail and telephone, often in my jammies. It is mostly a solitary and occasionally frustrating job. Musicians, venues and publicists campaign for coverage in the papers that I write for. And often then disappear – not returning phone calls or emails.

I write a column about music for the Broad Ripple Gazette a twice-a-month paper with a great reputation and ever-growing readership.
I often see things that have been covered in the Gazette later get covered in a larger paper.
For NUVO Newsweekly I mostly write music previews and profiles. I sometimes review shows and have worked on several feature stories. NUVO is known for its coverage of music, arts and social justice issues.
I am also part of a panel that votes on the Top Ten Live shows each week. The Top Ten list is published in INTake Weekly, a division of the Indianapolis Star – a Gannett paper.
It is pretty amazing that I’m in NUVO and INTake each week. No one else is.
There is a perceived competition between the two, I’m not sure how real it is.
I make it a point to see as much music as possible, which I think it is necessary in order to write about it. I know that I’m see at least, if not more music than most music writers. Not that I am faulting them – I don’t have a family and other obligations that other folks do.

Anyway, all of that said, I often feel like the chopped liver of music writers. Since I don’t write about the big sexy shows, I don’t often get invited to the parties.

That all changed last night -- I was invited to sit at the big kid's table.
I was invited to the kick-off party to introduce the summer line-up of Verizon Music Center (Deer Creek), our large outdoor venue.

There was valet parking and a red carpet. The party was on the stage, lots of food, tasty beverages and ice cream for dessert. They took photos that were given to us, but I could not resist a few of my own photo ops.

Nora on stage, mid air guitar solo.

Nora with the classic rock-geek hand gestures.

My friend Tammy (or in the guest list lexicon, my PLUS 1) rushing the stage.

We also got to tour the dressing rooms.
They were not as exciting as I thought they might be.
No swings or beds.

I was not impressed until I checked out the bathroom.

No comment about the guitar players that I've dated.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

name your band

As you now know, I'm a time-wasting champion.
In avoiding writing, laundry, cleaning and basic hygiene this morning I found a great Web site.
Click on the post title to name your band.
Enter your name and the Web site generates some suggestions for band names.

Queen Bee Music is the name of my music Web site and Broad Ripple Gazette column.

Fractional Queenbee of the Nechro Killer
Queenbee Average [average, finally!]
Little Queenbee
Persuasive Queenbee
Mystic Queenbee
Queenbee of the Route Gum [sounds like the first step to the a root canal]
Queenbee Doom
Queenbee Broadcast
Brazen Queenbee
Seasoned Queenbee and the Thursday

A Blogger Band?

Chez Pez Agreement
Chez Pez of the Other
Chez Pez Lumber
Chez Pez of the Dong [wild blushing]
Nipple of the Chez Pez Gum [this one made diet Pepsi come out of my nose]
Huge Chez Pez of the Undefeated Generation
Chez Pez Diner [the name of my next coffeehouse]
Tramp Chez Pez
Elated Chez Pez
Chez Pez Breeze [tongue twister to the z]

Nora as a solo act?

Nora Creep of the Young Stereo [Great punk-rock name -Nora Creep]
Nora Border
Nora Rhubarb [Grandma Nora made legendary rhubarb pie]
Rude Nora [in my mind anyway]
Unborn Nora
Nora of the Anywhere
Nora Hesitation
Nora Fountain
Nora Mooch
Nora Stronger

Nora Spitznogle Scar and the Kung-fu Koala [fit that on a marquee!]
Nora Spitznogle of the Spoiled Author [don't I wish!]
Last Nora Spitznogle [sad, but true]
Nora Spitznogle Caravan [led by a Chevy pick-up truck]
Lymph Nora Spitznogle
Nora Spitznogle #45 [wild, since I am 45!]
Confined Nora Spitznogle of the Fair Terminal
Nora Spitznogle Week
Nora Spitznogle Canal and the Slippery Snow [sounds a bit pornographic]
Canvas Nora Spitznogle

Family band?

Spitznogle Thumb
Spitznogle Millennium
Aurora Spitznogle [strangely close to Nora Spitznogle]
Spitznogle of the Complicated
Secure Spitznogle
Spitznogle Vivid
Snippy of the Struggling [especially after a 9 hour waitressing shift]
Socio Spitznogle
Spitznogle Variety [oh, we've got variety]
Ivory Spitznogle [more like pale]

And I could not resist this:

Cliff Morrow Skin
Excess Cliff Morrow and the Explorer
Cliff Morrow Sudden
Full Cliff Morrow
Excess Cliff Morrow
Punky Cliff Morrow
Spiritual Cliff Morrow of the Ill Envelope
Cliff Morrow Proxy
Incident Cliff Morrow and the Stilt Streak
Cliff Morrow Formal

or this:

Crabby Dad Mansion
Crabby Dad Incognito
Crabby Dad Shapely
Crabby Dad Havoc
Crabby Dad of the Distant
Crabby Dad Profanity
Crabby Dad Drunk
Crabby Dad Doubtless
Crabby Dad Wishbone
Refried Crabby Dad

I cannot possible think of one more way to waste time -- off to the shower!

auntie nora -- updated

It has been a long, slightly overwhelming week -- capped off by this gorgeous-weather day of work followed by more work.

I just came home with really sore feet and an equally worn out disposition.

I felt instantly better when I listened to this message:

"This is Molly Spitznogle, 5**-9****, Auntie Norie can you come to the baseball game with me tomorrow?
I understand if you can't. I miss you."

She sounded so grown up! She's lost her little girl lisp.
The typical message would include several "Mom!'s" and a recorded tussle with her little brother.

I would throw myself under a train for my sweet almost six year-old niece.
This will be easy.
I'll see you at the game, June Bug!


The game was a blast, despite the 3-8 defeat.

Victory Field is in downtown Indianapolis and is only 10 years old.
When the Indianapolis Indians moved from the old historic Busch Stadium I was prepared not to like the new stadium, but it it perfect.

I usually make it to at least a dozen games a summer.
This is the first year I've missed opening day since I've been back in Indy.
I hate to admit it, but I wussed out. It was a cold windy and rainy day.
Today was warm and sunny.

I took Molly and John to the media room to meet my friend Bruce Schumaker, the public address announcer.
The kids got a bird's eye view of the stadium.

Molly and John got to 'run the bases' after the game. Molly is in the pink hat and John, in the red hat is playing "Shoeless Joe."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

yo la tangled limbs

I can't remember the last time I went to yoga -- it was at least 10 pounds ago.

I've been feeling a little on edge lately.
I thought yoga would be a good stress reliever.

I'm not the most coordinated person to start out with.

And I have a hard time processing directions:
"Place your feet apart, right heel out at a 90% angle. Left heel at a 10% angle in"
Just as I figure out my left from right, my brain freezes on angles.

The woman who leads the class, Mary Jo is great and she is often standing next to me adjusting my poses and sometimes giving me a literal nudge in the right direction.

Something went horribly awry this evening.
I swear she said "hang upside down"
Those directions were open to interpretation.
I was supposed to be leaning forward, bent at the waist, nose toward the knees.

I leaned backwards -- and almost fell over.

I started giggling, Mary Jo started laughing.
The rest of the class was confused (they were leaning forward and missed the whole thing), which made us laugh harder.

I feel better - don't know whether it was the breathing and stretching or the laughing until I cried.

Monday, April 16, 2007

three nametag day

I'm giving talks to three wildly different groups today.

I do a good bit of public speaking.
United Way of Central Indiana give me an award for the most "torchbearer" talks (and being the most requested speaker) last year - 26.
That number does not include the speeches I've given on behalf of Second Helpings.
Or tours I've given.
Or classes I've taught.

This morning I spoke to a high school class about community service.
I spoke to a room full of bankers at lunch.
I'm speaking to a Junior League meeting this evening.

How do you dress for all of that, you ask?

I wore the outfit I wore to attend church in Tekamah.
If it works in a Baptist church in Nebraska, it can work anywhere.

Throw a jean jacket over it for the school kids, as-is for the bankers and I'll pull my hair back for the Jr. League dinner.
That same outfit will also have to carry me through to a concert tonight.
Hair down, add some eyeliner and accessorize with the denim jacket and a beer -- I'll be good to go.

Talking in front of people still makes me nervous, but it usually goes well.
I'm a better extemporaneous speaker than when I have a talk prepared.
I do always have a note card with talking points with me if I freeze.
I make people laugh, and it's not easy to make hunger a happy subject.

I give a lot of talks in factories.
My Dad is retired from auto business and farming.
My brother has two factories that do injection molding and tooling.
I've always worked in restaurants.
Blue collar folks are my people.

I love it when I go somewhere and I have to put on a hard hat and safely goggles to get to the meeting site.
I adore the behind the scenes stuff.
I think I have a life time supply of earplugs from a company that manufactures them in here in Indy.
Not a bad thing to have when you review music.

I've also had some mishaps.
I could not find a place to park for a talk at the IUPUI (Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis) last fall. I went racing in to the room with a campus policeman at my heels telling me to move my car.
After I was given a pass, I ran back in to the room only to trip and fall in to the lap of Dean of the School of Philanthropy.
That wound up being one of my better talks and so much great stuff has come from it.

I gave a talk at a large factory that makes heating and cooling units. The United Way talk coincided with their quarterly meeting.
First BigCo told the employees that their health benefits were being cut, then they broke the news that they would not be getting overtime or a bonus.
Oh, and here's Nora.
Boy did that suck.
I stammered through the talk, thinking some of those folks might be needing the services of United Way soon.
I was happy to turn in my safety glasses and head out the door.
My cell phone rang as I was leaving the parking lot.
Could I come back?
The next speaker was wearing open toed shoes and was not allowed past the lobby.
Curses sensible shoes!
I headed back to the meeting room thinking I was better prepared for what was going to happen.
Same bad news to a different shift.
And here's...who?
A woman soliciting for a non-United Way agency.
She looked like every one's favorite grandmother.
She held up a photograph of her grandson that died of SIDS and was collecting money to buy cribs for poor people.
How do you follow that?
I gave the shortest talk ever, handed the sweet grandmother $20 and went home.

I was asked a few months later to come to the same company's volunteer and health fair.
I set up my little display and talked to who ever wandered by.
And not too many people wandered by -- I was not giving away any freebies.
There were a couple of guys that chatted for a while.
All of the sudden a woman was yelling to "stay away from her man."
I wondered who in the hell she was taking to.
Then I realized it was me.
Trust me, I had no designs on her man.
It did draw attention to my booth though.
That day could not end soon enough.

I packed up my stuff vowing to never come back to BigCo.
Not that they have asked me.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

yo la tengo

I'm downright giddy.

Yo La Tengo played at the Vogue tonight.

And they played a Dow Jones and the Industrials song at the encore.

I cannot express how off-the-charts-cool that is.

Yo La Tengo have been indie rock darlings since 1984, which is amazing longevity for a band.

The also have play amazingly long shows.
They played for over two hours tonight.
I was tired and more than a little cranky when I arrived at the show.
I came very close to leaving at midnight.
I try never to leave a concert or sporting event until it is over.

You just never know what will happen.

I'm so glad I stayed.

YLT played "Can't Stand the Midwest," a Dow Jones and Industrials song.
(click on the title to hear the song).

I lived with half of the band in college.
Shy farm girl meets punk-rockers.
The rest is history.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

no strollers/no handguns

no strollers/no handguns is pretty much my motto also.
It is printed on every Golden Gloves ticket and there are signs on the door.
I've watched guys turn away after reading the sign...and they were not pushing strollers.

This is the fifth week of the Golden Gloves matches.
There will be lots of championship fights tonight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

procrastination champ

Things I've done this evening to avoid writing:

*smashed the soda cans in my recycling bin.
*straightened the newspapers in the recycling box.
*added rubber bands to my rubber band ball.
*updated my wall calendar with different color sharpies according to event.
*read your blogs.
*rearranged my top friends on myspace to people who have slept on my sofa.
*written this.

Technically my column in not due until midnight, right?

Monday, April 09, 2007

the case of the missing case....

...of beer.

I came home this evening to this note "I saw who stole your beer" clothes-pinned to my screen door.

I opened the door to discover sure 'nuff the case of Miller Light was gone.
My house is very small and I often use my screened-in front porch as an extension of my living space.
I have wicker furniture, a church pew, my roller blades, bike helmet and lots of other stuff out there..
I've been lucky in the last ten years.

The only thing that has disappeared was a pair of speakers to a PA system.
I'd loaned it out, was not home when it was returned, so it was left on the porch.
The thief left the more valuable parts; the PA, two microphones, a milk crate full of cords, mic stands and the speaker stands.
I'm guessing they were pretty disappointed when they tried to hook up the speakers to a conventional stereo system.

I had lots of leftover beer and wine from my St. Valentine's Day party and I gave most of it away.

I was invited to a Easter party and offered to bring beer.
I thought I still had a case of Miller Light on the porch.
I realized on Saturday that it was gone, I assumed that I had farmed it out with the rest of the beer.
I bought another case from the Red Key.
Sunday morning I opened the case, and stuffed Easter grass, eggs and bunnies between the bottles.
It just seemed weird to bring beer to a party, I had to "holiday" it up!

I stuck it on the porch to chill.
I never made it to the party Sunday ( I need to start a secret blog about family junk) and forgot about the beer.

Apparently someone stole the beer off the porch today.
And someone else left an anonymous note.

I wonder how surprised they were when they opened the case to find a giant beer Easter basket.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

happy easter

It was a lovely day.

I went to Mass with brother JR and his family.
JR "bought" the front pew for Easter Mass at a fundraiser.
It felt a little decadent, but it was lovely to be front and center for the celebration.

After church we met sister Beth, brother-in-law Ron, Mom and a dozen others folk for brunch at JR and Anna's club.
How swanky are we?

Not only did we celebrate Easter, today is Dad's 71st birthday.

Nora and her date. He keeps her hopping.

Happy Easter!

saturday night in the 'hood

I worked at the Red Key tonight, as I do most Saturday's.

I usually have fun at work, even though I work my ass off when I'm there.
I am the waitress and the cook.
The tavern is fairly small, just 13 tables -- not that there is a #13, we skip from 12 to 14.
It feels awful darn big when the place is full and you're cooking also.
I never use the table numbers. if I don't know folks names, I make one up.
Some of tonight's tickets were labeled:
MHB (for Mr. Hamburger).
CS (Cub's Shirt).
CB (Cute Boy).
BH (Butt Head -- actually I know his name but BH is much more descriptive).

My parents, sister Beth and brother-in-law Ron came in tonight. They had all been to the Easter Vigil mass, Dad at St. Joseph's in Lebanon and Mom, Beth and Ron at St. Pius X where Mom works.
I loved hearing their laughter, but felt like Cinderella.
I broke a big rule and kept the kitchen open two hours late, knowing that they were coming. Since I was cooking for them I felt like I needed to offer food to everyone else.
8 burgers, a BLT, and tenderloin later...

Several police cars came screaming by the bar around 1:30, then one drove around the block shining their spotlight in the alley.
Jake and I locked the doors to the bar.
When even more police cars raced by and the helicopter flew over it was starting to get a little scary.
And I'm not easily rattled.

Since all of the cars were headed toward my house, Jake followed me home to make sure I made in to the house okay.
The helicopter is still hovering, shining a big light in backyards. I wish I knew what is going on.

I'm going to try to ignore all of the hubub and go to sleep...with the lights on.

Friday, April 06, 2007

tad armstrong

Tad is my favorite singer/songwriter.
There, I said it.

He played tonight to promote his spiffed-up shiny EP "Start All Over Again."

I had a great time, I love hearing Tad perform.

Hearing him always brings up memories.
Tad and AVS played together for years...13, if anyone is counting.
I wrote about their last band, Middletown a few months ago when then had a reunion show.
T. and A. are such good friends, I call them "heterosexual life partners."
They still play together occasionally with Susan Cowsill.

I played the new CD in the truck on the way home.
It was a bit of a jolt to hear AVS's vocals and guitar playing.

The good news?
I did not ask Tad about AVS.
I did not try to call, text or e-mail him either.

Maybe I'm moving on...just a tad.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


In the 40 years I've known Jerry, we have only spent one hour in the car together (five years ago in Tulsa) -- until last week.
Taking a car trip can make or break a friendship.
Luckily Jerry and I discovered that we travel well together, even our restroom breaks were in sync.

Jerry did the hard work for the trip; he used his frequent flyer miles to get me to Kansas City and did the majority of the driving.

We arrived in Tekamah just in time for dinner.
I'll admit to being nervous as we walked up to the door, but that dissipated as we were greeted with a big hug from Cliff and Marilyn.

Dinner was delicious and fun.
Marilyn made her famous strawberry shortcake for dessert.

I cannot tell you how welcome they made us feel and how real-life funny they are.

Cliff sang a solo at Palm Sunday service. He sounded terrific.
I'm sorry the photo is so dark, but I did not have enough nerve to use the flash in church.
Marilyn sings and plays in the bell choir, Juli plays piano and organ. The grandson lit the candles and the granddaughters were in the procession that brought the palms to the alter.
I only goofed up twice, one of them involved passing the offering basket the wrong way.
Everyone was very friendly and knew that Jerry and I must be bloggers.
So much for being incognito.

Lunch followed with all of the Morrow children and grandchildren.
I was honored to be in their company.

The rest of the day was spent exploring the farm.

I made an interesting discovery...I found the cat field, it looks like it will be a good crop this year.

If you look closely, you will find three cats.

We spent Sunday evening swapping stories.
I also learned about 3-D photography, Marilyn is a fabulous photographer.

I over packed, I brought clothes for every contingency, almost.
I did not anticipate the 6:15 (yes, in the morning) run to Decatur to pick up 9 dogs to be groomed.
The trip was fun. Four adults and 9 dogs in the van. Almost everyone behaved.

The traditional Tekemah good-bye

I knew that I would like the Morrows, but it was humbling to see how respected in their community they are.

I was also impressed by all of the history of the area Cliff knows.

It was a grand trip.

Thanks Jerry and Cliff.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

red key tavern

Jerry piloted us back to Indiana safely.
I'll be writing about our trip soon.

April 2 is the 56th anniversary of Russel Settle owning the Red Key Tavern.
I have worked at the Red Key for over five years, in several capacities.

Russel celebrated his 89th birthday on St. Valentine's Day.
He's a legendary curmudgeon.
When he asked me to work there it felt like an appointment from the Governor.

He grew up in the Pleasant Run Children's Home and attended Franklin College.

He joined the Army Air Corps, 381 Bomb Group.

Arrived in England December 23, 1942
Shot down January 30, 1944
Captured February 28, 1944
Liberated April 29, 1945

He purchased the Red Key in 1951.
He is a widower with six children and many grandchildren.

Russel runs a tight ship at the tavern.

The bar is famous for its rules.
They are very simple:
1. Don't move the furniture.
What other business do you frequent that you just start moving stuff around?
2. No chairs in the aisle.
The place is small, and the aisle needs to be kept clear for people--and me, if you want a cocktail.

3. Hang your coat up.
Do you really want your coat to touch the bar floor?

4. No swearing.
Hint: just don't swear as loud as Russel.

5. No table hopping*.
Pick a place and keep it.

6. The bartender is always right.
I have trouble with this one...unless of course, I'm the bartender.

I am thrilled to be part of the Red Key.
I love working at a business with so much history.
The Red Key attracts a very diverse crowd.
I've met the Governor, the Mayor and every politician in between. Neighborhood folks, musicians, writers and artists hang out there.
Kurt Voggegut Jr., John Hiatt and Dan Wakefield all called the Red Key home.

Russel is also very generous. He collected money for the orphanage for years. When the children's home closed he started donating money to the Children's Bureau. Last year the "ceiling fund" raised over $8000.00. Working for a non-profit agency, I can imagine the look on their face when Russel handed them the check this year. When people donate money we toss the money toward the ceiling and the money sticks up there. I can do it, but get teased for throwing like a girl (two handed).
I could tell you how it works, but I'd have to know the rest.

One rare night we had no customers for two hours.
Russel played harmonica for me and told war stories.
That is the best time I've ever spent there.

I am thankful to Russel for letting me work part-time all of these years. It has kept a roof over my head and allowed me the freedom to find a great job.

*I break the moving around rule too often. Russel calls me "a fart on a griddle."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

no foolin'

I'm having a wonderful time in Nebraska.
Cliff and Marilyn live up to their reputation as fabulous hosts.

Jerry and I arrived last night in time for dinner with Cliff's brother and sister-in-law and Marilyn's mother.

We went to their church this morning and got to hear Cliff sing a solo, Marilyn play bells and Juli play the piano and organ.
Lunch included the whole Morrow clan.

I'm using Cliff's computer, hopefully some of his humor will soak through my fingers. I've laughed more in the last 24 hours than I have in months.

I'm being called to eat....