Thursday, September 27, 2007

spattergroit* [updated]

I'm finally reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I don't think I'm revealing any secrets if I tell you that Harry, Hermione and Ron are on the run. Ron's family is pretending that he is sick with Spattergroit* and confined to his room. There is a ghoul wearing Ron's pajamas and covered in angry purple blisters just in case anyone peeks in his room.

I woke up this morning looked in the mirror and took a double take -- Spattergroit!

I have icky oozy stuff on my face and arms and my right eye was swollen shut. I got on the phone to cancel my 7:30 speech and let Second Helpings know that I would not be there.

Luckily my doctor could see me this morning. I walked in to the office wearing giant sunglasses ala Mary Kate Olsen.

She asked me if I'd been around any poison oak lately. Of course not, I replied. She asked how I'd bruised my arm. I told here about the air conditioner accident, and getting tangled up in the ivy growing on my house. Ahh -- the "ivy."

It turns out the eye problem is not related to the poison ivy.
The tissue around my eye is infected -- don't think about it, its way too disgusting.

My eye has been a little swollen and weird for about a week. My doctor asked if I'd been touching my eye more than usual.
Umm, no.
Ohhh, wait...Talk Like a Pirate Day. I would cover my eye to pretend like I had an eye patch.

I came home loaded down with 10 days of antibiotics, steroids, antihistamines, creams and eye drops. I hope that is the magic Spattergroit antidote.

Back to reading the book -- with one eye shut.

-update. I just found the antidote for spattergroit:
spattergroit - a malady which causes a person to develop spots on their face. A portrait of a medieval healer in the stairwell of St. Mungo's tried to stop Ron and tell him he had spattergroit. Ron angrily told the painting that it was only freckles, but the healer prescribed the following:
"[T]ake the liver of a toad, bind it tight about your throat, stand naked at the full moon in a barrel of eels' eyes..."

I think I'll stick with my regimen of pills and Matlock re-runs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

baby, baby or i think he loves me part 2

Any punk rocker worth their Doc Martens is a fan of the Vibrators.

The band formed in 1976 -- which was lifetime ago.
I think that band years are like dog years.
One actual year equals seven in the music world.

I finally got to see the band -- or what is left of it.
Knox is the only origional member.

I loved every second of it. I got to chat with Knox before the show started --meeting a punk rock idol with a charming British accent, of course I was all blushy and weird. I did not help that when I tried to buy a button from their merch table, he gave me the button and tried to convince me to purchase a pair of thong panties with the Vibrator logo instead.

The crowd consisted of aging punk rockers and young skateboarders.

I will say that I've aged better than a lot of my peers. I think being such a nerd has finally paid off.I was always too chicken to try drugs and too shy for getting in to too much trouble with boys.
There is a certain local musician that I've liked for 25 years at the show. I stood next to him while the band was playing. I can write great reviews of his music, but become tongue tied when it comes to an actual conversation.

The exchange:
DL: Hello Nora. Good to see you. I like your hair.
NS:[looking at her 20 year old biker boots] Umm, thank you.
DL: Do you have a favorite Vibrators song?
NS: Umm, Troops of Tomorrow and Baby,Baby is fun too.
DL: Good choices
NS: Umm, okay, see ya later.

I'm glad to see that something things have not changed in 25 years. I'm still the queen of awkward conversations.
Yep, I need flirting lessons.

sidewalk stories

I am not-so-slowly turning in to my mother.

Mom makes good use of her AAA auto membership.
I've always had a smug I'm Clearly Smarter Than You attitude about locking keys in the car, running out of gas and leaving lights on.
Kind of like the way I used to feel about air-conditioning.

I've had a big case of crabbiness this last week and decided that I needed to be eating better, which meant a dreaded trip to the grocery store. I'm determined to support my neighborhood businesses, which means not shopping at the scrubbed clean polished for television and soccer moms supermarket, but at the low frills bring your own bag and stand in line with people screaming at their children discount market on a busy street.

I was feeling pretty good when I was done shopping -- nothing but fruit, vegetables and a package of Twizzlers in my cart. I packed them in the cloth bag I'd carried in to the store. I got to help an actual old lady load her groceries in her car and gave my cart (without getting the quarter back) to a young mother.

I walked to the truck and realized the doors were locked.
Why? I never lock the truck. And I could see my keys big as life on the seat -- next to my cell phone.

Okay, not to panic.
I have my wallet, a cantaloupe and Twizzlers.
That can solve anything, right?
If I was MacGuyver, maybe.

I just need to call someone to give me ride home. From there I was sure that I could break in to my house for the spare keys, put the yogurt in the fridge and ride my bike back to the truck.

Call someone...humm...
I'm terrible at remembering phone numbers. My poor brain is on overload just keeping track of my telephone, cell phone, bank accounts and PIN numbers, passwords, birthdays, alarm codes and safes (Second Helpings, Red Key and Marigold) and bike lock combination.

The only telephone numbers I know by heart are my family.
I walked to a payphone, deposited 50 cents, dialed Mom.
Pay phone broken, what a shock.
I walked to the gas station on the corner and tried to call Mom again.
She was not home.

All of my friends in the neighborhood use cell phones as their main phone, so there was no use looking in the phone book.

Hostel John is who I rely on for getting me out of a jam things like this. Bingo! I remembered that I'd written a piece about an art opening at the Hostel for the Gazette and included John's cell phone number as the contact number.

I walked a couple of blocks to a bar that carried the paper, used their phone and John and his just moved here from Chicago girlfriend graciously postponed their dinner plans to come rescue me.

John insisted on helping me break in to my house. My bedroom window looked like the easiest route --after we removed the air-conditioner from the window.
Easy enough right?
I had my ladder out and a step stool. My thought was that I'd reach in, unplug the air-conditioner, John and I would lift it out. We'd set it on the ground and I'd crawl through the space.

I guess we should have discussed our plans.

John's idea was that I'd reach in, unplug it and we'd set the air-conditioner on the ladder while he crawled in.

The result was much fumbling, laughing and one still-running air-conditioner on the ground.

John crawled through the window, got a good eye full of my messy house and they took me back to my truck.

The air-conditioner still worked, but I decided it should join the toilet on the curb.

I just hope no one trips over it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Did anyone else have to make their clothing choices based covering on a tattoo this morning?

Yesterday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day (along with Butterscotch Pudding Day).

Emergent Leadership Institute, an agency that connects high school and college students with meaningful volunteer experiences used the occasion as a fundraiser.

As you can see, I'm having trouble keeping a straight face.

Here is Captain Salty at the Red Key

Tammy looks lovely in her tattoo and the mustache.

The mustache really dresses up Matt's High Life, don't you think?

For more photographs click here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

it's my potty, and i'll cry if I want too...

My intention was to post every day in September.
You can see how that is going for me.

Yesterday, Cliff suggested that maybe I was still on the hammock.

As I replied to him: Don't I wish! Since then I've worked a 9 hour waitressing shift, written a 1500 word column, attended three committee meetings (finance - yuck!), prepared for a board meeting, fought the New Jersey division of taxation, sat through the auditors report from our year-end and been heckled by a comedian.

I came home from work yesterday and took a bad nap -- you know the kind.
I woke up hot, sweaty, sad and pissed-off.

I made myself walk down to the Hostel for a show; Matt the Electrician was playing.

I live on the same street as the Hostel, just a few blocks south. I love my neighborhood for its diversity -- racially, socially and economically. For the most part my street is safe and I know most of the neighbors between my house and the Hostel. My biggest fear walking at night is that I'll get run over by someone parking on the sidewalk. That in mind, as I was stomping down the sidewalk (remember my not-so-pleasant mood), I was looking for cars driving down the street, not at where I was walking.

I tripped over this:

Yep, a toilet. The good news is --it was clean, I did not injure anything but my pride -- and I had my camera.

And my mood lightened considerably -- how could it not?

The music was great, and I made it home safely --with no potty mishaps.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

view from the hammock...

...or why I didn't get any work done today.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

nora in new york magazine

First of all – Woo Hoo!

The Indianapolis music world is profiled in New York Magazine online.

The clearly brilliant Amy Zavatto highlighted Indy’s indie music spots.

Included are Radio Radio, Luna Music, Birdy’s, Red Key Tavern, Taste CafĂ©, the Monon Trail and the Broad Ripple Brew Pub. The related links section mentions -- ME!

"Peruse local music writer and gig booker Nora Spitznogle’s Queen Bee Music blog for concert reviews and ticket updates"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

queen bee music

I have a statistic counter on my music Web site.
I wanted to see how many people actually visit (besides the porn spammers).
It was origionally the coffeehouse site. After CATH closed I booked music and used the site to promote my shows.
When more people signed up to read what I wrote than came to my shows, I knew it was time for a change.

More writing, less booking.

The Broad Ripple Gazette is not online so the site became a good place to publish my column.

I forget to check the counter, but when I do it is always entertaining.
My name gets Googled about once a week. I vacillate between pride and being creeped-out.

Most of the hits are for specific musicians, but there is also a good dose of goofiness thrown in.

Here are some from the last batch:

music lumber mill songs [now I want to hear some lumber mill songs]
country music girl bands comical [I would be comical if this country girl started a band --cow-punk for sure]
tecumseh flyers prince [prince on a sled?]
queen bee songs
queen bee night club
queen bee nightclub
queen bee music
queen bee chords
[Anyone want to start Queen Bee band/night club/nightclub?]
how big is the queen bee [about 20 pounds too much]
i need one agency where i can find one woman dancing for one man birthsday around queens [yikkes!]
mccormick grain separator [there have been several tractor hits ever since I wrote the State Fair piece]
the monday milkmen my african queen lyrics [this is just bizarre, but it also makes me sad -- my friend David Schultise was the bass player in the Dead Milkmen]
just fine just swear just now tambourine musica dance [tambourine musica is just fine to dance to, swear]
she was buzzin all over me [in a good way, or a bad way?]

Have a bee-utiful day!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007


That is all I've done today.

Unless you count naps, reading magazines, watching cheesy movies (I really need to get cable), eating chips, walking to the newsstand for coffee and gossip, checking my football pool, bidding on Bakelite necklaces on eBay and reading blogs.

For the first time an almost a year, I was off for two days in a row.

Now I know how the Other Half lives.

- And I like it!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

grown up?

Same dress, different shoes.

Friday, September 07, 2007

crabby club

I finally met fellow blogger Kim last week, but I feel like I've known her forever. We both post on board and I'm sure we've been in the same place several times before.

Kim introduced me to one of my biggest addictions: Crabby Dad. She mentioned his blog as one of her favorites on last year. I clicked on the link, spent the rest of the evening reading his blog, and was hooked.

Kim's boyfriend is one of my favorite artists. Wayne draws the Barfly strip in NUVO. He hosted a Clash Tribute show last week. I put on my Chuck Taylors and Clash buttons (too hot for my boots and leather jacket) went to track down Kim and Wayne.

Speaking of stalking -- Crabby Dad watch out!
Don't be surprised if Kim and I show up on your doorstep one day.
Don't worry, we'll be bearing Trader Joe's gifts.
We just want to have dinner with you, the Old Lady, Mr. Z and Miss O.
Maybe a tour of the basement and a look at the Gold Record.
Then we'll be gone - honest!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

are you ready for some football?

Indianapolis is crazy with Colts love.
It was fun to be downtown today. Monument Circle was turned in to a giant stage.
I'm off to pop some corn.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

little boys and things that shoot

I have not talked much my collection, but this blog is named Chez (French, from Latin casa, cottage -- pronounced 'shA) PEZ (acronym for the German word PfeffErminZ).

I have over 400 PEZ dispensers on display.

Besides the traditional character head dispensers, I also have some specialty pieces.
I'm not one of those collector nuts that has to have things still in the original box, but if they are still in the package I keep them in it.
One of my MIP (mint in package) pieces is a PEZ ray gun. As you can guess, they did not stay on the market for very long. You can imagine the "you'll put an eye out, Ralphie" potential with that toy.

I had a party Monday and the kids were hanging out in the house.
They live in a four bedroom lovely house in a suburb, so my urban lifestyle holds much fascination to them.
My laundry chute kept them entertained for half an hour, my cat was well-loved and I'm sure they ate their weight in PEZ candy.

My darling nephew wandered in to the backyard, tugged on my dress and asked "Auntie Nora, how does this work?"

Yes, the ray gun was out of the package.
Oh well, I've kind of always wanted to play with it anyway.

I loaded it up and told John he could only shoot the candy in to hands -- no mouths or eyes.
Guns are scary.
And as my friend Dean pointed out, it could be really dangerous if all of that sugar hit a diabetic.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

forty-six or six?

You sure can't tell by the way I dress.
Green dress with pink Chuck Taylors.
Accessorized with bug bites and scrapes.

My seven-year old niece looks more pulled together than Auntie Nora.

Monday, September 03, 2007

keepin' up with my little brother

I decided to buy a Pepper Plant also.

Happy Labor Day!


st. hedwig

I thought I should show you more of this beautiful historic church than the confession box bathroom.

The church was founded in 1877, the current church was built in 1883 and is the oldest church building in the city of South Bend.

There was a huge influx of Polish immigrants to South Bend at the turn of the 19th century. The immigrants formed the Polish American Parish -- a combination of the European village parish, the emerging American territorial parish and a community center. Over the next 25 years three more Polish Catholic churches were built in South Bend. The churches became the hub of family life for the Polish people of the city. They believed passionately in education. In fact a couple of the churches sprung up because they did not want their children crossing so many dangerous railroad tracks. The churches took care of their parishioners from birth to death. An elementary school started in 1877 and a secondary school that started in 1923. The parish took total care of the immigrants needs -- spiritual, educational and social. They helped improve neighborhoods and provided a sense of belong in the brutal manufacturing world that most of the parishioners worked in.

The elementary school closed in the 1960s, right before Ron started school. Ron was able to attend the school at a sister parish, Saint Adalbert. South Bend is down to one Polish church, the first one, Saint Hedwig.

The priest who said the funeral mass was amazing and like most priests, is pulled in several directions. He is also the parish priest for the church across the street, Saint Patrick. Father Chrobot has his PhD and teaches sociology at Notre Dame. His sermon was lovely/ Before Mass started he gave us the history of the beautiful church and of the Polish people in South Bend. We got to hear songs in English, Polish and Latin.

I adore my brother-in-law Ron Trojanowski (you didn't think his last name would be Smith, did you?). He and my sister Beth have been married for seven years (maybe, don't hold me to that) and dated for ten years before that. In all of that time, I never had the pleasure of meeting his father. His reputation as a baseball fan is legendary. Ron is named for the Cubs player Ron Santo. Ron inherited his dad's love of the Cubs and named his dog Santo. There were photographs of Mr. Trojanowski with Ron Santo and Ernie Banks. I was happy to hear stories about Ron's dad. I looked down and Ron was wearing red socks, his dad's favorite color.

And, just because I cannot help myself -- you know that there were two funerals in South Bend yesterday.
Notre Dame 3
Georgia Tech 33

Pray for me.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I was thinking about Jamie Dawn, as I was throwing-up in a church confessional turned restroom in South Bend, Indiana.

I guess I’d better back up a bit…

First of all, I hate to throw-up and don’t do it very often. I even hate all of the words and nick-names for throwing up. The word “puke” sends me over the edge. I can remember vividly the dozen times in my life that I have thrown-up. It has kept me from being a drunk or bulimic. I have a really strong stomach. I have given CPR, butchered cows, seen my Dad’s severed finger and witnessed the miracle of childbirth and not felt the least bit sick.

Okay, back to the story.

My dear brother-in-law Ron’s father died and the funeral mass was today. The plan was to meet Mom at her house at 7:00 and then we would meet Dad at the “Pepper Place.” I had no idea what/where the Pepper Place is; I just assumed she was talking about a restaurant, so I didn’t pay much attention. The day started out off-kilter when I woke up at 7:00 (I hit the snooze alarm thinking it was a work day)! I called Mom, brushed my teeth, stuck my hair in a bun, slipped a dress over my head and shoved my feet into shoes as I ran out the door. I arrived at Mom’s house at 7:15, expecting to jump in the car and go.


Mom was still cleaning out her car, deciding what necklace she was going to wear, getting drinking straws for the glove box and pretty much puttering around which made me want to jump out of my skin. I opened the car door to help and was overwhelmed by the stench.

Mom explained that Dad put a jar of tomato juice in her car and she couldn’t find it when she got home. She assumed that Dad never put it in here car, so she forgot about it…for several 90-degree days. It was under the seat the whole time. My allergies are pretty bad right now, so I was taking comfort in the fact that I could not smell very well. Mom said she had some air deodorizer that would take care of it. I was ensconced in the passenger seat when she came out and fogged the car with strong spicy potpourri scent. I launched myself out of the car and gasping for breath.

By now, it is 7:45 and we have not pulled out of the driveway yet. We finally headed out and Mom drove east. I asked her where we were going and she said State Road 31, which is west. We got pointed in the right direction and Mom asked me how to get to the Pepper Place. I told her that I had no idea. She kept saying I did –“the Pepper Place, the Salt Factory”. We had a very frustrating who’s-on-first conversation.

“You don’t know how to get to your brother’s place?”
“JR’s house?”
“No! The Salt and Pepper Place!”
“JR owns a restaurant?”
“The factory!” [JR owns a plastics and injection molding plant across town.]
“Global Plastics?”
“No! The salt and pepper plant!”
“JR makes salt and pepper?” [By now both mom and I am super frustrated]

Once we both calmed down and listened to each other, I learned that JR purchased a factory that makes and fills salt and pepper shakers. The kind you see packaged together in grocery stores. Not that it helped me find the location, but now I knew that JR owned a “pepper plant.” I tried to call Dad and his cell phone went right to voice mail, not that he had it with him as it turned out. We finally spotted him and his giant Suburban. I shot out of the car thinking/hoping/praying that we were taking Dad’s vehicle. Nope. Back in to the hot spicy thick with potpourri rotten tomato stinky car.

I don’t know if I mentioned that my parents are separated. Overall, they are usually okay around each other – but typically there is an undercurrent of tension, which manifests itself in extreme, exaggerated politeness. Mom tells very long, never getting to the point stories and Dad is not hearing very well these days. Which means repeating the long stories. Mom tends to punch the gas when she drives, and then lets the car slow down, punch the gas, lets the car slow down, punch the gas…. to be fair, Dad does the same thing, so it really didn’t matter which one was driving.

Are you still with me? Toxic smell car, two parents -- one can’t hear the other can’t stop talking. And lurchy driving. The bright spot? I finally knew the true meaning of hitonious.

South Bend is about two and a half hours from Indianapolis. About half way in to the trip I asked Mom to pull over at the next restroom. She passed several and stopped only when I begged. We pulled over at a truck stop and Mom followed me in. I was sure I was going to be sick, but she went in to the restroom first and I was able to talk myself out of it by the time it was my turn.

We all jumped back in the car, this time with a big bag of potato chips. Crunch, crunch, crunch. I opened the magazine I’d brought with me to distract myself from the crunching and potato chip smell. Oh oh, the magazine had a perfume sample attached.

I was feeling really woozy by now and then the traffic stopped for a motorcycle accident. I kept praying the Hail Mary for the motorcyclist and the repetition helped my tummy a bit.

We finally made it to South Bend (did I mention it was the first Notre Dame home football game of the season?) and I was directing Mom to the church. She kept pointing the car to every church and bell tower she saw, “No Mom, not yet” “But it is a church” “Yes, but not the one we want”

I finally saw St. Hedwig’s and we pulled in to the parking lot. After much discussion between Mom and Dad about where to park... the discussion was what direction the sun was coming from and the possibility of shade…I was finally able to flee the car. You see Mom’s car will not unlock the passenger doors until the car is turned off.

I walked around the parking lot a bit and walked in to the church. The no air-conditioned, 130 years of incense layered with old people smell historic church.

That is when I found the restroom that used to be a confession box. And thought of Jamie Dawn and the word hitonious as I was throwing-up. As much as I hate the term “praying to the porcelain god” I took it to a higher level.