Wednesday, May 28, 2008

cover girl

Lookie! My first cover story.
I didn't want to jinx it, so I didn't talk about it. It has been in the works for months.

I can't tell you how excited that I am and I'm sure I'll bore you with lots of photographs of paper boxes and other goofiness.

The story is about house concerts. Which is just that, a concert in a house. Read all about here.
Read the companion piece: how to host a house concert here.

It's a whopping 3500 words, which is a ton for me to write in third person. Most of the stuff that I write for NUVO runs in the 300-ish range. My Gazette column is often 1500 to 2000 words written in first person, which I find much easier to crank out.

My dear brother-in-law edited the piece, thanks Ron!
And Jolie, thanks for calling after you saw a copy - that made it real.


[And just 'cause I'm showing off, I also wrote this piece for the same issue: Ryan Bingham. He's one talented young guy. Between his appearance on Conan O'Brien last week and my exciting schedule of meetings and spreadsheets we couldn't coordinate a phone interview.]

Monday, May 26, 2008

the greatest spectacle in racing

I'm watching the awards dinner for the Indy 500 as I write this post. My friend's band is playing at the ceremony and opened with one of my favorite songs. I need to offer to haul guitars or something in for Tim one year so I can watch from the hallway. I used to say that I enjoy the watching the awards dinner more than the race, but not after yesterday. 

Growing up just 25 miles from the track (when you say "the track" around here, everyone knows what you're talking about) the 500 was always part of May. When we were young we'd eat lunch in the backyard with the radio on and I loved filling out the grid printed in the Indianapolis Star. 

I almost went to a race (again, everyone knows what you mean by "the race") when I was in college. My boyfriend Greg was one of those crazy guys that camped out at the Speedway the night before the race. He drove a big old farm truck down and they build some kind of structure to party on. I was never tempted to join them, not that I was ever invited. One year GB brought me a souvenir pair of panties. My only question was "are the new?" The 1986 race was rained out. GB and I drove down from Lafayette the next day and it was also rained out. I didn't run until the next weekend and I had to work. 

I've always enjoyed the month of May festivities. I've walked the Mini Marathon for years and used to watch my brother run before that. And there are always great parties that revolve around the race. 

When I lived out East I was always asked about the race and had to admit that I'd never been. It freaked me out to watch it on television (its always blacked out here) the first year I lived there. The next year I took my vacation time over Memorial Day in 1991 and finally attended a race. I had fun, was glad to say that I'd been, but had no desire to go back. 

I went to the race again in 2004. It was fun to go with my friend Novella knows how to go to the race. She's got the perfect parking place and has charmed the "yellow shirts" at the gate to run to the Speedway Motel to use the restrooms. As great as hanging out with her was, I had no desire to return. 

This year I've been really interested in the race and have kept track of what is going on at the track in spite of all of the rain or maybe because of it. 

On Thursday night I mentioned to my brother that if he had an extra ticket, I'd love to go. J.R. called in the middle of my Saturday night waitressing shift. I was going to the race- wooo hooo!

I had a blast. There was a bit of a snafu getting to the track (we were following someone) and wound up parking in the Coke lot. The lot is infamous for partying and camping out. We ran in to Shawn, who works for J.R. and were able to park next to his Boilermaker Special. Shawn's tee shirt refers to the oft heard chant: show us your [breasts]. 

We had a good hike to the track, hauling our coolers (little sandwiches and water in mine) and junk. We were a motley crew. J.R. had a hurt leg, Jeff had a major hangover and I had sore feet from walking three miles and waitressing the day before. Cousin Jim kept us all going. 

I was really nervous when I figured out where our seats were. I think I've mentioned my irrational fear of heights. We were in the stands above the Northwest Vista. Someone told me that it is about four stories high. Ekk. The stand is just two rows up a set of steep metal stairs. It was not as bad as I thought since we were surrounded by people and fencing. Here is the view looking down from the front. 

I was excited to see the flyover of two F-16 Vipers and two F/A-18 Hornets from the Navel Strike and Air Warfare Center, based in Fallon, Nevada.  

I took what would have been the perfect photograph, except for some goofball waving his shirt.
Here is the photograph that was in the paper today. 

We were in the 4th turn. These are the view looking to the left (that is Danica's car in the front of the photo). 

This one is from one of the many yellow flags. The green Corvette pace car is leading the pack. 

Here is the view looking to the right, you can see the pagoda and finish line yard of bricks. 

There were eight cautions - 69 laps worth (the track is 2.5 miles, 200 laps for 500 miles). Three of those cautions resulted in incidents including a scary accident in the pit area. Before the race started I was talking to the couple sitting next to us. They were from Nashville, TN and loaned me their extra radio. Listening to the race made all of the difference in the experience. I could hear all of the behind the scenes stuff. There were many skirmishes in the making: Patrick and Briscoe, Kanaan and Andretti and other fun stuff. 

The weather was perfect and there was a strong breeze where we were sitting. Wearing a skirt was not a great idea. I had to keep my purse around my shoulder to keep the skirt from blowing up on one side and had to remember to put my hand down when ever I jumped up. 

I had a wonderful time. Thanks J.R. 
We got back to J.R.s and I thought it was a good idea to spend fifteen minutes on the trampoline playing 'popcorn' with my niece and nephew. Good for the soul, bad for the feet.

After the race I drove out to the Farm. Dad hosts a crew from Iowa each year and I love to go out for dinner. They bring an obscene amount of meat and lots of laughs. The Iowa guys are related to Micha, who also works with J.R. 

This is what was left after the fifteen of us ate!

I got to spend some quality time with Cooper, Micha and Tiffany's youngest son, eight months. Oldest son Henry, turned two on May 19th. Keep them in your prayers, Tiffany is battling cancer. 

Dad and neighbor Craig Leek. Craig has every right to look so wiped out. He was Buddy Lazier's first turn spotter. As we watched the race (it was broadcast that evening) we quizzed the poor guy to death about racing. 

I was glad to have today off to nap and read. It was drizzing just enough to avoid mowing the grass one more day. 

Sunday, May 25, 2008

off to the races

(Very) last minute invitation to THE RACE from my brother. 
I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories and photographs when I return. 
I'll cut the grass tomorrow (sorry neighbors!). 

Monday, May 19, 2008

cake, pie, cake, brownies, cake and cupcakes

I've been blogging in my head, just no time to translate it to here. I'm also working on the updated version of 'things about me' to celebrate my 47th birthday (how they hell did that happen?).

In the meantime I'll leave you with photographs of all of the amazing baked goods that came with celebrating my birthday.

I worked at Marigold on Sunday and was greeted with cake (Taylor's bakery, chocolate, butter cream frosting) and flowers.

Dinner at Arni's Sunday night with my family and a friend and her children. Mom made me my very favorite birthday dessert, ever - fresh strawberry pie. Ummm.

Sunday evening Bad Influence Girl knocked on my door with this fabulous cake (clearly I should have photographed it before I started eating). I started my birthday morning with cake...and maybe a sliver of strawberry pie and drinking tea on my front porch in my jammies.

I stopped at the Red Key on the way home from work and had one of these fudgy fabulous birthday brownies baked by Maureen. Guinness and brownies is a surprisingly good combination.

Next stop on the sugar tour: Daddy Jack's to hear Soul Bus, my dear friend, David's birthday was last Tuesday. Bill and Kim, fans of the band and friends brought this beautiful chocolate cake.

Last, but certainly not least- David's famous chocolate cupcakes. A batch for the band, for the customers and a cute box with two cupcakes, candle and matches for me.

I'll be at the gym, if anyone needs me. I'll be the one with chocolate frosting on my face.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008


[here is the piece I wrote for nuvo about LonPaul's musical career. click here]

I'm getting really tired of this.
LonPaul died yesterday.

He's one of those people that I've known forever, but not sure when I met him. He was a brilliant musician and sound engineer (Evan was in town because he was recording at LonPaul's studio).

I got to see LP Saturday night when he stopped in the Red Key. He was hanging out with a group of other smart, cool, musical folks. I was really happy to see him and I don't know what got in to me, but as I was serving LP his Coke in the cool little glass bottle, I almost kissed him on the top of his head. I stopped myself in time- I don't think that he would have minded, but it would be an odd thing to have your waitress do.

I was enjoying the group so much that I snapped this quick photograph between making drinks. Ironically LP is not in the photo, but you can see his empty chair to the right of the guy in the plaid shirt.

LonPaul worked at the coffeehouse for a while, both behind the counter and as the baker. The baker's job is perfect for a musician. As long as the muffins were done by 6:00 in the morning, it did not matter what schedule the bakers kept.

That said, I didn't feel like LP and I had ever quite bonded. I was his 'boss,' AVS's girlfriend and a friend of his mom's. That changed one night.

As some of you may know, I hung out with the punk-rock band, Dow Jones and the Industrials when I was a Purdue student. Twenty-some years later we hosted a benefit for the DJI drummer, Timmy North. As the date was getting closer, it was becoming increasing clear that Timmy was not able to travel to Indiana from California, and in fact died before the scheduled gig.

The members of DJI decided to go on with the show as a the fundraiser for Tim’s wife and daughter. LonPaul stepped in as drummer. I think I was more nervous than LP about the show, he was working at CATH at the time and I felt some how responsible for him.

Of course he was fabulous.
He was a long-time DJI fan and nailed the set.

The rest of us forgot that we weren’t 19 anymore, and I had a dozen people sleeping at my small house. We were scattered on air mattresses and tucked in corners of the living room. We’d finally fallen asleep when LonPaul burst through the unlocked front door at 4:00 am saying that it was the best night of his life. Everyone clapped and tucked back in to their blankets.

I made room for LP on the sofa and we laughed and replayed the night in whispers.

I loved seeing him so happy and enthusiastic and hopeful.

Please read Kirsten's blog to see a wonderful photograph of LonPaul and his son, Rupert.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

election day accessories

In case anyone missed it, there was a presidential primary election in Indiana today. It was very exciting for me, I've been an election junkie for years. I voted in my first presidential election in 1980 in the basement of my dorm at Purdue. I was one of the few people in the country that voted for incumbent Jimmy Carter.

I'm pretty sure that I've voted in every primary and general election since then. In the last dozen years or so, I've focused much of my political attention on the local and state elections. I study the candidates, and unlike most of my friends I can tell you what the part of our world they control.

Lots of groups have their hand in our property tax pie. It was easy to blame the high property taxes on our mayor, but he did not have as much control as say, the school board or the library board. Not surprisingly after our new mayor was inaugurated, he announced that he could not lower property taxes like he promised. Well, duh - I could have told him that!

Anyway, even before I was interested in politics, I was interested in accessories.

I bought this plastic belt in 1976 at the Danner's Store in Lebanon. I know that I wore it in my punk rock days. It was retired for decades and I've worn on election day for the last ten years. I laugh that I've managed to lose any piece of valuable jewelry, but the Vote belt has survived time, travel and accidents....

Until today.

I attended a Guild luncheon today. As I've mentioned before, I feel very self conscience around the women in the Guild. Everyone is super nice to me, but I always feel like a bull in a pen full of hens. A little awkward and afraid I'll step on something. Everyone else is so dainty and well put together.

You know where this story is going, don't you?

I got up to give my report, and someone mentioned that I'd written about the Book and Author event in my Gazette column. I was blushing as I remembered that I'd also written that before I joined the Guild, I thought you had to be blond and live in the suburbs. At that moment a plastic ring on the belt broke and the whole thing went flying across the floor. Any idea how loud plastic and metal sounds on a hardwood floor when the blood is rushing to your ears?

Next time I'll wear a pastel linen pants suit like everyone else.

After the luncheon I stopped at my polling place. The public school that I vote in has three precincts voting in one room. I was greeted with a chorus of "Hi Nora, How's Second Helpings?, When is the new grocery store opening? How is (Red Key) Russel? Hey, where's your belt?"
I signed the book, checked the box for what ballot I wanted and was asked for my ID. No problem.

Indiana has a voter ID law, that was upheld by the Supreme Court last week. You need to show a valid, state or Federal issued ID to vote.

Except it was a problem. I'd tucked my driver's licence in my shorts when I walked the Mini Marathon. I'm sure it was still in the pocket, lodged in the tiny laundry chute, halfway to the basement.

I had to got back home. Thought about retrieving the should-have-been-washed three days ago shorts, grabbed my passport instead, and went back to vote.

I did get exit polled for the first time ever.

Okay, I'm off to watch the returns.

primary election day

[written with tongue firmly in cheek]

I was a little disturbed when I woke up this morning and found Barack Obama in my kitchen making French Toast, wearing my 4-H apron. "Bacon with that? he asked with a smile. Pouring coffee, he muttered, "Let's see if she can top that."

Walking outside I found Hillary washing my truck with a sponge, a bucket filled with soapy water at her feet. "Good morning," she chirped. "All shiny and good as new!" As she opened the drivers side door, she whispered "French Toast is high in cholesterol" in my ear as I sat down.

Pulling out of my driveway, I was startled and almost drove over the sidewalk when I heard someone say, "Hello!" Michelle Obama was sitting next to me. "Nice truck," she said, "But I think she missed a spot. On the hood," she continued, pointing past my ear. "Just like she missed the point on NAFTA."

Approaching work, I was a little surprised to see Bill Clinton dressed as a traffic cop and motioning me into the parking lot. Chuckling, he gave me a little salute, leaned forward and half shouted, half whispered, " Drive safe. We need you today!"

Leaving Michelle with the keys to the truck ("I'll get that spot" she exclaimed, hustling out with a spray bottle of 409 in her hand), I strolled into work, only to find John McCain sleeping in my chair.

Jostling him awake and shooing him out of my office, I heard him ask, "Interested in being Vice President?" as he cocked an eyebrow and grabbed a wall with wrinkled bony hands."No," I replied, peeling his fingers off and giving him a shove towards the door."I was a POW you know," he sputtered as I sat down and turned the computer on.

A full screen image of James Carville flickered on the monitor. "There's a special place in hell for traitors," he drawled, squinting at me. "Are you there?"Jumping up and walking down the hall, I passed Chelsea holding a hot, steaming towel with a pair of tongs. "Manicure?" she asked, chasing after me.

I dashed down the hallway to the lobby. John Edwards was sitting at the desk in front of the telephone, running his fingers through his hair and chewing a pencil." Ms. Spitznogle, good morning," he said, handing me a stack of papers. "Here are your calls. You're very popular!"

"Too popular," I yelled over my shoulder, as I turned the corner into the chef's office. "WHO SHOULD I ENDORSE?" he yelled as I walked in the door. It was Dick Cheney."Nooooooooo!" I yelled and woke up.

[This primary season in Indiana has been a tough one.]

Seriously, don't forget to vote.

If you're interested in how the presidential canidates would work with nonprofit agencies you could click here, but none of them answered the survey. Do click here to see why you should care if canidates are willing to work with the nonprofit sector.

Monday, May 05, 2008

happy birthday maureen

Today is the birthday of my friend Maureen Webb Cox.

She's really ancient --a whopping two weeks older than me.

She is one of the most kind, generous people that I know. She is the first to organize a fundraiser or plan a celebration for someone.

She's terribly funny, but never at the expense of others.

Her singing voice rivals mine...and that is not a good thing, folks.

She has a wonderful, John Deere loving, thoughtful husband that clearly adores her.

She knit me a green scarf and loaded me down with reading for the plane the first time I went to Ireland.

She created an amazing book for her friends with photographs, quotes and poetry.

Moe has encouraged my writing more than anyone else. When my first piece was published in NUVO, she cut it out and put in her scrapbook.

She and Mike sent a lovely note and donation in honor of Mr. Herr- and they'd never met him.

Happy Birthday sweet friend - I can't wait to celebrate with you.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

how many asprin can you take at once?

Mini Marathon + nine hour shift at the Red Key x (all in one day) = OUCH!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

may day!

As I mentioned in an earlier post I've become a big fan of social networking and the Musical Family Tree site is one of my favorites.

It is chock full of great information about Indiana bands and lots of music and photographs. I started a group for CATH Inc, the late, great coffeehouse that I used to manage.

Someone else started a super-secret society for former and current restaurant workers. It was decided, very fittingly that we gather for a potluck dinner on May Day.

I know this part is very hard to believe for people who know me at all, but I didn't know any of the people involved! It was really fun hanging out with new people. We all had music and restaurant war stories in common.

I was nervous about the whole thing, especially about what to bring. As it turned out, I didn't have time to make anything so I stopped a purchased a loaf of fresh sourdough bread and some artichoke garlic dip. I grabbed a couple of big bottles of a real hoppy beer and a bottle of sparking water from my fridge. It was perfect, the other contributions were a a great salad. a potato dish and ribs.

We ate, played Euchre and swapped stories.

A lovely way to spend May Day.