Monday, December 22, 2008

Elf's Lament

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.

Despite my best intentions, I did not watch all the claymation I could - in fact, I saw none! Somehow I missed out this year. So frustrating. It's not that I love Christmas specials (believe me, I don't) - but there's just something about those felt puppets and the jerky way they walk. I used to watch Davy & Goliath every Sunday just for that reason - who knew what the lesson was - I loved that dog and the fake grass in their backyard.

The other night I came home, yet again disappointed to miss my favorites - but lucky enough to catch a movie with a real live elf - Elf in fact. Despite being a hokey Christmas movie it's got some pretty hilarious scenes.

Poor Buddy.

In the spirit of poor big Buddy and also the anti-labor union sentiment in the White House and among Republican members of Congress (grrrr...) I bring you Elf's Lament.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Home Alone...

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


My husband will be taking off this week for a bit of early vacation - I'll be joining him next week. Yesterday someone asked me what I'd do with all this time alone. When I'm gone he plays all the Mahler and Wagner he can. I tend in another direction. Leave my shoes lying around, purses and handbags throughout the apartment... and watching bad television. And since it's that time of year, I see a lot of claymation in my future!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm over


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Rockin' Holiday Tunes

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


On Saturday I wrote that I was working on a holiday music mix. We're having a party next weekend and I wanted some good tunes. Nothing too slow or we'd all fall asleep. Stuff that would get people moving - and some funny lyrics are always nice. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Charlie Brown Christmas CD, but it just isn't peppy enough for this occasion.

Here's a portion of the list - ones you don't hear too often (or often enough):

The Chanukah Song (1&2) - Adam Sandler
Back Door Santa - B.B. King and John Popper
Elf's Lament - Barenaked Ladies (with Michael Buble)
Swingin' Dreidel - Kenny Ellis
Christmas in America - Melissa Etheridge
It's Christmas Time - Melissa Etheridge
Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Christmas Is - Run DMC
Santa Baby - Joseph Simmons, Keith Murray, Mase, Onyx, P. Diddy, Salt-N-Pepa, Snoop Dogg & The Christmas All Stars
This Christmas (Hang all the mistletoe) - Macy Gray
Little Drummer/Hot Hot Hot - Wyclef Jean
Merry Christmas Baby - Stevie Wonder and Wyclef Jean
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Barenaked Ladies (with Sarah McLachlan)

and Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Oh, the shoes

My sister wrote a really great post about breaking free from consumerism - the kind that leads to the needless death of a Wal-Mart worker.

You should read the whole posting - it's all very good info and thought.

Let me just highlight her ideas for detoxing:

  • Read this excellent, non-preachy guide (with cartoons!) to reducing your consumerism: Affluenza
  • Join (or at least explore) the simplicity movement. Read more here: Voluntary simplicity movement re-emerges and
  • Get a fresh perspective: spend a night volunteering at a homeless shelter instead of lining up for deals. This will give you a whole new appreciation for the word need.
  • Make a list of the things you really want and then put off buying them for 3, 6 or 12 months (or ever), and I'm talking about a flat screen TV or that third pair of black heels, not health insurance. It may seem painful at first, but you may see over time that you don't miss the items.
  • Don't fill your leisure time with consumerism. Pick something you love to do - cycling, writing, photography - and do that instead. Yes, you may have to make some initial investments (don't use it as an excuse to gear up), but in the long run you'll have a much healthier and less expensive hobby than going to the mall.
Oooh, putting off the shoe shopping is going to be tough...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I *heart* Connie Schultz

On a recent trip I managed to polish off Connie Schultz's book "Life Happens and Other Unavoidable Truths" and was so sad to put it down.

A couple of years ago I read "And His Lovely Wife..." which I guess was out of order. No matter. Absolutely worth reading.

As the lovely wife - and truly lovely, no matter what writers say about her hair - of the esteemed Sherrod Brown, Senator for Ohio - she is all that and more.

Her take on everyday life and the struggles and triumphs of the working class make you want to move to Ohio and do whatever you can to improve people's lives.

Did I mention that through a Pulitzer-prize winning series she wrote on a wrongly - VERY wrongly - convicted man that he was set free! The column on how he forgave the real criminal just made me cry.

At the same time she had me bawling about the released man I was bawling about her cat.

and Sherrod is just my hero. Cute to boot. Loves girl scout cookies.

I'm hoping to meet them some day. Hoping that when I do I don't make a total fool of myself blubbering about how much I would love to be their best friend. Probably think I was a psycho.

I heart Connie. and Sherrod.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Living with HIV

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


I am embarrassed to say that I had totally forgotten it was World AIDS Day. Truth be told, I didn't TOTALLY forget - it just took me a few hours. Considering what I do for a living you'd think I would have had it foremost in my brain. Cut me some slack, every day is world AIDS day for me!

The US Government's theme this year (because for whatever reason we can't seem to agree with UNAIDS...) is "Celebrate Life". I'm not a big fan of the motto (too close to pro-life for me) - but the underlying theme is living positively. I can get behind that.

It was not too long ago that we didn't talk about people living with HIV. And now we can.

Congratulations, Andy Bell - you are LIVING.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Back to baking in my own...


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

I got an email from my ne'er do well sister today - in lieu of gifts for herself for Christmas (and her birthday which falls mid-December) she wants cash.

For a family in Uganda. For the school fees for their children. 12 adopted orphans.

"How crass!", I say with a big dose of sarcasm.

On the front page of the metro section of the paper there's an article about how food banks are struggling. Next to that is an article about how a popular mall Santa was fired and has since been re-hired. Everyone is thrilled because their beloved Santa is back - and all I can think is, "glad to hear the guy still has a job".

In the spirit of all this misery - or tightening of belts, going without - I offer you my Christmas list:

- an update from last year - we have the bookshelves! Thank you Jesus (aka Ken!)

1) get those annoying people in my office off my back. let me focus on trying to stop HIV instead of agreeing to disagree on what petty issue has you in a tizzy... I have no idea... you get my drift

2) some qualified cabinet members in the new Obama administration. No former directors of the Arabian Horse Association, please.

3) an organized closet. yes, a bit selfish, I know. but the daily ritual of trying to find shoes (and re-discovering ones I'd long forgotten) really slows down my day. not to mention I'm sure my downstairs neighbor just loves the sound of a dump truck dropping a load of rocks every morning.

4) the ability to cook fish. okay, starting to get into the mundane here - but I really would like to feel a bit more at ease with this cuisine as it's healthier, I think. provided I don't buy the wrong kind and contribute to destroying the environment.

5) patience. don't kill the remote control when the channel won't change and I'm forced to watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta until something finally works in this damn little piece of plastic. don't curse the metro when it takes 8 minutes instead of 4 for a train to come during rush hour even though that means twice as many smelly, disgruntled people will be crowding on when it finally does arrive. don't yell at the TSA agent because I have to take off my belt so that stupid machine doesn't beep when I knew all along that I shouldn't have worn pants that required a belt in the first place. or shoes. or a coat. or lip gloss instead of lipstick.

Come to think of it Santa, just please leave me a big fat barrel of patience under the tree. That ought to take care of items 1 through 4 above.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Love Turkey

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


Finally, a Thanksgiving song!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

There's a Hole in My ...


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

That Little Pink Nose

Lucy Rose Ginsberg

Ghana loves Obama

On my recent travels I've noticed a lot of support for candidate Obama - billboards proclaiming "Africa loves Obama", t-shirts saying "Haitians for Obama".

Well now that he's the President-elect there's a whole new wardrobe out there. Shirts, buttons, and hats... and a few campaign buttons I left behind.

It's kind of amazing to see a U.S. President embraced overseas. Rather refreshing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm off to see Ghanaian...


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama soundtrack

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


I just can't get enough... best music ever associated with a political campaign!

Expired? Annoying. To see this video - definitely worth viewing - go to and look for's It's a New Day. Also available on iTunes - just not sure if you get the video.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

In Yet Another Time...


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Ears Are Still Ringing...

From Monday night's rally in Manassas - 100,000 strong. Standing for 5 hours to hear a 30 minute speech. Worth every minute.

My eyes are red from crying for joy last night. There's something very exciting about crying tears of JOY. You have to be so happy that laughter isn't enough of a physical release.

My head is spinning from running around the country - Denver in August, Virginia in November. When you live in a place that gives the victor a 93% return, it's nice to know you can have an impact somewhere!

My heart is singing. The schadenfreude is in check - instead of wanting to stomp all over the loser, I feel an urgent need to get working on getting my country back.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why Wilma and Lucy Would Vote Obama

Wilma, my beloved dog who has since passed away, would love Barack Obama. As would Lucy, our beloved 20-year old cat. And here's why:

1. He's black and white. As was Wilma, and is Lucy. Bi-color.

2. He believes in easing the tax burden on everyone (except for the very rich) - more biscuits!

3. He is open to hearing different ideas and coming to consensus (yes, you can sleep on the bed...)

4. He is well-traveled. As was Wilma, as is Lucy.

5. He is non-discriminating. Wilma loved everyone - even potential ax-murderers. Lucy could care less about anyone - equally.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Unfortunately this month...


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lazy Day, Hanging by the ...


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bitterballen Bonanza

Having read about the glory that is bitterballen - and subsequently trying the Haitian version...I had to try them in the motherland. I was not disappointed.

As my friends pointed out to me, there is a trick to eating the glorious bits of heaven. Always break them open first so that the steam escapes or else you'll get bitterballen burned. And that's no fun.

How do they compare to Haiti's version? The outside is crisper and inside is chunkier. Better but not so much that I won't pass them up next time I'm in Port au Prince.

And what's even more fun? When the waiter that delivers them is named "Jip P" - as in Yippee! How perfect!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Charming Dutch

What are charming Dutch things?

Wooden shoes


Old churches

and racy lingerie stores in residential neighborhoods

I Be Illin'

Invariably it happens, you're traveling and come down with something akin to the flu. Well, maybe it doesn't happen to everyone, but lately I've spent more time away from home so the odds were against me.

I went to visit my dear friends in The Hague for a few days before going on to Nigeria (for work) and came down with what seemed to be a nasty cold. Only it got worse and worse. And then my dear friends said to me "you are too sick to fly". At first I took this as a compliment - they wanted me to stay longer - but then upon hearing my own reply "nob I'b obay" I realized that I really couldn't breathe. Or at least talk and breathe, eat and breathe... so here I am.

Lucky for me said friends also have a doctor here in the Netherlands. Let me clarify - they have a doctor who prescribes drugs. Apparently, drugs are not commonly given out here - "tough it out the Dutch way". Seriously, we know women who were denied drugs during childbirth! Don't they know, better living through chemistry.

I got up early, changed my flights (I love my travel agent) and off we went to the doctor. Did I mention he's the same guy who took care of Milosevic (this being The Hague, the prison is just down the road.) Despite other less than charming patients, he treated me well. Joked around in incomprehensible English with a Dutch accent and I was on my way, prescriptions in hand.

I'm so happy now. I'm breathing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hey Sarah

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


I haven't been feeling very musical for awhile. Maybe it's too much travel, maybe it's the stress of this election. Maybe it's because the only music I listen to lately is Haitian and I've done just about enough posting on that topic...

Then someone sent me this. I love music.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

War Is Hell

We went to visit a bunker - at one point Dutch, and later Nazi - in Hoek van Holland. It's now turned into a museum and provides an interesting look at military history.

The bunker is quite extensive - miles of tunnels - that includes a bakery, a prison (that's two I've visited in one month!), and officer quarters.

There are also lots of big guns.

And a medical center. What is this Nazi suffering from that requires the doctors to hover over him with his pants down? Crabs. Really.


The Dutch are an interesting bunch. Their language is something between English and German - I'm not sure which parts of either. Naming restaurants sometimes produces interesting results...

And if you're not in the mood for a restaurant you can always try the automat at the train station.

Yum, appetizing, isn't it?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Surprisingly Warm for ...


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I Spent the Day Canvassing for...


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

5 Minute University

I was reading about Sarah Palin's visit to the UN today (or somewhere in the vicinity - with her you never if she actually went to a place or just flew over it) and it got me thinking - how many countries have I "visited" in an attempt to expand my foreign policy knowledge.

"Visited" in this case meaning that I stopped there to refuel or perhaps make a connection but didn't get farther than the terminal - as evidenced by a lack of passport stamp (assuming you have a passport to begin with...). I'd count the number I actually visited (complete with aforementioned stamp) but then comparing my visits with Sarah Palin's would be like comparing apples and oranges - basically, I'd pummel her with fruit.

In terms of "visited" I would include:
South Korea

hmmm... not too many. So I guess that makes me a lightweight when it comes to foreign policy creds. But still more than World Traveler Palin.

Then I saw that she was "meeting" with world leaders in NY - again, not exactly thorough get to know you over several days of negotiations meetings - more like layovers. How many world leaders have I "met"? Hmmm.... Won't go there because there's some I can't tell you about. But let me throw one down just so I don't look like a total novice. The King of Pobe. Small kingdom, nice guy. About a 15 minute chit chat. Guess Sarah beat me today!

If Sarah Palin thinks that her brief tete-a-tetes (hey Sarah, that's French for head to head or more like face to face meetings) with world leaders this week is going to meaningfully enhance an otherwise anemic resume then I've got a university I'd like to send you to - if you go twice, you might just get a PhD!

Monday, September 22, 2008

MaWon and Hurricane Relief

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


Back to my favorite topic, Haiti. I have to say this place really does get under your skin. And now into my ears.

Last week we went to a shop that was originally opened through US government support - it was called Aid to Artisans - and has since been run by someone else but still features some WONDERFUL Haitian crafts.

In our conversation with the shop owner she told us about how proud she is of her daughter-in-law who is involved in a music video now on You Tube (said as if we'd never heard of the place - it was very cute).

The music is by the artist MaWon and benefits hurricane relief. Listen, love it, buy it!

Food for the Poor (wikipedia)

Hurricane Relief Project (FFP's website)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I want more ...


go here to learn more...

For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Haiti Relief

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


I'm in Haiti, which as you know, unless you live under a rock, has suffered horribly with Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

One of the largest cities, Gonaives is essentially inaccessible. Not only does this disrupt Gonaives, it disrupts at least a dozen other places which are now, one might say, "overseas".

US relief efforts are underway but in such a disturbing way - and I don't think I can go into detail on this - we haven't exactly been successful at getting people on the ground to help. The Canadians are sending help and seem to have their act together. And just yesterday Matt Damon and Wyclef Jean brought relief.

So in honor of two people who figured it out - I offer you a tribute to Wyclef Jean (sorry, don't think Matt Damon sings - except for that song with Sarah Silverman).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Doe a Deer

This post brought to you by Soccer Mom in Denial - posting every Monday on a different musical memory.


Call me a fashion moron. Passe, tacky, out of touch. The NY Times did a piece on the fall fashion shows. And all I have to say is, "seriously? The Sound of Music come to mind?"

Friday, September 05, 2008

Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor

As with many other millions of Americans, I was horribly offended by former Mayor (bleepity bleep bleep bleep) Giuliani and Governor (bleepity bleep bleep bleep) Palin's denigrating comments about community organizing.

In my work, community organizing is a critical part of what we do. Community organizing or community mobilization is about raising awareness, garnering support, and changing social norms so that:

  • it's no longer okay to beat women who are suspected of bringing HIV into the family
  • it's no longer okay to ostracize children who are in any way connected with HIV
  • it's no longer okay for governments to fill their private bank accounts while their citizens go without treatment
  • it's no longer okay to keep pregnant girls out of school
  • it's no longer okay to discriminate in the workplace based on HIV-status, known or presumed

I'm sorry that former Mayor (bleepity bleep bleep bleep) Giuliani and Governor (bleepity bleep bleep bleep) Palin have no problem saying to millions of people trying to improve their communities (in the words of Jon Stewart) - "F**K Y*U! You Stupid As*es!"

* it's towards the end, but worth the wait

Monday, September 01, 2008

Democratic Soundtrack

A few weeks ago, I asked for help in putting together a soundtrack for the weeks to come. I had the incredible fortune to attend the Democratic National Convention last week - and as luck would have it, I found my soundtrack. Along with the incredible speeches I heard last week, I also heard some amazing music.

Here it is - a week of exhilaration in a playlist:

God Bless America - Melissa Etheridge
The Times They Are A Changing - Melissa Etheridge
Give Peace A Chance - Melissa Etheridge
Born in the USA - Melissa Etheridge
The National Anthem - Jennifer Hudson
Yes We Can - and John Legend
A Change Would Do You Good - Sheryl Crow
Out of Our Heads - Sheryl Crow
Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Stevie Wonder
America, the Beautiful - Michael McDonald

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Bling

There were tons of t-shirts and buttons to be had. I picked up quite a few of both and will proudly wear them (while not at work) over the coming months.

A couple of my favorite items, however were of a different variety...

A lovely gift from my stepmother from

and my favorite item of all..

a tote bag you too can own from

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Had a Dream...

I suppose every young girl dreams of spending a day at the ballpark with her dad. Or maybe having him walk her down the aisle.

I had a dream about going to the Democratic National Convention with my dad.

For months preceding the big event my husband and I scrambled for tickets. We contacted everyone we knew, and heading off to Denver, it was unclear that we would be able to attend any event.

Every morning was a scramble to find entrance into anything.

Wednesday night, our moment finally came. We had managed to secure floor passes for Joe Biden's acceptance speech. As the senior Senator from Delaware spoke, the senior citizen son of Delaware screamed and cheered and waved his poster on the floor of the convention.

It was a dream come true.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm Ready for My Close Up

As at any big, national, history-making extravaganza you're likely to run into a few celebrities.

In Washington, our celebrities tend to be of the political type - politicians and pundits anyone would be very hard pressed to pick out of a line up (but sometimes seen in a perp walk.)

On this trip I managed to run into/sight the following inside-the-beltway types:

TV: Wolf Blitzer, Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer, Luke Russert
Pundits: Paul Begala, James Carville
Politicians: Jack Reed, Chris Dodd, the governor of Iowa (who is incredibly nice and who I kept meeting and shaking his hand - and no I wasn't stalking him), Howard Dean, Sheldon Whitehouse (how's that for an auspicious name)...and others too numerous to count

But for the rest of you out there in the real world, I have a few others on my list who are probably a bit more exciting.

The guys from the Daily Show - Aasif Mandvi, Rob Riggles, and Larry Wilmore, the Black Correspondent.

Melissa Etheridge on stage singing the best American medley I have ever heard

And my favorite candidate for Senator for Minnesota, Al Franken.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Cried, I Cried

The most amazing night so far has been Monday night when we witnessed one of the most powerful moments in a Democratic Convention.

Any politics aside, Ted Kennedy's speech was nothing short of extraordinary. Here is a man who is fighting for his life and he gave every ounce of energy to not only be there - but to speak. As we waited for him to come out we noticed some crew putting a stool next to the podium. Would he need to sit? Would he even be able to walk?

A few moments later we had our answer - he hobbled out in that same way he has been doing for years. No assistance required on the loving arm of his wife. I was crying before he even walked out and by the end of it I was cheering louder than I ever have.

His wish is to see inauguration day. I could wish for nothing more.

Go Teddy Go!