Monday, March 02, 2009

Harmattan Winds

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


I woke up yesterday morning in Abuja and looked out my window to see...nothing. Well, more like a fog. or was it smog? A haze.

I went outside and rather than the usual toxic pain that smog causes I felt nothing. Still able to breathe, albeit a little more difficult.

The Harmattan winds come off the Sahara and blanket West Africa (and parts as far away as North America) with a sandy haze. This haze is so thin you almost don't realize what's happening until you notice that your white car is rust-colored, your books all have a gritty texture, and your computer is suddenly clogged.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Wire

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


I love this show - before you say anything I haven't seen Seasons 4 & 5 yet. So far 1-3 have been amazing.

Aside from the characters and story lines, I particularly like the theme song. There are the rare occasions when you like the TV theme song - or it triggers such an instant connection to the show that you can hardly distinguish whether you like the show or the song more. And sometimes, there are no words just a catchy tune.

Each season has the same song but sung differently by different artists - and all amazing artists. From Wikipedia:
The opening theme is "Way Down in the Hole", a gospel- and blues-inspired song originally written by Tom Waits for his 1987 album Franks Wild Years. Each season uses a different recording of it against a different opening sequence, with the theme being performed, in order, by The Blind Boys of Alabama, Waits himself, The Neville Brothers, "DoMaJe" and Steve Earle. Season four's version of "Way Down in the Hole" was arranged and recorded specifically for the show, and is performed by five Baltimore teenagers: Ivan Ashford, Markel Steele, Cameron Brown, Tariq Al-Sabir, and Avery Bargasse. Earle, who performed the fifth season's version, is also a member of the cast, playing the recovering drug addict Walon.

How cool is that?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's an honor just to have been nominated...

I found out today that I got nominated for an award at work.

It's for mentoring -

This award is intended to inspire a spirit of mentorship in the Bureau for XXXXX XXXXX, and to encourage XXXX staff to prioritize mentorship in their everyday work environment. Instituted in 2005, the award recognizes one seasoned professional who provides guidance, advice, and the voice of experience to a protégé(s), by sharing his/her experience of working effectively at XXXXX or in his/her technical field.

I'm one of 6 nominees among a lot of eligible people - maybe 200? And the collection of fellow nominees is really quite a lovely group. I was so excited. Award ceremony is next week - alas, I'll be in Ghana.

Now if they only had awards for shoes...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Don't Divorce Us

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


Lately I seem to be finding lots of great songs and videos put together to support great causes - reproductive rights, gay rights. I know the 60's were really the peak period for this sort of thing - Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, et al - but things aren't all too bad in 2009.

Hours of music that don't necessarily rile you up and get you angry (ready to depose The Man) but also music that is somehow soothing and reflective. All good stuff.

The latest in my collection: okay, so I stole it from someone else's Facebook posting. Doesn't mean the song isn't lovely and worth listening to.

Amazing how much wonderful cause-related music there is out there!

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Monday, January 26, 2009

We Are Friends

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


It's a New Day! And how do I know?

Because on January 23rd President Obama (still get giddy when I say that) lifted the Global Gag Rule, aka the Mexico City Policy.

What is the Global Gag Rule? Here's the Wikipedia version.

Bottom line - with the swipe of a pen, the United States now supports a woman's right to choose, no matter where she lives on the planet. (for the most part, still have to work on the Hyde Amendment and individual US state issues...but still!).

Groups that perform abortions - NOT with taxpayer dollars - and that advocate for abortion rights - again, NOT with taxpayer dollars - were prohibited from receiving ANY funding from the US government.

While in the wilderness for 8 years, 2 American women formed an organization to replace the $34 million that the US government withheld from UNFPA - based on incorrect information that even the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, said was incorrect.

Oh, to see the light of day again...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 5 of President


For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I found this over at A2EATWRITE

How appropriate for this day...

Your Word is "Peace"

You see life as precious, and you wish everyone was safe, happy, and taken care of.

Social justice, human rights, and peace for all nations are all important to you.

While you can't stop war, you try to be as calm and compassionate as possible in your everyday life.

You promote harmony and cooperation. You're always willing to meet someone a little more than halfway.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Land

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


Like SMID, we were on the Mall yesterday facing the Lincoln Memorial. Tomorrow we'll be facing the other direction.

Despite some occasional hiccups - Josh Groban following a clip about Marian Anderson? - and some cold (all good practice for tomorrow) it was a fantastic concert. Granted we saw and heard much of it via the jumbotron - but to be in a giant crowd (400,000!) all so thrilled to be there and silent as a church mouse as we strained to hear Gene Robinson's prayer - was spectacular!

My favorite part. The one where we all sang the refrain together...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Divine Grace

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


A couple of weeks ago, Christmas Day to be exact, I attended church services at the American Cathedral in Paris with my dad and sister. When I arrived, my sister was waiting outside for me, having arrived a little bit earlier with dad. She said she was very excited as they had been listening to the soloists rehearse and the female was really good. Great! I love me a good church service and particularly one with good music.

As we went through the multi-page program (it was one of those ones where they include all the readings and songs word for word), about a half hour into it, I'm reading along responding to the minister and sort of looking ahead.

"Holy Crap!" I whisper loudly to my family. Next up is the offertory music - sung by Denyce Graves (and some tenor...). Who is she? Only one of the greatest mezzo-sopranos in the world. An American treasure, born and raised in Washington, DC. The woman who sang the most stirring rendition of America, the Beautiful and the Lord's Prayer at the church service at the National Cathedral after 9-11 (W. of course totally not getting it). The woman whose signature role of Carmen I saw her perform - as a first anniversary gift from my husband. Sigh.

I cried.

After the service, my dad and I ran over to say hello - I was shaking. I told her Santa left an extra present under the tree for me this year. I'm such a dork.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Bollywood High

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


During December/January there are a slew of movies out just in time for Oscar nominations. Makes for entertaining movie choices - even if some are hard to watch - and also entertaining soundtracks.

Go see Slumdog Millionaire. And fall in love with the movie as well as its music.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Every year I earnestly try to come up with a good New Year's resolution. Knowing that the odds of failure are pretty high with these things I try and come up with ones that are do-able (no, dieting and exercise don't count!) and that will have a meaningful impact on my life, and which are to a very large degree under my control (no, meeting Mr. Right is not under my control - or at least it wasn't).

The only resolution I can remember from past years was to iron my clothes more. I suppose the reason I remember it is because I actually did it. I looked neater and I had more clothing options. Then I discovered non-iron shirts and a wonderful cleaning woman and well... keeping that resolution hasn't been so tough.

I'm mulling over this year's options and have had a few suggestions from other people:

1. write more thank you's on paper - and mail them. how wonderful to get an email but even more wonderful to get a surprise in the mailbox on something pretty

2. read more, print less. isn't the point of email to reduce our paper consumption? a bit against resolution #1 but not so much

3. read more. would love to do this and have generally succeeded in the past - at least for the first few months. then I lose track. I couldn't tell you how much I read this past year and if it was more than the year before. quality is uneven too :)

I think I'm settling on a resolution - eat more superfoods. or eat them several times a week. In answer to a friend's question - that also means eating less of not-so-superfoods. Dieting that involves eating. Yep, that's my resolution this year.