1. The biggest question after the Super Bowl is not which ad was the best or even who won the game. It’s this: What did you eat/drink that you regretted? A friend of mine says that you always know when you’re about to have the “one too many.” That one bite or drink that will cause you to cross the line between having a good time and calling in sick the next day. For me it was the bread pudding smothered in a bourbon sauce that was more bourbon than sauce. In the moment, of course, I’d felt pretty good about my choices. I mean I did put that 7-layer dip on a carrot stick, didn’t I? Wasn’t that wheel of cheese sandwiched between multi-grain crackers? Never mind. It all roiled around in my stomach overnight so I woke up with a major food hangover, headache and general slothfulness. I just don’t bounce back like I used to in college.
2. In the you-learn-something-new-every-day category… A couple at the Super Bowl party told me about their adventures in sea shanty music. I’d never heard of it. They told me sea shanties are traditional mariner work songs. The melodies were such that they would coordinate the efforts of the sailors hauling the lines. (“Heigh ho, heigh ho. It’s off to work I go.”) Though the modern shanty songs don’t necessarily have to be so repetitive since there are machines to do most of those things. It sounds to my very untrained ear like a cross between Jimmy Buffett, the Pirates of the Caribbean and Irish folk music. I like it. It makes me want to put on an eye patch and hoist a sail. Or something like that. I love when a new door is thrown wide open.
Here’s a traditional sea shanty sung by a Cornish group called The Fishermen’s Friends. And a more modern rendition from The Decemberists. Special shout out to Maura at 36×37 who posted recently about The Decemberists. How’s that for full circle?!
3. I am in love with The Gentle Barn. This is a no-kill animal sanctuary just outside of Los Angeles. They are guided by this quote: “The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.”
At any one time 120 horses, cows, donkeys, dogs, cats, pigs and llamas (MCQ!) who have been rescued from hard lives or abusive situations retire to live out the rest of their lives in comfort surrounded by people who love them. Many of you will remember my bucket list trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in October, which was an amazing experience from the moment I got there until the moment I left. I went to give of my time and energy and I got so much more in return, I almost felt guilty. The Gentle Barn may be next on my list, even if I have to travel to LA to do it.
4. Now that the snow has started to melt a bit, some things that have been long buried are showing themselves. Here are a few things Reggie and I have found on our walks:
- a Mr. Potato Head ear and nose
- 15 unmatched mittens
- one commode
- 127 napkins, used – Reggie’s favorite
- a hubcap
- one Ab Cruncher
- a watering can
- a sleeping bag
- an orange cone
- 6 broken shovels
5. Nothing better on a 15-degree night than to have dinner at a cozy Caribbean restaurant eating mangoes and listening to bongoes. The place is smaller than my apartment (and that’s saying something) so it’s not surprising that every table was taken, even on the weeknight my friend and I went. Into the corner was stuffed a band trio: bongo, bass, keyboard. The music was upbeat and charming. During a quick break, the keyboard player let us know that there was a tip jar. I was planning to contribute once I got my wallet out to pay the food bill, but then, moments later, she appeared at our table, shaking the jar and asking for a tip. It felt like panhandling. She was putting people in an awkward position – who would refuse, and of course no one did.
At first I thought it was in poor taste, but my friend and I had just been discussing marketing/publicity options for my new creative writing classes, The Writers’ Salon. She was telling me to exhaust every option, be shameless in my self-promotion. How else are you going to break through all the white noise to get noticed? I am not good at these things. I don’t like making others feel on the spot. Heck, it’s hard for me to even ask for help. But I’m trying to put my uncomfortableness aside to get these classes off the ground. I have friends who have expertise in these areas and I’ve been peppering them with questions, so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I’m going to shake my tip jar because, as my friend told me, if I don’t do it, no one else will.