Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Best Little Roadhouse in Virginia

I woke up this morning with a splitting headache, disgusting smokey hair and The Voices in My Head singing a startling rendition of The Stanglers' Always the Sun.
You see, last night I did something I rarely do. I walked into a bar alone in an attempt to kill time before Jerry picked me up. Granted, it is a friendly little bar I've been to a thousand times, the Best Little Roadhouse in Virginia in fact, it's still not something I would normally do. When you are the only woman in the joint and taking the only available seat at an 8 seat bar, you have a couple of choices to make while the other patrons stare at you. You can:
A) Stare at your own reflection in the mirror.
2) Stare at the bartender's ass.
Lastly) Order some food.
I chose "Lastly".
I ordered my usual favorite, Roadhouse Nachos (by the by, the nachos at King Street Blues are the tastiest things I have ever put in my mouth ... ever!). As I was making sure the topping-to-chip proportions were just shy of perfection, I realized why it can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable to sit in a bar in Virginia: they still let people smoke in close proximity to the food and drink of others. As puffs of smoke whisped their way across my plate, I heard what I can only assume was the ghost of Wolfman Jack or Lucifer Himself say something to the bartender. I didn't look to see which one it was, I was far too frightened! I probably couldn't have seen clearly, anyway, the smoke was so thick. In an attempt to avoid options A & 2 and The Dark Lord sitting to my left, I decided to focus on my food and count in my head, which is what I always do to avoid the task at hand (i.e.: climbing mile high escalators, waiting in long lines, standing on a crowded train, waiting for Satan's putrid breath to reach my neck). Counting, counting, counting....
All of a sudden, Lou Cipher decides to cough up a lung! Hey, Beelzebub, sulphur getting to ya?? Wow! This time I dared to look beyond the puffs of smoke (and the Dark Underling) to the clock on the wall. Only 50 minutes left until Jerry should show up, timely guy that he is!!! Yay!
More counting, counting, counting.....
Just as Martin Mull to my right, with his diamond earring flashing brilliantly, is telling me how straight and lonely HE is and what lovely hands I have, my prince arrived! Jerry doesn't usually get such a warm welcome from me, but last night was special!

Friday, January 25, 2008

An Explanation!

Well. I am new to this, as you can see! Ha! I wanted to set up tabs that readers can go to for specific topics. "Dog-Eared" for book reviews, "Dog Day Afternoon" for stories about my dogs and others, "Lindy" for conversations dealing with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease), "Woods-Liver" for musings about home life, and "Gal About Town" for social news. Unfortunately, my first book reviews went under ALL the sections instead of just Dog-Eared. Sorry about that, friends! I will work on it! Anyway, now you know what I WANT to do, and can laugh with me at what I actually do do.
I just said doo-doo.

The Journey of Crazy Horse and Whistling in the Dark

Recently I finished two great books, The Journey of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III and Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen. These books are completely different from each other, but I enjoyed them both for various reasons.

The Journey of Crazy Horse:
Having grown up in South Dakota and having lived in Wyoming and Iowa, as well, I have a deep understanding of life in the midwest and, specifically, on the prairie and in the Black Hills. I know how the earth feels there and the pull of the land on your soul. It's a feeling like no other. You can find a deep sense of peace there, a sense of freedom and serenity, and a feeling of incredible sadness. The Journey of Crazy Horse made me fall in love with Crazy Horse all over again, but more as a man than as a legend. He was not perfect, by any means, but he was a good man. A strong man. A man who tried to consistently choose the right path and to put the needs of others above his own.
Reading this book did, however, fill me with a great deal of sadness. I felt a sense of guilt and empathy throughout.
It is not an easy read, but definitely a worthwhile one! I was actually surprised, while reading this book, and talking about it, as I like to do ... how many people are not the least bit familiar with Crazy Horse, Native American History, or frankly, the midwest! I would say something about the book and get, "Crazy Horse. Now, whassat?" as a reply. Crazy Horse! Blank. CRAZY HORSE! You know, Sitting Bull... Custer ...? They would look at me like Lassie with their heads cocked waiting for the words "Timmy" or "well" to appear in the sentence.
It's AMERICAN HISTORY, for God's sake! Come on!!
Most people I speak to in the DC area think Iowa, Ohio and Idaho are all the same state! When I first set up my new checking account upon moving here, the woman at the counter asked me how to abbreviate Iowa. "I-A", I said. "I-A? Are you sure?" Ummmmm, pretty sure.... So she asked me to actually spell Iowa. Insane! I was telling this story to one of my husband Jerry's co-workers and he laughed at the woman's stupidity and said, "Iowa, how hard is it? I-W-A. Duh!"
So, that is probably what makes me the most sad. Not only what happened to the Native American Indians who lost their land that they loved and respected, but that young Americans today know nothing about it.
I encourage everyone to read this book and others on the subject. Learn about our American History! We cannot move forward until we know the past. There is more to the United States of America than the East and West coasts!

Whistling in the Dark:
This is a well-written adventure taking place in Wisconsin in the late 50's. Although it is set years and years and years (okay, I got carried away) ... although it is set a bit before my time, I was delighted to lose myself in the memories of growing up in small town America. The innocence we had and the fears we knew in the backs of our minds. It is a delightful tale!! I fell in love with the main characters, Troo & Sally, and could relate to them in ways I never thought possible. It was a time when kids were allowed to play outside even after the street lights came on. When we would play Red Light, Green Light and Kick the Can in the neighborhood. Of course, we knew not to take candy from strangers or get in anyone's car ... but we still felt safe among our own groups of friends. We heard of "bad things" happening, but it was a time when we thought nothing could actually happen to US. This book took me back in time and made me remember things I had long forgotten. It deals with some once-taboo subject matter, but the book is riotously hilarious! I laughed out loud on the train and openly wept, as well. It's an easy read, but a wonderfully delicous one!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Week in January

This week started beautifully! I had Sunday and Monday off which is my favorite way to start any week, and the temperatures were in the high 60’s! We woke up early on Sunday morning as the alarm clocks of dogs don’t really understand the “day off” concept! The day began with our littlest girl, Allie, chasing her tail. The middle girl, Wednesday, encourages this activity like some uncoordinated, geeky child trying to play tether ball (that would be me, by the way), just basically taking swings in the air in the general direction of the spinning. Anyway, Allie caught her tail, choked on her tail, had to be rescued from her tail.... it was harrowing!
We took the dogs on a nature hike through our back yard. We live in the woods on the banks of the rolling Piscataway Creek. The dogs love to serpentine down to the river and back with amazing stealth and energy. Sometimes they will chase a deer for awhile, although I can’t imagine for the life of me what they think they are going to do with a deer, once caught. The hike to the water is heavily wooded, steep and muddy, so it is really quite a workout (as I AM a woman and it IS January of a new year and I am NOT Valerie Bertinelli - I did wake up New Year’s morning thinking about my weight and made resolutions to do something about it!)
After the hike, we peeled off our sweaty sweatshirts and plopped down in the sunroom for a game of Trivial Pursuit. We had to take the plastic off the game pieces as it is not really a normal activity for us (my husband, Jerry, and me) to sit around playing games. We’re busy people, for crying out loud! After several beers and several hours, we conceded to our idiocy and moved into the living room to begin the mental preparation involved with THE ALL NEW AMERICAN GLADIATORS! We are so excited about the return of that show!!
Monday was a Girls’ Day, the best! I met my two friends, Dani and Danielle, in Georgetown for lunch. It was beautiful so we sat outside at Paolo’s and devoured a delicious margherita pizza. Dani and Danielle are both younger, thinner and prettier than I am (I am not even so sure I have better insurance), but I put on my game face and made the best of it! They are both so funny, so I thought maybe I could work “laughing my ass off” into my diet plan! I love sitting outside and giving in to my voyeauristic tendancies, but I was amazed how many people were walking down Wisconsin Ave in shorts, capris, tank tops... why do these people have their summer clothes so readily available?
Later, I met another young, pretty friend (why do I do this to myself), Suzy, for drinks and a movie. We saw Juno! Yay! What a fantastic movie! I absolutely fell in love with the Juno character! Ellen Page was amazing! So quirky and fun! I adored the characters of her father and step-mother, although, upon saying that, I realize how well-cast and well-written each and every character was. Someone said that the film glorified teen pregnancy, but I completely disagree with that. I think it used humor and heart to explore another generous and selfless option for girls in that situation: adoption. I thought it was beautiful. I laughed.... I cried....
... and I said, “No, no, no!” to the smell of delicious popcorn that was calling my name!
Tuesday meant back to work, but that’s not so bad. I spend hours on the Metro each day and I was starting a new book, The Journey of Crazy Horse. I should finish the book today, so I will write my review next week. I will say that I love Crazy Horse and the book is making me terribly sad for Crazy Horse and the Lakota people.
I also woke up with Elton John's "Little Jeanie" playing on an endless loop through my brain. I can't even remember the last time I heard that song sung by anyone other than The Voices in My Head. Don't get me wrong, The Voices in My Head are AWESOME, I just don't know where they get their inspiration!
We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary this week. Wow! Fifteen years is a really long time. I know people do it, but it seems like an extremely long time to me. Maybe it’s just because I was married at 14, so, you know, I’ve gone through a lot of changes in those 15 years!
On Saturday we met our friends, Brian (“B”) and Amanda in Falls Church to see The Smithereens at the State Theatre. I was a little concerned when I saw the line of people outside who looked like they could possibly be the parents of all the people who used to like The Smithereens. Let me just say, for the record, The Smithereens sounded fantastic. But the whole venue was weird. It was 1000 degrees in the place which was set up like we were crashing a dinner theatre. Since the lead singer has somehow quadrupled in size over the last few years, the hot temperatures led to an extremely sweaty size 4XL t-shirt on the poor man and some real concern for his well-being! Squeezed in the narrow strip of standing space between the dinner tables (still don’t get that) and bar, I was forced not only to start peeling off layers of clothing but to drink a number of beers equal to the rising temperature! This is most certainly a recipe for disaster any way you slice it!
The week ahead will be filled with anticipation and excitement (and starving myself) in preparation to our trip to Boston this weekend to visit Jerry’s brother, Dean, and his awesome wife, Julie, and their four terrific kids! We can’t wait! Please stay tuned, as I am sure there will be great stories to tell after that.
Also, check back for my book review on “The Journey of Crazy Horse”.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


January 6th, 2008
At the risk of sounding a bit like Mick Jagger, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rebecca and I have lived in the Washington DC area for about 3 and a half years, moving here from a small town in Iowa. I work in retail, love my three Border Collie mixed up dogs, enjoy a healthy social life and have a quirky sense of humor. These will be my musings, commentaries, opinions, poetry, character sketches, etc. I have no real political or religious agenda here. I just think everyone should try to do their best in this life and try to break as few laws and hearts as possible along the way. I am sure I have done a bit of both, but I said TRY, right? I will probably contradict myself often in this journey as I am a rather conflicted person. Let’s just see where this takes us, okay?!