March 29, 2016

Musings on Personal Evolution

In a different life I wrote my MFA thesis about discovering myself as a person. It was, it still is, a collection of short stories - "a novel of publishable length," was the requirement. I called it Skins. The stories are about the personalities I flowed through while growing up to end up the adult I was when writing it.

The loafer wearing, prudish, smart-girl in the under-performing middle school.

The patchouli wearing, Deadhead morphed Phish Kid, who followed the band in the summer, but sneaked off to hotels to shampoo and shave, while the die-hard's went au naturale at the campgrounds. 

The record collecting, show-going, Indy rocker who hid Martha Stewart Living magazine like contraband under her bed.

The college-age, activist-feminist who felt kissing girls and guys who were not her significant other was fair game as long as it was during spin-the-Crown-Royal-bottle.

The college grad facing real life, mourning a dead boyfriend and spending nights at the corner bar.

At 26 when I was writing the collection I felt solidified. But a decade later, I realize that I have continued to morph this entire time.

The empowered, single, confident, city dweller with different dates every weekend.

The female half of a dual income, happy couple living in sun drenched So. Cal, enjoying monthly facials and lunches al fresco.

The new mom giving all those previous people she'd been away in exchange for this new little person and then searching for the next identity the comes.

And so where am I now? The first thought that came to me was Costco membership having Ohio mom. But fuck that. No offense to Ohio mom's, but when I was a person who thought herself an artist, a writer, an adventure seeking occasional guitar player, I would not have been satisfied with that definition of myself.

But defining yourself in a moment is always easier in hindsight. So here's another crack...

The mature, working mother, who hasn't given up on worldly adventure, but has put it on hold for a moment until she gets her money right and the kids are old enough to travel more easily. 

So where have you been? Who are you now?

March 2, 2016

Activism in the Bluegrass State - #AskBevinAboutMyVag

Bridget Kelly's happy uteri - obviously in a Bevin-less KY government

Recently I had the pleasure of dropping into Louisville's Mama's Hip during Crafternoon. This happens most Saturdays at the shop and community space, owned by Shannon Stone Porter - an all around catalyst for community change - but this particular day was not your average gathering.

In the back of the yellow room Bridget Kelly was working her magic on the sewing machine as Emily Van Bogaert cut red and pink fabric into long strips. The craftivists, if you will, (you really shouldn't - sorry I couldn't help myself) were preparing felt vaginas and uteri (the plural of uterus - I looked it up) to take to a reproductive rights rally in Frankfort, KY and give a very special shout out to Matt Bevin, KY Governor, who has succeeded in setting the state back 20 years.

Last month, Molly Shah (pictured in the middle of the floor making protest signs) started a Twitter barrage of major proportions in reaction to Bevin signing a bill requiring KY women to jump through unnecessary hoops before making decisions about their own bodies.

#AskBevinAboutMyVag was born and took off like wildfire. In my opinion, this is exactly what Twitter was created for. I highly recommend going through and reading the extremely clever and spot on tweets, but here are a few of my favorites. (This could have been a really long post, there are so many gems.)

"It really helps to laugh about it," Emily told me. "Otherwise, we're just so mad." The group wants the hashtag trend to spread to other states.

#AskKasichAboutMyVag  amiright Ohio?! But it wouldn't be the same protesting Kasich here in Columbus unless the gang from Mama's Hip comes for a visit and does a tutorial or making vulva sock puppets. Or at least that's my secret wish.

I am so proud to know these brave ladies and have been part of the Mama's Hip's community myself at one time. Keep up the awesome work!

Vs Up!
From Left: Emily Pickett, Bridget Kelly, Shannon Stone Porter, Molly Shah, Emily Van Bogaert, Kristin Dennis, Bethany Heaberlin, Whitney Boswell
Post Script: Follow @MollyOShah on Twitter to read all about the despicable behavior she and other peaceful protesters endured at a Trump rally in Louisville last night (Super Tuesday). 
March 1, 2016

Read On: The Sorcery Code

I'm pretty much a nerd about stories that fall into the magical fantasy genre and when I was asked to review The Sorcery Code by Dima Zales which is billed as a, "captivating tale of intrigue, love, and danger in a world where sorcery is entwined with science," I thought - heck yeah!

The story is set in a magical land where the people are separated by their ability to perform or not perform magic in a haves vs. have-nots class system. All but one of the charters in the book are sorcerers who perform magic in a mathematical way, similar to computer coding. The adventure begins when the protagonist, Blaise, creates a creature through magic that could hold the answers to the deep divide between the classes or be the end of civilization entirely, depending on who you ask.

Initially I was bored by the traditional male fantasy, virgin/whore construct that is set up between Gala (the magical creation, who takes the form of a young, naked girl) and Blaise's ex-fiance, Augusta (who is beautiful, sexually confident, snobbish and mean.) But I was won over by the smart and new way the characters use and wield their magic.

The book is a classic first book of a series, in that it leaves you with almost nothing tied up, lots of questions and wanting more. A good read for quiet weekend.
February 16, 2016

Mothxr Lover

Something you may not know about me, because I write about my kids so much, is that I am a three-alarm, freak level lover of music. I dread seemingly innocuous questions like - what's your favorite band? My palms get all sweaty, I start chewing on my lip, and I say something like,"Favorite band, not musician, right? Um, The Pixies...wait. Led Zeppelin, no Built to, can you like narrow it down to a year or sub-genre or something?" Because, who can take the pressure of being asked to declare such a thing? Choosing a favorite band of all time would be like choosing a favorite hair on my head. I like them all separately, but I love them as a collection. Great music does not exist in a vacuum...but you can make music with a vacuum.

I typically don't write music reviews on this blog. But then sometimes I do. When that happens, it's usually because the music has evoked a feeling larger than those I typically feel and I've become slightly obsessed.

Enter Mothxr.

(Full disclosure: I came across this band because I think Penn Badgley ridiculously handsome and I follow his Instagram - not to be sexist, he's apparently very intelligent and talented as well - but his looks have zero to do with why I kept listening.)

Their debut album has yet to be released (2/26) and I can hardly get enough of the guiltless-pleasure, electro-poppy sound of the three tracks that came with my pre-order. Penn's casually sexy vocals drift naturally in and out of an electronic falsetto, but he shows off his impressive range on the impending album's title track - Centerfold - traveling way down into Stephin Merritt territory at times.

On my favorite track (for today), Touch, guitarist, Simon Oscroft, who IMO wins the band's best hair award, plays sweet little jangley riffs pulled together by bassist, Darren Will, for a mood that is simultaneously chill and dancey.

I'm assuming producer/drummer Jimmy Giannopoulos is responsible for the beats and synthy melodies that have just the perfect kiss of Eighties, but without ever sounding dated or like they're trying too hard.

To sum up - Highly enjoyable. I'm beyond psyched to hear the entire album.

Note to Hill: They're playing in Columbus two days before my birthday, so... date night!