Friday, April 16, 2010

Walking in Memphis

I used to love this piano bar in Baltimore called Howl at the Moon. There is a chain of them across the US- I have also been to the one in New Orleans. It was not as much fun.

The basic idea is that there are two dual baby grand pianos facing each other. They players play songs that we all know the words to and everyone sings along. Loudly. Off key. Strangers coming together, happily if not slightly buzzed.

The last time I went was a long time ago, pre- Mrs. and pre-momyhood. A guy- college age- went up to the circular stage that sat about 3 feet off the ground in the middle of the bar and sat on a stool. There was microphone in front of him.

One of the piano players told the crowd that this kid wanted to sing a song alone, sort of like a karaoke version of a dueling piano bar. This is a generally happy crowd, so no one objected. I can only speak for myself, but I was expecting this drunk frat kid to screw up whatever he was about to sing in a big way. I settled back in my front row seat, ready for voice cracking, lyric botching and audience jeering.

The piano started playing the hypnotic beginning melody of Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis". The guy on the stool closed his eyes and bowed his head and started singing.

The whole bar, full of people ready to sing along in between swigs of beer- just. stopped.

It was still in that bar for four minutes and thirty seconds while this guy sang to us about blue suede shoes and Memphis and being a Christian. I had heard the song before, but there was something about the way his voice played on the soprano and bass notes of the piano that was bewitching.

I'm not sure why I was captivated by him. I'm not sure why still when I hear this song I think of this experience.

I could not pick this guy out of a line up even if he was wearing a blue suede Howl at the Moon t-shirt. I'm almost 100% sure my friends who were with me that night at the bar do not even remember this performance.

I really don't understand why I feel compelled to write about this in my blog. You fellow writers may understand.

Sometimes you just have to get it out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Off to Tuscany

Confession: I LOVE entering sweepstakes. I realize this is a habit usually reserved for:

1. Cheapskates
2. Old ladies
3. Suckers

Last night I made pasta for dinner. I used wheat noodles, pre-made meatballs and jarred sauce. Usually I make my own sauce, but this time I did not. I hope they do not take away my "Italian" card.

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday. She will be coming over the following day, so I bought a little ice cream cake, P picked out some candles and I have big plans to get her a card and some flowers. Since I do not have a vase (because my wonderful husband is not in the habit of gifting me with flowers, so why have a vase?) I planned to fashion the glass pasta sauce jar into a sort of vase.

It will work.  Stop judging me.

Of course, anyone who has employed this same technique will tell you the first step is wash out any sauce residue.

Then you must remove the label.

As I moved through the first step and onto the next, I saw the words "Enter to Win" written in a yellowy starburst. In smaller print it said, "Remove label for details." And how!

Here is what the winner gets:
  • Coach air transportation for 4
  • 6 nights in 2 a bedroom apartment at LaFattoria
  • 6 day car rental- unlimited mileage- When the Phillips family drives internationally, Josh takes the wheel. Aside of a near, reverse cliff dive in Ireland, he is usually pretty good at figuring out international streets. Also, it seems most foreign cars are sticks. I cannot drive sticks. Mostly, because I have never tried to, nor taken the time to learn.
  • Wine tasting tour at a 14 century castle
  • And $1000- not sure if that’s American monies or not. Also, not sure of the conversion.

There are a few places Josh and I want to go within the span of our lives. Italy is one of those places.

Upon further reading I found the winner will be notified by January of next year. Of NEXT year?

I'll have forgotten all about this by then and when they call to tell me I have won I will surely think they are nutso and hang up on them, thereby losing my free (childless) trip to Italy. What you thought I would use the 4 coach seats for me, Josh, Parker and possibly our goat-dog Abby?

The information actually said "up to 4 coach seats".

Up. To.

I feel I should contact the people who pick the winner and assure them if I win I will only be requiring seats for 2 and we actually would be fine riding in the cargo portion if it meant we were going to Italy for free. Surely if they know I am a party of 2 not 4 they will fix it so I win. Right?


I could hold some sort of sweepstakes of my own to fill the other two spots.

Alas, I enter these things all the time and all I have to show for it is some cast off gift certificates for $25 to stores and restaurants I'm not even sure still exist and junk mail, in both USPS and electronic form. Who wins these things really?

So, unless I buy one of those country cute (blech) wooden, made to look weathered, signs with the word Tuscany painted on it and hang it somewhere in my house- I doubt I'll be going anytime soon. Sadly.

I also love scratch off lottery tickets. I have one right now, promising the (hope) of up to $5000 dollars. In this case “up to” will likely be an amount less than 2. Sadly.