Friday, June 27, 2008

Gettin' Outa Dodge

I'm leaving in a few hours for New York. Nah, I'm not winging my way to NYC to see "Grease", I'm going to Buffalo for a wedding. I'm getting out of this crazy house for a long weekend.

I'll spend Saturday and Sunday doing the wedding thing with my sorority sisters, and Sunday and Monday doing Niagara Falls with my biological sisters (and my Mom). Yep, there's a bit of over-lapping but everybody knows everybody so it should be fun.

One of my best friends, Ileana, will be there. She's an amazing woman. She grew up in Puerto Rico and went to college in New York, where she struggled with the language but graduated with a degree in business. I took her home from college with me a few times and my family fell so in love with her that we dubbed her our Puerto Rican sister.

So, this Sunday night, Mom, my sisters Cathy & Nancy and our Puerto Rican sister, Ileana, are climbing into the rental car to go watch the fireworks at Niagara Falls. Ileana will inevitably yell, "Road trip!", as we hurry out of the hotel, annoying everyone within earshot. I will pretend not to know her as I giggle and rush ahead. It's what we do.

Things will be quiet here while I'm gone, so I trust you will behave and clean up any messes before I get home. I asked the neighbors to keep an eye on you! (Kenzie- don't bring any boys over!)

I'll bring y'all back a present. See ya!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Warren Haynes Presents


Warren Haynes Presents: The Benefit Concert Vol. 8 DVD is now available for purchase here.

As always, all the proceeds from the DVD and concert go to benefit Habitat For Humanity, an international non-profit organization dedicated to building housing for those in need of shelter. Enjoy over three hours of beautiful music from the 2006 Xmas Jam, and help build homes for people in need in the Asheville area and beyond.

Warren Haynes Presents: The Benefit Concert Vol. 8 features great music from Dave Matthews, New Orleans Social Club, Marty Stuart & his Fabulous Superlatives, Taj Mahal Trio, the John Popper Project, and of course, plenty of the Xmas Jam hosts Warren Haynes and Gov't Mule.

As if that wasn't enough talent for one stage, other special guests include Randall Bramblett, Taylor Hicks, Branford Marsalis, Mike Barnes, Mickey Raphael, Brendan Bayliss, Kevn Kinney, Robert Kearns and Dave Schools.

Because there's nothing better than when Xmas comes early... Order your copy now!

Chapter List:

1. Million Miles From Yesterday – Warren Haynes
2. Mississippi Big Butt Blues – The Taj Mahal Trio
3. Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes – The Taj Mahal Trio
4. Fire In Her Kiss – The John Popper Project Featuring DJ Logic w/ Warren Haynes
5. Lapdance – The John Popper Project Featuring DJ Logic w/ Branford Marsalis
6. Mando Rip – Marty Stuart (from The Orange Peel 12/15/06)
7. Streamline - Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
8. Angels Rock Me To Sleep - Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
9. Wait Til The Morning – Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives w/ Branford Marsalis & Warren Haynes
10. Shape I'm In - Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives w/ Warren Haynes & Danny Louis
11. Look Ka Py Py – The New Orleans Social Club
12. Loving You Is On My Mind > - The New Orleans Social Club w/ Branford Marsalis
13. Africa > – The New Orleans Social Club w/ Branford Marsalis
14. Loving You Is On My Mind - The New Orleans Social Club w/ Branford Marsalis
15. Fortunate Son – The New Orleans Social Club w/ Branford Marsalis, Warren Haynes & Taylor Hicks
16. Cortez The Killer - Gov't Mule w/ Dave Matthews
17. All Along The Watchtower - Gov't Mule w/ Dave Matthews & Branford Marsalis
18. Reggae Soulshine - Gov't Mule w/ Branford Marsalis
19. Unring The Bell - Gov't Mule
20. Leaving Trunk - Gov't Mule w/ Taj Mahal & Branford Marsalis
21. Mule - Gov't Mule with Dave Schools & Randall Bramblett

Bonus Features:

1. Ballerina – Warren Haynes w/ Mickey Raphael (from The Orange Peel 12/15/06)
3. Walkin' To New Orleans – The New Orleans Social Club w/ Branford Marsalis, Mickey Raphael, John Popper & Taylor Hicks
3. I Shall Be Released - Gov't Mule w/ Marty Stuart, Kevn Kinney, Taylor Hicks, Mike Barnes, Ivan Neville, Brendan Bayliss, Mickey Raphael & Robert Kearns

Check out JamBase's exclusive interview with Warren Haynes on JamBaseTV.

Ducks On The Wall

The lights would come up in the Inn-Between, the air heavy with beer. Inebriated college students would squint and groan, knowing this was the last song of the night. But we'd all sing along, whether we were sitting at a table, or dancing on the sticky dance floor or dancing on a sitting table, our voices joined as we shouted the chorus: "Stuffed ducks! Ducks on the wall!"

How bizarre! Why that song?

An old college buddy of mine is getting married this weekend in Buffalo. I'm flying up by myself to be there and to meet up with about ten other college buddies. E-mails have been criss-crossing the country as we make our plans. In one of them, this song was mentioned, so I looked for it on youtube.

It was a staple at Geneseo. Everyone there knows that "Ducks on the Wall" is the closing song every night at the Inn-Between. But never once have I heard anyone say, "What a weird song! And what does it have to do with closing time?"

You know what? Who cares? We'll be dancing to it this Saturday at the wedding reception and recalling when we were so completely free that closing time had the potential to change our lives. I'm not kidding. As I left the Inn-Between one night, I bumped into my friend, Greg, who offered to walk me home. That one night turned into a lifetime:

Wont'cha Buy Me A Mercedes-Benz?

Doesn't anyone else think it's odd that John-Boy is selling Mercedes'? I can still see him in his overalls, riding slowly away on his mule, Blue. Guess he got off that mountain, cuz now he's selling luxury cars:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Taylor Tuesday

I wanted to post a video this week that showcases Taylor Hicks' voice-that gorgeous sound wrapped around some heartfelt lyrics. But I came across this video that I haven't seen before and have to share it. Wow.

Someone far more eloquent than I once described Taylor as a conduit for the music. That was never more evident than around the 2:00 mark in this video.

WARNING! For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this Taylor Hicks performance. Expectant mothers should not view.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV

When I was in college I had to do an oral report on the power of words. I thought it would be funny to incorporate George Carlin's, "The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV". I wrote about how words can have different meanings in different situations. I did my best to make it funny and I thought I did a fairly good job.

Here's the thing. You can't tell from reading my blog, but I have social phobia. I can't speak in front of a group consisting of more then three people. And three people may be stretching it. So for me to get up in front of the class and deliver what amounted to a humorous monologue, was frightening. But it had to be done and I expected to loosen up as I went along.

I started off with a shaky voice and ended with shaky hands. I didn't loosen up. I got more and more nervous as I went along because no one laughed. In fact, i think they were trading looks as this pathetic girl read a report which was laced with profanity.

When it came time to put George Carlin's album on, my hand was shaking so badly, I couldn't put the needle down on it. I had to ask my professor to do it. It was awful. Horrible. One of my top ten most embarrassing moments.

None-the-less, I've always had a soft spot for George Carlin. It was with sadness that I heard of his passing this morning. Here is the original "bit" off the album that I played for my English class way back when.

Let's hope my Mom doesn't listen to this. When I came home for summer break and she found the album in my room she took it away from me. She still doesn't know that one of my friends replaced it on my birthday. I must have done a top-notch job of hiding it, because i still have it today. Don't' tell her.

Here's to you, George! Rest in peace.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hell Of A Day

Another one of Gray's videos from rehearsals! Sorry I can't embed it here, but go check it out at Blues Historian:

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I went through a drawer in my home office tonight labeled "POETRY". Poetry was once important to me. I wrote all the time in high school and college on whatever scraps of paper I could find.

I gave poems as gifts, I wrote them in calligraphy and framed them, I even won an award in college for one of them. Yes, I was that annoying girl lost in her own head trying to describe a sunset. *gag*

I was in the mood to post a poem tonight. Maybe one about a lost friendship or about being misunderstood or how mean people can be when you're down. Something along those lines. So I began reading.

I remembered how I had toiled over these poems, writing and rewriting each one until it felt right. And after the fourth or fifth poem tonight, I was quite surprised. They're awful! I mean, really bad! How I ever won an award for poetry is beyond me. The other submissions must have stunk up the entire English Department.

So now obviously you want to read one. I couldn't find one about a friend turning her back on you or about being ostracized. People have always liked me, I suppose.

But I'll share one on a different subject that doesn't suck too bad. I wrote this sometime before my husband and I got married:


As a new woman
I sang my independence acappella.
Four walls made the acoustics good
for one voice to bounce and play upon.
I fled to it,
accompanying my own ballet,
singing myself to sleep.

Now, my dreams are filled
with choirs
whose melodies spill throughout my rooms,
whose faces all are yours.
Now, I wake-
to painful silence.

You could fill the quiet,
testing the harmony
as you join this lonely singer of life.
We could listen,
writing our song as we slip into sleep
like notes tangled together in a chord.

by Caryl 1983

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boys And Their Dogs

I took my husband's truck in for some regular maintenance this morning and got a ride back home in their shuttle. I had been dreading that ride for a couple of reasons. I'm usually alone with the driver, so I worried that there would be uncomfortable silence for most of the trip.

Yes- that was my biggest worry. A minor worry was that he'd rape and kill me. I have no explanation for why the raping and killing thing wasn't the more weighty concern. We'll let my therapist handle that.

ANYWAY, on my way out the door I looked at Henry's sad little face and decided to take him with me. I thought he might be a conversation starter. (And oh yeah-keep the guy from attacking me.) He's a little dog so I didn't expect it to be a problem. And the last time I got a ride home we left immediately, so I wasn't worried about Henry needing to use the little dog's room while we were there.

Much to my disappointment, I was told the wait for the shuttle was about 45 minutes! Yikes! I did not see that coming. Well, I walked Henry around a bit, got some of their free delicious coffee and settled into a chair outside. I prayed he wouldn't bark at every stranger who walked by. Or worse.

Henry turned out to be the hit of the service center. Grown men turned into little boys as they passed by and spotted him. Henry wagged his tail like a maniac and accepted their petting. Four men told me about the dog(s) they had at home, one ran to his office to show me pictures of his pooch in a raincoat and one sad guy told me how his canine buddy died.

You gotta love a man who loves his dog. I've seen all three men in my house turn from Joe Cool to a giggling little boy whenever Henry enters the room. Yes-even my husband! I caught him laying in the floor laughing last night while Henry frantically licked his face.

Henry helped slightly with the ride back to our house, though the driver was more interested in the radio and his cell phone than little ole me. It wasn't as awkward as I had expected. Actually, something good came out of it. All that comfortable silence gave me plenty of time to mentally write this blog!

Is there a man in your life who has a soft spot for his pet? (keep it clean, people!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Just Like My Mom"

Let me run something by you. I've been bumming out over something a man said to me yesterday. I already know that I'm a silly, silly woman for thinking that this matters, but hear me out.

My son and I met a lawyer yesterday who is working with us. We had some pleasant chit-chat while we stood around waiting for something or another (not important). I was feeling kinda cute, wearing these skinny pants, ballerina slippers and a nice fitted top.

The lawyer was handsome and young-ish, probably in his 30's. I was working the cute thing for all it was worth. Not flirting- just doing my best to be charming. I've never been beautiful but can pull off "attractive" if all the planets are in alignment and I've had enough sleep and the person looking at me is very drunk. (haha)

So he wasn't drunk, but I still thought I was coming across as my version of attractive until he asked me what I do. I replied, "I'm a stay-at-home Mom." He nodded, smiled and said, "Just like my Mom."

Ouch. Just like your freakin' Mom, huh? I'm just an old lady Mom. I think what I'm needing from you, dear reader, is a reminder that it's not over just because a woman is in her late forties. Give me a good "Sex and the City" pep-talk, whether you believe it or not. I'm minutes away from putting on sweat pants and sensible shoes. Save me!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Most Wonderful Weekend

I'm so sorry to see this weekend coming to a end. I've had three days almost completely to myself at home. When you're a wife and mother, that sort of thing rarely happens.

The hubby went on a fishing trip, my youngest son started his summer job and my oldest has been avoiding me (which is fine for now). I've had no appointments and no errands to run. It's been divine.

You would think I'd take the opportunity to stay in bed and watch movies or read, but I've been getting things done around the house without interruption. *angels singing*

I've worked on unfinished projects, cleaned out a closet and planned my trip to NY at the end of the month. I've answered e-mails and organized all of those blasted CDs piled up on the computer desk (I know you've got them, too. You must! You know, those CDs that hold music, photos, documents and computer programs. Well, mine are organized and labeled! I'm positively giddy over it!)

And now that I've made this weekend even more wonderful by writing about it, I'm going to end it with a long, hot, uninterrupted bath. But first-*sigh*-I have to cut the grass.

Oh well, you can't have everything. That's the downside of having all of the men out of my hair. None of them are available to mow the lawn.

Believe me, it's a small price to pay.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Barb Exler

E-mails have been flying today. A friend of mine from college died on Saturday and today is the viewing (in Arizona).

Don't think less of me, but while I was in college I belonged to a sorority. I got pulled in by my best friends who were already members. At first, I set my sights on being labeled "worst pledge" because the whole business seemed archaic and well...not very cool.

I'm a New Yawker from Lawng Island, for cryin' out loud! We're street-wise and cynical. We don't link arms and sing songs about sisterhood! I joined as a lark but as fate would have it, I almost became the last living member.

In my junior year, we were down to a mere six members. This was the oldest sorority on campus. We had a house full of crowded composite photos, jackets with embroidered emblems on the pockets, beautiful antique chairs for the officers to sit in during meetings. Even my anti-sorority brain could grasp how sad it would be if that ended.

Of the six members left, FIVE were graduating. The one lonely girl returning the following year was...drum roll please...yeah. It was me. We made jokes about the meetings I would conduct, running from chair to chair since I would occupy every office.

Well, to make a long story short, this guy we knew happened to mention our plight to some girls he knew in the dorms. The entire floor decided to pledge. They also did it as a lark. They figured they could make the sorority whatever they wanted it to be. (Oh, by the way, that guy we knew? I married him.)

Ironically, I became their pledge mistress! Goofy little Caryl who had changed the words to all the solemn songs into parTAY songs was suddenly in charge of teaching the new girls to respect the rituals and tradition of Alpha Clio.

And somehow, in those meetings, we all learned the value of sharing a common bond, no matter how silly it seemed on the surface. We stuck to tradition. We used the antique chairs in meetings and wore our embroidered jackets. We shared a house and a history. We became a family.

And the proof has been in this awful day. E-mails have circulated sharing memories and disbelief.

"To all: I'll be heading over to the viewing a couple of hours from now. I'll carry all your thoughts and prayers with me and pass them onto Dennis and Danielle. If any of you have a special message to pass on, please let me know soon. --Gail"

I keep reading all the emails and I’m still not believing this is possible. I am having the hardest time putting words on paper (so to speak). But I would like to say how much I appreciate your being there and being the spokesperson for us.

I met Barb in Fall 1977 walking down the hill from Newton to Erie Dorm. She kind of tripped and we both giggled like 13 years old (what the heck we were only 17 and 18) and so began a friendship. We shared so much more than being Bio majors, living in Erie Dorm and Ward Place, our daughter’s names, she was my CLIO mother and helped me through an incredible personal experience. Her smile is all I see right now and I am grateful for that. Thank you again for carrying all our thoughts with you and letting Dennis know how much she was loved."

"I have been reading all of your emails with such a heavy heart. I am so thankful to have our sorority represented and feel that after all these years...we really are a family! What a wonderful feeling. Life has a way of bringing us back to the what is truly important and I will keep Barb and her family and all of you in my prayers. Thanks for being such an important part of my life!!"

"I am so proud to be a Clio ..... I am crying for the loss of a special person and for the love that binds us all together. It's nice to see that no matter the miles that separate us or the years that have passed we are forever connected. Gail Thank you for representing us."

"Caryl, it is sad for Clio to lose someone special but look at the love that surrounds us. Sometimes something good comes from bad things .... Barb has brought us all together once again! She is smiling down on us!!"

So, Gail is going to the viewing. Mary is making a memory box for Barb's daughter. My contribution is this- Photos of a time when the world was open to us and the future lay ahead bright with possibility:

By the way, I still have that sweatshirt! That's me-------------------^

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Bad Day Continues

What do you know? Yesterday someone did die. Before I went to bed last night, I checked my e-mail and found out that a friend of mine from college died yesterday. She was only 47. So I cried myself to sleep for her, her husband and daughter. And for me.

But I want to quote a musician I admire, who wrote: "Do yourself a favor and listen closely to an Otis Redding song sometime- try 'Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song).' I defy you not to feel better afterward."

I will certainly give it a try:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bad Day (Revised)

Nobody died, but this photo reflects my mood.

Everybody's mad at me today. Seriously- everyone who lives in my house yelled at me today. So in the midst of this foul mood, I typed up a post about Taylor Hicks which made some of his fans mad. Yay! More people mad at me.

I deleted it, because that's really not me. It was kind of harsh. But- if I am allowed to express some honest emotions- I'm really sad about him doing Broadway. I'm just sad, OK?

I'm not giving up on him, I'm not going to spread nasty messages all over the boards. I'm only human, though. Bad moods happen. But I should identify what I'm mad about before I start to type.

So, to those of you who wanted to comment, have at it. Tell me why this silly role he's playing isn't so bad. Really. I'd love to have something to feel good about today.