Friday, September 29, 2006

Full force of fall

Just to dwell on the changing of the seasons a little more:

Last night was the last downtown farmer's market for the season. And to celebrate the wonderful weather we've been having, I hitched Margaret's tag-a-long to my Electra and we rode downtown.

We got a couple of slices from our favorite locally grown pizza place, Pablos and watched the people snapping up apples and other fruits of the early fall harvest.
As we sat and munced our pizza, Margaret says, "This is such a nice town we live in. All the smiling people."

I died a little from happiness at her keen observation and reveled in the joy she got from the city in which she was born.

To celebrate, we headed into Brown's cycles (we have many great bike shops in town, but Brown's is where we buy all our bikes and gear).

Margaret is now the proud owner of an Electra bell for her two-wheeler (she picked the Electra bell because it was pink with white Hawaiian flowers and she thought it was a Barbie bell — oh the allure of Barbie).

And I finally got a basket for the front of my bike. Woot! It clips on and off so I can carry it like Dorothy ... but I doubt I'll ever carry my dog it in — yeah, it would be a bad day when I had to try to carry our live-wire of a dog in a basket on the front of my bike.

As we rode home, I could hear Mar back there recounting the joys of fall and winter:
"Oooh, it's fall and then it will be winter. Winter is so much fun. I can eat snow and all the bugs will go away — ew, I hate bugs. But I love the fall."

Truer words were never spoken.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Crazy news story

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - Federal drug agents aren't laughing about marijuana packaged in yellow, smiley-faced gumballs.
The "Greenades" gumballs were found in January at Howard High School in Ellicott City. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency recently released an intelligence bulletin about them.
"It's a new idea and it's new to the DEA," Gregory Lee, a retired supervisory special agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency, told The Baltimore Examiner. "When it comes to drug dealing, you're only limited by your imagination.
Police charged three 17-year-old students after a teacher alerted a school resource officer. She told the officer that she saw a student give a plastic bag that the teacher believed contained drugs to another student.
The officer seized the bag, which contained two "candy balls" wrapped in foil, police said. Instructions on the foil told users to chew for 30 minutes to 1 hour before they wanted to be high and to "chew for as long as possible, then swallow."
Officers charged two students with distribution of drugs on school property and a third with possession of marijuana.

"Chew for 30 minutes to 1 hour" then swallow. Dude, that seems like entirely too much work.

Oh and ew!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The glamorous life of a rock star

Sunday saw Riveter at our first official photo shoot.

KP and I were at a party over the summer. Toward the back of the yard we found a couple of graffiti artists down in what looked like it could have been a pool ... a long, long time ago.

And we were right. The house is of a early 1950s vintage complete with built-in swimming pool. For some reason, about 40 years ago the pool was drained and sat to decay ever since.

There are trees growing in the bottom of the pool. It's crazy.

But cool. And KP immediately thought it would be a great place to have our picture taken.

She was right.

Keith, our photographer, took over 100 shots and I can't wait to see them ... and of course, post some of them on this blog and over here, as well.

Here are a couple of shots I snapped while the other girls were getting their individual pictures taken.
Yes, KP, why so hot?
Bridgett working the urban agnst angle of her persona — complete with sunglasses at night (that's right, I just made a Cory Hart reference ... I'm so old).
See, I told you there were trees growing in there.
Laurena working the squat (don't say "working the squat").
And here Professor La La is playing the little Dutch girl.
Yes, we did load most of Bridgett's drum kit down into the deep end of the pool and brought our guitars down for some action shots of us playing ... er, pretending to play.

We were actually disappointed once we got down there that we couldn't actually play. But it did inspire some thoughts of having our CD release party there ... could be fun.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tiny discoveries

Go here to read the (brief and non-kid-related) story behind these itty origami birds.

Maybe next week, I'll find bitty origami eggs.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Photo essay

Dinner with the McCrackens
a photo essay
by Rivetergirl

It all started with the creepy-jackalope-eye stare down.
Followed by the patented, Bill-Halen, elbow to the teeth maneuver.
Which led to the oft-attempted, but rarely sucessful "pity me" poopy face.
Which inspired Daddy to raise his class in victory.
All that drinking made Daddy hungry. Mmm-mmm goood!
The End

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"I'm so sorry to see you go."

"I wish you were mine."

"If I could keep you, I'd watch you every day."

"Good-bye, I'll miss you."

These were actual things that were said to the first disc of season 2 of The Office as it was being tucked, oh, so carefully, back into its protective sleeve, as it was readied for shipment back to Netflix.

Oh and it was me doing the pathetic lamenting over the departure of the DVD.

I watched at least — at the very least — one of the six episodes since it arrived at our house last week.

I love that show. And I realize that no one really cares. But Margaret has started trying to pick out the theme song on her keyboard. Oh and the theme song to Jeopardy!, too.

We think she might be a musical savant.

She knows pretty much all the words to Johnny Cash's "Cocaine Blues." Because really, you haven't lived until you've heard a 6-year-old sing, "I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down."

It really warms the cockles of your heart.

She can sing along with the Supersuckers which makes this mama really happy (I learned to sing "Peace in the Valley" because she liked it so much) — but we've had to stop listening to some of their songs in the car. I mean, hearing your kid sing about drugs and violence against women is one thing, but hearing her repeat the "F" word over and over again ... yeah, that's just going too far.

So, she knows the words to the songs with the most minimal amount of swearing. And she definitely has an affinity for the Suckers. Just the other evening, she was filling out a form online for or some other little kid Web page and under favorite music, she typed (and spelled correctly — with mama's help) Eddie Spaghetti (the lead singer for the Supersuckers, if you didn't know).

What I love is when she makes a request from the back seat. The other day, she wanted to hear "Jackson" as sung by June and Johnny Cash.

Luckily, Bill got me a disc of June and Johnny duets last year. We spent an afternoon last fall running errands and listening to "Jackson" over and over again. So I knew that she knew the words to Jackson.

What I didn't realize that while the rest of the CD became background music to our mindless chatter. Margaret was in the back seat learning the words to all of those songs.

She's a little sponge and I love that she's absorbing all this music.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More evidence

Yes, it's true fall is here as evidenced by the acrid smell of burn lint and cat hair that permeated my house this morning.

Bill turned on the heat for the first time since last spring. Mar was happy to have the chill knocked off but she was still firmly anchored to the space heater when I left for work this morning.

I've started pulling out my sweaters and dug through my sock drawer in search of a pair of tights that allow the gelatinous mass that is my thighs into them ... no luck, by the way, I'm wearing pants today.

We're taking full advantage of these days outdoors. The weather is perfect for Margaret to race around on two wheels and we've been walking to her school in the evenings. She plays and runs around while I like to swing.

Also with the fall comes the triplet's birthday. The birthday honorees were too busy racing around enjoying the mark of their 9th year for me to get any decent pictures of them. But I got a couple of Mar and friend, Janess.

These girls are two peas in a pod, same age and same willingness to spend an awful lot of time crying instead of enjoying themselves.

I thought I was the only one who had a kid who wanted to mope and fuss over trying new things, but Janess proved me wrong. Her mom and I shared stories of our precious little girls and their weepy tendencies.

It's nice to know I'm not alone.

And lastly, Friday while Bill was at band practice, I insisted that our dear friend, Ty, accompany Mar and I to the mall (on a Friday, I know, the life of a rock star is so glamorous). After which we stopped for ice cream at Soda Jack's (yum-my).
I love this picture of Mar, lookit that skinny little neck. It's a wonder it can hold up that big melon of hers.That's the look you get if you ask her to share.

She's pretty serious about ice cream.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Believe me

I'm trying to post every week day, but my stupid job and my stupid (not really, but kinda — just kidding, Bob — not) on-vacation co-worker have left me with a whole heap of work and no time.

Plus I'm sick (I'd whine about that but I already did over here).

And I'm tired.

But luckily I had the forethought to go the grocery store at lunch so I can sit on my happy ass this evening with my kid and enjoy watching the first disc of Season 2 of The Office ... again (I heart Dwight Schrute).

Monday, September 18, 2006


Yesterday was summer. Today it's fall.

It's funny how the seasons change here in the Grand Valley. It's like mother nature flipped the season dial to "Fall."

I like fall. The whole concept of the atumnal season was lost on me until I moved to Pennsylvania from California.

I was in awe of the amazing, vibrant colors fall brought to the landscape. I took pictures and saved leaves.

Then I moved to the high desert of the Colorado. We have four seasons here. But summer really keeps the other seasons subdued, forcing them back into a subservient position.

Fall here isn't the grand display of color and texture that it is back east, it's mostly golden yellow — the color of aspen leaves when they do through decidious menopause and make the change.

It gets hot here. I think the reason is that the sun moves to within a mile from our sorry, baking bodies sometime around July 2.

But as summer recedes and the knob is dialed in, autumn descends upon us.

Saturday, while changin our sheets, I asked Bill if he thought it was too early for the flannel sheets. Like devine intervention, the temperatures dropped and made snuggling into those cozy sheets all the more wonderful.

I dug our oscillating space heater out of the basement storage and Margaret has taken up permanent residence in front of it. Her winter activities are limited to those things that she cans safely do while sitting on the floor in front of that heater. It's like she becomes a dog on a short leash, whimpering and whinning, if we get too far away from her.

But I love fall. I love what little rain we get and the coolness of it. The smells and the colors.

So welcome fall. We've been waiting for you.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Add your own caption

The back story on this picture is pretty boring, but, for some reason, I find it hilarious.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Music to my ears

Old MacDonald never sounded so good.

It might be all slow and stilted with some awkward pauses, but that children's standard seems like a symphony as it comes from Margaret's fingers.

Yes, her piano lessons are going swimmingly.

We're still working on fitting her lesson into our hectic daily routine, but once she gets going, she smiles with pride after she completes each song.

She plays deliberately and will pause until she's sure which key is the correct one, as she hates making mistakes.

I love Wednesday afternoons. I sit on the edge of my seat while I watch Margaret play for her instructor. Yesterday saw Mar playing her first duet along side her teacher.

The hardest part for me is being passive. I'm like a coiled spring the entire lesson. I want to encourage her and remind her of answers that I know she knows.

But I don't. Instead I sit, pretending to read, when really I'm watching my little nut make her first foray into the world of music.

I'm so happy for Margaret that she's finding success with this daunting instrument and I also happy for me in that I'm learning a bit of self-control (finally).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Baby craziness

Even though they are tiny beings, babies require a whole lotta baby crap.
The people who make baby stuff spend a lot of time coming up cool stuff to sell to gullible parents with too much money and not enough sense.

Check it:
This a high chair ... for feeding a baby.

This is way cooler than the white plastic monstrosity we had for Mar when she was a tiny nut.

I think it looks way cool. But the thing about babies is that they are only babies for a short period of time. So as cool as this space-aged baby pod is, it's usefulness is limited to the time that you actually have a baby person to put in it.

But still, way cool ... except for one thing, the price tag.


Yeah, five-hundred and seventy dollars.

'the hell? Who in the name of all things groovy and orange would pay $570 for a high chair.

People who have their babies encrusted with diamonds, I guess. Oh and Angelina Jolie, but she got hers in black, of course.

Aw, look. It's a floppy elephant.

Yeah, $36 ... for a half-stuffed elephant with it's eyes closed. 'the hell?

What about this flaccid pachyderm is worth $36? Yeah, I just don't get it. It doesn't even have its eyes open, people. It's asleep — forever.

So yeah, I was cruising around the baby-stuff world today looking at baby stuff. My friend, who actually has a baby (unlike me who is just distracted by the world of the Internets) is in the market for something to act as a substitute for her pillow.

Her baby wants to sleep on her pillow. All the people who make up the rules for what you are and are not supposed to do with babies say you can't let them have a pillow. I don't know, something about suffocation or something.

Anyway I found this:
It's listed as a "cotton baby pillow."

Because I'm a total anal retent, I wanted to learn if it was approved for use with a baby. This is the description below the picture (completely unedited):

"100% cotton. Delivery from writhing one day. For Asia. Nice and more conferrable. This product use full for couple."

What a useful description, don't you think?

Man, this will deliver you from writhing one day. Because I totally need to be delivered from writhing at some undetermined point in the future.

And it's nice and more conferrable. What more could you want in a pillow afterall?

But what does "this product use full for couple" mean? Why would you want to use it empty? It's a pillow. It it were empty it would be a flour sack. 'the hell?
This is a latex pillow. Here is the description:

"Our products are manufactured with pure latex solely from super-clean and unadulterated natural rubber latex from the trees."

Yes, because I must have only super-clean natural latex directly from the trees. I won't abide any adulterated hothouse latex coming from sickly bushes.

And lastly, the velvet quilt:
"Elegant and having good hand feel."

Don't say, "good hand feel."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Oh yeah ... Denver!

So Riveter brought to the Larimer Lounge in Denver on Saturday.

And it was a great time.

We drove over Saturday morning, arriving at my gramma's house (because what true rock 'n' roll tale doesn't include a stay with gramma?) around 1.

Laurena, Kelley and I spend the requisite time making ourselves pretty and gathering our jumpsuits and acoutrements d' rock stars. Then we headed downtown to check out the club.

Once we had located our final destination, we scooted over to LoDo for some P.F. Chang's. Can I just say:

Dear Mr. P.F. Chang,

Your food rocks. I wish I had a couple extra stomachs so I could've kept eating.

Oh, and Chinese food is the perfect pre-show meal.


So we left LoDo properly carbed up and ready to start our pre-show preparations. We arrived at the club at the designated two hours before our show time. We loaded in our gear then spent the next couple of hours visiting with our friends who'd come to see our show on the fabulous Larimer Lounge patio.

Because they'd run out of buns, they were serving free barbecue, which Johnny assured numerous times was going to sit well in his stomach.

Then, before we knew it, we were suited up and ready to rock. (I should note that our "green room" consisted of the backseat of our SUV ... thank goodness for tinted windows.)

We loaded our equipment on stage, individually tested the instruments and microphones and then the sound guy said, "OK, play."

And we did.

We rocked a 45-minute set of all originals except for one cover — Dylan's Don't Think Twice and even got called for an encore ... Woot!

Here are some pictures from our set:

The last picture is the Denver band, The Sights They Affect. The shirtless bass player broke his E-string — something that I've never seen happen — early in the set. The guitar player plaintiffly asked if anyone in the audience had a bass they could use. Laurena offered hers.

Oh, the delight of seeing that guy rocking her red heartbreaker was worth the drive to Denver alone. Truly a brilliant cap to a great day.

And the band rocked. We really dug their sound. The singer was adequately emaciated and full of enough self-loathing that it made the fact that he stood introspectively on stage work for him. Their bass player seemed to be trying to work a Flea vibe, but really only succeeded in looking like a lost frat boy ... except the mofo could play, that's for sure. Their rhythm guitar playing was cute enough and I keep forgetting they had a drummer completely.

But that sound ... it was really great.

We saw a lot of other bands and this guy, too.

Yeah, that guy. One guy, a keyboard, an acoustic guitar and a show that probably took every free minute of the last six months to prepare. It was crazy and bizarre but also kinda good.

He wants to do a show with us here in Grand Junction, but ... oh my, I can't even begin to think what the folks in GJ would think.

But we did decide that when they are making the Riveter rockumentary, we'll totally use this guy as filler between scenes. In the meantime, it was decided that he should do iPod and Levi commericals.

The end of the night saw us driving back to my gramma's house while KP, Laurena and I laughed over Bill's intestinal urgency.

See, the one bad thing about the Larimer Lounge were the bathrooms.

The ladies room had to toilets. One had a curtain and one had a door that you could move in front of you while you peed. Oh and the sink was backed up. Delightful.

But those were 4-star accomodations compared to the men's room which you could smell 50 away and had one toilet that was duct taped closed.

So Bill's refusal to use the ladies room before we left the club made for a long ride back to gramma's. I tried to stop a couple of times but nothing was open at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Poor guy. By the time we'd brushed our teeth and made the bathroom available to him, he was sitting in my gramma's recliner, looking all gray and sweaty.

Not even a double dose of Febreze air freshner followed by a Glade chaser could stem that stench.

Capping the can

I wanna write about our kick-ass trip to Denver, but that's going to have to wait until tomorrow as I need to cap off the can o' worms I opened regarding myspace and my stepson.

Go here and read my column that ran on the opinion page on Sunday.

Make sure you read the comments.

I'm both horrified and delighted (how often am I both of those things ... yeah, too often) that a woman from Today's Christian Woman magazine wants to quote my column. I wanted to send her this e-mail:

Dear Christian lady,

I'm a raving heathen.

So, do you still want to quote from the mouth of Satan?

Chick who is gonna burn in Hell

But instead I took Bill's advice and told her that I would be fine with her quoting me. You know, because I want everyone to love me. And I love irony.

I also love the comment from the guy who took issue with my use of the word "Nazi" and to him I say, "Calm the hell down, word Nazi."

And to the drugged up crazy who left me a comment on my previous post here (aka "roger" the long suffering brother of rivetergirl), I say:

Do you think mom and dad would have turned a blind eye had I been keeping empty bottles of Jagermeister and an ashtray of roaches in my room?

And yes, I do realize that most of what they are publishing posturing. Because of that, I only asked Sean to remove the most egregious of the items. He's still got things on his page that are questionable but my point wasn't to be a complete fun-sucker.

My point was that I checked up on my kid, I didn't like what was going on. He and I talked about it, he made changes and I am once again completely in awe of his general goodness.

But the best part is that now he and I have established a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. So score one for the evil stepmother.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's installation: Rivetergirl will wow y'all with her tales of how Riveter hit the big city and of how one Denver bassist got Daisy Rock'd.

Friday, September 08, 2006

It's happened (and I knew it would)

I've become an oxymoronic harpie.

I've become one of those annoying mothers who crusade for the betterment of our children.

I have a cause.

I have problems (like y'all didn't already know that).

Since I've begun my daily exploration of my stepson's MySpace page and the pages of his friends, I keep getting the feeling that I'm the only mom out there who has done so. I mean, how many moms or dads would be all, "Nice placement of the Jagermeister banner next to the giant marijuana leaf adorned with nekkid ladies, son."

It just seems unlikely to me that parents are looking at these pages and giving them the OK.

I didn't and I'm a totally slack-ass mom. I immediately talked to Sean and asked him to reconsider some of the crap he was endorsing.

Since, we've have an ongoing and very fruitful dialogue on the attitudes of teens toward their MySpace pages and on why parents freak out when we see drugs and alcohol glorified on their pages ... damn, there I go again.

And really, who am I to talk? I spend hours on MySpace adding "friends," sending messages and leaving comments.

Of course, I pretend that I'm marketing my band. And I am, but I'm also trying to make up for an extraordinarily pathetic teenage life. I want to be cool. I want to be popular. I want to have lots of friends and I want people to request to be my friend, so I can stand in judgment and decide to approve or not.

So I've begun a campaign against my own vice. But I do so while wearing the "concerned parent" hat, a hat that I've always felt should be relegated to Oscar the Grouch's home than on anyone's head, especially my own.

But two good things have come of all of this:

First, I wrote a column that is going to appear prominently on the opinion page Sunday. (Of course, links will be forthcoming.)

And second, but vastly more important, I have planted the seeds for a relationship with my stepson that is based on trust and mutual understanding.

Or he's just really great at saying the things I want to hear.

Honestly, I don't care which. I feel better. I'm totally in love with my fabulous stepson (not in that way, you sicko) and my ulcer seems to be dormant ... for now.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Marge in clay

That's right my 6-year-old made Marge Simpson out of clay. How cool is that?

She made the rest of the Simpsons characters, but she's blew her yellow-clay wad on Marge.

Mar also recently received a Marge doll from our uber-cool friends, Special K and Markel. Mar likes to stroke Marge's tall blue hair and say, "Oh, her hair feels so good." It's quite disturbing, so I, of course, delight in it.

Mar had another piano lesson last night. Can I just say that she is kicking ass? We are so proud of her. Her piano teacher called last night on a completely unrelated matter and talked with Bill, she said that Margaret is doing wonderfully ... and that says a lot because this woman is an institution in the world of piano lessons.

And on a completely unrelated note, check out this site. You can make your own seal. Oh, the time I can waste doing this:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Preoccupied and way too busy ... those are my excuses for not updating yesterday.

I'm preoccupied with a column I'm writing about, teens and the role parents should be playing. I was working on that column up until 5:00 last night. I've still got some work to do on it, but it's coming along.

Oh, of course, I'll provide a link when it's published. Speaking of links, go here to read about Margaret doing this: That's right, she's riding a two-wheeler. And boy howdy is she pleased with herself ... and so are we. Little nut.

Friday night saw us doing the typical McCracken front-yard hang until ... way past our bedtime. I think it was around 3:30 a.m., by the time we kicked the last drunkard out. It was a good time.

Special K and Markel brought over the best bratwursts and giant wieners that I've ever had. Big, juicy tubes of meat ... gah!

And because we're all completely juvenile, we spent far too many hours making lamely veiled double entendres about the fat (and phat) meat we were eating. Poor Tracee was suffering from "don't say" overload and we were all prone to dissolving into fits of laughter.

The reason for the soiree (like we need a reason ... Bill's invented the "because it's Friday" social hour just in case we can't come up with a real reason to gather, drink and goof) was to mourn immenent departure of our dear friend, Ty, whom I've written about before in my emotional and pseudo-poignant offering, "The day the donuts died." We've since decided that I should've titled it "Where's my diet Coke, bitch," but I was afraid that the subtlties of the nuanced Coke reference would give people the wrong impression.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful holiday weekend that generously allowed us an extra recouperation day before the work week starts.

Now, my sights are set on our show at the Larimer Lounge Saturday. Go Riveter!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday's punt

Most people look forward to holiday weekends and as much as I like having an extra day off, I hate the work that goes into it.

Friday's are hectic for me at work normally, then when you add in needing to get Monday's work done on Friday, too ... well, it's a lot to get done.

But I'm looking forward to this evening. We're having people over — gasp! I know! We never do that — but this time it's bittersweet. We're saying goodbye to our dear friend, Ty.

I wrote about his departure a while back when he quit his job, you can read about it here. I posted a new entry on our Haute Mamas blog, too, but it's essentially a rehash of what I wrote here earlier this week. Yeah, I've had to resort to recycling this week.

In my attempt to post something here every weekday, I sometimes have to punt ... today is one of those days.