Thursday, December 17, 2009

homer and the godfather play bluegrass.

Currently Listening To: Lua by Connor Oberst and Gillian Welch
Line Obsession: I had a map on my wall, and every time I read about a place I wanted to go, I marked it on the map. New York was Catcher in the Rye. When I read On the Road, I added Chicago, Denver, L.A., and Mexico City. Kerouac could get you pretty much everywhere. ... I kept the map and the reading thing to myself. Around here, books and basketball didn't mix. (From Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Little, Brown 2009)

My blog gets snippy sometimes. I clicked "save now" and it said "post published!" so if you got the unrefined version of this, my apologies.

Thanks so much for your comments on Emma! Can't wait to start talking about it! And I'll make the posts general enough you can still chime in even if you've already read it, aren't reading it, or are taking the book at a slower pace (which I totally understand!). I'm liking it so far. I will warn you - the rule about no back story too early in a book ... that rule was not in vogue when Jane was writing. Chapter Two confused me just a bit because it totally drops away from Emma and starts talking about some bloke named Mr. Churchill. But I trust Jane has a point! I'm soldiering through. (It picks up again!) I'm still skulking around in the first few chapters but next week I'll have more time to read. Did you know yesterday was Jane Austen's Birthday? :)

Before I get to the point of this post (not that there is an actual "point"), I wanted to apologize for something. Do you remember a few posts back when I told you about a show called Chef Academy? And suggested you watch it? If you watched it these past two weeks, I am so sorry I recommended it to you. I just got caught up on the episodes. And in the immortal words of Ouiser (from Steel Magnolias), "It's got nothing but naked people in it." Up until this week, it was mostly about cooking. I promise. Then last week a lady baked some bread in a rather, uh, suggestive shape. And then last night one of the chefs came out in nothing but an apron. And I had a panicky facePALM moment. Please don't tell your mamas I told you to watch it. Or if you told them already, apologize for me. Or if you're channel surfing this weekend and find it, do know the content is a bit more adult than I realized at first. Even when it was less saucy, it didn't hold a flaming spatula to Top Chef. Skip Naked Chef. Watch Top Chef marathons this holiday season.

The blog has been quiet lately because I've been working. My parents made me vow not to write during the week of Christmas. And I said okay. But we all knew when I said "okay" what I mean was I won't write as much.* It's chronic, this writing thing. This week though, I'm working hard to finish a big huge chunk of work. It is a total brain suck and I've been a total hermit as a result. Or maybe a Grinch. Remember how The Grinch only left his cave of solitude to watch the Who's sing their squeaky songs down in Whoville? Sometimes I leave my cave of solititude** and drive to Starbucks. I watch all the happy humans down in The Noog put inflatable manger scenes in their yards and antlers on their SUV's. But I don't seethe like the Grinch; I honk my horn in utter delight. (Therefore my heart is not two sizes too small! Win!)

This weekend, however, the project gets put away (sniff) and fun comes to the tune of a whirring banjo! My brother is giving me my Christmas present on Friday. I've been trying to guess what it is for over a month now and he finally told me last night! Here are the only clues I had:

1.) Happens in the Southeast

2.) The Godfather

3.) Homer.

Seriously. That was it. And because brilliance is not often not my forte, I thought he meant Homer Simpson. Obviously. 

The only full episode I've ever watched of The Simpsons is the one where Homer crosses tomatoes and tobacco and starts growing "tomaccos." So I thought ... what is like a tomato, but smells smoky. My final guess was that we were going to eat barbecue. I was wrong.

Tonight Chase guided me through the clues and the conversation went something like this:

Chase: Not that Homer! Are you a writer or what?"
Natalie: *bites lip* Um ... did Homer write The Republic?
Chase: That was Plato.***
Natalie: Odyssey! *claps excitedly* So my clue has something to do with The Odyssey?
Chase: Yes. What's the modern adaptation of the Odyssey?
Natalie: O Brother Where Art Thou! [grips sides of the seat and fights back a squeal] Did you get me a cardboard cutout of George Clooney?!
Chase: What was the best part of O Brother Where Art Thou?
Natalie: Besides George Clooney?
Chase: *waits impatiently for me to finally figure this thing out*
Natalie: The music. Love, love, love that soundtrack.
Chase: Yes! And all the music on O Bro Where Art Thou hinged around songs by ..

Natalie: *eyes go wide* Ralph Stanley?
Chase: *nodding*
Natalie: We're going to see Ralph Stanley?! *proceeds to jump up and down in the car with only the seat belt to restrain her*

Not only do I get to see Ralph Stanley, the godfather of bluegrass music play LIVE, but I also get to see Emmylou Harris (!) and Gillian Welch (!). And they're all performing at the Ryman Auditorium, the original setting for the Grand Ole Opry. The Ryman is gorgeous; one of my most favorite places to see a show (it used to be a church - still has stained glass and the seats are like pews). I would never have put the clues together but I am so stinking excited! It is such a sweet, thoughtful, wonderful Christmas present and I've been doing happy claps all morning long. The absolute best thing is that I'm going with my brother. He's my favorite person to see concerts with. He's pretty much my favorite.

After I get back from watching Ralph tear it up at the Opry, my sister, her hubby, and my niece and nephew will be in town for early Christmas. Which means I probably need to go buy their Christmas presents.

(Why am I so far behind this year?)

That's all I've got for today :) I have a fun post already ready for tomorrow (bam!) so the silence won't last long. Thanks for sticking with me when I go hermit :)

How was your week?

* Which reminds me of one of my favorite movie quotes: "When he said 'as you wish,' what he meant was, 'I love you.'"
** "The Cave of Solitude" is what my friend Tyler calls it when I go MIA to write. Trademark pending.
*** Should have known this. I had to read The Republic in college and I loathed it with all that is inside of me. And then I could not give the book away. I didn't even try to resell it, I tried to give it away and nobody would take it. I take it with me sometimes to leave in the free bin at my used bookstore and it mysteriously remains in my car. The book is cursed.


  1. I'm so jealous of your gift. What an amazing brother you have. Emmylou Harris! (I feel bad...I thought R. Stanley was dead. Ralph, if you're reading my comment, please don't take it personally.)

  2. Ralph is way, way old. Such a cute little man! He got a standing ovation and seemed thrilled. You would have loved Emmylou - she totally started clogging during Gillian Welch's song.:)

  3. You have a fantastic big brother!! My big brother does cool things like that...we're so blessed!! :) Hope the concert was as amazing as you hoped!!

    Side note:Tomorrow is the big day! I start EMMA! WOOHOO!!! Cannot wait!

  4. Candice - you're so right! Sweet brothers are the best :) I'm so thankful for him. I'm so glad you're reading Emma! Power through those first few chapters .They're doozies.