Saturday, June 28, 2008

Helping the Firefighters

Sherry Ruff posted to the Redding Homeschool email list -

"Finally able to make direct connection with the Fireman's base at the Fairgrounds. They would love to receive fresh fruits & vegetables and snacks. They have plenty of water and Gatorade. Due to the smoke, or other reasons, it may not be convenient for you to drive to the fairgrounds, (there's also an issue with security clearance) but would like to contribute to help out and show your appreciation! We will have a couple of SUV's at the K-Mart (Cypress) parking lot tomorrow to collect donations. You can drop off your fresh fruits/vegetables, snacks, cards & signs from 4-5pm on Sunday 6/29. We will then immediately deliver them to the fair grounds. (they're expecting us) I also asked if our children/families made thank you/encouragement cards if the fireman would receive them. She said, "Absolutely, that would be great!" Sorry for the short notice, but this will be a real blessing to the firemen and the staff at the fairgrounds! Drop Off - Sunday 4-5pm 6/29 K-Mart Nursery Parking Lot (look for Fireman sign) Fresh fruits & vegetables Home made encouraging/ T.Y cards from your children don't forget to sign your name (If the West side of Redding is more convenient to drop off call Sherry/Eric @ 242-0325 If the South side of Redding is more convenient to drop off call Angie/Mike @275-1567"

Friday, June 27, 2008

White Chocolate Brownies

Dear Buddy - and Birthday Boy - Bob posted my recipe on his new dedicated-to-good-food website -- Foodwhores.com. (It only sounds naughty.) Click on the Recipe tab...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shut Up in the Key of G

Most people go to bars to booze it up, hang with their buds, kick up their heels and survey the social scene.

It's a rare barfly who declares: "Man, I'm REALLY in the mood to listen to a couple hours of lyrically intensive songs that I've never heard before. I sure hope a singer-songwriter shows up!"

Shut Up in the Key of G is dedicated to all musicians who've ever tried to be heard over drunks with dice.

Thanks to my in-laws, BobbyLee and Ron, who were spot-on as the rowdy boozers in the background. I married into the right family. And many thanks to Max Friedman, who directed and produced the video - all he asked for in return was a chocolate cake. Oh, yeah, and credit. In writing. Here 'tis.

Shut Up in The Key of G -- words and music by Erin Friedman, performed by Still Married and friends.


video
The crowd was loud
Slammin' down dice
The band floundered
Through “Tequila Sunrise”
We hit the last chord and we bowed
When a drunk at the back of the room
Gave a shout
“If you’re takin’ requests from us
I suggest ya Shut Up”

Shut Up, Shut Up
The crowd goes wild when we sing
“Shut Up!” they say it
And we’re happy to play it
Shut Up in the key of G
Shut Up
Brings them all to their feet
Ask and you shall receive
“Shut Up” they say it
And we’re happy to play it
Shut Up in the Key of G

You never know
Where inspiration comes from
As anthems go
It’s not “Born to Run”
But it suits us and we’re indebted
We owe the hecklers
Co-writer credit
A rowdy crowd
But fortunately
They kept their shouts
Obscenity-free

Shut Up, Shut Up
The crowd goes wild when we sing
“Shut Up!” they say it
And we’re happy to play it
Shut Up in the key of G
Shut Up
It brings them all to their feet
Ask and you shall receive
“Shut Up” they say it
And we’re happy to play it
Shut Up in the Key of G

We give ‘em our best
Every time they request
Shut Up in the Key of G

(When we perform live, for an all-adult audience, we use slightly different lyrics.)

One of these days, I'll figure out how to post audio-only files, but I've been unsuccessful in all of my attempts. So till then, you get a cheezy music video to go with the tune.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Redding - Where it's a crime to be a kid

School officials are dealing with rising truancy rates. The local police department wants to help. But all of the good intentions behind the Daytime Curfew Ordinance (passed by Redding City Council, 4-1) do not justify violating the civil liberties of our young people.

Chief Moty assured Council Members that his officers will ONLY be looking for “habitual truants” and getting them back into school.

Why, then, offer up an ordinance that criminalizes ALL young people?

You can drag a teenager to school, you can handcuff him to a desk. But you can’t call it education. And while the ordinance may net local school districts a few more ADA dollars, the kids who value their education will now share their classrooms with hostile teens who would rather be elsewhere. Teachers will be stuck dealing with discipline issues.

Can we look forward to escalating school violence, now that police will be rounding up habitual truants and dragging their butts to school?

The schools have failed to engage their at-risk students. Instead of creating innovative programs that encourage and motivate their students to stay in school, they throw up their hands and call in the Big Guns.

It’s heartbreaking to me that more citizens – government watchdogs, constitutional experts, etc… -- did not come forward to speak up for our city’s young people.

The City Council has promised to revisit the issue in six months. I will be there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grown Up Getaway


When Craig and I moved to the Bay Area back in 1984, we spent many weekends in the Napa Valley -- touring the wineries, tasting, planning menus, choosing just the right vintage for this or that event.

Yes -- someone should have smacked us. No one did, but we effectively smacked ourselves and went and had children. So instead of themed dinner parties we had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese washed down with whatever swill we could afford that week. And we never had a chance to get away on our own.

A few years later, when we were able get an occasional wondrous weekend on our own -- because grandparents took pity on us and the planets aligned with supreme perfection -- we headed back to Napa.

Calistoga is our favorite town in the Valley -- because we can park the car when we arrive and not have to get back behind the wheel until we leave town. I can relax and have a good time, knowing that "Oh, joy! We didn't die in a fiery crash and leave our children orphaned!" At least not until the ride home. I get a couple days of no worries and fine wine.

There are probably 25 restaurants (most of them excellent) and bars (always fun) within walking distance of our favorite hotel/spa. In real life, we live a fair distance out in the country. So we especially enjoy vacationing where we can walk a block or two - listen to a band, stop in for a cocktail or a plate of calamari -- without making a 30 minute driving commitment.


We stay at The Roman Spa, where we enjoy long, luxurious soaks in the three hot mineral pools and lounging and people-watching on the many nicely appointed patios. The grounds are landscaped with flowers and fountains, and the entire spa is clean and well-cared for. The rooms are one of the best values in town.





Last weekend we enjoyed some incredible meals -- calamari at The Calistoga Inn, champagne and martinis at our favorite bar at Brannan's, scampi at Flat Iron Grill, some of the best Eggs Benedict ever at Miquel's.

The favorite meal for me, though, was lunch of bread, Greek olives and an assortment of cheeses from the well-stocked deli at the Cal Mart. Oh, yes, and wine -- Ravenswood Zinfandel - a great value at about $10. The fresh cherries and strawberries we picked up at the morning Farmer's Market rounded out the meal.

We enjoyed our feast on one of the hotel patios, beside a fountain, where damsel flies and dragon flies flitted about. Even more entertaining than the colorful buzzing critters though, are the wine tasters returning to their rooms - buzzing in their own delightful way - after a day of cruising the Valley.

Good wine, good food and good fun. How soon can we go back?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"I hate songs about hobos"

said The Fiddle Player.

"Gee," said the parents, "perhaps you could overlook that fact for four minutes and 23 seconds and record a fiddle track for us even though you hate songs about hobos. After all, we financed years of fiddle lessons, paid to straighten your teeth and endured months of colic. Not that we're keeping a tab or anything."

The Fiddle Player took pity on us and gave us the track we needed to finish up the recording of "The Cardboard Sign."



Vocals: Craig Friedman

Fiddle: Annie Friedman

Back up vocals, guilt trip: Erin Friedman


The Cardboard Sign -- words and music by Erin Friedman







video



Saw him just ten miles south
Of the Shasta County Line
An old hobo with his thumb out
Holdin' up a Cardboard Sign
His ragged jeans were washed in dirt
His flannel shirt was frayed
On his sign was a single word
Made me hit the brakes


Chorus:
The Cardboard Sign he held to his chest
Told the passers-by where he was headed next
The lines on his face said “Weary to the bone”
His eyes said “Please”
His sign said “HOME”


Had a voice like an old dirt road
Had a hundred dusty stories
Ladies, moonshine and rodeos
Freight trains bound for glory
He said, “There’s a price for runnin’ wild
And I paid my dues in Memphis
Did my time, made up my mind
Now it’s time for mending fences”


The Cardboard Sign he held to his chest
Told the passers-by where he was headed next
The lines on his face said “Weary to the bone”
His eyes said “Please”
His sign said “HOME"


At the end of a gravel drive
Just outside McCloud
He said “I’m much obliged
Here’s where I get out”
A woman waving from the porch
Came running down to meet him
I turned around and headed for
The place that I’d been leavin’

The Cardboard Sign he tossed on the seat
Was a one-word lifeline that old man threw to me
The lines on his face said “Weary to the bone”
His eyes said “Please”
His sign said “HOME”


Saw him just ten miles south
Of the Shasta COunty line
An old hobo with his thumb out
Holdin' up a Cardboard Sign