Archive for the ‘ Fun ’ Category

Guster Love

My husband and I went to see Guster at the newly re-opened State Theatre in Portland, Maine on Wednesday evening. I think it was our 7th or 8th time seeing Guster live. (I’ve actually lost count.)

The funny thing is that every time we see Guster, we seem to act like teenagers. (We are in our 30s.) We get all excited for the show, talk about what songs we hope they’ll sing, what crazy antics we can expect from band members and compare notes on our favorite moments from past concerts.

After the show, which we decided was probably the best we’ve seen thus far even when compared to the marathon concert they did at the State while filming their only live DVD, I started to think about why I love Guster so much. And for so long.

Here are my top ten reasons for loving Guster (in no particular order):

  1. Live show. Guster is a band that you can’t truly appreciate until you see them live. Period.
  2. Talent. They’ve got it. Each one of them. Band members seem to switch instruments for every song and are constantly moving around the stage throughout a concert, sometimes playing instruments I can’t quite identify. Adam and Ryan’s voices sound stellar together or apart. Their lyrics are often fun, confusing, deep and entertaining.
  3. Songs with the word Jesus in the title. Despite being Jewish, Guster continues to write and sing songs that involve Jesus. Perplexing, but fun. (Note: My favorite is “Jesus on the Radio,” especially when it’s done live and without any microphones.)
  4. Infant calmer. When G was an infant, he wasn’t the best napper. He never wanted to miss anything, which was not the most convenient thing for this mom. One day, when he was overtired and still fighting a nap, I walked into our living room to turn down the Guster CD that was blasting. He immediately calmed down. After a few minutes of dancing around the room with him to “Barrel of a Gun,” he fell fast asleep. Maybe it has something to do with the album Guster on Ice playing in the hospital room when he was born. But, it was always Guster he wanted to hear.
  5. Airport Song. Found on the Goldfly album from 1997, this song never gets old. They always play it live, and it always sounds different. Brian goes nuts with the hand percussion. Ping pong balls fly. From disco to demonic, “Airport Song” keeps us warm and safe.
  6. Brian Rosenworcel. Percussionist extraordinaire. I can only imagine what this man’s hands look like up close. He beats cymbals, bongos and other drum-related instruments with his bare hands and tapes them (his hands, that is) in between songs. Watching Brian is a show in and of itself. And, if you’re lucky, you might get to hear him sing a song or two (e.g., He sang an impromptu 50 state song on Wednesday).
  7. Happy Frappy. Listening to Guster makes me happy and content. It also makes me sing loudly.
  8. Simplicity. Guster is 3 guys (plus Luke = 4) playing instruments and singing songs. All of their albums sound different, yet still sound like Guster. Their shows don’t have smoke or extravagant light shows. They don’t tell me what to do at live shows. I like this.
  9. Longevity. They, and their songs, have it. I have more than five hours of Guster music on my iPod and can listen to it all without getting sick of them. I’m not sure how, but their songs never seem to get old. Nor do they sound the same.
  10. Maine love. Guster hearts Maine and Maine hearts Guster. They always make Portland a stop on their tours while other bands completely ignore the pine tree state. They shot their only live DVD at the State (which my husband and I make a very brief cameo in). Adam lives in Portland. Home sweet home.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, find out now.

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Just add bacon

One of the many reasons I am not a vegetarian is because of my intense love for bacon. I can’t get enough of that yummy, salty flavor that is bacon. So in honor of International Bacon Day (Yes, it’s real. It’s on Wikipedia.), I thought I would share a couple bacon recipes I found.

Bacon Crisp (By: Paula Deen from FoodNetwork.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 sleeve buttery rectangular crackers (recommended: Waverly Wafers)
  • 1 pound sliced bacon cut in 1/2

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese on each cracker and wrap tightly with a strip of bacon. Place the wrapped crackers on a broiler rack on a baking sheet and put the baking sheets on the oven rack. Bake for 2 hours, or until the bacon is done. Do not turn. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature

Cook’s note: You can also bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes if you’re in a hurry!

Bacon Broccoli Salad (By: Alan Alspaugh from AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Directions : In a medium bowl, combine bacon, broccoli, raisins and sunflower seeds; set aside. Mix together mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar; pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Stir before serving.

And if you’re in the Brunswick, ME area, stop by Back Street Bistro and order the Ale Brine Bacon Wrapped Rib Chop of Pork. It’s too good for words.

When in doubt, just add bacon. Better yet, wrap it in bacon.

Have a good bacon recipe to share? Add it to the Comments section to the left.

Sugar Shackin’

There are a lot of reasons why my family lives in Maine. There’s the ocean, the mountains, the endless amount of state parks, the fairs and festivals, the five seasons (mud season falling between winter and spring), the rugged independence. Another reasons is for days like Maine Maple Sunday.

On the fourth Monday in March, sugarmakers around the state open the doors of their sugarhouses to the public. You can learn how maple syrup is produced and watch the process in action. Most sugarmakers also have maple syrup tastings and offer tons of maple treats to eat and drink. Some even have live music. It’s pretty fun and typically requires a good pair of boots (being mud season and all).

We went to Goranson Farm in Dresden for the 3rd year in a row. Biz was much more manageable this year. Last year, he freaked out in the line to get into the sugar shack, and we ended up having to quickly scoop up some maple treats and go home. Of course, he was only 4 months old and not used to the cool Maine air in March. While there definitely was a chill in the air this year (in contrast to the spring-like weather we had the weekend before), overall it was a great day for sugar making.

We got to the farm early enough to get into the sugarhouse without having to wait in line or press up against other people in the small, steamy structure. We danced to some pretty cool music (Irish?) played by 3 men with really cool instruments that I couldn’t identify for G. Um. I think that’s some sort of bag pipe and a weird-looking accordion. We ate maple sundaes (vanilla ice cream topped with maple syrup) and drank maple tea (black tea, maple syrup, orange juice and apple cider). The boys played on tractors and trudged in the mud.

The best part about Maine Maple Sunday is that it means spring is just around the corner.

“I can’t understand a word he’s saying”

The boys and I were at the Curtis Memorial Library the other day in the kids’ play area. My 14 month old was chattering away in his little language that only I and Miss Lori from daycare can decipher. A boy my older son was playing with said to me, with a frustrated look, “I can’t understand a word he’s saying.”

This comment made me laugh. I explained that Biz (his actual nickname) was still learning to talk, and that he probably talked like that when he was little. It made me think about all the funny things G, my 4 1/2 year old, has said in the few short years he’s been talking.

He was an early talker, and I wrote down every word he would say until he said so many new words that I couldn’t keep up. All kids say funny things at some point. Here are some of my favorite quotes from G in no particular order:

  • While in the waiting for an ob appointment: “Is her going to pee in a cup?” (re: every pregnant woman who walked by us)
  • After my dad asked me to get a fork for him while I got up from the dinner table to tend to his baby brother: “My mom has two hands and not four.”
  • While watching a Bruins v. Flyers hockey game: “That orange guy just beat up our Bruin. That’s not good.”
  • After telling him to “hold his horses” because he was rushing me out the door: “I can’t mom. My horse ran away.”
  • Loudly and assertively: “Doing?!” (his way of asking what we were doing before he could put an actual sentence together)
  • When he wanted something as a baby: “Habit!” (instead of “have it”)

Some of his best quotes are actually interpretations of songs he hears on the radio. Here are a few fun ones:

  • “Go nothing, Go nothing!” – Kings of Leon’s “Notion” (instead of “So don’t knock it, don’t knock it”)
  • “You know that I could use some bad air!” – Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” (instead of “You know that I could use somebody”)
  • “Mommy, he’s singing about diarrhea.” (with a disgusted look on his face) – Breaking Benjamin’s acoustic version of “Diary of Jane”

Unfortunately, I haven’t been so good with writing down words that Biz says. I think it’s partly because he’s the second child and partly because Biz isn’t as verbal as G was at the same age. (However, Biz definitely has the facial expressions and hand talking down more than G did. Must be the Italian in him.) So, I thought I’d end this post with all the words I’ve deciphered from Biz at some point over the past few months that I can remember. Here goes – yay, mama/mom/mommy, dad/daddy/da, dog, woof, meow, up/uppy, moo, uh oh, bird, lolly (for lollipop), no, hi, hello, bye, nigh nigh (for night night), dat (for that), light, sssssss (snake sound), oo oo (monkey sound). Judging from his babbling, I have a feeling we’re going to have some pretty good quotes from him in about 3 1/2 years.

P.S. (3/3/10) I have to admit that I’ve come back to this post several times since I wrote it to add words I remember that Biz has said. I guess I’m not giving him enough credit for being verbal. Sure, some of these words have only been uttered once or twice and most have only been heard by me or Miss Lori. I hear them, though, and others will eventually.

What to do if you drop food on the floor, a flow chart

Ever drop food on the floor and wonder if you should pick it up and eat it? Do you go by the 5 second rule? Do you factor in the last time you actually mopped the floor? Are you more picky if it’s your child eating said food (be honest)? Here’s a flow chart that all of us can use. I found it via a link in a newsletter from NTEN. Note that all bets are off when bacon is involved.
food on the floor

This too shall pass

I hate it when people set up their blog and leave the default test post up for others to see. So, while I figure out the set up of this blog, I thought I’d post the OK Go video for the song “This Too Shall Pass.” OK Go is known for their crazy creative videos, and this one delivers. It was shot live and features the Notre Dame marching band. (The only thing that would make it better is if it featured the Syracuse University marching band, my alma mater. You can’t have everything, I suppose.)

Originally, I was going to name this blog This Too Shall Pass. As in, the kids won’t give you ten minutes to write a quick blog post. This too shall pass. The dogs are howling outside as the baby cries, and you’re handling raw meat in the kitchen. This too shall pass. Your four year old is pointing out every character flaw. This too shall pass. Alas, many other people and organizations seem to like this phrase and are already using it. I guess it wasn’t too creative. Much like my parents who named me Jennifer. (Not their fault. I don’t think they realized how very popular it really was at the time. I’m thinking there will be a few Abigails out there in about 25 years complaining about the same thing.)

Anyway, the blog is called Another Jennifer because that is what I am. That won’t pass, but I can embrace it and hope the co-workers I’ve been working with for more than three years can finally learn that I don’t work in HR. (That’s the other Jen.)

Here’s where I would embed the video for This Too Shall Pass. However, both WordPress and OK Go have made it impossible to embed directly into the post. (Insert explicative here.) Instead, I’ll have to leave you with a link. Hopefully you’ll follow it (and this blog, eventually). It’s worth the trip.

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.