Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Sh-sh-sh-shot through the heart, baby/I'm gonna love you forever

Now THIS is how you do motherhood like a badass...

Brody Dalle (featuring Shirley Manson), "Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy"

You can see the actual video here. Warning: anime, umbilical cords, aliens, heavy bass, women with children rocking out. NSFTS (Not safe for the squeamish.)

I  LOVE the punky, riot grrl final chorus:

Oh the joy
Oh, oh, oh
I'm in love.

Your mother wears combat boots.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Maggie is 7 Years Old!

Maggie turns 6 - February 2013












Maggie's 7th Birthday - February 18, 2014

20 Questions with Maggie, age 7

  1. What is your favorite color? purple & blue
  2. What is your favorite toy? Joyce & Maxine
  3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
  4. What is your favorite TV show? I don't really watch TV.
  5. What is your favorite outfit? sparkly kitty princess shirt with purple pants
  6. What is your favorite game? Hay Day
  7. What is your favorite snack? strawberries
  8. What is your favorite animal? kitty cat
  9. What is your favorite song? Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  10. What is your favorite book? I like all books. There's no choosing a favorite book!
  11. Who is your best friend? Annie & Charlie
  12. What is your favorite thing to do outside? swing on the swings
  13. What is your favorite meal? sushi
  14. What is your favorite drink? milk
  15. What is your favorite holiday? My birthday! Good thing it's today.
  16. What do you want to be when you grow up? a vet
  17. Where is your favorite place to go? the park
  18. What is the best thing about school? recess
  19. If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do? hug Mommy
  20. If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be? a kitten

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

OU Western History Collection

When I was a history and anthropology student at the University of Oklahoma, our professors raved about the OU Libraries' Western History Collections, and we even toured it as part of an Oklahoma history course I took. But at that time, I was much more interested in world history and ethnography, so Native cultures and the history of the American West felt much too close to home for my adventure-seeking younger self. I was impressed with the Collections, but I didn't dig in too deeply there.

And impressive they are. It's one of the biggest and most important archives of materials on the Southwest and Native American tribes. They have collections of rare photographs, recordings, manuscripts of interviews with tribal citizens, Native art, and maps, much of which is available digitally on the their website.

The Western History Collections have recently come back into my life in a big way because I'm auditing a class that OU offers for free online called Native Peoples of Oklahoma (there aren't any assignments and it's self-directed, so you might still be able to sign up and access the materials, which are great if you're into Native history and culture). The course materials make good use of the Collections' digital archives, so now, 20 years after I started at OU, I'm finally getting around to sifting through all this good stuff.

Frank Phillips was the archive's first benefactor, and the original collection is named for him. Here is his gallery of American Indian portraits.

Here is the transcript of an interview done by the WPA in 1938 of Margaret Gerlach Moody, who was one of the original white pioneer settlers of Woodward, OK, after her husband made the Land Run of 1893.

I loved this photo gallery of Guthrie, OK (where I went to high school), during the 1889 Land Run.

The Doris Duke Collection is a bunch of transcripts of interviews of tribal members, including this fascinating interview with Ed Red Eagle, Assistant Chief of the Osage Tribe and Tribal Council Member, on Osage government and culture.

There is also a Native American manuscript collection which includes some of Wilma Mankiller's papers, which were donated to the Collections after her death.

I can spend hours clicking around the website, reading and reading the transcripts and looking through the pictures. I only wish they showed the photos in a larger size on the web instead of just offering to send you a file if you request it. I may need to make a special trip home sometime so I can spend an afternoon in Norman poking around Monnet Hall like I never did when I was actually a student there.

I hope you also get distracted and forget to make dinner! Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Parker Millsap's new album is out today. I already have it, and it's great. Buy it here or here. You can also listen to a preview of it over here.

I'd also recommend his first album, Palisade, which you can get here.

Love that gravelly voice!

Another album you should definitely check out is Hurray for the Riff Raff's, whose new album, Small Town Heroes, comes out on February 11th. You can preview it over at NPR, too.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Travelin' Music

My granddaddy had his first heart attack when I was in kindergarten. The doctors told him he had about six months to live if he didn’t change everything about his life: quit smoking, take early retirement, start exercising, and eat better. With too much good life left to lose, he did all these things and more. Coupled with the fact that in the 1980s cardiac medicine made a great leap forward and many new treatments and medicines were soon available to him, he actually lived until I was a teenager.

But his eminent death loomed in every shadowy corner of our lives like a boogie man. It shook my parents, who are both extremely close to their families. Desperate with the idea that today might be the last, my parents shaped our lives around time spent “at home,” meaning their hometown and not one of the string of places where we were living.

We trekked back and forth across the state about every other weekend from the time I was in fourth grade until I was a sophomore in high school. Sometimes when my grandfather was particularly ill, we went every weekend. And then he would bounce back as the result of some new treatment and our visits would slow to once a month or so during the calm between storms. Add in holidays and birthdays and other traditional family-get-together times, and we racked up a lot of miles.

I grew up in the car. The sound of tires on the highway is as familiar to me as my own pulse. To this day, I’m fairly certain I could make my way from Pawhuska to Okmulgee without a map – just on muscle memory, or like a homing pigeon – and it’s been more than 25 years since l lived there. I can spend days on the road before the long hours of sitting and not being able to read start to wear me out. In fact, speeding down the interstate at 75 miles an hour, headed into the unknown, lost in my own thoughts as the country whips by my window, is probably when I feel most at peace.

My brother was my companion in the backseat, but we always joked that he was asleep by the time we pulled out of the driveway. When he finally got his license at 16, my parents teased him that he didn’t know how to get anywhere because he always just woke up wherever we were going, like he’d been beamed there by Scotty. Sometimes my parents up in the front seats would get into one of their epic debates on current events or philosophy, and I would chime in if I felt brave, but mostly we listened to music.

Classic rock radio. Your FM station for the greatest hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Doo-wop, rockabilly, the blues, Motown, swamp rock, British invasion, Laurel Canyon, funk, and singer/songwriters. The glove compartment was full of cassettes that we played until the frayed tape snapped. The Beach Boys, the Hollies, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon’s Graceland. We listened to Jan and Dean in a Sonic Drive-In in Bristow while we watched the classic car clubs cruise Route 66. Plus, my dad loved bluegrass and my mom had a thing for hammered dulcimers, so they compromised on a set of tapes of old time music called Shakin’ Down the Acorns that they referred to as “the Travelin’ Music.” My brother and I referred to it as Kissin’ on Your Sister and dreaded having to listen to it, but now I’d love to get my hands on a copy just for old time’s sake. And heaven help him if my dad tried to slip a side of Flatt and Scruggs past us, even if it seemed like we were all asleep! But it was a great coup for me when I was finally able to convince them to play my copy of U2’s Rattle and Hum and my dad admitted it wasn’t too bad really.

I received a valuable education in the car on those weekend migrations. I can recognize “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by the Band from just a couple of the opening notes. I know the difference between western swing and rockabilly. I can sing the lyrics of almost any Beatles song you know. I can name that tune in less than five notes. While they had me trapped in the car, my parents passed down their love of songs and a sprawling knowledge of the American musical canon.

A strange tangle of “negotiations and love songs” (Paul Simon) shape us, make us who we are. Circumstances beyond our control, emotional reactions, the decisions of others, fear, love, death, and whatever song plays next on the radio. Sometimes we give up one thing to get another. Often when we feel that we are losing something, as it slips through our fingers we are actually gaining something else – two hours in a bubble with you and Emmylou Harris as we hurtle into the heart of America.

Mississippi and the cotton wool heat
66 a highway speaks
Of deserts dry
Of cool green valleys
Gold and silver veins
Of the shining cities

In this heartland
In this heartland soil
In this heartland
Heaven knows this is a heartland

-- "Heartland” Rattle and Hum, U2