16 December, 2010

Time To Rock

This past March, I had the awesome pleasure of seeing The Flaming Lips in Denton, Texas. Even better--the concert was FREE and also featured Midlake! If you've never been to a Flaming Lips concert, you've missed a rare and wonderful experience. They put on the best candy-colored, psychedelic, happy happy show around. Here is footage from one of those people who filmed the show instead of rocked out to prove my point. I WAS THERE, but audience left. I picked confetti out of my hair for days.

The show became a free wristband-less event because the 35 Conferette predicted several thousand to descend upon downtown Denton. Quite frankly the police (imagine I said that like a member of Gang Starr) were freaking out. So they moved the concert to the fairgrounds. Talk about sharing the music at its finest!

I didn't attend the 35 Conferette last year as I was directing a show, but this year I am hitting the festival with full force! Look at this LINEUP, and they have even more to come! My big preggo belly is going to rock and hopefully my baby will get some good tunes in utero. 

The 35 Conferette itself is still small, grassroots, and laid back. Kind of like SXSW was in its early stages before the advent of the film festival. Don't get me wrong, I am not bemoaning SXSW and its "glory days" before it got "commercial" and "large" and all "celebrity." I just like the festivals where I can see some good music and not wait in line for seven hours to hear it. That is all. It is a matter of my very selfish comfort. And, I will probably see about a dozen or so bands at a much cheaper price than if I were to see the shows individually. AAAANNNNDD, I will have the experience with my gal Mandy. Totally win win situation!

14 December, 2010

Mixtape Monday (on Tuesday): December 14

Been a little lax on the posting. The semester at school is ending and I have some grading to accomplish before December 17th. I also have a slew of "No Basement Maintenance" appointments coming up: baby tests, eye tests, chiropractor to take the semester funk out, massage, dentist, haircut, ritual killing, organ harvesting.

This mix is efficient so I can be lazy. Actually, my "lazy" these days is watching 30 Rock on Netflix with a box of Ritz crackers and a tub of cream cheese. In my pajamas. If I were cool like Liz Lemon, I would have a Slanket and sing "Working on my NIGHT CHEESE!" (Seriously, this show is genius.)

My phone has a genius app--Shazam. If you don't have this app and you are a music lover, I highly recommend it. It captures a song you hear and tells you the artist and the album. It is fairly good. I think the only time it could not capture a song for me is when I was listening to yet-to-be-released Avi Buffalo on the radio. Otherwise it will ferret out the answer, no matter how obscure.

I use the app all the time. I have it on auto capture while driving, I use it at the mall when some funky French bossa nova plays at Victoria Secret while I browse some sexy knickers, and at concerts when the interstitial music between acts captures my attention. Below is my mix of songs I've captured in the last six months or so. I try to also list where I captured them. Have fun!

MIX: Shazam! Playlist

"Blow Away" by A Fine Frenzy (car)

"Diablo Rojo" by Rodrigo y Gabriela (car)

"Walk Don't Run '64" by The Ventures (while watching Mad Men)

"Dance Me" by Telepopmusik (whilst shopping for blouses at The Gap)

"Stillness is the New Move" by Dirty Projectors (at the Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros concert)

"Tennessee River" by Alabama (in the car on the way to the in-laws. This tag was to settle a dispute between the husband. Doesn't he know after 10 years he shouldn't spar with me when it comes to music?)

"Will it Go Round in Circles" by Billy Preston (Arlington Ecofest 2010)

"Boom Boom Pow" by The Black Eyed Peas (Arlington Ecofest 2010)

"The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire (car)

"Bright Energy" by Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights (at a restaurant)

"The Ghost Inside" by Broken Bells (car)

"Las Vegas Turnaround" by Hall & Oates (car. This was after I heard the song and thought, 'This sounds like Hall & Oates. I wonder if it is Hall & Oates?')

"Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster The People (on an episode of the BBC's Sherlock. Great show by the way.)

02 December, 2010

Between the Sheets

I am damn lucky to be married to a husband I find incredibly hilarious. His wit (and the fact I find him nerdiliciously sexy) makes him the best baby daddy and friend a girl could ask for.

About three years ago, we hit a terrible rough patch. Communication completely broke down. We did and said tremendously cruel things to each other. Why did this happen? We were both in an area of self-absorption--Nathan was starting a PhD program and I was desperately searching for a job. We ere also recent grad students living in such abject poverty we felt as if we had failed when really we were just starting our lives together. We worried so much about ourselves we forgot about the fact we were part of the same self. We forgot what a marriage is all about. This is what happens when two loners get hitched. They have to remember to interact. After a lot of work, all incredibly worth it, we are doing much better and stronger than ever. Time and forgiveness and screwing your head on straight does a lot for a life together.

One of my favorite times of the day is before bed. We snuggle under the sheets and talk about the most unusual things. We try not to bitch about work or money or stuff that gets one all agitated. We just talk. Lately I've kept record of the conversations. Below is a list of their subjects.

1: Isaac Hayes is so totally dead & somehow it makes sense he and Beck are Scientologists. 


2: We should tell Iris we are naming the baby Raymond if it is a boy and Mama Odie if it is a girl. That will freak her out.
Raymond from The Princess and the Frog

Mama Odie from The Princess and the Frog

3: Iris wrestled my pregnancy pillow this morning like she was Jon Voight in Anaconda. Hilarious!

4: You DID buy maroon Converse sneakers to look like David Tennant on Doctor Who. Admit it.

5: Are you listening to me? Oh man, you fell asleep. Preggers.

The Big Reveal

Hey ya'll! I am back in action after directing a play at the college. I cannot wait to show you the photos from the production. Soon! Soon!

My return has some exciting news:

 IAmPregnant Ticker

 BabyFruit Ticker

Let us hope the first ticker is accurate about how many more days I will be pregnant. I am just out of my first trimester morning sickness, tiredness, cracked-out, fuck-this-shit-attitude, and I couldn't be happier. I cannot believe I worked fifteen hour days directing Absurdist theatre through these last few weeks. My body itself was its own stage for drama! 

In all honesty, the pregnancy has thus far been a breeze. I am tired all the time, but I rest when I need to. I am hungry all the time, namely for tacos, milk, toast, mint chocolate chip ice cream, lettuce, carrots, butter, steak, potatoes, bananas and applesauce. Thankfully not all at once. In the same dish. I had a bit of a stomach bug near Thanksgiving, but otherwise I have felt great. This is a sharp contrast to my first child. I was sick with her to the point of losing a significant amount of weight for my scrawny frame and didn't lose my ALL DAY sickness until the beginning of my fifth month.

So yeah, I have a case of the babies. Symptoms may include napping, wearing your husband's shirts, eating like a horse at a trough, a strong desire to watch sappy movies, pimples like a pubescent girl and a radiant glow of happiness.

16 November, 2010

Programming Break

Life is far too busy to blog these days. I am eye deep in work, directing a play and my family at the moment. I will come up for air the same old No Basement December 1st after my play opens. Thanks for reading, me hearties.

08 November, 2010

Mixtape Monday: November 08

Last week I just couldn't do it. Nope. Wasn't even going to try. No Basement is one tired, TIRED lady. Directing Theatre of the Absurd will do that to you. Futility, ironically enough, takes energy and purpose.

This week's playlist is about road trips. I love this time of year because I get to spend time with family and get away from the house. Below are a list of songs my family and I like to hear when taking a long haul down to the in-laws or my parents. Hope you enjoy. If you have any road trip songs you love, pass them along!

MIX: No Basement Family Road Trip

"Over the Hills and Far Away" by Led Zeppelin

"Man in a Box" by Alice in Chains

"Fearless" by Pink Floyd (Heck, the whole Meddle album is road-tripping perfection.)

"Africa" by Toto (You should hear the hubby and I belt this song. Meanwhile, our daughter is rolling her eyes in the backseat.)

"Nicotine & Gravy" by Beck (You gotta be careful with this song. People in other cars will stare at you as shake your bad self.)

"The Highwaymen" by The Highwaymen (Side Note: Screw Showdown bar in San Marcos, Texas for replacing their AMAZING jukebox with those electronic download-from-the-Internet bullyshot boxes. LAME!!!)

"Oceans" by Pearl Jam

"Jackson" by Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash

"Sovay" by Andrew Bird

"Olsen Olsen" by Sigur Ros

"Take On Me" by A-Ha

"The Tourist" by Radiohead

06 November, 2010

Dark Iris

Iris expanded her Little Bird Jewelry Company to cover super-hero costumes and eeevvvviiiilllll disguises. I present to you Iris's alter ego--DARK IRIS!

Try to control yourselves--this is the face of pure evil.

Dressed in Tinkerbell pajamas.

With a ponytail holder weapon.

Below is a clip of Dark Iris reigning terror upon all Texans!

05 November, 2010

Soup Kitchen

Fall has arrived! I am downright giddy. When the weather cools, I always have more energy, sleep like the dead and get to wear my favorite clothes--cardigans! Please don't ask me how many cardigans I have. It is slightly embarrassing. 

Whenever the temperature dips below the 50s F, I also get a hankering for homemade soup. I could live off soup. It is one of my absolute favorite foods. Nothing beats a piping hot bowl of hearty soup on a cold day with a thick slice of homemade bread or cornbread muffins. Below are some of my favorite soup recipes. They are all very simple, super healthy and taste even better after the second day. I have also found soup is great for a get-together with friends. Make about six different soups, some meaty and some vegetarian, bake a variety of breads and have your friends bring side dishes, salads and desserts. Perfect night.

My Go-To Soups/Stews/Etc.

1) Deborah Madison's Hearty Lentil Soup, from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

This is one of the greatest lentil soup recipes I've ever eaten. Delicious complexity of flavor and nutrition. SIDE NOTE: Buy. This. Cookbook. Everything is simple and delicious. It is the perfect cookbook to incorporate more veggies into your weekly suppers. My meat-loving husband and picky-eating daughter like everything we've made from this book. 

2) Julie's Simple Chili
This photo makes me look like Chef Boyardee. Sweet.
Here is my chili recipe. You can add or subtract any ingredients or veggies you want.

1 lb of ground beef, or ground turkey, vegetarian crumbles or ground venison
2 cans of chili beans, or any canned beans you like (black beans and kidney beans are good).
1 can of Rotel (if Rotel is not in your region of the country, use a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes).
1 small can of tomato paste, another if you like your chili thick
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I prefer a colorful red, orange or yellow). 
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups or so of water
Ground Cumin
Ground Coriander
Chili Powder
Cayenne Pepper

Directions: In a large pot or dutch oven, salt and pepper and brown your meat with the diced onion and bell pepper until the meat is no longer pink and the veggies are soft. Drain off a bit of the fat from the meat, saving about a tablespoon or so in the pot. Add the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, Rotel and tomato paste. Add some water depending on your desired thickness of the chili and stir until tomato paste has diluted into the water. Bring chili to a boil, reduce heat to low, throw in the spices to your taste, cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes. Remove lid, taste the chili and adjust water, seasoning levels to your taste. Serve immediately with cornbread, shredded cheese, sour cream and scallions. Tastes even better the next day.

3) Heidi Swanson's Miso Soup Recipe, from her food blog www.101cookbooks.com.

Photo by Heidi Swanson from www.101cookbooks.com
I love miso soup, and although we've never met, I love Heidi Swanson. I eat off her website at least once a week. Her recipes are simple, fresh and full of nutritional punch. Every recipe on her website could easily be a stand-alone meal (yes, even the black bean brownies!). 

She also has a beautifully laid-out cookbook, Super Natural Cooking. Check out her granola bar recipe. Have mercy!

01 November, 2010


Happy Halloween, ya'll! We had a great time last night at our local Halloween carnival. We met up with our buddies and their adorable child and had a rip-roaring time eating candy and trick-or-treating.

Little Lady went as Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz. The costume was a hand-me-down from a high school friend and the ruby slippers were a gift for doing her chores for six weeks straight. I have to admit, my husband and I made one stinking cute, chicken-legged child. And my opinion is validated. She won 3rd place at the Halloween Carnival for "Cutest" costume. I think the pull doggie was a nice touch.

The Little Lady suggested I go as the Wicked Witch of the West to compliment her Dorothy Gale. What does this say about how she views our relationship? If this continues, I might have to use her college savings for therapy. ;)

 Where is the husband you might ask? No matter how much we begged, pleaded, threw temper tantrums or rolled on the ground crying, "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA," he wouldn't be our Tin Man or Scarecrow or Cowardly Lion. The ONE TIME I got my husband to dress up, he put on his black suit and skinny black tie and claimed he was a Reservoir Dog. *Sigh*

Hope you all had as much fun as us. Fall is officially here!

27 October, 2010

Seriously Iris!?!

I was an hour late to work this morning. And the culprit?

Photo by Shance Brentham
Don't let that adorable face fool you. This little lady is a ball of fury when sick. This morning tried all my patience and eliminated any graces of motherhood I once possessed. 

First, she coughed up an enormous snot wad. On my neck. 

Second, she cried for fifteen minutes because I joked her voice sounded like a Gremlin. 

IRIS: Mommy, what's a Gremlin?

ME: (pulling up picture on the Internet) This is a Gremlin.

IRIS: Waaaaaaaa, you're so MEAN, Mommy! I'm not your friend anymore! (Note: She says this every time she is mad at us.)

Finally, after she calmed down and I firmly told her she cannot drink milk or have dairy this morning because it increases her mucus ("MOMMY! Don't talk to me about snot! Gross! Waaaaaa!"), we get dressed and head for the door. Before we go, I tell her it is time to take her Mucinex. Since she sucks up more snot that blows out from her allergies, she has a chest cold. This morning was the first time to take the Mucinex. I gave it to her in my bedroom as I laced up my shoes. 

This is what happened:

She drinks it. 

Makes a face.

Spits it ALL out. 

All over me.

All over the floor.

All over herself.

All over the bed.

Heck, the walls are practically medicine red by now.

Then, very calmly, she exclaims, "Well, that tasted bad."

We get redressed, mopped down, and cleaned up. She CRIES because she can't wear the outfit she spit all over.

IRIS: WAAAAAAA! I wanna wear a DRESS! Not these pants.

ME: Well, maybe you shouldn't have spit your medicine all over yourself. 

By the time we got out the door, I was ready to shank someone. All this happened without some sympathy, though. When I was a kid, we had to take the most TERRIBLE banana-flavored prescription liquid medicine for bronchitis. Soooooooo bad. So bad in fact, I dry heaved before I took it. So bad I still, to this day, hate the taste of banana-flavored things. 

To all my childless friends, BEWARE. The days they are complete Turd Fergusons  will make you appreciate the other 95% of the time they are the most adorable and perfect gift life will ever give. 

Photo by Shance Brentham

26 October, 2010


The minds are racing after my blog post yesterday. The very benign comment I "adjusted to some exciting news at home," prompted well-meaning friends and family to contact me asking the following:

"Are you moving?"

To the Pacific Northwest? I wish. 

"Are you pregnant?"
What? I was once pregnant? No way.

"Are you buying a house?"
Not unless the Swiss Family Robinson house is for sale.

"Are you going on a trip?"

Yes, I am planning visit my pal Nathan in San Francisco soon.

"Do you have more than ten bottles of wine in your house? And if so, can I come over?"
If so, I am going on a bender. And I'm not sharing.

My answer to all this? No comment. I know, I know, I KNOW. I am being my typical super-secretive self, and you'll just have to be patient. Something very wonderful is happening in my life right now, and I simply cannot talk about it. When I do feel like talking about it, I probably won't stop and you'll all yell, "Jeez, SHUT UP about it already!" I am that excited.

Thanks for all your love and thoughts. You are the best friends and family a girl could ever have.

P.S.--I ate an entire bag of beef jerky whilst writing this post. DAY-UM!

25 October, 2010

Mixtape Monday: October 25

Last week was super busy for this blogger--I started rehearsals for my show, adjusted to some exciting news at home and graded papers until my brains leaked out of my ears. Needless to say, I am counting down the weeks until Winter Break.

With the new rehearsal schedule for the show, my time at home during the week is limited. I am usually home after Iris is asleep, and my husband and I hit the sack not long thereafter. The only time I have with my little lady is in the morning. I get up a half hour early so we can snuggle on the couch before I head off to work.

Fifteen hour days. The last time I worked fifteen hour days, I lost ten pounds (I am a scrawny girl so you can imagine the horror), and my language regressed to monosyllabic grunts. A friend visited me shortly after I finished working my fifteen hour days. Poor guy--he probably thought I was either dying or a totally boring grandma of a friend. I could barely process thought during the entire visit!

This time however, it is oh so different.
Exhibit A:

NAP COUCH!!! I hit this for at least 30 minutes every day to recharge.

Exhibit B:

Tons of snacks!!! You should see our work fridge. Last week one of my co-workers joked, "Did your husband kick you out of the house?"

Exhibit C:
Totally not my walking trail, but after those boring photos above, I had to mix it up.

Walking trails!!! I have a terribly bad habit of not taking a break when I work, except to refill my water cup or go to the bathroom. This time? Oh hell no! I get up every hour and a half and walk the lovely trail around our school field. I breathe deep and I try to focus on something other than work.

Exhibit D:

My So Called Life!!! I brought my friend Mandy pho a few weeks ago at her home as she recovered from strep throat. We watched the pilot episode as we ate our lunch. I have continued to watch the episodes during my lunchtime on Hulu. Seeing teenagers go through their problems (in flannel jumper dresses and scrunchies) reminds me not to sweat it. In the end, my wa-wa-wa-I-have-to-work-SO-hard-at-my-job-I-desperately-love sounds downright ungrateful. Like teenagers.

So yeah, I am getting by. It also helps I am married to the most supportive and dead sexiest dude on the planet. It doubly helps my daughter indulges me in our morning cuddle ritual, even if she thinks it is totally baby. It is great to have friends who who give an eff to call or visit or email, knowing I am in the throes of theatrical purgatory. You are all rocking my world.

My brain is officially mush, so I let Iris do the playlist this week. These songs get constant requests in the car on the way to school. Have fun and take care of yourselves.

MIX: Iris's Ride

"Money Changes Everything" by Cyndi Lauper

"White Winter Hymnal" by Fleet Foxes

"Beautiful Child" by Rufus Wainwright

"Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper

"Golden Age" by TV on the Radio

"Young Americans" by David Bowie (She laughs at me when I sing the quasi-rap at the end.)

"Men" by the dodos (She likes when we both yell AHHHHH in the chorus.)

"Time Frets" by Ze dos Frangos (I wrote the lyrics. This is my buddy Nathan's band.)

"Faerie Dance" by Plants and Animals

"Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

This is the first mix I could find all on Playlist. So listen and enjoy!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

18 October, 2010

Mixtape Monday: October 18

My parents came to visit this weekend. WOOHOO! Little Iris was very happy to see them as she is guaranteed to have:
  • new clothes
  • new toys
  • tons of stickers from Grandma's work
  • money from Grandpa
  • the ability to stay up super late
  • take a break from her daily chores, and
 Iris is always euphorically giddy in their presence. She loves to entertain them with song and dance, her knowledge of things and her emphatic use of hand gestures.

After they left she asked me what music Grandma and Grandpa listened to when I was little. Sometimes children ask the right kinds of questions, and just in time for my Monday post!

This mix is a bit for my parents as it is the music they love, a bit for me as it is the music that shaped childhood, and a bit for Iris so she can understand my Mom and Dad through music. When the story of how my parents' entire Bad Company records were stolen at my Dad's 10 year high school reunion resurfaces, she will completely understand why they still tell it with unforgiving venom.

P.S.--Whoever stole Mom and Dad's Bad Company records--you're a dick.

Mix: Grandma & Grandpa's Boogie Woogie

"Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith (The first time I heard the full version on the radio, I was eight years old. We're driving in the car, my Mom screams "Oh hell yeah!" then instructs me to roll down my window. We drive down the road, radio blaring and totally rocking out. This was one of the first times I understood how music can, like a desert shaman, totally transform people.)

"Stepping Stone" by The Monkees (My Mom had a big crush on Micky Dolenz. I was always a Davy Jones girl myself.)

"Shooting Star" by Bad Company (No seriously, whoever did steal these records, you really are a dick.)

"Sitting" by Cat Stevens (My brothers and I will always be eternally grateful for Mom's Cat Stevens records.)

"Get Back" by The Beatles (I distinctly remember driving home on FM-949 at 11-years-old when my Dad explained to me what this song was about. Good thing music is here to help parents explain subjects like trans-gendered culture.)

"Summer Breeze" by Seals & Crofts (This song always reminds me of Mom ironing shirts on a Saturday.)

"We're An American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad (My Dad has the GREATEST concert stories about this band I have ever heard.)

"Strange Magic" by Electric Light Orchestra (My Mom has seen them in concert, and yes, I am jealous.)

"Texas" by Chris Rea (On the lyric "I say Texas, she says 'What?' my brother and I would yell "I say Texas, she says, 'BUTT!'' Kids.)

"Make Me Smile" by Chicago (I could stare at their album cover art for days).

"Black Water" by The Doobie Brothers (I recall a great sing-along at a junior high dance with Coach Jacobs and Mrs. Mattingly. Three part harmony at the end of the song and all.)

"America" by Simon & Garfunkel (This song is one of my absolute favorites.)

14 October, 2010

Little Bird Jewelry Company

I had the rare opportunity to interview one of the forerunners in pipe cleaner jewelry design--Little Bird Jewelry Company owner Iris Elizabeth! (She prefers to not reveal her last name to protect herself from the paparazzi). In this exclusive interview, Iris Elizabeth discusses her inspiration for the Fall 2010 jewelry line, popular trends in fashion and what inspires her to create such breathtaking jewelry.

No Basement: When did you begin making jewelry? 

Little Bird: My mommy bought me a bunch of stuff at Hobby Lobby. I liked the colorful pipe cleaners, so I started making some jewelry with them.

NB: Describe your Fall 2010 line of jewelry.

LB: It has lots of colors. Tell me what colors you like and I will make something for you. If you don't tell me your favorite colors, I will just use pink and purple.

NB: What items are in your Fall 2010 collection?

LB: Bracelets, crowns and necklaces. My mommy helps me with the crowns. She puts the pointy tops on them.

NB: Why should people like your jewelry?

LB: Because it is soooooo soft! And I made it.

NB: Where do you get your inspiration for the jewelry line?

LB: I like to go camping. And Mommy buys me stuff at Hobby Lobby.

NB: What is your fashion style?

LB: I like to put on all my jewelry at the same time. It is pretty and I look grown up.

Below is Iris Elizabeth modeling the Little Bird Jewelry Company Fall 2010 collection. She wanted me to emphasize you can get the jewelry in ANY COLOR YOU LIKE.

13 October, 2010

Color Me Happy

I stumbled across this website while looking for sign generators. A silly girl like me could get lost in this. I made a few signs. I couldn't help myself.

Samuel Beckett Made Mommy Crazy

She was such a great mommy, until she started directing Theatre of the Absurd.....I can already hear the Little Lady telling the staff at the sanatorium what lead to my downfall. 

This week I began auditions for my directorial debut at the college. I am directing some short works of Samuel Beckett. Theatre of the Absurd at its finest.

Did I mention I like to challenge myself to the point where I scream, "THIS IS TOO HARD! I CAN'T DO IT!!" on a routine basis? After the auditions last night and reading the script for the 100th time, I thought, "Yes, oh yes you can do this."

Then Samuel Beckett looked me straight in the eye:

She gets a lump in her throat. Pause. Reflects. Pause. Stares at her hands. Pause. Reflects. Hears a whistle. Moves in the direction of the whistle. Pause. Reflects. Considers against it. Pause. Reflects. Stares at her hands. Pause. Sucks it up. Pause. Starts directing.

Oh my gosh, I just made the biggest theatre nerd reference in the history of theatre nerd references. I feel better getting it off my chest, though.

In all honesty, writing this blog feels like an absurd task of futility and incertitude. Am I just sawing away and no one is reading it? Is the sound of my own voice signifying nothing?

Pause. Reflects. Eats a cookie.


12 October, 2010

Mix Tape Monday: October 11

I noticed many other blogs have a specific, reoccurring post each week. I find this a good idea as it holds the writer accountable. I mean, look at me! It is TUESDAY and I am now starting my Monday post. Jeez, I need some discipline. 

Mix tapes are on my mind lately. It started when my friend Mandy let me borrow Ron Sheffield's Love is a Mix TapeIf any of you lived passionately through the music of the 1980s and 1990s, remember popping a cassette in your boom box to record songs off the radio, or ever spent hours making someone the perfect dramatically structured mix tape, this book will have you turning the pages for more. I read the entire book in about six hours. Sheffield has the brilliant ability to transform events into metaphor unlike any recent writer I've read. Such a treat of a book, especially for this Big Star-loving girl.

I take mix tapes rather seriously. I can't help it. I know it is only a mix tape, but I have heartily accepted my abnormal zeal as one of my many OCD quirks, and I am just fine with it, thank you. I construct a mix tape with equal parts emotional content and dramatic structure. It is essential to mix tape construction to order songs where a natural exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, resolution occurs. Freytag, you even haunt my OCDs. Damn you, theatre education.

I've made some mighty fine mix tapes in my day. The Collected Works of Elliott Smith for my friend Janet stands out as my finest. I distinctly remember getting a "DAMN GIRL" from her after she listened to it. You're welcome, my dear. I made it for you because I care.

Mix tapes can be the words when language fails, introduce an entirely new band or genre of music and provide multilingual superpowers with a few well-played strums of the guitar and beat of the drums. They are better than a card and sometimes easier to process than conversation.

Below is my first mix for the blog. Sunday night George Jones was on American Routes radio podcast. His conversation about Texas country and honky tonk reintroduced me to the country music of my childhood.

Country music was on the radio as we hopped through the pasture in the farm truck, at every family get-together, at every dance and at every wedding. As a child I was mesmerized at the skill involved in two-step dancing. Especially two-step dancing at a big German-Texan wedding. After the first keg floats and the reception guests are good and hammered, the men grab their women and scoot to the dance floor. There is a beauty in the grist of cowboy boots to sawdust and the graceful spinning of two people during the bridge of a song. If the dancers are lucky, they won't spill one drop of beer from their cups. Even better if someone refills it for you mid-dance. Ultimate nirvana when you get so tipsy you don't care who sees you smooching like newlyweds.

If any of these songs play at a wedding, you'll see me spinning on the dance floor, holding on to my partner and gracefully swilling beer.

This mix is especially dedicated to my husband. No one makes dancing more worthwhile.

PLAYLIST: Hochzeitsfeier

"I Always Get Lucky With You" by George Jones

"Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" by k.d. lang

"Honky Tonk Man" by Dwight Yoakam *I want to see this man in concert so bad it hurts.

"Good Hearted Woman" by Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard

"Any Day Now" by Ronnie Milsap

"We're Gonna Hold On" by George Jones & Tammy Wynette

"Give Back My Heart" by Lyle Lovett

"Why'd You Come In Here Lookin' Like That" by Dolly Parton

"Forever and Ever, Amen" by Randy Travis

"If I Needed You" by Townes Van Zandt

"Why Not Me" by The Judds

"Right or Wrong" by George Strait