Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rockstar: Kellincatty's Daddy

The other night Dave and I were invited to play in my hometown. We got the gig because of another gig. We got THAT gig because of my father (who consistently touts my band to all of his friends, or whomever). I secretly call him my agent. For example, once, he was fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. A news crew came along and interviewed him for a feature segment. My father was so excited that he gave the cameraman my number. “My daughter’s in television too! You should call her.”

I simply cannot believe the guy didn’t immediately rush to his satellite phone, call me up, and say, “So, hey baby, I hear you’re in Tee veeeee…”

Another time, I walked into a restaurant for Thanksgiving Dinner. About halfway through my turkey, I heard my band play in the speakers. My father had arranged for this, of course.

I’ve learned to kind to accept this behavior from my dad because I know it’s his way of showing his pride and love…

But this weekend, he came through for me in a way I didn’t expect, and just HAVE to tell you about.

Dave and I were going to do a guitar and bass thing for this gig. My father mentioned that his friend would be really disappointed if we didn’t do any banjo music. Fine, I thought. Dave could play banjo on a few songs and that would be that. I explained the change in set list to Dave.

“Kelly. We can’t play banjo without a bass. We’d have no low end.”

“Work it out with my father…” I told him.

So he did. Dave actually sat down with my father (an accordion player, btw), and taught him enough bass to get us through the banjo portion of the evening… My father, who’d never even held a bass, took to it immediately. Then Dave dropped the bomb, “So, you ready to play? Tonight?”

My father looked very nervous all of the sudden, but for some reason agreed.

Now, you need to understand that my father is not only talented, but also fearless. He’s picked up hundreds of animals including poisonous snakes… I once discovered that a raccoon had trapped itself into one of those large industrial trashcans. Without a second thought about disease, teeth, or claw, Dad reached into the container and tried to grab it. (To make a long story short, the nervous raccoon circled the can a few times, avoiding my father’s hand, and made the most hideous screeching noise I’ve ever heard. He eventually tipped the can so the animal could escape on its own… But you’ve got to hand it to him.

Anyway, I kind of thought he’d opt out when he had a chance to think about what he agreed to (come on. If someone taught me three or four notes on a violin and then asked me to perform those three or four notes two hours later, I'd think they were crazynutsycuckoo)– but not my father... When I told the audience that Dave taught Ol' Bill how to play a little bass, and would you please welcome him to the stage for his very first performance on bass, he jumped to his feet and “suited up.”

I’m so proud of my dad… It was a cool thing for him to support us – and a great moment for me. How much credit can you give a 69-year old man to do this?

After the gig, Dad’s friend came up to say hello to us, but didn’t talk long, “I have to go see your DAD!” he gushed. He walked away – but had to wait. A crowd of people surrounded him…. And – Dave and I were left completely alone to put instruments away…

But I loved it. I didn’t even have to drop any business cards. That evening was all about my Dad.


Monday, November 27, 2006

The Blame Game

Ok. I've pondered the appropriate-ness (is that a word?) of telling this story, and have decided that it's okay to share with you. It's embarassing. It's humiliating... and I didn't get blamed for any of it... It reminded me of the days when my sisters and I (Pictured here, circa early '70's) used to blame each other for every little thing...

A few weeks ago, my sister and I had a yard sale. I drove over to her house early in the AM, my car laden with all the things I wanted to purge from my life - books, music, knick knacks, memories - you know. Yard Sale. As I was unloading my goods, I found myself alone outside my sister's house... No one around but her dog, Rusty... I really had to purge something more internal... Ok, I'll just say it. I was gassy.

I let one rip. It was not your ordinary fart. Normally, when outside, the gasses leftover from digestion merely dissipate into the atmosphere, killing ozone and making plants work harder. This particular explosion disgusted even me. It was icky. (don't judge me. You've all done it!!!)

Ok. What I wasn't expecting was my sister to come walking around the corner. I didn't know she was there. I silently prayed that the air had cleared... but I knew it didn't.

My sister immediately knew what was going on...

"Rusty! That's disgusting! Kelly! Did you smell his fart? Ew!"

By this time, she was madly batting the atmosphere... Rusty stood there with his doggy look... I don't know if he knew what was going on, but if he did, he wasn't letting on, which is why I like him.

I, on the other hand, breathed a sigh of relief. I was off the hook, and perfectly willing to let old "Silent But Deadly" take the blame...


Fast forward a couple of weeks to tonight, where I was having dinner with a friend. I don't know what came over me, but I felt compelled to tell my BlamethedogonmyFart story. He laughed... Then something happened that I wasn't expecting... He told me HIS fart story.

He's a teacher, and needed to expel some fumes. He walked over to close his classroom door, and shot a particularly stinky stinker into the hall. He proceeded to the middle of the room, thinking he'd gotten away with something he shouldn't have. Much to his chagrin, three of his bitchier students, often tardy, ran into the room.

Bitchy Student One: Mister - there's something stinky over here.

Bitchy Student Two: I think you did it. (motioned to student one)

Bitchy Student Three: You smelt it you dealt it!

The three students then started arguing over who indeed, had dealt it. And with no innocent pooch in sight to blame, the argument got pretty sticky.

My friend, the teacher said, "You know, Kelly? Those girls are always late, and always full of excuses. I was so happy to let them think that one of them did it!."

You know - what kind of person am I - that I don't even have a good excuse for letting my sister's dog take the blame for this heinous exhibition?


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holiday Traditions

I think I've recently stumbled across the perimeter of wisdom concerning why (where I heartily agree with the holiday) I'm beginning to think Thanksgiving is a pain in the arse. It's not for lack of gratitude. It's instead, lack of tradition.

My family isn't big on Thanksgiving. Ever since my grandmother stopped hosting Thanksgiving (in the mid '70's) - My family hasn't really had a fail-safe plan. This opens the door for pandemonium and a lot of "What are you doing?" "Where are you going?" "Who are you with?" and the like. Years ago, to escape, my parents started travelling to their favorite vacation spot and volunteering at a homeless shelter. For awhile, I loved spending Turkey Day in New York (and eating at Frescoes... who still make me wonder what they put in their mashed potatoes to make them so amazingly good)... Some years I'd cook for my family or friends... Last year, I spent the most amazing day with Dave and his father (You can read about it here )...

This year, my parents asked if I wanted to go do the homeless shelter thing with them this year - then they changed their mind... Dave's father said he wanted to go back to the Old Country Buffet - and where I'm so sorry for poor Dave, I can't accompany him on this adventure TWICE, so I've settled for eating out with my parents on Thursday and cooking dinner for Dave on Friday. I know. It's confusing.

But - for the record, I'm grateful - For example, tonight (after spending three or four GRUELING days at work), I ran to the grocery store for evaporated milk, pumpkin pie spice, and allspice (I"ll explain why in a minute). The store was mad-packed. I mean, lines out the wha-zoo... (even the self-checkout lines, which aren't really all that helpful or efficient, or fast) were jammed). I chose carefully and stood in a line behind two other people - both with carts stocked to the hilt. I grinned sheepishly and held my pidly purchases up, "I'm kind of an idiot..."

The first man smiled at me, "Do you want to go first? You only have a few things!"

"Really? You don't mind?" I turned to the woman directly in front, "Do you mind?"

"Not if you buy me coffee someday!"

Deal. I was in and out in a flash.

The reason I had to re-stock was that on Wednesday night (after working till 9 pm) I decided I had to cheer myself up by making Pumpkin pie. Now, I've had my share of kitchen disasters - mostly due to breaking glass and finding myself stranded in the middle of my kitchen with no shoes on - but I've made some really fine pies in my day.

Not this one. I made a significant salt error. I knew it as soon as I put the pie in the oven, too. I tasted some of the batter on the wooden spoon. Spiced salt lick... I baked it anyway - just in case my oven had magical sodium-reducing powers...

Nope. It's just your garden variety oven, in case you're wondering. So I tossed the whole pie. I took this photo for you - just so you understand that I can laugh about it.

Needless to say, I was out of evaporated milk, with necessitated another trip to the grocery store -

Which made me think - maybe shopping in mad-crowds is my Thanksgiving tradition. Maybe screwing up food is something I reserve for the holidays (remind me to tell you about my guacamole soup, my Christmas Mashed Potatoes, and some concoction I whipped up one December that was so icky that my dog wouldn't eat it...)

I guess it's better than fighting with my relatives!


Monday, November 20, 2006

The Glorification of Anti-Heroes

Years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine, a freelance videographer. We'd worked many, many gigs together - everything from corporate stuff to live sports. He's an excellent shooter who learned all his shortcuts from years as a news videographer.

I once asked him if he missed shooting the news.

He was quite intense in his response: "No, Kelly. I'm not missing the news. I'll be damned if I'm going to stand for hours out in the rain, waiting for a chance to videotape some murderer's perp walk. I just can't glorify that kind of person anymore."

Amen, I say!

I know news by nature is a certain percentage of perp walks, reporting on criminals, and sensationalizing the horrors of life - but I think my friend is right... that certain behavior is simply not deserving of my precious time...

And yet, some TV exec and some publishing house have done two things that make me crazy: One - Someone thought it was a good idea to publish books with titles like If I Did it, and then - some degenerate ratings hungry tv exec. thought it would be a good idea to put half convicted/yet free men on television to explain how he WOULD have murdered if he indeed HAD murdered. (Don't ask. Even saying that two-lettered name is offensive to me right now. Don't get me started on the ego it took for that two-lettered has-been to agree to participate in these activities.)

Please, News Corp. Even though the book has been canned and the interview cancelled, you have now officially proven to me just how little you care about broadcast excellence. I used to think that it was impossible to fall off of the floor - but you, Mr. Murdoch, have shown me if someone leaves the trap door open, one just might sink to new lows. SHAME ON YOU.

I'm just mortified.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Claw Machines (Among Other Exercises in Stupidity)

This am, over breakfast, I had a long chat about gambling. (New PA state legislation is allowing slots parlors at several locations - at the Horse Races, etc... Currently, two local towns are competing for a license, so everyone's talking about casinos.)

Personally, I truly believe that Gambling is an exercise in stupidity. If every dollar I made bought me a feather - and if stood on a windy mountain, stacked all of those (*millions upon millions*) of feathers in my hand, and blew hard... Well, that's kind of how I view what happens when one gambles.

This is just a personal judgement call. I'm not telling anyone else what to do with their personal feathers. For me - It's the windy mountain scenario...

I have to predicate this by an admission: I have gambled - just a little... I once put money in the nickel slots while on a cruise ship, and didn't win anything. I've also participated in the office lottery pool a few times, with no payoff to speak of. My best gambling story, however, had a happier ending. For fun, I once heeded the advice of my friend Heidi's very elegant Floridian grandmother. She was sharing her secret for success at the dog track, "Ah Always bet on numbah fiiihve."

Heidi and I bet Five dollars on Dog Number Five (Hurricane Lil) in the Fifth race. We both won 20$... When the cashier/bet lady asked if we'd like to place another bet, we just laughed and laughed hysterically as we walked away... We knew when to say when.

Anyway, that's my dark history. Now you know.

Back to the diner: As my colleague and I were leaving, we ran into a man I knew of - but hadn't met... There he was, a reporter from the local paper, standing at the diner's claw machine - and he was going in for the kill.

We stopped to cheer him on. The claw machine grabbed a Dallas Mavericks Teddy Bear (What the DMTB was doing in Pennsylvania was beyond me) It hoisted it up above the other toys - about eight inches before the claw gave way. The teddy bear fell back on Bart Simpson.

"I've got to try this again," said the reporter. He couldn't find change, so I offered a quarter. My colleague looked at me suspiciously, "Here's a girl that doesn't like gambling - yet she's supporting this!"

"But he's THIS CLOSE," I squeezed my thumb and index finger tightly together. I think I may even have grimaced a little, just like a three year old who keeps saying, "PLEEEEEEEEEZE!"

To make a long story short, the reporter - in five tries (investment: $2.50) accidentally hooked the claw through the Dallas Maverick Bear's headband. The bear systematically fell through the chute. The reporter triumphantly handed me the bear.

"Why, thank you!" I gushed. It isn't every day a near-stranger gives you a Dallas Mavericks Teddy Bear.

We then had a short discussion about his job, "I'm just lucky to be working at all! I left my last paper after 33 years of writing... Then I discovered that $800/month health benefits made retirement kind of unattractive... So I came here... What I'd now like to do is take one of those 'will work for food' signs, cross off the 'food,' and write "Health Insurance."

I commented, "That's a great editorial cartoon. You should draw it up."

As he waved, I carred my teddy bear to the car. I couldn't help but think that this man, who is a very successful writer with a long career tenure - admitted to feeling lucky he had a job. In a way, it seemed that he felt employment was a bit of a gamble. It also seemed that having a job with insurance was the big jackpot.

I wonder if this is why people gamble - because in some ways, betting - or playing slots - is a metaphor for life... There's always hope for the payoff that will keep us financially fluid.

Kind of deep for the Dallas Mavericks Teddy Bear - but true nonetheless.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Toto! We're Back in Kansas

Did you know that Kansas has actual land still considered frontier territory by the definitions set by the US Government? These are among the many things I learned while visiting my friends John and Karen this week. (we're old camp friends - I have to say - that the friends I've had the longest - are friends I made during my stint working at summer camp... Maybe I'll blog about that sometime). Anyway, Kansas kind of surprised me. I was expecting fell-off-the-floor-flatness, but, at least in the Eastern part of the state, it was quite hilly. In fact, it reminded me in many ways of the town I grew up in the Poconos. Except for the fields of cows, buffalo herds, small flock of llamas.

(NOTE: I had a long discussion with J&K's son about animal groupings. He informed me, for example, that a pile of frogs was known as an ARMY of FROGS. We also discovered MURDERS of CROWS, but were wondering what a group of Llamas were called. For the purpose of this post, I choose 'flock,' although 'compendium,' or 'gaggle' would also suit our purpose.)

Anyway, I was long overdue for a visit to The Little Apple: Manhattan, Kansas. On the first day, we went down to the lake - seen above. They were draining some of it to fill the Kansas River - so the boats wouldn't bottom out. It was rare that the water levels were so low - so we took some time to explore. Here's their youngest son digging in the dirt for burried treasure (he found farm implements, and a lot of broken glass).

The other brother suddenly hit the dirt - and made an angel. What's great is that Karen didn't even yell at him for getting dirty. I hope he appreciates how cool his mother is. I predict that when these boys are in high school, all their friends will want to hang out at their house because J&K are the coolest parents.

When all this exploring made us hungry, we headed out to Famous Dave's - because we thought it would be fun to get Dave (who stayed home) a FD t-shirt. Here's the evidence. I should have photographed the ginormous garbage-can-lid-sized plate of food they brought us, but I was too busy eating.

When we came home, the family dog kept licking my watch. Makes me wonder if I got barbecue sauce stuck in there... (I'm sorry - That was so gross!)

So we had a good time - Except for one thing: I got a massage from Lizzy Borden's distant relative - he hacked up the knots in my back with such precision and skill that I'm still sore... He promised me there would be a payoff - but so far, it hurts to lean back on chairs...

Karen and John and I are already plotting our next get together - and even though there's no place like home - someday I'll click my heels together and go back to Kansas.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Kenny Rogers, in my favorite of his songs, quoted the gambler – “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em – Know when to walk away – know when to run…” Where the song was a metaphor for life, I doubt he’d ever imagine his words would sum up my feelings about Election Day.

Ok. Today, I had the following choices for Governor:

The democrats present their incumbent: the smart, experienced Villanova lawyer-turned-mayor-turned governor. Yeah, he’s savvy – but he has no moral conscience that I can testify to. He also has a 79-year old lieutenant governor whom his advisors could not convince to leave office (I always thought governors could choose their running mates each election – but apparently – not so…). Also, the governor – might I add – seems to be about one Philadelphia Cheese steak away from a heart attack himself…

On the other hand, the republicans handed me a sports hero with no prior political experience. They forced the other candidates out of the primary race so they could push the sports hero. Ok… I might vote a sports hero with no experience to be the Mayor of Catty… but Governor of Pennsylvania? Our previous governor left PA to pursue a short tenure as Director of Homeland Security… I don’t see the wisdom in putting a plebe into the capitol.

So – how to choose?

Before I get any further, I want to talk about voting in general. There was a time when I believed my vote didn’t really count. When I was in college, I voted via absentee ballot. About a month after the election, I got a letter explaining that my ballot arrived ONE DAY too early to be counted - and they just wanted me to know that my vote was not involved in the election that year. I resented that. I really felt that my right had been stripped away over an efficient postal service. – I began to wonder if my vote ever counted… I didn’t vote for some time after that.

I was young and naïve… and have since changed my mind. Where I suspect that - practically - my vote only REALLY makes a difference if my candidate wins, I believe the whole situation runs a bit deeper. I think my vote counts because I’ve been given the responsibility – and the right – to be a part of the democratic process. I think my vote counts because it validates my status as an American… I don’t have a lot of regard for those who don’t bother voting… because they’re behaving irresponsibly. There, I said it, and I won’t apologize.

None of this seemed to matter much while in the booth today…

By the way, as an aside, I miss the old lever/curtain voting booths…. Mostly because they made me feel like I was part of a historical process in a way a touch screen can’t… well, touch. Also, I remember doing election coverage at the TV station I used to work at. One of the newbie reporters was interviewing a candidate live, on-air, and asked, “So what’s it like to walk into that booth, close the curtain, and pull on your own lever?” – No kidding. Today marked the end of the POSSIBILITY of such entertaining television…

Today, I left the voting booth depressed – because I felt that I had no really good choices for governor in my state – and my state NEEDS good governance right now. We’ve got all kinds of new issues creeping up – and I want a leader I can depend on. It went beyond voting for the lesser of two evils. Each was equally unappealing for different reasons, but in neither of the candidates’ final words have I found an ace that I can keep… (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Seriously though… somehow –the first time in my voting history - I honestly didn’t know what to do… How sad is that?


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pesky Cream Peddlers and Ex-Destiny

Ok. I just need y'all to know that I've been over-busy lately. I spent most of last week away (which really messes things up back at the office) - When I got back to work - it was busy. I had some volunteer things that also made me busy... so by the time Saturday at 8PM rolled around, I was happy to go sit at the bookstore and have some coffee (Seattle's Best...).

I spent most of the evening wondering why - at the beginning of November - I must listen to Andea Boccelli singing "O Holy Night," among a host of other Christmas songs. This kind of pisses me off. Here's my take: Until Santa brings up the rear of the Macy's parade, I'm not ready for Christmas. Screw the fact that I've decided to do as much of my gift buying BEFORE Thanksgiving if I can manage it... I don't want to hear "Silver Bells" just yet... I'm still eating Halloween candy.

Ok. So today, I was going to lunch with a friend. As I made my way to the restaurant, I'm happy to report yet another thing that pisses me off: Annoying Kiosk Salespeople. There's one booth in particular that sells lotion and salt scrub. It's located at the main hub of the mall - right near Ruby Tuesday's AND Cinnabon's (so you know I have to walk that way whenever I'm in the mall, which isn't all that often - so you know it's important that I get there in a hurry...).

The sales people run out to meet you - and then say, "Excuse me, may I ask you a question?"

"No thank you," I say, keeping a slightly faster pace.

"But I only have one question..."


This pisses me off because I feel like mall halls are neutral. I shouldn't be badgered while in transit. (Must... get... to.... Cinnabon's....) Sometimes the pesky cream peddlers actually follow for awhile. It's actually invasive. The hall is Switzerland - I should not be harrassed while on neutral travel ground.

What I really want to explain to the guy is that I am not his victim today or any other day.... but that would mean I'd have to stop and give the PCP an opportunity to blurt his question out. Perhaps if I got a "Not Today's Victim" T-shirt made, it would solve the problem. Maybe I could just say "Get a storefront, buddy."

Ok. What I really wanted to write about was what happened at LUNCH - when my friend got annoyed...

My poor single female friend... We were discussing her on-going issues of being an 'ex. Specifically, a problematic former boy of hers who recently resurfaced after a long absence. He said hello to her.... and I asked her how she was feeling about that.

"I didn't want to talk to him... I don't think I ever really want to talk to him. It's funny," she mused. "I'm the one who broke up with him, and yet I'm still angry."

I kind of understand. I think it's the anger of dashed hopes. In my case, after breakups, I was always angry for having poor judgement. I remember the days following after I broke up with my first real boyfriend. I had a sleepless night, a horrendous day, and came home to cry... and cried my bloodshot eyes out for about thirty seconds. I remember wiping my nose, thinking "What? Oh. I'm all right..." Even though I was the one who got dumped, I couldn't help but feeling incredibly stupid for not ending things myself. "I'm dumb, dumb dumb," I chanted.

When William Congreve said, 'Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,' he showed rare insight - except he neglected to add this: especially when that woman's scorn is aimed at herself.

Anyway, my friend was feeling crappy. She's absolutely beautiful, intelligent - and fun. She's just feeling unlucky in love - and I can tell she's getting tired of it - because the rants didn't stop there.

"Did you know Joe's getting married? Can you believe that?" (Joe is another -ex... He followed her around for years after they broke up... He apparently only recently let go - and got engaged rather quickly.)

She explained she was annoyed because for all the weird behavior he'd exhibited, he's getting married. And that's what my friend wants to be - and it's unfair it's happening for him - and not her. She then admitted to something horrible - yet so very very honest, I was sort of touched. "When I see married couples having marital problems, I'm actually kind of glad. It makes me feel like I'm not the only one suffering... That it's hard on the other side too."

Unfortunately, I have no corner on justice - or I'd single handedly leap up, pull out my SuperKell Cape, fly through the mall... Find her soulmate, and keel haul him back to Ruby Tuesdays. The only trouble is - in the time it would take me to find Mr. Perfect O'Perfect, her -ex might saunter into the restaurant - and schedule his new wife's baby shower. So in solidarity, I'll just listen as best as I can.

I'm so sad for my friend... Because she knows that her life is pretty good... It's just not what she envisioned.

I'm telling you, there's nothing worse than dashed hopes. Just ask the pesky cream peddler - upon watching me walk away from him.


Book Meme

This from Sarabeth:

1. Grab the nearest book.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.

5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!


Ok. My computer desk is next to my bookshelf. I reached straight ahead - and grabbed Dante's Inferno. "Great," I thought, "Sarabeth is going to think I'm trying to look important or heady... The truth is, I bought this book while in High school, and have yet to actually read it - so you know it's not that. Anyway, imagine my surprise when Page 123 was a full-page illustration... Now I'm all messed up, so I closed my eyes and grabbed another book. This from "Life of Pi:"

"There was a bumping and scraping sound against the hull of the lifeboat."

I don't think I can read much into this - but there you have it!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shot this Week