I heart Durham

I just got back from a remarkable trip to Durham, NC for a audio storytelling workshop at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies.

Here are a few highlights from my trip:

1.  Seeing Christian Marclay’s Video Quartet (2002) at the Nasher Museum of art.  Marclay gathered clips of musicians playing and singing from films of all genres and time periods.  Then, he used the clips to create a new and epic musical composition that is played on four wall sized screens.  The linked you tube video has crappy sound, but gives you an idea of what the piece looked like.  I thought it was interesting that the museum didn’t want you to photograph the piece, but the artist himself has appropriated all these scenes from movies that he didn’t make.  What an interesting fair use situation.

2.  Watching the Durham Bulls play.   The team doesn’t play in the same stadium as they did in the movie Bull Durham, but they the  famous bull still sits left filed that lights up and blows smoke out of it’s nose when someone hits a homer.  It was also fun to learn that the Bulls are the minor league team associated with the Rays, Mike’s parent’s favorite team.

3.  Relaxing on giant Southern porches and under even bigger trees.

4.  We worked in partners to create our audio narratives, and I got matched up with Joanna, an English teacher from Silver Springs, MD (strangely, my friend Melissa’s hometown).  Joanna reminded me of what I will likely be like when I am in my fifties.  She is endlessly curious (she must have pulled every book off the shelf in the center’s library), does things like suggest we get on the bus in a place we’ve never been going the wrong way so that we can meet some people and see some scenery, and is sarcastic and hilarious.   We laughed the whole week, to the point I think we started annoying the other groups a little.  As someone who normally doesn’t work so well with others (it’s an only child thing), I was so grateful to be her partner.  I’ll let you know when our piece, which is about an 84 year old man that owned an alligator when he was a kid, is uploaded onto itunes.

5.  Everyone in Durham is into eating local and organic, and the caterer the center hired for the week was a killer cook named Noah.  Noah is a young, vegan, recent Oberlin grad that blew our mind every single meal.   Mike’s little brother David lived in a house full of vegans during his last semester at Oberlin, and his family was worried that he wasn’t getting enough nutireints and food.  All I can say is that if David lived in a house full of Noahs, he would have had a happy, happy belly.   Noah transformed stuff that sounds gross to me–Quinoa, kale, beets, lentils, and the like–into heaven on a plate.   Most of the vegtables were grown in a nearby garden, and it made me realize that the quality of the ingredients is much more important than what you do with them.

Overall, it was a magical week, and I want to put my newly acquired skills to work, so email me if you (or someone you know) has a good story to tell.

My new friend Naomi, pictured below eating a popsicle, just posted this on her facebook page…

back, motivated, inspired, and feeling more grounded.

Make that two of us!


Heard in Court last week

A defendant was in court for violating conditions of his parole.  The violations included things like failing to take a drug test, failing to complete drug treatment, and not reporting into his probation officer.

The Probation Officer told the Judge that the Defendant admitted to Probation that he used drugs in May 2009.  The Judge asked when the Defendant tested positive for drugs and the Probation Officer said that he had tested clean several times, including two days after he admitted using drugs in May 2009.

The Judge turned to the Defendant and asked him when he last used drugs.  HIs response: “Well, I thought I used drugs in May, but I guess I didn’t.”

The Judge asked him what he meant.  Defendant’s response: “Well, I said that I used drugs in May, but then the Probation Officer just said I tested clean, so I must not have.  I must have just been really drunk.”

Fourth of July

We drove up to San Francisco Independence Day this year, and the Fourth was pretty much a perfect day.  First, we had breakfast with my best friend Anne and her boyfriend, James, at Tartine.  Yum, Yum.  On our way back to Anne’s, we stumbled upon a magical forrest hike right in the middle of San Francisco.  Sophie had a lot of energy after being cooped up in the car for the long drive,  so she loved running up the hills and through the trees.  Then we packed up and headed out for our good friend Rita’s family winery and ranch in Saratoga. On our way out of the city, we stopped for sandwiches at Lucca deli on Chestnut and Steiner.  The Italian on super sour dough was phenomenal, and this deli the newest addition on my “must visit” list of restaurants in the bay area.

As soon as we got to Rita’s, we went for a horse ride through hills overlooking the entire bay area.  Then we set up our tent in her parents back yard and ate an incredible feast of tri-tip steak, twice baked potatoes, homemade guacamole, and a plethora of desserts.  There was one called “better than sex” cake, which of course inspired a string of smart ass variations from my husband.  “You should try my ‘Almost as good as a handjob’ brownies,” he said at one point.

After dinner, we hiked back up the hill to watch fireworks.  We were so high up that we could see shows from about four different cities in the bay area, and the firworks looked like they were below us instead of above our heads, which was disorienting but amazing.

Here are some pics.


It’s always helpful to keep a tall guy around when you’re making margaritas.  Somebody needs to pick the lemons and limes from the tree tops.


Yeah, Rita!


After watching the fireworks we went on a frog hunting adventure with one of Rita’s friends that works for the gov. fish and wildlife dept.   We all had our pictures taken with this special guy that only had one eye!  I wish I’d gotten a head on shot, so you could see the missing socket, it was pretty cool/strange.