Monthly Archives: July 2009

First Blueberries of Summer


The woods are reclaiming our blueberry patch — ferns suddenly blanketing the ground and overtaking the already-falling down picket fence.  What we think is a gray birch crashed down the other night during a thunderstorm. The ripening blueberries, though, are still within reach.

My Bollywood Pedicure


As close to India as I’m getting today.

JK Wedding Entrance Dance

This video recently went viral for good reason. I share it here in the event that you didn’t receive five links to it yourself.  Somehow I think this couple is going to have a happy life together.

Lame Claim to Fame (#lameclaimtofame): A Treasury

The hashtag #lameclaimtofame surfaced yesterday on Twitter, prompting a flood of lame claim to fame memories for me:

I trespassed the Akropolis and made out with the Fulbright Director’s son at two in the morning.

I was an extra in a Fisher Stevens After School Special.

My father was the runner-up Marlboro Man.

Harpo Marx once stood up my father.

I once drove Linda Hamilton to a radio interview. We talked about the horror of teen girls self-cutting.

I am distantly related to Pocahontas. Seriously. My brother did a genealogy chart.

The wife of MTV founder Bob Pittman asked for a bulk discount on my Day of the Dead Box to give it as party favor at her husband’s 50th birthday party.

The intern on my incense book worked as nanny for one of Danielle Steele’s daughters. She had to sign a serious confidentiality agreement.

I’m told Annie Potts referenced my Mexico books for her kitchen renovation.

A friend of a friend of mine once got set up on a date with football player Joe Montana.

John Shea was sweet with my daughter after a Symphony Space Selected Shorts reading at The Mount. He showed her how he marked his script with where to breathe.

I chased after Ruth Reichl at Spencertown Academy to tell her she’d left her lights on. She replied: Lexus turns itself off.

Realizing that I have too much respect/sympathy for Jodie Foster to post my lame claim to fame about her.

I co-starred in the early 80s MTV hit video “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger.

I saw Andre 300 (lead singer for Outkast) in the Windows Lounge at the Four Seasons Los Angeles.

When I was 17 and she was 19, I sang a duet with Joan Osborne in a feminist experimental musical about teenage alcoholism in Omaha.

I acted in a student film made by Charles Eames’s grandson.

I went to high school with Benjamin Bratt (he knew me a little) and Naomi Wolf (she didn’t). Other alumni of our high school (Lowell in San Francisco) include Carol Channing and Bill Bixby (the Incredible Hulk).

My English landlord in Oakland had as a young man dated Julie Christie.

I eavesdropped on Cameron Diaz talking about her sunscreen woes in the locker room at Canyon Ranch.

Sam Shepard once gave me his seat at a sold-out Joseph Chaikin production at the Mark Taper Forum.

I once passed Jerry Brown on a trail at Esalen. And I saw Leo and Gisele canoodle in a pool in Baja.

In summary, at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts: I was Jessica Capshaw’s counselor and I checked Juliet Prowse and Gene Hackman (not together) into adult art camp. Richard Pryor’s daughter, Rain, was there, too.

Susan Orlean may be distantly related to William Shatner, but I took ballet classes with his daughter at summer camp in Colorado.

My father once saw Marilyn Monroe cross Washington Square (actually, I don’t think this is lame).


My great great grandfather chatted with the Emperor of Brazil on a park bench in Rio.

I once dated a boy who knew Jerry Garcia’s daughter. Said she looked just like him.

I waited in a checkout line behind Annie Lennox at Bell Market on 24th St. in San Francisco (sighting disputed by husband).

My mother-in-law has seen Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep (not together) at LaBonne’s Market in Salisbury, CT.

I’ve spotted Al Roker and Karen Allen (not together) at the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market.

I saw Jane Curtin in the parking lot at Guido’s in Great Barrington.

I fondled apples next to Sam Waterston at Guido’s in Great Barrington.

I waited in line behind Daryl Hall for the butcher at Guido’s in Great Barrington.

I snuck into Sammy Cahn’s house  (invited by friend who was housesitting) and hoisted his Oscars (they’re heavy).

I had dinner with the inventor of the Pill. He recited a poem he’d written about his poet wife’s legs.

I went to junior high with Bill T. Jones’ niece.

Finally Smells Like Summer

Goose with Fresh Bales of Berkshire Hay

Disappointed as I may be about not having a family vacation, there’s no doubt today that it’s finally summer and we’re gloriously privileged to live in the Berkshires. Goose and I enjoyed a balmy romp this afternoon through this field full of fresh-baled hay.

Untitled (Let's Get Lost) by Shaun Sundholm


Untitled (Let’s Get Lost) by Shaun Sundholm

I’m sad that we’re not going to manage a family vacation this summer as there’s no break between when Dave’s Jacob’s Pillow season ends and when Annalena commences her sophomore year of high school. I keep redecorating my Twitter background wallpaper in protest with road trip imagery and I impulse-bought the above print yesterday. It’s part of Jen Bekman’s delightful Summer Reading exhibition in NYC.


Vintage Mexican Kotex Ads

You just never know where Twitter links will lead…these vintage Mexican ads are pretty darn funny. For more wonders, see sr. mexicant vintage ads.



Annalena's Spectacular Fireworks Photos

My daughter, Annalena Barrett*, took these spectacular photos on the 4th of July at the National Mall in Washington, DC. Some she took using the “fireworks setting” on the camera and others not. I have no idea how she even knew there was such a setting. Chalk it up to being a digital native

*Photos posted with permission (and if you find these images via Google image search and want to use them, then you, too, should ask permission ’cause the photographer may only be 14, but she is savvy).



Mexican Fireworks

As lovely as the fireworks will likely be at Tanglewood tonight, they won’t match the dangerous thrill and creative spectacle of Mexican castillos. Here are photos by our friend Lulu Torbet of a fireworks tower (castillo) in San Miguel de Allende.





…and an amazing YouTube video of fireworks in a little town called La Chona.

Love American Style Fireworks

Figuring out how to embed video using WordPress…and thinking about fireworks. I’ll see some tonight at Tanglewood after the Diana Krall concert.

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