November 2008

As many of you know, I’m a Republican.  If you didn’t know this about me, may I refer you to an article in the New York Times Sunday “Style” section that referred to me as a Bible-reading, steak-eating Republican. 


Them’s a lot of adjective and all of them are true.


This year, I was a reluctant Republican, I might add. I very much espouse the platform of the Republican party but I’ve been a bit disappointed by my own this election season.  If you are horrified by my Republicanism, please know that I have a few close friends who are liberal Democrats and they still love me.  So there.  One is my friend, Missy.  She is a wonderful friend for many, many reasons including her passionate commitment to victims of domestic violence.   Her career as a parole officer (yes, she was licensed to carry a gun and she knew how to use it) morphed into a victim’s advocate for the state of North Carolina.  The things Missy’s knows would curdle your milk, friends.  Anyway, equally impressive to her passionate support of victims of domestic violence is her support of two things that couldn’t be more diff – Obama and moi. 


I know! I find that hysterical, too.  But all I can say is that Obama and I are two very, very lucky people.  Obama and I have reaped the rewards of Missy’s tireless commitment, unceasing adoration and kind and constant words of support. 


So it is with pride that I post this picture of my oldest and dearest friend, Missy, with the POTUS.  That’s Miss on the right. I’m sure you recognize the POTUS.  NOTE:  I am working on how to import this photo…I promise. 


My brother is a banker. Well, that’s not exactly true. He works at a bank, but he’s not really a banker, per se.  He’s really a sports marketing guy who dresses up every day in a suit and tie and pretends to be a banker.  He likes his job – it allows for cool travel, interesting people and some impossible-to-get tickets to some way sick sporting events.  But what he really does is play the drums.  He’s played since he was a kid and my mom tried to “soundproof” our downstairs den so he wouldn’t bother the neighbors (or my dad).  Recently, my sister-in-law tried to soundproof their basement so my brother could play and wouldn’t bother the neighbors (or the baby).  Neither effort was successful, but my brother has worked out a drumming schedule around naptime.  Since I absolutely adore my baby brother, I wanted to pass along some exciting news about his band (along with a note from him).   The Balsa Gliders rock and have been exceptionally supportive of 365 Nights, even giving me the shout-out at a recent and gi-normous outdoor music festival in Raleigh, which was very, very thoughtful and all those drunk people dancing with their eyes closed would agree.


I got a drumset in the 8th grade. And now two decades, a wife, three kids, and a mortgage later, I have apparently found myself as the drummer in a band. Over the years, The Balsa Gliders has consisted of three lawyers, a Mongolian miner, a librarian, a doctor, a PhD, a judge and a priest…and now a banker.

Below is the link to our new album on iTunes (“Danceable in Victor”). It runs the gamut of styles (indie-pop,, rock) and influences (REM, Wilco, Replacements, among others) so there should be something for everyone. Give it a listen and, if it suits you, maybe buy some tracks (or the whole thing…it makes a great X-mas gift). For the unsure, start out with “University of California at Santa Barbara” or “Woman I’ll Find a Way.”

Feel free to pass this along (we’re going viral).


Thanks for your time.


Charla’s Brother














Danceable In Victor
Balsa Gliders 2008 Deep South Digital / Balsa Gliders

Genre: Rock




Okay, I’m going to talk about something that might be incredibly touchy in my neck of the woods.  In fact, I might peeve even more people than I did when I blogged about half-birthdays (which I thought was really funny, I might add…)


Anyway, has anyone even heard of this Elf on the Shelf phenomenon? Well, Google “elf on the shelf” and you can find out everything you want to know…and from a tiny animated elf, no less.  Simply put, Elf on the Shelf is a little elf that you purchase (of course you have to buy it, silly) who keeps an eye on your kids during the holidays.  Elf is the one who “knows” what your kids wants for Christmas and reports back to the big guy.  He sits on a shelf and lords over bad behavior with a discerning eye. And in my ‘hood,  Elf on the Shelf also pulls off shenanigans during the holidays – turns milk blue, puts the Christmas tree on the roof, turns over tables and chairs.


I mean, it’s an absolute scream…in fact, I want to scream just thinking about it.  And I really wanted to scream when my kids came home and demanded to know why OUR FAMILY didn’t have an Elf on the Shelf. 


“We don’t celebrate Elf on the Shelf at our house, kids.” I said while taking some freshly baked HOMEMADE cookies out of the oven. “And the last time I checked, it wasn’t a major holiday.  Talk to me when the banks are closed and the school are out for National Elf on the Shelf Day and I’ll reconsider.”


“Well, (insert here the name of every kid my kids know) has an Elf on the Shelf,” respond my sweet children, practically in unison.


And I’m thinking, do I respond with response that it appropriate for a first and third grader?  Or do I respond with a response that only my dear friends would tolerate (and just barely)?


This is my response for a first and third grader:


“Everyone has different family traditions, including Elf on the Shelf.  Our family has some wonderful family traditions at the holidays.”


“Like what?” they demanded.


“Well, we have our Christmas poems that everyone writes and then reads aloud to the family on Christmas Eve. We make our gingerbread houses.  We have our two children from the Angel Tree program and we buy gifts for them. We go pick out the tree together and then Daddy decorates it while Mommy sits in the corner sipping wine and wondering how soon that big honkin’ tree will start shedding.  Lots of good stuff.”


“Besides, tell me how Elf on the Shelf adds value to the real meaning of Christmas…which, in case you’ve forgotten, has nothing to do with Santa, elves and presents.”


“I know,” mumbled my first grader, clearly defeated by infallible logic. “It’s about Jesus, and Mary and Joseph and the angels and the wise men.  And Jesus’ grandfather, God.”


Well, he got that very nearly right and that’s all I needed.


But here is my inappropriate response to a request for Elf on the Shelf…


Why are people messing up the curve on Christmas?  In this world of stuff, stuff and more stuff, why do we need an Elf on the Shelf? Why do we need another “legend” to perpetuate at Christmas? Is the centuries old tradition of Old St. Nick not adequate in today’s world?  Doesn’t he do enough?  Is Rudolph getting stale?  Is Hermie passé? What about Frosty – doesn’t anyone care about how he’s doing? And how about the legend of the candy cane, and of bells ringing and of coal in stockings (really, that one’s outright dead and buried). And now I gotta think about Elfie (who even has his own Facebook page, and I’m not kidding)?  


Aren’t we all so overwhelmed with the holiday season that we’re looking for things NOT to do?  And now, I have to ‘splain to my kids why we’re NOT adopting Elfie and making him a beloved holiday tradition.  Just one more way I am failing my family, I suppose.


All right, girls, lemme have it.  I know many of you love and espouse your Elf on the Shelf and that I’m just one giant Ebenezer Scrooge.  All comments (nicely written) welcome….


Nov. 18th —  So I’ve been on the Book Club circuit these days.    As a long-time Book Clubber, I LOVE book clubs.  Smart women, great conversation, lots of wine – what’s not to love?  But it’s a bit weird when I attend a book club and members remind me of how much they know about me.  A few examples:


       Please don’t mind Pookie, I know how much you hate small, yippy dogs.  In fact, let me put him in the hamper…


       Would you like a tumbler of Chardonnay? I bought this giant jug of it just for you…


       You know, I work out at the Underground Gym, too!  I can’t recall seeing you there lately…


       Wrapping Santa?  Sister, I know your pain…can we just sit down here and talk a minute because you’re not going believe how what my husband’s family does…


Remarkably, in the hubbub of everyday life I sometimes forget that I wrote a book about my life and included lots and lots of details about what I like (long flowing muumuu-like bathing suit cover ups, for example) and what I don’t like (cheesecake from a box). 


Gee, those two things have got to be connected…