Archive for January, 2009

Grandma’s Bid

January 27, 2009


     I have some super sad news to recount. I know this is a safe place to write about it because my grandma doesn’t have a computer and is scared of the internet.

I was at grandma’s house 2 weeks ago and I brought my smaller keyboard with me. It’s a Yamaha 61-key piece of fun.

I’m a musician, Di. Of course I have more than one keyboard. Don’t worry. My full-size was still safe at home. 

So, grandma lives alone in a senior community and she doesn’t really socialize with her neighbors much. She has dropped most hobbies and was beginning to worry me. It seemed she was throwing in the towel on life which made me upset on numerous levels. So I told her I’d comet over and we could jam a little. Then, if she liked it, she could keep the keys for as long as she liked. She used to play when she was younger. She even told me that on her honeymoon, at a hotel in Hawaii, she played Claire du Lune from front to back by ear for a crowd of people!  I wanted her to rekindle that love of music. And it worked! She was gaga over having the instrument in her house. We jammed for a couple of hours. Some tears were shed, some laughs were had, but mostly, it was just awesome. Just all around.

Of course, grandma is very particular that everything in her house…and life, have its place so this bulky keyboard, albeit mid-sized, was not going to fly. She said that no matter how much she liked it, it was too big and her cleaning lady would have to squeeze around it because she’s “chunky.”

I set out on a journey through the land of ebay to hunt and gather a 49-key version of this jewel. And I did! It was perfect. Perfect size, perfect function. This was it. I was SO excited when it finally arrived at my house.

There was some jostling around inside the package which I figured was the power adapter. I cut open the box in anticipation…and found…

a keyboard…

and a pile of 15 shards of plastic where the keyboard had been shattered!














Grandma's Bid!

Grandma's Bid!




I still have not told her. It was supposed to be a surprise but now I guess I’ll need to find a new one and spare her the dream crushing truth…that she could have had THIS one but it was used as a step stool for an elephant.

It’s ok. She’ll be none the wiser. I’m currently taking it up with the store from which I bought the item. They’ll yell at ups for being so rowdy and apparently crushing grandma’s bid with a hammer.

And before you know it, Di, she’ll be rocking out and she’ll be the talk of the town. And all of those neighbors will be begging to hang out with MY GRANDMA.


With an awkwardly long hug,


A Church, A Mosque, A Temple

January 16, 2009

Dearest Diary,

     What religion do you follow? I know your mom is Jewish but I don’t recall being invited to any bat mitzvahs. So I guess you don’t practice?

Well, you don’t have to tell me. Maybe you haven’t decided yet. I’m cool with that. Likewise, I don’t know if I told you, but I have embarked on an expedition, Di!

Yes. An expedition. 

My friend Ilona Pamplona and I have begun a LEARNING expedition. We are visiting a new worship service every week or so. One from every religion we can think of. The only rule is that we cannot go to a church of the religion that we grew up in. Mostly because that would be boring and would defeat the purpose.

No, Di. We’re not shopping religions, although it seems like YOU want to… We’re just interested to know what they’re like. We’re kind of like Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network. 


Guy Fieri

Guy Fieri

Only we don’t have spiky bleached hair, we’re not searching for tasty food, and we’re not men named Guy Fieri. But we ARE  looking to find something we didn’t know before.

So far, we’ve visited a Baptist church. Now Ilona Pamplona and I both had preconceived notions of what this would be like. We imagined, as I’m sure you are right now, people singing loudly, women in Sunday-goin-to-meetin hats,


Look at the secret little girl in the bottom right corner.

Look at the secret little girl in the bottom right corner.

a rambunctious preacher, and a firey passion that would intimidate most people.

No no no, Di. I THOUGHT you would think that. But you live a sheltered life and could not be more wrong.

It was one of the most laid back experiences… The people could not have been more welcoming (not at all intimidating), it was rather reserved, and for the most part, people were dressed as you would see any other human on the street. I have to admit. I was a little disappointed. I wanted to see something radical that would blast me in the face with the diversity of this world in which we live. I did not come in contact with anything all that diverse. So far, we have remained, unfortunately,  within our comfort zone. But you know what, Di, this may have been a different denomination. It may have been reformed or any of those other things that churches do to try to make themselves look cool. 

I would include a pic of this place but I’ve made a conscious choice to omit that from this entry and any other entry that reviews a religious center. I don’t want to discriminate, Di. And if I have anything negative to say, I don’t want to make anyone look bad.

Hey, maybe we’ll even start using fake names each week so they won’t know it’s us. Like maybe I’ll take your name. 

“Hello, my name is Di Burns.”

Or, no, I can’t use Burns.

“Hello, my name is Di Snears”

I like that. I just made it up on the spot.

So anyway, you’ll be hearing a lot about our expedition so I’ll stop here for now. And Di, just so you know, I’m ok with you exploring your options in the religious world but if I find out that you’ve been Jewish all along and I wasn’t invited to your bat mitvah, I am gonna be so pissed.

love, jb


ps.  Ilona Pamplona told me she ‘s about to launch a new travel, art, and culture blog so I’ll be over there soon too, making a guest appearance. I can’t wait for you to meet her.