Friday, February 29, 2008

NYT and folk music

Hey, the Times is running a bunch of stuff about the rise of folk, roots and bluegrass in the city. There's a great article here and a great blog discussion about peoples' favorite lines from folk songs here.

Check it out!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

To Molly: more work distractions.


San Diego Pics!

Hi All,

I thought you might want to see glorious San Diego.

The first picture is me on top of El Cajon Mountain, which is about 40 minutes east of San Diego. It was my 1st hike out west and it was amazing. Not only were there views all around and at every moment, but it was a true boulder scramble all the way to the top. It was beautiful.

The last 2 are my apartment, and my view over Mission Bay and the Pacific (it's pretty hazy today, sorry). But, on clear days, I can sit out on that balcony and see clear to the Pacific, and watch the sunset over the water. Pretty sweet.

I'm headed out to karaoke tonight, and then up to La Jolla tomorrow afternoon to play on the beach and mingle with the seals. Apparently there are lots of seals. I'll keep you posted.

This blog is so fun, thanks Molly!

Love, Sam.



Help with computer?

Hey, can you guys help me with computer ideas? The battery on my dell laptop is finally gone completely. This computer has crashed twice and the computer guy in Bath told me not to come back except to ask what kind of new computer I should buy. (He suggests Gateway...but I don't know.) I was just looking at Dell replacement batteries and they start at $139, so I'm not sure whether I should make that investment. Do you have suggestions?


Off to Saratoga

Good morning. I'm off to Saratoga this morning for the annual SweetLand retreat. I will hopefully also see some other old friends--and I'll drive past the homestead. It has been heartening to see how few changes the new people have made, although they did mow the asparagus patch. Hmph. Since Dad is also away until tomorrow night, I'm going to turn the electric heat on for the kitties--only to 55, though. They will have a chilly Burnt Hills experience for a day!

I sent the blog on to Grandma. She LOVED it and sends her love to all of you. The BackPack program, by the way, is up to 250 bags a week and is becoming more of a part time job than the library! Didn't I swear I wouldn't be schlepping food if I moved here?

Molly--lovely decor. I'm impressed. Maybe I'll stop by Michael's in Clifton Park. By the way, do any of you remember the name of the store that Dad used to take Granny to--before Michaels?

love, mom

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fake Flowers - visual

By popular demand: This is what the fake flower display looks like. Tasteful, right?

Also, check out where Louie demands to sit while I work.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hey, let me see if I can do a picture. Here's one I just found today on the Schenectady City Schools site. I have been doing a two week residency there for the past 3 1/2 weeks (snow cancellations...) This one shows Dad Holder and the little story the k'dg kids wrote with him in the background. If I can make it through the snow, I will travel out there yet one more time tomorrow for our finale perf. of all of the grade levels story/poem/songs.



Wow, it is so great to hear all about what you're all up to, and I love seeing the pictures. More, more!!

I had a fun New York City night tonight - I went to see Anne Lamott read from her newest book, Grace (Eventually), at Barnes and Noble. She was wonderful, of course. She read a political piece from the book, about staging a peaceful revolution, where everyone is only allowed to object to each other or foreign policy or things with which they don't agree using phrases like, "That just doesn't seem right, does it?". After reading, she spent about 40 minutes answering questions from the audience. She was asked a lot about Sam, her son, who is 18 and a half now (!!), and reported that he is in his first real long-term relationship with a girlfriend. Talking about how much he's learning, she said, "I mean, relationships, man. It's like pouring Miracle Grow on your character defects."

She was also asked how Sam feels about how much she writes about him (a question she undoubtedly fields at every event), and she recounted a story about when an interviewer for some magazine came to her house and asked the very same question. She said she decided to call the then 14-year-old Sam in the room to answer it for himself. He said that he spent his entire childhood on the carpeted floor of bookstores and libraries playing with his legos and eating cereal out of sandwich bags and befriending clerks, as they were always on tour or doing readings or whatever, and didn't mind a bit that she wrote or read about him. He shrugged and said, "I just thought that's how we were."

Afterwards, she graciously signed ALL the books people brought and bought (I brought one, bought one), and spoke to every person who waited in line to see her. When I got up there, I told her that what Sam said about just thinking "that's how we were" totally resonated with me, having a singer-songwriter father and storyteller mother. She laughed and said she felt that way too, as the daughter of a writer. She said, "Yeah, you know. Everyone gets drunk, mom cries at the end of the night. Same old, same old." It was so fun to be in her presence.

And THEN, on the subway platform home, who gets off the train right in front of us but Anthony Rapp, the original star of Rent on Broadway and in the movie!!! I saw him through the train windows as it pulled up and was totally playin' it cool, playin' it cool, and then he gets off and Elisabeth says, very loudly, and in a matter-of-fact, "whatever" tone of voice, "Hey, he REALLY looks like Anthony Rapp." And, of course, he HEARD and turned, as did most people around us, and I had to hiss in her ear, "he IS Anthony Rapp, you eediot!!" Then she got all belatedly star-struck and wispy and Kate and I had to turn away in shame and embarrassment. haHA!!!

all in a night's work.


Old photo- the Bloomquist family

Hi-- I am mostly doing this to see if I can upload a photo--hey, I did! Uncle John has been working on some of Grandpa's slides. Sam took a bunch to him when they were both in Columbus for Tommy's funeral. Tom would have turned 60 on Saturday, by the way. hard.

I'll try to identify all your relatives here. Front row:Tom, Jane (his sister) who is holding little John'e shoulders, me--looking ridiculous as always, Grandma, and Linda, Tom's oldest sister. Back row: Uncle Tony Dorn (my Grandmother Bloomquist's brother, who lived with them and was a doughboy in WWI!) Uncle Merle (Tom's dad), Aunt Susan, Win, my grandfather Bloomquist, Hazel, my grandmother and Aunt Marge, Tom's mom.

My library is closed because of the snow today! FREE DAY! YAY!
I wonder why my name is bhkeuka?

Morning with Praneeth

Oh, yes, yes, this is wonderful - thanks Mol for setting it up. Mom will have to send pics from her computer as we never were able to get the software to work on my old one... but I can certainly text:

OK, my day.

  • Arise semi-rested to the sounds of galloping cats racing across and through the three floors, ending with a crash at our closed bedroom door, in a subtle attempt to tell us it is way past time to get up.
  • Make normal American drip coffee in the overlarge coffeemaker and, once ready, drink it from the cool Brooklyn mug acquired from MBH at Xmas.
  • drop into the office to check the morning weather, news and emails.
  • AAARRRRGHH! Eighteen different windows screaming about crashes, failures, fatal errors, post mortem errors, download new security measures now, your computer's life is in dire jeopardy, etc. etc.
  • "BEC! my helpmate and tech wizard - come in hear and fix this!"
  • Two hours, $100 and many, many long online conversations with Praneeth, Mom's tech assistant in Bogata, later, I think we are back to normal. Praneeth purged and cleaned my machine from the other side of the world - it was fun to watch him work in rapid fire fashion on the screen without us touching it. Sort of like gazing at unfingered keys on a player piano.
more later - Praneeth calls, Dad

hey from mom

Wow, I have never done this before! How great to read what you are all doing--now could you just carry web cams around with you wherever you go, so I can remind you to look both ways before crossing the street and take no unnecessary risks and even warn you about tacky decorating ideas. (Granny never bought those fake flowers, by the way, Molly. She scoffed at them on the way to the "real artist" supplies. It sounds like you did a good job, though, and I especially love bittersweet in any of its forms.)

Happy birthday to Daniel. I am so happy to hear from you all.

It is snowing like crazy here--no doubt because Fate heard both Dad and I making plans to go to Schenectady tomorrow. This is predicted to be the biggest storm of the season. We'll see.

Send more photos. I'll try to take some pics of these teen cats on the railing and send them off--the pictures, not the cats.

love, mom

Hey brother and sister of mine! (and m&d, wizards both)!

Molly, this is pretty genius. I love that picture of our old house, it almost made me cry when the webpage first loaded. It looks like its time for me to mow the lawn.

So it's morning in Europe, now. I'm sitting at my desk in my office pretending to do some work (typing furiously). My day here in Lisbon goes like this:
  • Wake up, make coffee in the little stovetop espresso maker. Drink together with bread (the incredible "Mafra" bread, baked in wood-fired ovens every day by some woman 50 miles outside of Lisbon) and jam and honey.
  • Walk down the hill to the metro stop, past Praça Alegria (little park with a fountain).
  • Take metro 4 miles north to Cidade Universitária, the University of Lisbon stop and walk over to my building (Complexo Interdisciplinar).
  • Work in my little office (alongside 2 or 3 of my fellow postdocs from France, Spain and Portugal).
  • Eat lunch in the cafeteria here in the building (my Portuguese is so far limited to alfaçe = lettuce and pepino=cucumber, but I'm working on it).
  • Have a café.
  • Go back to work and then head home.
  • Go to the grocery store (Pingo Doce... the sweet drop) with Saša to buy fish/meat/potatoes and more Mafra bread.
  • Talk to Hardil at the base of the Elevador da Gloria, where he stands from 6 to 11pm passing out business cards for his uncle's Indian restaurant hidden just off the main street.
  • Cook dinner, watch some CNN international, study some portuguese, eat and go to sleep.
Last weekend Saša and I happened to be at the grand re-opening of the Rossio train station (see above) where they were passing out free tickets to Sintra (woohoo!). We took a ride there last Sunday and wandered around in the pouring rain for 4 hours. Apparently there are some beautiful palaces and the ruins of a Moorish castle (see pics of cat and me, below) but we couldn't really see anything through the rain and fog.

Moor later! Love,

Monday, February 25, 2008

Feliz cumpleanos a ti...

You know what's fun?

Singing 'Happy Birthday to You' in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Nigerian, Korean, German and Arabic. My Swiss roomie turned 32 today. Happy Birthday Daniel!


Fake Flowers

Hey, also - I have been putting more time and energy into making my house more presentable lately. Elisabeth and I recently spent an evening in the suburbs, shopping at Trader Joes and Target and marveling at the sheer size of things out there (you could fit 6 of Brooklyn's verizon stores into ONE of them in White Plains!!), and in our travels we passed a Michaels. You know, the craft store with the beads and unfinished furniture and do-it-yourself frames? At any rate, I scratched my chin and told Elisabeth that I had a very dynamic, tall, fake plant arrangement pictured perfectly in my mind's eye. She looked skeptical, but lemme tell you, I went in there channeling granny and also Mom in the rental house decorating phase and walked out of that place with some very tasteful styrofoam bittersweet and some, you could say. Oh, and some nice rocks to put at the bottom of my cylindrical glass vase. Elisabeth said it was the only good design idea I've ever had. And she's right. It looks STUNNING, in Elisabeth's words. mm hmm. Das right.

Makin' a house a home, makin a house a home.

I like this blog. I can almost see why people are addicted to spewing every last detail about their lives on the internet.

Let me splains dis to u one more times.

Hey Sam:

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Half-caf mocha extra hot skinny double pump vanilla chai latte? Coming right up!

Oh Hi!

Not much news here; I just got back from good old Starbucks where I am WELL on my way to completing my coffee passport and becoming a coffee master! It's great to have a zero stress, no responsibility job again!

My typical day:
  • Wake up .
  • Go to beach.
  • Play guitar for an hour or so (no egg timer).
  • Go to Starbucks every other day for a few hours.
  • Work out.
  • Go to Ocean Beach and watch the sunset from a cave.
  • Sing gospel.
  • Go out to eat with international roommates.
  • Go to sleep.
Life rules!

Love, Sam.


I'm the wizard of the (information super-) highway;
I travel on you road.
I don't go by car or bus or carry a heavy load...

Love, Dad

Welcome to the Holder Family Blog

Hello from Brooklyn!

Did you know that the distance between San Diego, CA and Lisbon, Portugal is 5692 miles? Luckily we are a technologically-savvy family, and, taking Mom's suggestion, I started this blog so that we can rely on the internets to keep us up to date. Here's what's going on at my house:

I'm trying to work (sort of, as you can see), but Louie is convinced it's dinner time. He started jumping all over my desk and chair and computer and being generally disruptive, so I marched him into the other room and put his birds and bugs DVD on (thanks, Mom!) so that he can rot his brain in front of the TV for a little while. I know, I know, you really shouldn't use the TV as a babysitter, but it's hard, man. It's hard.

So, yeah! Big news from this front. What are YOU up to?

Molly (and Louie)