i heart sea monkeys...and trashy celeb gossip

You know, I'd never thought about it before, but celebrities are, in fact, a lot like Sea Monkeys

janet reno sings the hits

Just admit it; you've always wanted to see a video of Janet Reno singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Well now you can.
Here's another good local blog I'm enjoying these days...

the slacker mom chronicles

My child had a school project in which he was supposed to spend the last few weeks looking for license plates and writing down what states he sees, with the goal of finding all 50.

Today was the day this was due, only we forgot to do it and he had zero.

So instead we got up a half hour early and went to several truck stops before school, where we drove around and looked at the license plates on the parked 18 wheelers. It worked out pretty well. He got 28, plus Ontario...


I like throwing parties and I haven't had one in a while. I'm thinking I will throw my first-ever Oscar-watching theme party on March 5...

elliot's story

I posted my littlest's take on the Cinderella story a few weeks ago, but now we have his accompanying illustrations.

I like the picture he drew of her losing her toe.


Rob & Derek now have photos up from Friday night. As you can see, a good time was had by all, including me ;-)

don't eat the ponies

I admit it; I'm a hypocrite on this issue because I do eat cows and chickens and even pigs (which are a lot like dogs in temperament and intelligence), but damn it, I just can't go in for slaughtering American horses for snooty Frenchmen to scarf down. I'm anti.

the untexan

Thanks to D.E. for the tip to this very entertaining blog.


I have a friend (no, this really isn't about me) who is REALLY pretty and rather well known around town, as she is on TV here every day. And really, she's just very, very pretty. And smart. And nice. And single.

So she met this guy, who asked her out. They made definite plans and he was to call her Friday afternoon to firm them up (time he'd pick her up, etc). I saw her out with some mutual friends Friday night looking rather glum. The guy never called Friday. And she tells me this morning he hasn't called since.

Why do men do things like this? I don't get it.

current listening


word o' the day


catastrophic: extremely harmful; bringing physical or financial ruin; "a catastrophic depression"; "catastrophic illness"; "a ruinous course of action"


U.S. detaining insurgents' wives

You know, I think for everyone concerned about our policies with regards to Iraq, there are certain stories that touch them in a very visceral, emotional way.

For me it's this one that's punched me in the gut.

I am horrified by the emerging info on this practice. I also just saw the on-air version of the story on ABC Nightly News and they ran video with it showing U.S. soldiers grilling a woman in her home as to where her husband was, while another soldier kept a machine gun pointed at her three little children, backed up against a wall of their living room and huddled together in terror.

I feel literally ill.


The show I went to see last night at Barley's was really fun. I looooved Jetpack. So adorable in their geeky chic wallabies. And they had electric piano! And handclaps! If they had just had a cowbell and a disco whistle I might've keeled over in joy.

this made me happy

This most recent AMazon review of the book I wrote on parenting babies and toddlers made my day.

Thanks Jane Lumley, whomever you are. I, too, am so happy with the way parenting in this way is showing up in my children's personalities and lives as they grow.

currently slogging thru...

Along with an enduring sense of utter confusion over our bizarro ending, my recent coup de foudre got me a bit interested in jazz for the first time ever. That stuck with me, though he did not (yes, yes everyonewholoves me, I do know it's all for the best.)

So I've been slowly watching this series. I am not enthralled but am learning a lot and very much enjoying bits & pieces of it.


my weekend entertainment round-up

You can read my picks for best entertainment bets of the weekend RIGHT HERE

robert, superhero bro


This is my little brother, Robert. He is my lawyer and financial advisor. He's just a wellspring of advice, actually, much of it unsolicited ;-)

But today I am very, very happy with him. You see, he has relentlessly pursued this horrible ex-landlord of mine for the past three years and has finally wrung some money out of her. She was my slumlord in Sequoyah Hills and the children and I finally had to move out of the house I rented from her after an electrical fire in the basement. We had already had major problems with no heat and air, falling masonry (onto our heads. in the shower), etc, etc

And when I moved out for these reasons, she had the gall to SUE ME.

This irritated Robert. And when he gets riled up by something like this, he will not let it go until he is satisfied. He countersued and countersued again. That was three years ago and now, after much legal wrangling, unless the woman appeals to the state supreme court by the end of today, the gig is up and she lost.

Thanks baby bro. You rock.

PS: This photo (below) is my favorite one of Robert. It was taken a year or two ago somewhere in Latin America. This is what he looks like when he first wakes up.


the james frey fracas

I write a lot of personal essays that get published, for which I am paid money. For several years, I made most of my writing income on personal essays.

Last May, I had my most personal of personal essays published in the NYT. It was about my divorce and the custody disagreement I dealt with. I worked really hard on it and it was edited very thoroughly by the good folks at the NY Times. It was the truth, and it didn't cast me or the other primary player in the event in the most flattering light, because divorces are messy, nasty affairs.

But it was the truth.

Immediately after it was published, my ex contacted me to tell me that he couldn't imagine why I had published this passel of complete lies. I was flabbergasted. He told me that, in his opinion, several of the incidents I described literally NEVER occurred and that others were embellished. He continues to hold this opinion.

So here's where it stands: I will tell you unequivocally that every word in that essay is true and he will tell you it's made up.

Who is right?

Well, in the case of the stuff that's in our legal filings, it's easy enough to track down the truth, should someone want to. But in the case of conversations we had that were without witnesses, he remembers some of them one way and I remember them another way.

Just as each of us would tell you different reasons why our marriage ended, each of us will recall different details/versions of how the break-up went down.

I have accepted that his story is different than mine. The one he tells people probably isn't the same one I tell and I've let go of feeling that I have a right or need to "set the record straight." It's his life and he owns his own story. He can tell it however and whenever and to whomever he chooses.

But I also own my own story. In fact, I am at work on a book about it. As I am writing, I am constantly aware of the importance of telling the truth while balancing sensitivity to the feelings of other people who have played a role in my story.

This is how I can't understand how James Frey thought he could get away with his HUGE lies in his book "A Million Little Pieces." In his case, there is no disgruntled ex claiming details of certain conversations played out differently than they did. That would be different. Frey somehow thought he could make up things like an 3 month prison sentence and get away with it.

Memoirists are going to piss people off becausem if they do their job right, they tell the truth about things that others remember differently. People are going to nitpick details and nuances. There is no way a a memoirist can get away with Really Big Lies when the story will necessarily have those who lived it with them picking it apart over even the tiniest details.

I am nervous that Frey's lies have suddenly chilled the market for those of us who write creative nonfiction/memoir. That would be tragic, because people telling their own stories is an integral part of human communication. It's how we make sense of our lives, by telling our own stories and listening to others'.

And as I have said before: Hey guys! Listen up! If you don't want to end up in her art, don't sleep with an artist. I think sometimes men like the idea of being with a woman who paints or plays guitar or writes unless and until she creates work that portrays him in a way that isn't as he sees himself.


my friday night plans

Rob & Derek have put together another great lineup (thanks guys) and I am really looking fwd to this show. I've never seen The Rockwells live.

You should come too.


the dentist

I took most of today off to take my two youngest children to the dentist. Jane did just fine with her dental work. All she had done today was sealants put on (she finally has enough permanent teeth to do this). She's a trooper and never complains and has a very high pain tolerance. Once, when she was 6, she had to have an emergency root canal (she has really problematic teeth) while traveling in France with her grandparents and apparently she hopped up in the chair, followed the dentist's instructions in French perfectly and never made a peep of complaint.

Elliot, on the other hand, is a little iffy with medical procedures. I believe this is because he spent his first three weeks of life in an oxygen tent, with an IV in his tiny noggin (that's where they put it in newborns) and a tube up his nose. He went on to have several other major medical problems in his toddler years -- and they were not pleasant.

He hasn't had any health problems since then - and he's in second grade now - but he's wary of the entire medical world.

Because of Elliot's fears, when I chose this new dentist off my new dental insurance plan, I was sure to explain that I wanted a dentist who would allow me to stay with my children during any procedures, if the kid wanted me to. "Oh yes," they assured me on the phone. "No problem."

So today we went in for his first visit there with me (his father took him the last time). They inform me -- in a scary tone right in front of this visibly wan, frightened looking little kid - that he needs a cap on one tooth and maybe two baby teeth pulled and that it will hurt, so they will be giving him a shot in the roof of his mouth. Oh, and by the way, I will need to leave him in the examining room and wait in the waiting room.

At that point, Elliot burst into sobs and clung to me like a baby monkey. I tried to calm him down and explained to the dentist that I expected to be able to stay with him and that perhaps she could reassure him that it wouldn't be that bad. She replied as if I were an utter idiot and told me that NO MOTHER should want to stay with a child getting dental work done. I told her that our last dentist had no problem with it; in fact, in years past, I had nursed my children there while having my own teeth worked on. This dentist was having none of it, though, and by this time, tears were just streaming down Elliot's face.

So I told her we would need to look into coming back another day and she said that she belives Elliot will need to be sedated to have the work done (since she can see him trembling and weeping on my lap). Great. Before she got him all freaked out, I don't think he WOULD have needed to be sedated. So she gave me the names of a couple of dentists who offer sedation for freaked out young dental patients, and we left. Nothing was accomplished and my day taken off work was sort of wasted. And I am annoyed.

Poor Elliot is now very apprehensive about going back to the dentist at all.

my blog in metro pulse

Leslie Wylie's cover story in Metro Pulse this week is an excellent overview of the development of online communities in Knoxville.

She interviewed me for the piece, and the pop culture blog I write for my job is mentioned ...


burglary denouement

I am happy to report that I am posting this message from my (DRUMROLL PLEASE...) stolen-now-recovered laptop computer! Yay!!! Yippee!!

I was able to pick it up from the cops today.

It appears to be in exactly the same condition as when it was removed from my house. All music is there and my novel and photos.

Yes, I will be backing it up regularly ;-)

single parenting

Parenting can be sort of nerve wracking, especially as your kids get older and you have to guide them through tricky stuff like school performance, relationships with peers, etc, etc. I don't know about the rest of you, but I find myself second guessing myself a lot as they get older (mine are 14, 10 and 8).

When you live with another adult who mostly likes you and maybe even loves you, that other adult can pat you on the back and sort of cheer you on on those days when parenting is hard and you are beseged by doubts as to whether you are doing it right (after all, a 14 year old and even a 10 year old are only too ready to tell you all the ways they believe you are doing it wrong).

But when the only other people in the household are your children, there's no one around to back you up when you need it or tell the kids to leave mom alone because she's tired and needs a martini and a footrub because she's been at work 10 hours and doesn't want to argue right that minute about why a certain video game is verboten.

It's even worse when you have a not-so-good relationship with your ex, your kids' father, who no longer lives with you. This is because that other person is ALSO all too happy to let you know when he thinks you are doing a crummy job or failing as a mother or sending the children on the road to a ruinous adulthood. So on top of the normal self doubt and second guessing that all conscious mothers have sometimes, there is an adult in your life who sometimes massages and inflates those doubts until they are quite burdensome.

Yet another reason for parents who share children to stay in the same household whenever humanly possible. It just works better. Of course sometimes that's not possible and then you work with what you have and try to find the positives (and there are some ways that single parenting is easier).

Random thoughts for the day from...



lloyd dobler on depression

"If you start out depressed, everything's kind of a pleasant surprise."

the blues

According to a psychologist, there is a formula for figuring out which day each year people are most likely to feel depressed and guess what? It's this week.

I had been feeling REALLY bummed out through all of December and the first week or so of January. I had a series of bad things happen and was feeling quite sorry for myself. Plus, I clearly suffer from a touch of seasonal affective disorder (I could never live in the Pacific Northwest). I was feeling so blue that it was bugging everyone around me.

But in the last two weeks I seem to have completely snapped out of it. I tend to be a sunny optimist by nature, so being blue for 6 weeks was pretty unusual for me. It's awfully nice to feel back to normal. It helps that I've had a run of quite good luck this past week...

nicollette sheridan

I guess the utter humiliation of having Michael Bolton steal your girlfriend can drive a man to kiss and tell. But it's so much more fun for all of us when the jilted guy is Swedish and speaks fractured English...


belly shot



I went to the post office earlier today to mail some CDs. Two of the CDs were in plastic cases and one was not. It was in a sleeve because I was plumb out of jewel cases. All 3 were in bubbly envelope thingies.

So I hand the three envelopes to the PO woman to put the postage on them and she starts shaking the lightest one - the one in only a sleeve (but still in protective envelope). She informs me that she cannot accept that one because she can tell it's a CD and it will be destroyed in the mail. I told her I doubted this - the envelope is pretty thick - but she insisted. So I told her I didn't care; if it got smashed up, I'd just send another copy. No biggie. She still says she won't take it.

She tells me I can either take it home and repackage it in a plastic CD case or use a video box she has handy. So I opt for the latter. But when she pulls it out, this handy box is like, the size of a VHS tape for this single CD. And I told her that the recipient lives in an aprtment and it probably won't fit in his postbox. But she repeats firmly that she will not accept it as mail unless I put it in this stupid box. So finally I gave in. She seemed really riled about the whole thing, too.

And that single CD in that ridiculous box was a big waste of cardboard and my time.

stewart pack & the royal treatment

Stewart Pack should be really, really famous. That's how good he and his band are. They sound like a cross between Big Star and Teenage Fanclub. Maybe with some Kiss and Motley Crue thrown in for good measure. They put on one of the best live shows I've seen.

So now you are asking yourself, "Gee, where can I buy Stewart Pack's latest record, since Katie raves on so about it?"

Well, I have good news for you; you don't have to buy it. All of Stewart's music is available as a FREE download at the LynnPoint Records site.

So head on over there and check it out. It's good - no...GREAT stuff.


Hey, tell me about yourself

south knox bubba is back

Check it out; R. Neal, aka SKB, is back with a bigger, better blog called KnoxViews.com.

It has a lot of features that allow "citizen journalists" to join the ongoing civics lesson known as online community. Be sure to check it out, and welcome back, SKB.

betsy's theory

My sister has decided that I am only attracted to men who are completely unsuitable for me. She thinks I lose interest in men who are "too nice." Now she wants me to seek out Baptist preachers who listen to Kenny G. (or Jimmy Buffett --SHUDDER--) or something. She's sort of on my case about it.

becky is cool

I have just laughed myself silly reading my friend Becky's new profile at MySpace. She's hilarious. Who wouldn't want to know this woman after reading that profile.

Lucky boy, that Randall B. ;-),


my grandmother

my grandmother
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

coconut grove, 1962

coconut grove 02
Originally uploaded by kgranju.
This is my mother and my Uncles John and Roger at the Coconut Grove, circa 1962

good news on the burglary front

Both burglars are in jail. Their fingerprints were found on stolen items at a pawn shop.

In even better news, I am very happy to report that the cop called me a while ago to tell me he shamed the burglar into admitting he stole my computer and the burglar says he will have the person who has it bring it in later tonight...and I can get it back next week sometime. They hadn't pawned it yet.

I have my fingers crossed.

These are some seriously dumb criminals. They never would have been caught had they not used my cell phone after they stole it and CONTINUED to use it after it became clear the # was back in my possession and attached to a replacement phone.


My eighth grade son apparently got in trouble today for asking his science teacher in class (they are currently discussing sex) whether it's possible to "sexually harass someone using chi energy."

leave drew barrymore and her breasts alone!

My celebrity gossip rant o' the day:

So Drew Barrymore eats ACTUAL MEALS and her breasts are made of human tissue instead of silicone. This is a good thing, not a bad thing, and I'm sick to death of the bashing she's taken over her healthy, normal body after her recent Golden Globes appearance.


Good for Defamer.com, the one gossipista that seems to agree
with me on the Drew issue

current listening

Since almost all my music was stolen in my burglary (sob), people have been GIFTING me with some weird stuff they think I'll like. This is one of those. It's quite interesting, though. I think it's sort of growing on me.

(Thanks Mike)

current reading

I hadn't realized Margaret Meade was married so many times...

the pain diet

The only good thing to come out of my recent, messy romantic disentanglement is I think I've lost about 6 pounds...

more on the burglary saga

The investigator called. They nailed this Kyera person for pawning a camera reported stolen from another North Knox house the same day of my burglary. They have just sent a police car to her work to arrest her for that and hopefully, when they bring her in, scare her enough to spill on the boyfriend (who is actually stealing the stuff she then pawns).

She admitted on the phone to the investigator that she has my cell phone (says she didn't know it was stolen -yeah, right) but doesn't know anythig about my computer and other stuff. The investigator believes he MAY get her to 'fess up to where it is when he talks to her quite sternly today.

She's definitely going to jail, though, at least for a couple of days, because she has some other outstanding misdemeanor burglary charge for which she did not appear in court.

I am cautiously optimistic...

matt edens on schools

My friend Matt has an excellent op-ed this week on the schools issue I deal with as a parent who owns a house in a "transitional," historic, city neighborhood (in fact, he references my dilemma in his commentary).

I do disagree with him about vouchers, however, as I wrote in this commentary.


I just found out from Benny, the station manager at WUTK that my favorite band, Wilco, is coming to Knoxville March 16, to play my favorite larger venue, the amazing and newly restored Tennessee Theatre.

I am really excited about this.
I went to see two bands tonight at The Corner Lounge and was having a perfectly pleasant time when an overly aggressive guy literally drove me out. He offered to buy me a drink. I said no thanks. I moved to another spot. He followed. He would not leave me alone. I finally had to leave. This irritated me. I had brought my knitting and he wanted to chat me up about what I was knitting. I moved again. I gave him every POSSIBLE signal that I wanted to be left alone and he wouldn't. It was really annoying. The only time I was left alone all night was when I was having a very nice chat with the singer for the Westside Daredevils.

Who teaches men that this is a good strategy? Who tells some guys that women who change seats, say no to a drink, etc, etc want them to keep trying? Do single men have to deal with this when they go out? Overly aggressive, don't-have-a-clue women following them all over a bar? I'll bet not.



I've only been dating again (since my divorce, three years ago) for about 18 months now. I gave myself about 18 months before that to get over the break up before so much as having coffee with someone. That was a good plan on my part. But for the past year and a half or so, I've been dating various folks.

SOme of it has been fun. Some of it has been notably, hilariously awful. One of the best things that's happened is I made a very good new friend: Dr. Neighbor. We started out dating last winter, but realized after a month or so that we were actually meant to be really good. platonic friends. And so we are. (He actually has a newish girlfriend at the moment who seems absolutely great.)

Dr. Neighbor is the kind of wonderful guy friend every single woman needs in her life. He takes very good care of me, even when I am being petulant or brooding or difficult. He never holds these spells against me. Recently, I was being very petulant and brooding and difficult because I was in the process of desperately trying to make a relationship that clearly wasn't meant to work, work. Then I was brooding and cranky because it ended in a very weird, inexplicable way that I still don't completely understand. (The good news is I no longer have any interest in figuring it out. It's very fucked up, but not because of anything I did except believe everything I was told without question. That was, I discovered, not a good plan.)

This week, Dr. Neighbor gifted me with a hilarious book. I read it last night and now I am even less interested in figuring out why my recent first-foray-into-having-a-real-boyfriend went so horribly awry and ended so bizarrely. It was just the sort of silly, "you go girl!" thing I needed to read.

I heart Dr. Neighbor. I hope I can find someone just like him and have amazing NON-platonic chemistry with him and fall madly in love with him.


current listening

Best song: hip hop thighs

more on the burglary

Last night was uneventful. My children chose to sleep at their grandparents' house and I slept at home, feeling a little nervous, but the police assured me they would patrol front and back (there's an alley) and I saw them come by.

The latest is that the mother of the girl who told me as much as I know called last night. The mother says she does not want her daughter mixed up in this and will tell cops what she knows. The thief's girlfriend, Kyera, is apparently her niece. This woman is the first in the whole mess to call me from a landline - all the other #s I have are cells. She gave me the last name that comes up on her caller ID when the thief guy calls her house. So now I have a last name. I gave all this info to the investigator this morning and hopefully, something will happen today.

I am going to get motion detector lights installed on all 4 corners of my house (gotta find some handyman person to install them, if anyone knows anyone who does jobs like that).

I am very tired from all of this. It's been really upsetting and exhausting. I went by 2 pawn shops on Broadway after work yesterday looking for my stuff and just noticed there is one right under my nose near my office that is only a few blocks from my house, so I will look there today.
Via Elaine Evans:

"Nashville's The Believers, joined for this Knoxville appearance by Bill Reynolds of Donna the Buffalo, will headline a great non-smoking show at Knoxville's finest listening room, the Corner Lounge, this Thursday, January 19.

Opening for The Believers, K-town's own Lost Brakemen in their club debut, featuring members of the acclaimed local band Roundhouse.

Get you some deep-heated Americana for a chilly Thursday evening--without the smoke!"

Thanks to Elaine for the heads-up. As regular blog readers know, the Corner Lounge is my favorite Knoxville watering hole/music venue. I like The Believers a lot and although I haven't heard the new incarnation of Lost Brakemen, I liked Roundhouse when I heard them play a few months back with The Ghosts. They sound like Whiskeytown. Very good. Plus, bandmember Dustin is a good guy. I met him recently at a gathering of people working on an upcoming music-fundraiser thing (more details soon on this very cool project).

I will definitely be at this show. Hope to see you there.


frances bean

Check out this interview with 13 year old Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain (who was in my elementary school class in Montesano, Washington, by the way). She sounds like a really bright, friendly, modest kid with a good head on her shoulders. And who would have guessed she'd be a big Mariah Carey fan? Obviously, despite all her problems, Courtney's doing something right.

you go, mr. and mrs. mmm, III !!

OK, so maybe I'm the only person in America who feels this way, but I'm rooting for Eminem and Kim, now that they've remarried. I'm a romantic, and I find it quite lovely that high school sweethearts who had a child together, got all messed up, and divorced have reconciled. I choose to believe they've both actually kicked their habits and have figured this whole relationship thing out now that they're older, wiser and (we hope) soberer (if that's a word). I hope they stay happily married for the next fifty years. They can be like the hip-hop, white trash Johnny and June.

superweird burglary update

Major, superweird update:

So I never got hold of the cops yesterday and my phone kept ringing. They would hang up when I answered. I also got a few text messages for someone named "Kyera."

Last night I was at my sister's and the phone rang. I decided to let my son answer it and see if he could get the person to talk. So he answers it with "Yo, whassup?"

Wonder of wonders, the girl on the other end starts chatting with him (after asking for "Kyera") and after a moment he asks if she willtalk to someone else. She says sure and he hands the phone to me.

So I launch into my spiel about how I know she knows she's calling a number for a stolen phone and how I'm a single mom without a lot of money and all I want is my stuff back. I explained how my kids' baby pictures, etc had been on my laptop, blah, blah, blah. She hesitated just a minute before spilling her guts and telling me that the thief is her friend Kyera's no-good boyfriend, who only uses Kyera because she will drive him around to rip off houses. She gives me the guy's first name, his cell phone #and tells me where he pawns the stuff he steals. I thank her profusely and hang up, amazed.

So I called the cops and they said to call my investigator back in the morning, so I say I will.

Then my phone begins ringing incessantly from "restricted" numbers; clearly the girlfriend's buddy has tipped off the thief, who is now freaking out. He calls me every three minutes for thirty minutes, then begins text messaging me increasingly threatening messages.

So I called 911 (the guy knows where I live, after all) and ask an officer to come by the house, which he does. I explain the situation (the phone is rininging while the cop is IN my house. He even answered it once, but of course the burglar hung up). The cop says it's highly unlikely the burglar will come bu the house, but says he will have my house put on a special watch overnight. This sounds fine to me, but my children are now freaking out. It is very unnerving to have your phone ringing over and over and someone texting you scary messages.

My daughter asks to be taken to my sister's to spend the night, but the boys say they "aren't leaving Mom!!" (adorable, misplaced chivalry). So I take Jane to Betsy's and the boys and I come back home and finally get ready for bed. Henry decides to sleep on a pallet on the floor next to my bed clutching his pellet gun and a hunting knife. Eight year old Elliot climbs in my bed with his lacrosse stick (yes, I slept all night with a squirmy second grader and a large LAX stick). Elliot falls asleep quickly, so Henry and I settle in the living room to watch the and of the Golden Globes.

SO we're sitting there watching TV and I'm knitting when the dogs start barking like crazy. I walk in the front room and there IS A MAN WITH A LARGE METAL PIPE STANDING ON MY PORCH!!! I stared at him and he stared at me and then he took off into the pouring rain. So I called 911 again and the cops came back and this time, they park a patrol car on our street overnight.

The guy never came back and stopped calling and hopefully, we will get started on getting him arrested today. Plus, I hope my stuff is at this pawn shop.


current reading

current listening...

currently knitting...

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
I'm making this faux feather boa scarf for Jane (she wanted one for Christmas and didn't get it) using this Bernat eyelash yarn:


It's VERY easy to work with for such slippery, feathery yarn. Highly recommended.

things moms should not do while out with adult daughters

I like going out drinkin' with my mom as much as the next girl. And my mom is fun - often the life of the party. But I am really glad she's not THIS much fun.

burglary update

One of the things taken from my house was my cell phone. On Saturday, I finally had time to go get a new phone and then I had my old # switched over to this new phone. Within minutes - literally - of my phone being turned on with my old #, it began ringing and I started getting calls from people who would either hang up when I answered or say "wrong #" when I answered. I also got a text message from someone.

Since I was only without my phone for a few days, I assume the idiot who stole it has been using it and these are his pals ringing him up. So this morning I will call the KPD and see if they can get anywhere by tracking the thief down via one of these phone #s. I've gotten about ten calls total, including one last night.

So I have my fingers crossed.


ode to ray

You know, my brother in law, Ray, is a good guy. I had a flat tire today, and he fixed it, which wasn't easy, because it involved shoveling all the junk out of my trunk to get to the spare tire, then taking the (also flat) spare tire to be patched, then bringing it back to my house and putting it on my car. And while he was looking at my car, he realized he can screw my bumper back on so it isn't hanging askew (due to holiday run-in with nasty, intrusive shrubbery).

Ray always does things like this for me, ever since I began living sans guy about three years ago. For better or worse (yeah, I know some of you think I am an idiot because of this) I don't know how to do a lot of things like fix flat tires, turn on the pilot light on my furnace and install shelves on my walls. When I was married, my extremely handy husband did all of this stuff, but now, of course, he does not. So Ray generally gets the call and he is always so, so nice about it. I know he would rather have spent his Sunday afternoon doing any number of other things, but he never complains.

I actually foisted Ray, who was a friend of mine, on my sister, encouraging her to go out with him for a full year or two before she finally did. As I knew she would, she fell in love with him. Now they have two children.

He's a good guy.

happy news

I know a lot of my blog readers followed the story of my little cousin Ward, who died last summer.

We all miss Wardie a lot and I know the holidays were hard for his parents and brothers.

But I do have some happy news to report; James and Julie are expecting a new baby. Our whole family is beyond thrilled.

Congrats James and Julie :-) Betsy and I will be planning the mother of all baby showers....

knitting in knoxville

I am so psyched! I just found out that there's a knitting circle meeting regularly in Knoxville.

the lost savant

There's a great new, independent bookstore in North Knoxville called The Lost Savant. I'd been hearing raves about it for weeks and finally went by yesterday. It's on Broadway in the Fountain City area. It's a wonderful, small store with good books, good food, good coffee/hot chocolate, etc. I'm really excited that this place is on my side o' town. They apparently also have live music some nights. If you live in Knoxville, be sure to check it out. I know I'll be hanging out there a good bit.


I saw something amusing at Target a little while ago - the Target in Fountain City.

It was very carefully and professionally painted on a totally tricked out truck with all sorts of fancy accoutrements. It read:

"Cute but physico"

I think it was supposed to say "psycho," but I like "physico" much. much better.



I like Ben Lee a lot and I fancy this post on his blog (scroll to December 20 entry) where he tells about having a dream where he "taught Coldplay how to have fun again."

I find this amusing.


Okay, now I feel really, REALLY bad for Jennifer Aniston.

still life in sevier county, tn

sevier county
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

what to do

On Friday, January 13, I recommend that you go see/hear local popsters Angel and the Lovemongers play at Preservation Pub on Market Square. The show starts at 10 pm and you also get to see two Nashville bands, 13 Stories and Bang Bang Bang. Lovemongers drummer Eric Nowinski tells me his band will take the stage between the other two. Cover is $5. I definitely plan to see this show.

Rob Russell and the Sore losers are playing Friday night at my favorite Knoxville venue, The Corner Lounge. This would be a nother great show to catch this weekend.

Also this weekend, you can see photographer Carie Thompson's new exhibit, "Who We Are" opening Friday, January 13 at 6pm at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church on Kingston Pike. Carie's my favorite local photographer. I love her stuff, particularly her portraiture. For more info on the exhibit, call 523-4176.

On Saturday night, the wonderful Americana group, The Everybodyfields is playing at the Unitarian Church in Oak Ridge at 7:30 pm. (Although I am Unitarian, I swear I'm not purposely steering you that way. It just so happens that several good events are happening at local UU churches this weekend.)

current listening


Steven Colbert has started a mighty crusade to claim credit for "truthiness."

Very funny.


current reading

I know, I know. I am certainly the last person in America to read this now-20-year old novel, but I am. Why? Because I found it on the sidewalk on my street. Yep. It was just lying there, as if to say, "Pick me up and take me home, Katie. You should have read me back in my 80s heyday..."

But anyway, I did pick it up and took it home and am about 2/3 through it now. The first thing that I noticed about it is that it contains frequent references to Knoxville, as the place one of the protagonists believes he SHOULD be living to escape the excess and greed on 80s Manhattan. Who knew 'Bonfire of the Vanities' had a Knoxville connection?

I am not a huge Tom Wolfe fan. I find his writing a bit much a lot of the time, although I love his plots. But I feel like my hands are dripping with sticky testosterone whenever I put a Tom Wolfe novel down. There's too much verbal chest beating, especially with the dialogue.

But I guess I'll plow on through now. As I said, his plots are fab and this one is no exception.

ask jeeves

I wasn't aware that PG Wodehouse characters are now serving in Iraq

From the article:

"The blistering critique, by Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, who was the second most senior officer responsible for training Iraqi security forces, reflects criticism and frustration voiced by British commanders of American military tactics."

CLICK HERE, says Kate...

christmas '05

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
My young'uns and the Knoxville cousins

christmas '05

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

new martha stewart magazine

It sounds like I am the target demographic for this new magazine from Martha, to be called "Blueprint," but I can't for the life of me figure out what the concept is. Can you?


marrit is so right

My friend Marrit is so right about how stupid all those commercials are - the ones where people say stuff like, "Now that we have a baby, I want to be sure I have the right car insurance." NO ONE actually thinks that, right? Right?

She says:

It's more like, "Fuck, do we still have car insurance?" Or "You paid that, right?" Or "Oh, yeah. I'm totally going to pay that" and then you didn't pay it because you sort of couldn't right then because of your broke ass, or you could pay it but you just fucking forgot because you got twenty minutes of sleep and you ate some really ancient summer sausage for breakfast because you could get to it with one hand while you were holding the baby.

Read the rest right here

baby grohl

My sistah is gonna be so disappointed...because she always wanted to have Dave Grohl's baby

i love this photo of my 3 year old nephew on christmas

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
He loved his new skateboard so much that he fell asleep on it.

team aniston

I feel bad for poor Jennifer Aniston today

dear burglar,

Dear Burglar,

Perhaps you thought, when you came in my house yesterday and took my stuff, that I could easily replace it. Maybe you thought it wasn't that big a deal to take my laptop, for example, which you will no doubt sell for $100 somewhere so you can get high.

Well, you are wrong. My ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE was on that computer. I am a writer. This is how I EARN A LIVING. You have taken my notes for work in progress, half a completed novel, hundreds of family photos, and at least $1000 in digital music you will never listen to unless you are a big Neko Case fan, which I seriously doubt.

And I also want to tell you that the thought of you inside my house has inspired a primal, not-very-peaceful violent rage in me that I can't remember ever feeling before. If I had come in while you were there, I believe I would have been driven to beat you to death with the lacrosse stick propped near my front door. That's how out-of-control mad I would have been to see you in my home, near my children's toys and beds and bedrooms, with your scummy hands on my belongings.

Just thought you would want to know how I am feeling this morning,

Catherine Brittain Allison Granju


buried in...clutter - literally

A cautionary tale for those of you who collect clutter.

I myself tend to be a rather ruthless de-clutter-er. I throw everything away.

good cop

Yesterday I was pulled over and the cop told me I was:

A.) Speeding

B.) Following the SUV in front of me too closely

C.) Did not have current tags on car (still driving w/temporary tag I got when I bought the car in July)

D.) Have one brake light out

I explained very, very politely that I usually go too slow and that I didn't realize that I was too close to that other car. I told him that I would have put my new tags on but don't know how to affix them to my car and that I had no idea about the brake light. I asked him if he could recommend a good mechanic to fix it.

He was SO NICE. He did not give me a ticket and took time to show me how to put the tags on, explaining I could even use a butter knife if I don't own a screwdriver. And he wrote down the name of a friend of his who does repairs.

h and his much loved, new guitar

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

doin' the birthday mama thing. note cousin mac's small head peeking out of the corner

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

cake i did not bake

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

cousin eleanor at e's birthday party

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Jane with her Grandmere Granju at our house

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Hangin' with my kids' Granju grandparents at E's 8th birthday

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Granju grandparents and me at E's birthday party

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Elliot is 8!

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Jane and me at Elliot's 8th birthday party

Originally uploaded by kgranju.


marion winik

Here's a great interview with my friend Marion Winik about her life as a writer. If you are interested in writing or publishing, it's a good read.

Marion's memoir, "First Comes Love" is one of my very favorite books of all time.


Via my friend Susan, a very weird story about how some clergymen snuck into the Senate Judiciary meeting room and anointed the seats of Alito and Committee members with holy oil.
I've managed to remain friends with just about every guy I've ever dated. A few have even morphed into longterm best friends. So it really bugs me when I'm not able to pull that off -- remaining friends. I think it's sad when someone you've been very close to disappears from your life altogether just because the relationship evolves.

Some female friends of mine tell me that they feel very differently about this - that they do not want any sort of relationship with exes. But for me, having a relationship just disappear as if it never existed is very depressing.

current listening:


An interesting article on how progressives can/should save hunting in the U.S.


Lately I feel like the primary discipline of my parenting is to NOT react. One of my children tends to get very gloomy and whiny and my tendency is to want to tell him all the time that he needs to cheer up, look on the bright side, etc. But that's no good.

And my daughter - previously the sunniest, friendliest person in my world -- is entering a phase where she informs me that I am wrong and misguided a lot of the time. And she lets me know this via a tone she's never used with me before. And I find myself reacting negatively.

So what I'm really trying to do lately is just step back and not react, unless one of them tells me to fuck off or something, in which case I'd find it hard not to fuss at them. I am backing off commenting on the way in which they say things or the tone they use or the mood they are expressing.

It's hard, because I am a "fixer" by nature. I tend to want to control every detail of my environment and by extension, their environment. But I'm trying to let it go.


gang of four

No, not the band (which I never liked anyway).

The last survivor of China's Gang of Four has died

caption this photo


Add your prposed caption in comments section below


I really like this music blog run by Dave and Kip. And I love David's sketch blog.

David was a college sweetie of mine. He's one of the cleverest folks I know and has recently relocated from hydro-ravaged NOLA, where he lived for the last few years, back to Brooklyn.

You can (and should) buy his illustrations on his website

spying on amanpour?

This story raises interesting questions about the government possibly spying on CNN

from cas walker to jake butcher

I am producing this series for the rest of 2006. The video is really cool.


westside daredevils

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Knoxville is producing more good pop music these days than at any time since I've lived here.

More evidence of this came my way last week in the form of the new release by local band the Westside
(thanks Gray). The CD is called "Twilight Children" and it's awfully good. I heard the WSDD play on a boat of some kind at a summer festival on the river downtown last summer and loved what I heard. The new CD doesn't disappoint. It's tight, jangly power pop with singalong lyrics and a sweet, happy vibe.

Run right out and pick this one up. I know you can get it at both locations of the Disc Exchange and probably some other places too (I'll get the scoop on this).

Last Mother's Day, I had an essay in the New York Times, and until now, you had to pay to read it online in the NYT archives, but someone just e-mailed me to point out that some advocacy site that can't spell "Courts" has apparently gotten permission to run it in its entirety, so now you can read it online, here
I made my hair redder again last night, only also once again, it somehow turned out rather purple.

currently listening to...

currently reading...

public vs. private

My eighth grade son wants to go to public school for high school next year because he is feeling oppressed

He is oppressed by the khakis, button downs and loafers he has had to wear every day since he was six. He is oppressed by the fact that he cannot grow his shaggy head of hair below his ears. He is oppressed by having to attend chapel each morning when he is questioning his own religious views. He wants to go to school with more progressive kids, or at least a few more leftie Democrat kids.

He has a legitimate interest in attending a more diverse school, but he also has some misconceptions about public school, I think. He's seen "Rock and Roll High School" too many times.

He believes he will have fewer rules and more freedom at a public school, but I think he will find himself very turned off by the "school resource officers" (cops at school) roaming the cinderblock halls. He's used to being outside on a 100 acre farm setting many times each day and in classrooms with big windows that open, etc, etc, etc and I think he'll find the whole public school setting very closed up and depressing, but hey, he's a teenage boy and he thinks I know very little at the moment.

He also wants to go to a school with more kids who want to be in his nascent rock and roll band.

Oh yes, he also told me this morning (in his constant, nonstop lobbying to go to public school) that at a public school, he would no longer be the only teenager with an "unusual mom." I asked him what exactly this meant and he said that he is now embarrassed because I am so much younger than his friends' mothers - he says he's afraid people think I had him when I was 15 years old. I am now officially embarrassing as a parent for something I have zero control over: my age.

the book of daniel

I really can't figure out why all the fundamentalists are so riled up about this new NBC show, "The Book of Daniel," because it's about an Episcopal priest and they already hate the Episcopalians as wine-swillin', gay-marryin' perverts...


A blog reader has informed me that my monogram, KAG, actually stands for "Klingon Assault Group.

That's funny.


remembering robert webb

I'm an alum of  The Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN, as are most members of my family. My children's father is an alumnus of Webb School of Knoxville. And currently, I am in the process of rushing around trying to get my 14 year old son Henry's application for admission to Webb Knoxville completed before next week's deadline, so I've had Webb on my mind lately.

As it happens, Robert Webb, an alumnus of Webb Bell Buckle and founder of Webb Knoxville died over the holidays and my friend Jack Neely, a Webb Knoxville grad, has written a lovely tribute to him. I met Mr. Webb once at a Webb Alumni event here in Knoxville and he was charming and gracious. He shared some Bell Buckle memories with me and we talked about my hometown and alma mater. I told him I thought my children would likely attend Webb Knoxville, since I make my home here now, and he said he hoped they would.

Jack's article introduced me to some facts about Mr. Webb and Webb Knoxville that I hadn't known. It made me wish I had had the opportunity to get to know him beyond our one meeting.

should this guy lose his job?

My old college pal Lee Gardner ( former Knoxvillian and writer for Metro Pulse) is the editor of Baltimore's award winning alt.weekly, City Paper.

This week City Paper ran a very interesting investigative piece looking into plagiarism by one of Maryland's best-known political columnists, and it looks like the guy has lost his job as a result.

Read the story (linked above) and tell me what your take is. Should this journalist lose his job over lifting this particular material? What do you think?

Comment below.


I've been meditating every day for a week now and let me just say, it's the bomb. The cat's meow. The bees' knees. You get the idea.

I definitely have ADD. If I were in public school today, they would likely put me in the "special" classes because my ADD is so pronounced. And every day that I meditate, I find my monkeymind softening and also becoming more focused.

Meditating is a lot like running. You can't do it for very long when you first start and I am taking babysteps because I am so out of practice, but I'm getting a little more focused each time I do it.



I can't decide whether this kids' book, "Why Mommy is a Democrat" looks very cool or vaguely unsettling.

Have any of you read it?


I have a crush. And I'm trying to decide whether to tell him.

Here are some hints:

-he's athletic in a not-obnoxious way

-he's never been married

-he tosses off some pretty amusing non sequiturs

-I don't see him all that often

-He has a hat I like


Are you a mother who is also a writer? Or a writer who is also a mother? Either way, you'll dig my friend Meagan's new site.

swayze gettin' cwazy

Check it out: Patrick Swayze wants to be a rapper.


This story, about two real life gay cowboys just abouut made me cry.

elliot is eight years old

Today is my youngest child, Elliot's eighth birthday. He almost died at birth (here is a story I wrote for a parenting magazine about the support I received when he was so sick and in the NICU).




Elliot is a GREAT kid.


He's in 2nd grade, super athletic, sweet natured, a little hyper at times, and currently fascinated with WWII and "peat bog mummies."


Elliot - First day of 2nd grade

He's extremely charismatic; other children are naturally drawn to him and he's often the center of attention on any group of children.

Beach 2004 0811


He's the most "Allison-looking" of my three kids, with sandy blond hair and bright blue eyes (my other two are all Granju, with dark, olive skin and brown eyes - they look just like their father - not a bad way to look, if you ask me).

Having my youngest child turn eight and my oldest currently applying to high schools for next year makes me feel sort of weird. Because I had my children pretty young, I've defined myself as the mother of young children for all of my adult life. And now I find mine growing up just as many of my friends have babies, toddlers and preschoolers.



AT various times, I have committed to a regular meditation practice. I've been a slacker about it in the last few years but am trying to ease back into it now. I gain immediate and tangible benefits when I do this.

Here's a really good article I ran across on the basics of Vipissana mediation (the kind I do).

tom delay and the notorious (maybe) lesbian cheerleaders...

...BOTH made the TSG's list of top 15 mugshots of the year

i love pema chodron

Quote o' the day:

"Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us."

-Pema Chodron

PC is my fave Buddhist writer. She's a big believer in leaning into the things that hurt us, rather than trying to escape. This helped me during childbirth, to go into the contractions (men may have a hard time understanding what I am saying, but if you have ever given birth, you know).

more cowbell

I am going to order this t-shirt...because I just really like it.

I would also like a t-shirt that says :"More disco whistle, hand claps and space noises."

Because I like songs with cowbell, disco whistle, hand claps and space noises.

Happy New Year! Who the heck are you?

My blog traffic is way up lately. It's a good time to ask you, gentle blog reader, WHO YOU ARE.

the last bunch of search queries people used to find my blog

Google: soleil moon frye before reduction
Google: granju CPSC
Google: dr.Sears+critics+attachment
Google: elliott alison blog chicago -omg
Google: napoleon dynamite "drinking game"
Google: Pappagallo flats
Google: 14 yr
Google: Allison Crews essays
Google: kizz blog new-york
Google: depression or unhappiness
Google: "david ordoubadian"
Google: "second harvest house"
Google: jurga martini and her family
Google: taoist sayings "new place"
MSN Search: cinderella feminism
Google: oak ridge ex-girlfriend pictures
Google: pug dachshund mix
Yahoo: Sandy Fawkes



My children come home tomorrow night after 9 days or so away at their father's. I've missed them rather madly. I cannot WAIT to get them home. I am counting down the hours.

down with wilco

Today I'm listening to:

drinking: a love story

I just finished this book. I'd read Caroline Knapp's book about her dog and I liked her "Alice K." columns very much. SHe was (she died of lung cancer at age 42 a year or two ago) a singularly graceful essayist. I love her writing.

I wanted to love this book. I thought I would, but it just didn't stick to the bones. There isn't much there. It's worth reading for the writing alone. Her descriptions of the social customs that surround drinking are wonderful, lyrical things.

But the story at the core -- of her own realization that she has a drinking problem and her decision to go to rehab and quit - falls flat. I never fully believed she had a problem and her decision to get help and quit drinking altogether seems rather abrupt. I can't figure out why she went to rehab and her involvement with AA isn't fully fleshed out.

But again, she is such a good writer that I read it in one sitting (it's a very slim, little book).

happy new year

Why, oh why am I up at 7:30 a.m. after being out fairly late last night? Good question. For some reason, I woke up a while ago and can't seem to get back to sleep.

Unlike some people who sleep well after a night of drinking, I sleep horribly. And I indulged a bit last night. It was very nice of my friend Steve K. to handle the driving so I could handle the drinking. Or something like that. Oh wait. That reminds me. I have to get someone to take me to get my car, which I left parked on Cumberland.

I saw an awful lot of good music last night and chatted up lots of friends, including some folks I hadn't seen in a while. Very pleasant.

I saw Mic Harrison and The High Score. They were awesome, as usual, but the crowd there was very...odd. It wasn't a fun crowd and SK and I knew no one there, so we decamped to Barley's, where we caught some of the Todd Steed show and much of Dixie Dirt's swan song.

TS and the Suns were great. I like it when Jeff Bills is on drums and I got to visit with him some after. Dixie Dirt was GREAT. I had never seen them so energetic and happy. They always sound great, but last night they really seemed to be having a good time. Everyone else who was there was having a good time too. It was a very happy vibe. I did get grabbed and kissed by a complete stranger at midnight, but I was in such a good mood that I really didn't mind so much.

It was a fun, happy evening and I hope it signals the start of a spectacular year.

i am trying to break your heart

Finally saw this movie too (catching up this week on movies I've been meaning to see but haven't).

Mostly it's full of good music, but also gives a very interesting glimpse into the record-making process. I'd be happy to watch/listen to Jeff Tweedy sing the phone book for two hours straight,so I liked it a lot. The person I saw it with -- a musician himself and less of a Wilco fan than I am -- found it a bit tedious.