Category Archives: inspiration

thanksgiving wrap-up


concert in the sun room

my last day in Aurora was a real treat. Claud, my sister, set up a concert with a trio group she plays with locally.

the trio is usually a quartet, but one of the musicians couldn’t make it. so it was my sister Claud on violin, Jeanie Schroder of DeVotchKa fame on bass and flute, and her lovely husband Paul Schroder on cello.

they did two separate sets with all different types of music. i’ll ask my sister if she can send me the set list — it was pretty freaking cool.

i requested a Vivaldi when she had told me she was planning the concert for us. i filmed video of it and will post if everyone okays it being on here.

Claud and Jeanie on violin and flute, respectively, did a bunch of Telemann, which was a real revelation for me. it was the same music but staggered a measure or so. i remember it vaguely as something she played in high school. but i really heard it here. and loved it. going to track some of that down.

growing up with music / music in the family

growing up in our house — in Lincoln, Nebraska especially — there was music playing all the time. either on our stereo during wine & cheese puzzle nights and card game nights — or coming from the ever-present $50 beat-up pianos we always had, with whatever instruments we were all playing.

Grandma Pearl (our last $50 beat-up upright piano in background)

this is a picture of Grandma Pearl at my Aunt Barb’s house with what was the last $50 beat-up upright piano we had. i think my mom gave Barb our last one.

we then got a gorgeous Baldwin baby grand in memory of our Grandpa Sam when he died in the early 1980s and we moved to Omaha.

i always think the music influence came from our mom, who was a talented pianist. Mommy played a lot of music growing up, but our Dad and Grandma were piano players (and music lovers, especially Da) as well. Grandma Pearl was a talented singer as well, a coloratura soprano.

photographic proof: Daddy and Grandma Pearl at the piano

and we had a piano in Omaha when i was really little and our parents were together. though i was too young to really remember.

piano at Omaha house, November 1966
that’s left to right, Aunt Carol, Claud, Michael, Uncle Buddy, Grandma Pearl and Grandpa Irving

so Mommy would often play music when we were falling asleep at night. i always loved hearing her play — it is sort of a blissful thing i remember about my childhood. when i moved into my neighborhood here on the Upper West Side i used to hear some guy singing opera standing on West End Avenue not far from my house, where it echoed through the canyons of the tall apartment buildings. i would also hear a lot of musicians and singers practicing. now the neighborhood is more gentrified i don’t hear the music as much anymore, which i’m sad about.

Suzuki Method

Claudia and i started out playing Suzuki Method as little kids. i remember a lot of practicing and cool colored tabs on my little quarter-sized violin — the places to put my fingers….

for some reason i decided to quit violin and move on to other instruments (the ill-fated oboe year, then piano, sporadically) but my sister Claud kept with it, playing with school orchestras up through high school, then playing with friends in college and in the Redwood City Orchestra when she was working in San Francisco.

our brother, Michael, played trumpet in junior high and high school i think. if i recall correctly, that trumpet case served as a seat on many weekend bus rides between Lincoln and Omaha when we visited our dad. in high school Michael moved from trumpet to sousaphone (the tuba that wraps around your body). i liked his trumpet playing a lot.

so Claud was orchestra, Michael was band, and i was just all over the place. as usual.

another thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving 1975 (i think)
(left to right) unkown woman, Muriel Herzog, Erika Herzog (standing), unknown woman, young Christiansen son, unknown man, mom Christiansen, Michael Herzog, Jimmy Brygger (Mommy’s boyfriend)

ah, the 1970s….

the yellow and white bowl in the bottom left corner (my mom is spooning some gravy or something) is the same one in the cheese post below… freakishly.

another fancy dinner: Mommy, me, Michael, Claud

okay, enough with the nostalgia.

back to the present day.

music in the sun room

music in the sun room

it was super sunny so they reconfigured the setup of where they stood and stuff. my dad was in the front row for the whole thing — i think it meant a lot to him to be able to see Claud play.

my dad, wearing my Lucero Women & Work hat — it was really sunny

i’m a long-time Lucero fan. the most recent record, where the hat is from (i’m a sucker for merch), is pretty damned good.


my sister Claud

and so it goes…

my niece Jazzy J plays violin now, and my niece AJ is a talented singer and plays the guitar. my biggest wish is that they are in a band (i can only dream). thankfully my other two nieces, Mariel and Jessica, are big music fans as well. though they are not big fans of twang but i try to slip a little bit to them every now and again.

AJ and Jessie listening to the concert

it was such a nice day outside we had the doors open.

and then i came home.

flying home

back to figuring out next steps post-Credit Suisse.

the short-term plan in addition to job searching is to continue moving furniture around, get some progress on some digital projects i have had in the works, re-hook up my stereo and get all my music out of storage — and maybe plan another vacation for next year. it won’t be Wigginstock, of course, but i hope it will be just as great of a journey.

much to be thankful for


thanks giving

i watch this movie pretty regularly. one of the best scenes. about a birthday party but it still applies.

so much food. wow

AJ’s cool crust experience

kimchi prep

massive vat of kimchi my sister’s mother in law made. omg.

cheeses (my contribution) — the “after” picture

so much food… it was a little crazy


oh yeah! we had two turkeys and a ham. ridiculously yummy. for some reason i didn’t get a shot of the turkey


my placecard of awesomeness (made by my nieces, who know me well)…

Grandpa Herzog’s placecard (my da) — note the guy in jail

my bounty, for which i am extremely grateful for….
my first korean-american thanksgiving

pic is a little messed up but this was our blessing / table…

Chuck made this teapot burner turner thingy with his 3-D printer. so freaking cool

it’s late and i’m freezing / needing to go to bed. very short and sweet trip to Denver, which was long overdue. loved seeing my awesome nieces and getting a chance to hang with the fam at Claud’s comfy home. feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to experience this.

hanging with the homies


i love this scene…. meant to say rolling with the homies.


bittersweet memories: ancestral mug

balloon art by AJ

Feel Better Soon — on sling

yummy breakfast

homemade waffles!


H Mart (Aurora, CO)

dried filefish

dried shrimp

vermicelli – with dragon pattern



lunch – tray 1

lunch – tray 2

what i had – ramen and dumplings. spicy!


grape boba

peach boba

coffee boba







LaGuardia to Denver


waiting on a part?!?

my flight was delayed at LaGuardia. they told us they were waiting on a part for my plane. for four hours today. haven’t flown United Airlines in forever. completely full plane. as i was going to my seat and the space got tighter i had a bit of the claustrophobia. yikes.

question: do airlines ever think that maybe it takes forever to plane and de-plane because the space is so tight? maybe this is acceptable but compare contrast to my road trip flying just SUCKED.

the people at the gate were — i thought — considering what an impossible situation it was, pretty great. they handled a lot of very irate New Yorkers very well. though i still say flying has become the most uncomfortable form of travel in the US that we have today.

my sistere is so organized! i’m a calendar item!

we were talking about the upcoming fud for thanksgiving. i’m already in seventh heaven!

one of my nieces drew this. what a talented girl….


saw this picture on twitter and thought is was just so beautiful. my sister is going to play with her quartet this week. can’t wait.

cellist Alisa Weilerstein – from Tablet Mag

and then there’s the supremely talented Jason Isbell


Jason Isbell covers “Just to Know What You’ve Been Dreaming” by Will Johnson at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA, on March 20, 2008. With Browan Lollar on guitar.

I still remember the first time i saw Jason play. there was this baby faced boy onstage at a Drive-By Truckers show a long while back. i think i stood there with my arms crossed, shaking my head at this child onstage with one of my favorite bands of the time. then he proceeded to make the band even better than it was with a string of crazy great albums.

Jason Isbell hard at work, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (shot by Scott Dudelson)

i don’t auto-buy the DBTs anymore. the rock show sort of lost its luster after Jason left. but memories of those sloppy DBT / Slobberbone shows remain.

and i follow Jason’s music avidly. such a talent.

Running on Empty, The Load-Out / Stay


speaking of moms — what is this, June?!? — one of the records i remember so clearly from my childhood was a cassette my mom got me. i used to listen to it every night when i was falling asleep. regardless of Jackson Browne’s supposed / possible domestic abuse issues, Running on Empty is one of those records that just brings me back.

we got the okay to pre-order t-shirts for W’12, sort of exciting. thinking about the 12 (12!) bands that will be part of this thing, thought the following was pretty on the money….

Now the seats are all empty
Let the roadies take the stage
Pack it up and tear it down
They’re the first to come and last to leave
Working for that minimum wage
They’ll set it up in another town

Tonight the people were so fine
They waited there in line
And when they got up on their feet
They made the show
And that was sweet
But I can hear the sound
Of slamming doors and folding chairs
And that’s a sound they’ll never know

Now roll them cases out and lift them amps
Haul them trusses down and get ’em up them ramps
Cause when it comes to moving me
You know you guys are the champs
But when that last guitar’s been packed away

You know that I still want to play
So just make sure you got it all set to go
Before you come for my piano

But the band’s on the bus
And they’re waiting to go
We’ve got to drive all night
And do a show in Chicago
Or Detroit, I don’t know
We do so many shows in a row
And these towns all look the same
We just pass the time in our hotel rooms
And wander ’round backstage
Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd
And we remember why we came

Now we got country ‘n’ western on the bus R&B
We got disco in eight tracks, cassettes in stereo
We got rural scenes and magazines
And we got truckers on the CB
And we got Richard Pryor on the video
We got time to think of the ones we love
While the miles roll away
But the only time that seems too short
Is the time that we get to play

People you’ve got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait
Or you can pull us through
Come along, sing the song
You know you can’t go wrong
‘Cause when that morning sun comes beating down
You’re going to wake up in your town
But we’ll be scheduled to appear
A thousand miles away from here

another Running on Empty is a favorite: so sad and wonderful….

Sidney Lumet at his best. incredible River PhoenixJudd HirschChristine Lahti, and Martha Plimpton.

a favorite scene



someone — Mark S? (bless you!) — recently posted a link to this out of print Kathleen Edwards’ record to postcard, a record of hers i had never heard of called Building 55.

How can you not want me, it’s so plain to me
Get you that brass ring, and you’ll be complete
How can you not want me when I feel so much
Think a mind could change if we did it once

People make mistakes, so I’m asking you again
i wasn’t talking crazy with that let’s just be friends
I am verdant in my fall for you, drunkingly
Don’t know how you’re feeling, this just kills me

And my eyes are the reference of you
And my mouth is reverent for you
And my patience is an article of my time
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine

And I am Injustica
I have gone injusticed you again
I am Injustica
I wasn’t talking crazy with that let’s just be friends
And I am Injustica
And I’m not complete with your brass ring
And I am Injustica
When you resent me ’cause I say no

And my eyes are not the reference of you
And my mouth is not reverent for you
And my patience is an article of my time
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine
Me, my, mine

People make mistakes
So I’m asking you again

freaking amazing. i needed this song tonight to bear with bear with…. (a la Miranda).

the bit that cracks me up is around minute 2:00. that posh childhood friend of Miranda’s is so crazy.



i’m very excited to be planning for this roadtrip down south.

my job has changed significantly — not for the better: more stress, less autonomy, more headaches. so i really need a vacation. haven’t really had a lot of vacations in recent years that don’t involve the fam, so this one is sort of exciting.

i plan on using my friend Debra Jane’s insanely thorough website, Roadside Architecture, to map out stops to look at cool buildings, oversized statues, and stuff that i can just generally lollygag at and bliss out to in person. between her website, blog and flickr stream i’m a little overwhelmed.

these are a few of my favorites Debra Jane has taken.

Mint Bar

and are the kinds of places i’d love to hunt down.

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

King Tut Drive-in

the places Debra Jane documents, some of them make me laugh. a lot.

Lone Ranger?

this building just hypnotizes me it’s so cool. it’s mesmerizing.

Nolde Brothers Bakery Building

and i have to say that all of this planning has gotten me to thinking about maybe shifting some things / making some decisions and including furry critters like Debra Jane’s in my life. we’ll see….

darned right we're ready!