Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Christmas Present to You: THRIFTING 101

I love to thrift shop. I do it for all my friends. I take my kids and they do it for all their friends. I don't know your size, though.

So, I am offering THRIFTING 101--all kinda wise thoughts about how to get the most out of a thrift store.

Merry Christmas. May you enjoy thrifting forevermore now.





Keep your standards high: say no to rips, tears and stains. The feeling that you can get anything “out” with Tide is just a feeling. If the stain is a crunchy one that is clearly just the lunch of the person who donated it, that’s one thing. The rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t wear it just as it is, don’t buy it. (You won’t hem it, sew it, take it up, tuck it, or anything else. Sorry, but I know you, and you won’t.) The exception to this rule: if something’s missing a button but has an extra one attached, I will get it.

. . . but not too high: it’s easy to be slurped up into the frenzy of “OhmygoshIjustgotthatfor65cents!!!!” Don’t lose sight of the obvious. For example, when you find a beautifully-intact cashmere sweater for $7.00 that fits you just right, throw off the feeling that it’s just TOO MUCH money. Buy it.

Pay attention to how it fits: the torture of thrifting is that it is possible—and a regular occurrence—to find something that you love that just doesn’t fit you right (too tight in the boobs, too loose in the boobs …whatever). The upside of thrifting is the treasure hunting and the comically low prices; the downside is that when you find something, it won’t be available in 7 handy sizes. Don’t buy something (even if it’s cute and cheap) if it doesn’t fit well. You’ll just put it back into thrift-store-circulation when you get it home if it doesn’t fit well. And remember: $1.98 is cheap only if you actually buy something you like. Otherwise, it’s just like hucking $1.98 out the window: you COULD have purchased a double tall latte with that cash.

Become an owner of fabric softner: okay, there’s the smell. Let’s not pretend. There’s the smell. Right now, as I write, I’ve just thrown away (and then fished out of the trash) my favorite black vinyl jacket. It stinks. It’s cute, but it’s got a significant must that I can’t seem to shake with laundry products. I’m in the process of experimenting with various smell-good softeners. More on this as the research lays itself out.

Or become a wearer-of-perfume: this is really information for thrifting 201 because probably your naturally aromatic personal smell trumps thrift-store-must with just a few items hanging in your closet and on your back, but once you begin to integrate additional pieces and branch out into coats, you run the risk of having the must overwhelm your personal essence. I believe that this could be fought off with the right purchased scent. I haven’t, of course, done this yet. But it seems like it would work.


Shirts are an easy beginning (especially at the places that sort by color). Housewares: always a sure thing for a cheap cocktail glass or a plastic plate with a picture of the little mermaid. If you’re a basket-lover, get ready to die and go to heaven. Don’t miss: men’s belts (I hover there, waiting to find a western jobby to attach to a buckle I like that’s currently attached to a belt that I don’t); tablecloths and napkins; all the weirdly smushed together accessory bins (who doesn’t need snow gloves for 25 cents?).


Any category of clothing that would cover a “trouble” spot (for me, that’s my, well, behiiiiiiiiiind, so I skip “pants”); socks; shoes (though I do watch for cowboy boots, which somehow seem different and less able to deliver an old foot fungus than your basic old shoe); women’s belts (almost always made of plastic); all the chotchky—c’mon, do you really NEED that porcelain donkey?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why I'm not cool. (And also a list of my TOP 5 Dream Concerts.)

I feel like it's time to set the record straight: I'm not cool.

There. I said it.

I did not arrive to music-writing via The Ramones or The Violent Femmes or any sort underground railroad of coolness. (I took the bus marked "reeeeeeeallyy dorky youth group girl" through the mid-80's, walked the rain-soaked sidewalk of "painfully-self-evualuating-20-something" in the mid-90's, and rode in a gas-guzzling SUV blaring, more-or-less bad radio as the new millenium approached.) I didn't begin to find my musical self until, well, a handful of years ago. (And, don't worry--now I drive a Honda.)

I didn't have my first real oh-this-is-what's-so-terrific-about-live-music experience until a year or so ago. Pete and I went to see Robert Earl Keen with some friends at a big hamburger place/music venue that mostly sets up for college kids and we yelled our heads off (okay, maybe it was just me yelling my head off) and squished up to the edge of the stage and screamed CHRISTMAS SONG (because that is one of his best, after all) and we left sweaty and when I walked out I thought, "That's what people mean when they say they like to go to shows."

My best concert before that one? Get ready: Amy Grant. Hold on. Here's the deal. There was a time (back in the pre-Baby-Baby/per-Vince-Gill/pre-bad-pop days) when she was the voice of one girl talking from her heart for those of us in jr. high who couldn't. I know I loved that concert for the same reason we all love concerts--somebody's up there pouring your heart out for you, or yelling or laughing their head off for you: it's you up there. Really, it's you.

Here are the five concerts on my list that I really want to see before it's all over for me:

#5: Robert Earl Keen again. That one was easy.

#4: Gillean Welch. This girl sings real songs. And I would want to see her in a bar with those wagon wheel tables and wood chips on the floor.

#2:Dan Zanes. I've never seen him, and I think he's doing with his life what many of us want to be doing: having a good time while he's helping other people have a good time too--plus I want to get up close enough to figure out what product he uses to get his hair to stand up like that.

#3:Daniel Lanois & Emmy Lou Harris together. This would be a sort of marriage-dream come true--my all-time favorite artist singing with my husband's all-time favorite. I would need backstage passes to make this dream real. And a new outfit. Yeah. And cowboy boots for Pete. Yeah.

#1:Barbra Streisand. It's true--this will be the real concert event of my lifetime. ALL THAT DRAMA! I will have experience YEARS of emotion just by SITTING (and, um, paying $1000). It will be the pinacle of the-artist-feels-for-me experiences. Really.

There. I said it. Now you know.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


It's all the buzz! We did our guest dj set for Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, and my 6 year-old chose Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" as one of his picks. You can't believe all the BUZZZZZ about it--I mean . . . . there's like tv crews, news reports, bloggish uproar. . . um, I mean Bill and Scribble Jim and I emailed about it.

In order to set the record straight to ALL THE PUBLIC who are TALKING ON AND ON about this, I pose this question: What's the strangest song your kid has ever loved?

I mean, when I started listening to the crazy mix of 80's songs my friend Sunshine put together for me for my birthday last year, I didn't really expect "Sister Christian" to be the one that my boys (6 & 4) would be yelling, "play it again!" about from the backseat.

C'mon, let's put together a list: what are the strange ones that made you shake your head and go, "Really? You like THAT one?"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Pretend Interview with Barbra Streisand

(This has been lovingly moved from my website over here to my blog, where it will live on in perpetuity. . . in my opinion, everyone should sit down with Barbra in their mind and let her ask you questions.)

A pretend interview wherin Barbra Streisand asks Ginger Hendrix Oprah-esque questions about her music, her life, her self.

Pretend Barbra: Ginger, are you surprised by the sudden success of Macaroni Boy Eats at Chez Shooby Doo?

Ginger: I don’t want to sound immodest, Barbra, but I’m really not. We’re hungry for real music—music that tells the truth and doesn’t shy away from words like (if you’ll excuse me) “potty” and “stinky.” We want to sing what we know to be real. All this singing about rainbows and unicorns has left us with a gaping inner space that is crying to be filled.

PB: Yes. I know what you mean. I felt that way when I filmed Yentl. Before we get ahead of ourselves, how did you get started on this journey, if you will, to music?

G: Interestingly to me, it was a path I happened upon, stumbled upon if you will. I was at home with my kids (and I mean that in a life-style sort of a way as opposed to just a “here’s what was going on on a particular day” sort of way), not having, well, the BEST time of my life and I accepted a friend’s invitation to a parent participation class. I’d tried them before, but they all seemed to be filled with women whose children would sit nicely and play with a single puzzle piece. My kids, um, didn’t play that way.

PB: Um hmmm. Um hmmmm.

G: I arrived really needing encouragement and some glimmer of hope that my boys were merely, well, “active” and I got it. It was a huge relief. I’d found a landing place.

PB: I’m so interested in you, but what does this have to do with your music?

G: I play the guitar, so I offered to do the music time for our class. I was desperate for a way to offer something in thanks for the realness of the class.

PB: Desperate?

G: I really was.

PB: Hmmmmm.

G: Before I showed up the first day, a song came to me, so I shared it. The kids loved it. The next week I wrote another. And so on, and so on.

PB: So, you say that music, essentially APPEARED to you like a beckoning apparition?

G: Yes, Barbra, but less ghost-like than your metaphor would imply. I’d been studying and writing poetry [you could click here for a link to my writing group’s website, but they don’t have one] for many years and so lyric-writing was a natural extension of that experience.

PB: Before I forget to ask, what is your favorite movie?

G: Yentl.

PB: Good. Good. Now, why children’s music, and not, say, Broadway-style-soul-revealing-cabaret-without-the-deep-lightness -of-self-that-requires sort of music?

G: It was really a matter of available audience (a group of my sons’ friends) mixed with the desire to be goofy.

: I don’t really know what you mean, but I’m so interested. How would you describe your music?

G: I think you could say that my music sounds like a less-talented Etta James meets Johnny Cash when he’s in a good mood meets the Artist Formerly Known as Marie Osmond meets Stanley if he were a girl and his fish were a dog who played the guitar.

PB: Mmmmmmmmmmm.

G: Barbra, could I offer you a copy of my CD before you are whisked off to your next heartfelt experience?

: No, Ginger, please don’t. I already have a copy of my own, and you should know that I’m considering singing “Rocking My Cat to Sleep” in my next show—a “thrio,” possibly, with Dan Zanes and Gillian Welch.

G: Thank you, Barbra, thank you. That would be a dream come true.