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Your Efficient Neighbors 

Your Efficient Neighbors hang their laundry to dry rather than running the dryer.  Your Efficient Neighbors do not even OWN a dryer!  They only run the washing machine when it is very, very full; and they never, ever use hot water. 

Your Efficient Neighbors keep their home at a breezy 55 degrees in the winter, and a balmy 82 degrees in the summer.   To deal with the winter chill, Your Efficient Neighbors wrap themselves in scarves and shawls hand-knitted from responsibly-sourced cashmere. 

Your Efficient…

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The young urban gardener 

I used to live in the suburbs, where I had a biggish garden on a smallish lot.   

Now I live on the third and fourth floors of a rowhouse in the city, and I have no lot at all.   I’m still a gardener, though.   I’m just learning how to garden a little differently. 

These days, my main garden canvas is our 5’ x 15’ fourth-floor porch.  We moved into this condo last May; I planted up the porch within a week.   2020 being the year it was, I went for color: big, bright, gaudy annuals, as many shades of pink…

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To Whom it May Concern 

Dear Zoom, 

Please change Gallery view so that my own image is really tiny in the corner of the screen, the way it appears in Microsoft Teams, while everyone else’s image is full-sized.   I’d like my Hollywood Square to be just big enough so that I can make sure nothing really embarrassing is going on behind me; but small enough so that the fact that I’m having a bad hair day won’t be a distraction.   Also, I’d appreciate it if you could program the video to turn off automatically each time I decide to have…

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Ten Things I've Learned During the Pandemic 

  1. I’ve learned that on Zoom, reading glasses are a good substitute for eye makeup.  Makes sense, right?   They make your eyes look bigger.   Plus reading glasses are much faster to remove.   Extra hint:  if it’s a business meeting, go for the unobtrusive reading glasses instead of the rhinestone-studded hot pink pointy ones, much though those are the ones you really love. 
  2. I’ve learned how to make masks!    Which involves remembering how to use a sewing machine.   (I got a whole blog post out of that…
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COVID Time 

A new song to round out the year:  Plague Song #6!

 

Who is that masked woman? 

I am back to making masks. 

In April, when the CDC announced that masks were a good idea, after all, probably, my younger daughter and I went full-on Little Women, stitching supplies for the beleaguered Union troops.   Our first masks were made of whatever fabric bits we could scrounge around the house:  bandanas, Japanese gift cloths, a few disastrous efforts involving tea towels.   

Some of our early attempts were less than expert.  We call this one “Loving Hands, Made at Home,” after a favorite…

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Today's the day for a new song! 

Here you go -- latest Song of the Plague:

Words, music, instrumentals, video editing and what have you by yours truly.  

If you've missed the other three Songs of the Plague, you can find them on the Videos page.  

What to Wear to a Pandemic 

Despite the devastation of the pandemic, we are all, always, looking for the silver linings.   Yes, there is illness and death and mind-boggling economic dislocation – but look how many people have discovered the joys of baking with sourdough!! 

Here is another silver lining:  after 55 years of hopeless frumpiness, I am finally having my fashion moment. 

I just read an article in the New York Times Magazine entitled Sweatpants Forever, about how the fashion industry is collapsing and everyone, with nowhere…

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The Obvious Explanation 

Last week, I received a fat envelope, postmarked from Arizona, from the Department of Economic Security.   Never having heard of the Department of Economic Security, I nearly tossed it; but opening it on a whim, I found the cutest little B of A debit card, festooned with cacti. 

The explanation was perfectly obvious.   A couple of weeks earlier, I’d sent in the paperwork (there was a lot of it) to transfer to me and my brother control of my recently-deceased mother’s bank account.    B of A had…

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Are You the One? 

Song of the Plague #3!   Featuring the inimitable Julia Ansolabehere on the clarinet.   Other stuff done by me.  Special thanks to Steve Ansolabehere for filming the action sequence.