Thursday, July 5, 2007

Flying 4th of July

I spent yesterday in the East Bay with some wonderful old friends and a few new ones, too. Judy and Ben invited me to come hang out with their family and friends in their garden in North Berkeley, near my old neighborhood. I brought Ramona with me and Judy asked if we could pick up a colleague of hers who is visiting from Uganda, doing research in the field of Toxicology at UCSF. His name is Anuka. Normally I have a hard time with names, but for obvious reasons this one is easy for me. There was also Ben and Judy's niece at the barbecue whose name is Veronica.

We treated Anuka, who has been in the US for only about 5 days, to many typical 4th of July traditions - mojitos, margaritas accidentally made with rum, fajitas, spicy fruit salad, fireworks, and the strangest tradition of all, flying in a hammock that hangs in Ben and Judy's living room, constructed by an occupational therapist in order to help their son Sam increase sensory perception, or something like that. (Ben, you're welcome to respond here and explain).
I wonder if we woke the kids up with our joyful screams. I wonder what they thought was going on in the living room -- it does look a bit kinky.

This was a glorious way to end the evening, though none of us felt tired once we had our turn. It definitely made driving back over the bridge at midnight a lot easier.

New Song: (written and appropriately titled prior to the above illustrated experience)


Hollow like a bone on a desert floor
Heavy like a stone I can’t carry no more
I can’t carry no more, I can’t carry no more

Caught like a horse on a carousel
Lost like a penny down a wishing well
I think I’ve been here before
Looks like I’ve been here before

And when I look inside
I look terrified
I look terrified

Mournful as a wind on western plain
That’s how I feel when I hear my name
When I hear my name

Sometimes I dream of a different world
Where I emerge like a water pearl
And I am me again, and I am me again

But when I look inside
I look terrified
I look terrified

I have reached and I have fallen down
Everything I know just keeps on turning round and round
And everywhere I go it seems like I’m just losing ground
I have reached and I have fallen down

Sunday, July 1, 2007


I'm surrounded by art. Friday I went to an opening of my dear friends, Hugh and Mati in the Mission. It was totally happening! I saw tons of friends and best of all, a lot of wonderful new and older work by H and M. It was great to see how excited everybody was to be there with them...and the red dots were landing all over the place. Pam and Alicia quickly laid claim to a beautiful Mati original. (Not pictured because I can't find a copy of it on the internet.

You can see their work at and They're getting married in a couple of months, too.

My mom just had her big art show in Salt Lake City - it's an annual event in her garden that hosts a couple of thousand visitors over three days. I wish I could have been there. In addition to exhibiting a lot of new art, her own and that of four other artists, she was celebrating the release of her new book, "My Kitchen Table", out on University of Utah Press.

You can get it online - as well as other places. Her website is
It's a collection of her paintings as well as stories from her life in Spain. As many of you know, I've been working on a collection of songs inspired by the Mediterranean and my Spanish Heritage...much of my inspiration coming from the stories I heard growing up.

Sorry I've been absent for a while - I've been trying to keep the myspace blog happening a bit - (you know, trying to keep Blame Sally in the news), and writing lots of new songs.

Here's one:

Maps (name inspired by a brilliant CD compiler and map-maker I know)

Numbers and surveys, guides and how-to’s
These navigations, they don’t ring true
I come from ages of stone and sea
Like ink on parchment, written on me

I know I’d see it if I’d just look
I don’t need programs, I don’t need books
What can they tell me? What can they know?
I am contained here, I’m on my own

And this cold desire, the ways that I’ve been lost
And this ring of fire, the place that I must cross

Just to become
Just to become
Just to become

Before I got here, before I learned
Before the lessons when truth got burned
I came from ages of stone and sea
Like ink on parchment, written on me

And this cold desire, the ways that I’ve been lost
And this ring of fire, the place that I must cross

Just to become
Just to become
Just to become

Friday, June 1, 2007

Slippers and Songs

Friday morning and I'm sitting in my messy little office - freezing, of course, but enjoying my gorgeous Chinatown slippers, which remind me of my sister Maggie because she bought each of us and our mother a pair when they were visiting in February. Here's a picture of our gorgeous feet in said slippers.

And since I'm in a bit of a rush and my cat, Rosie is crawling all over me and the keyboard, I'll just post a new lyric and call it a day. We're off to Paso Robles today - we're playing at a winery down there tomorrow night.

I'm reminding myself in this post that in the next one I want to talk about an amazing show I saw at the Hotel Utah last Friday. Noe Venable, back from New York for a couple of days, played one of the most beautiful sets of music I've every heard. Description later.

Til soon, Monica

(photos by Tom Erikson, art by Pilar Pobil)

Morning Comes

Morning Comes, she comes, I know
Always and still disarming
Beauty in her every guise
if I'll behold it

There is a space inside my heart
Tender, afraid and lonely
Just like a bird I long to fly

These bricks and stones are only
a poor and sad excuse
and all around they're falling
and underneath is truth

There is a tree that I've called home
Although at times quite barren
nevertheless it is my own
My own to cherish

Morning comes, she comes, I know
Even when darkness is profoundest
Into the light I am reborn

Friday, May 25, 2007

Introduction to Sweet Tomorrow

Hello! I'm starting a blog! Everyone else is doing it, I guess I'm finally catching on to the excitement. What can I say, I'm slow about these things. It's kind of like when I finally got a computer - I waited until they started selling the cute iMacs in trendy colors before I finally conceded to the need.

Embarrassing but true, and hey - it's all about personal disclosure in these electronically, practically anonymously connected times, right?
I was reading a story in the New York Times Magazine about the new paradigm for up and coming musicians: basically, mystique and glamour are passe, it's all about access, baby. It's up close and personal. It's intimate. Here I am, entertain you.

Speaking of which, a lot of you reading this are probably Blame Sally fans. So I'm telling you right now - if you're expecting the rest of the gals to participate in this experiment, think again. They prefer the old paradigm. I'm hoping that if I focus enough on ME it will provoke THEM enough that they'll finally decide to dip their collective big toes into these foreign waters. As my next door neighbor Howard used to say when we were kids, Time Will Tell. And honestly, who can argue with that?

As previously promised (see above referral to self obsession), I've decided that at least in this inaugural post I'm going to talk about a personal project, one that I've been thinking about and working on for the last couple of years, though I haven't really done much in terms of final wrapping up.

But before I throw myself into that, I'll at least reveal the choicest tid-bits in the Blame Sally March to Glory. I can't resist. Last week we were Number One on XM Satellite radio's XM Cafe. (XM 45).
I know you all know that because I sent out an email to everybody I know already, but it just feels so good to say it. Number One. (followed by Amy Winehouse and Tori Amos, btw). They've been playing Severland, If You Tell a Lie and Fillmore Street regularly, with some longer 3 and 4 song spins that delve into the whole album.

For those of you who are not privy to the sordid ways in which the music business actually works, let me tell you - getting radio play in commercial markets without the backing of a major label and shitloads of money is no mean feat. The innocence with which we are often approached by friends, family and fans who say - why aren't you getting played on the radio?; why aren't you being nominated for a grammy?; why aren't you headlining the Hollywood Bowl?, - it's touching, but oh, if they only knew.

I've never forgotten a long conversation many years ago with one of the VPs of Publishing for Disney Music - he loved the demo CD I'd given him for consideration, actually said it was the best thing that had crossed his desk in a year, but he felt that my "Image wasn't right" (read: you're not young enough, you're not skinny enough). Isn't it strange, it did seem to me that image is easier to manufacture than a good CD, but that's just how out of touch I was. He would be putting his money elsewhere. I think that was the year Britney Spears broke onto the scene. Dang-it, I should have been a Mousketeer! Hee, hee.

Hey, I wonder what's happened to that guy? I'm still doing my thing, only now I'm older and, unfortunately, less skinny. Thank God for the new, glamour-free paradigm. Thank God for the more Glamorous Sallies. But enough about those beauties, back to my current indie project.

My mother, a painter, is from the island of Mallorca. She is publishing a book this month of her paintings and stories of her life - folk, fiction and memory. While helping her transcribe some of her writing I became inspired to write songs about my own feelings for, and relationship to, the Mediterranean. In the last seven years I've been to the area five times, both to visit friends and family and to perform with Blame Sally. I thought it would be fun to publish lyrics here every once in a while, and hopefully it will inspire me to finally record the 12 or so songs I've written for the collection. Here's the song that starts out the cycle of music. Hopefully I'll be recording it very soon.

Preamble (as if you haven't had enough) - in a story called "The Arrival", my mother wrote of the time she left the Island of Mallorca when she was 5 years old. The civil war in Spain had not yet begun, but it was about to. Her father was an admiral in the Spanish Navy who would early on be assassinated while being held captive on the island of Menorca. But before that nightmare started, her father was taking a trip to Barcelona and took his 2nd to youngest daughter, my mother, Pilar, on this trip with him.

She remembers the excitement of leaving Palma in the early evening, the waterfront would be crowded with families and well wishers waving off the evening ferry to Barcelona. And as they pulled away there was an awesome sense of excitement that they were going to the Mainland, to the real world. On the westward bound trip they would follow the setting sun, sleep on the boat and wake up in the big city.

But in this story, she also writes of the return trip - and that was the part that inspired my first song. The boat from Barcelona also left in the evening and would arrive to Palma with the sunrise. While visitors to the island would still be sleeping below, the islanders would all come up in time to watch their beloved island emerge in the light of dawn. In a way that seems quite unique to island people, they experienced enormous pride and love for their "Little Rock".

Se Roquette (Little Rock)

There she is,
rising up like the Venus
from the green, salty deepness
calls me back to her arms
like a dream
little rock of the misty morning light
of the blue sea
calls me back, calls me home

Wandered far,

followed all of my passions
lost myself in the vastness
like a wolf in the night
drank of wine
stole the fruit from the table
like a child in a fable
out of sight, out of mind

There she is
strong and sweet as tomorrow
holding all of my sorrow
like the burden is small
like a dream
little rock of the misty morning light
of the blue sea
calls me back, calls me home