Nov 1 2012

Happy Halloween!

halloweenBest holiday of the year. Hope you and your little peeps had a good one. Could it have been more gorgeous out?

For us, those golden years of all our kids trick or treating together are fast retreating in the rear view mirror. Seconds after I took this photo, Saint James was off, quite literally, like a bat out of hell to meet up with his buddy.

I stood there holding my camera watching his tiny gold lamé clad body and giant afro streaking away. He yelled love ya! without turning around.

What can you do? This is simply how it goes.

All good.

Oct 23 2012

Summer Nugget: Just Keep Dragging Your Kids to Stuff

astronautalisI was scrolling through pictures on my phone the other day and stumbled upon this one from the Bastille Day Block Party this summer. As is increasingly the case, we had a moody Saint James on our hands that day. He wasn’t digging the bands or the scene and he didn’t perk up until we ran into Creeper Bud and familia and he had someone to pal around with. Never underestimate the power of a peep.

We were happily ensconced to the left of the stage, kind of behind the speakers when the eagle-eyed Creeper Bud spotted Astronautalis milling around before his set. He is absolutely adorable, as you can see. As dapper a rapper as ever did rap. Supergirl grabbed my phone and walked over to him, we pushed the littles to follow and she got some girl to take this photo while we looked on with ridiculous grins on our mugs.

The best part of this little summer escapade, however, was Saint James’ turn around. Nothing I could have done or said would have changed his mind more than a musical connection. Having heard the song Dimitri Mendeleev on the radio earlier and talked about it with Dash (apparently, Mendeleev invented the periodic table – the kind of fact both Dash and Saint James are likely to know and me, not so much), he had his aha ! maybe this IS cool moment as soon as Astronautalis took the stage and started to sing in his inimitably intense way. He was hooked. I was happy. And more importantly, vindicated.

Because how can anyone stay moody listening to cool live music in a crowd of happy people on a perfect summer afternoon? I have to remember this episode because with the teen years fast approaching, my role as the official familial “dragger to things” is only going to become more and more challenging. I’ve got to keep dragging, but remain detached from the reactions. I need to keep in mind that it is not in my power to make anyone like anything. That maybe if I drag but I drag lightly, it’ll become more about the thing and less about the mother dragging to the thing. Right? Right.

Oct 22 2012

Music Monday: Bob Marley

YouTube Preview ImageDoctor Dash and I watched the documentary, Marley, this weekend and we were both blown away. We’ve long been fans of Bob Marley’s and reggae in general, but it turns out there’s A LOT we didn’t know.

Directed by Kevin Mac Donald (did you ever see The Last King of Scotland? Oof. Good.), the movie revealed a shy, complicated, charismatic, spiritual and talented man. I guess I knew about as much about Bob Marley as could be gleaned from a poster in a college dorm room: dreads, weed, great tunes. His short life was about so much more and this movie was not only a great way to learn about his message, Rastafarianism and Jamaica’s struggle for unity, but chocked full of awesome concert footage and photos – a complete joy to listen to and watch.

Stir it up, little darlin’.

And speaking of stirring it up . . . Supergirl and Little Red totally played me and Big Red yesterday. They came home from the park claiming that the other mother wanted to take one last dip in Lake Harriet. How well they understand their mothers. Supergirl knows how fixated I am on the “lasts” of each season – and I played right into her hand. Big Red is just always super game for an adventure, so she was an easy catch too.

It was a gorgeous night down at the lake, so unfortunately we had quite an audience as we cringed our way into the frigid water. The lake is low, making a quick and dramatic plunge impossible. With so many eyes on us, we couldn’t very well back out and we were left to awkwardly Nestea plunge into two feet of water. Of course there was no avoiding the guttural shrieks of pain, but it felt great – and the balmy 65 degree air felt like a warm blanket allowing us to sit on the beach wrapped in towels as the sun went down.

Those stinkers. It was perfect.

Let it be written. October 21st, baby.lake

Oct 15 2012

Music Monday: Queen for the Champs

2012Our boys did it again. They won the Fall State Championship. I gotta say, this little team is on fire right now – and I feel lucky to be part of it. A team is an organism – a living breathing thing, made up of living breathing things and as such, it can and will change over time. But right now, these guys are golden. And I’m not just talking about the wins.

They are good kids in a good place. They are kind to each other and they are gentlemen on the field. They work their tails off – they really do – but from the outside, it doesn’t even look like work because they love soccer. They are serious and they are goofballs – like 12 and 13 year olds should be. They are strong and fast and elegant – individually and together. They are, in short, a total joy to watch. And although I can only speak for the little guy below – a total joy to parent.

santiSo in honor of the champs, a little Queen. Freddy Mercury, in his chest-less black and white unitard is just beyond. What a voice. What a loss. And it’s interesting to note that there’s a biopic of his life in the works. Yay!

Happy Monday y’all. I can’t get this stupid grin off my face.

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Sep 24 2012

Music Monday: Nirvana

21ccd83b5593ecaed7b7b09b5bcfa2aed935b208Apparently Nevermind was released 21 years ago today. I remember when Dash, Dolly and some other friends road tripped to Boston for fall break, they came back with this CD. It had blown their minds in the car and I distinctly remember Dolly loading it into the six CD changer in our living room, pressing play and letting us listen for a minute before saying listen to that bass! It made me giggle – partially because Dolly was talking like a boy, partially because the music sounded new and weird compared to all the classic rock we had been loading up on during those years and partially because she was totally right.

We were 21 – young enough to claim this album and this band as our own, but barely. For people who were teenagers and preteens in 1991, this is it. All of it. Hearing any song off this album out in the wild (and by that I mean out in the world) never fails to give me shivers. This is music by youth, for youth, of youth.

And just listen to that bass. Lithium.

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Jul 26 2012

Meet the State Champs!

stateOh, the jubilation that preceded this picture! Makes every iota of driving, of sweltering or freezing on the sidelines, of washing long stinky black socks totally worth it. And really, truly, the title couldn’t have gone to a sweeter group of kids. Good sports, hard workers, soccer lovers. They are good in many ways.

As far as championship games go, it could not have been more dramatic and nerve wracking. 1:1, into overtime and then a shoot out. I literally had to do some yoga breathing it was so intense. I’m not sure I’m cut out for this kind of sports stress.

They sure are, though. HURREFFINGAAAAY!!!

Jul 19 2012

Summer Girl

Lou_Sunset_069Photo by Kathy Quirk Syvertsen

When Red Vogue emailed me this picture she took of Supergirl, I gasped. It’s so beautiful . . . and those legs. Those legs are no longer the awkward flailing crazy legs of a little kid. They are the legs of a big kid. A coordinated, water loving, game-for-anything bonafide big girl.

Oh, my heart. We are on the verge.

I suspect Red Vogue already had this picture in her mind’s eye when she proposed a dusk dip and photo sesh to Supergirl. She knew Supergirl would do exactly this, because Supergirl approaches everything in her life from a place of yes, why not? and then how about . . . ?

I need to be more like her.

Jul 2 2012

Music Monday: Azalea Banks for Maestro de Bife

Azealia-Banks1This one goes out to my brother, Maestro de Bife, on his thirty-sixth(?) birthday. Can that be? Dang, bro, you’re getting up there! At least I’m not the only one. Sheesh! Nevertheless, happy birthday to you over there and down under!

I love this girl. She exploded onto the scene with this song last year and I’ll say one thing about her: SHE DIRTY. M to the B will surely appreciate her ferociously fast foul mouth.

I know I do.

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Jun 6 2012


shadowdancingThis past Sunday, I found myself standing in a park at twilight, watching my son and a group of his friends sprawled on a big green hill in the distance. They had been there for hours, celebrating the end of 6th grade with pizza and frisbee and water balloon shenanigans, and now a cluster of them had simply dropped onto the grass – haphazardly like a handful of strewn pennies, and far enough from us to avoid the hook. These kids have been around long enough to know that a cluster of newly arrived moms means another twenty minutes, easy.

Bone tired and barely able to string two words together after my weekend at Notre Dame with my old friends, one would think I might have been in a hurry to go home and get to bed. But lucky for Saint James, my list of ailments after my weekend of debaucherous catching up included a swollen knee (I was disinclined to climb the hill), no voice (I couldn’t yell for him) and more emotion than my heart could bear.

In my addled state, I actually had to step away from the other parents before anyone saw me welling up. I walked a few paces toward the hill and simply watched. This is how it all starts.

Kids in the grass. Talking. Talking.

The funny thing about a reunion, is that it really does play tricks with your sense of space and time – especially if you also happen to have a group of friends who are balls to the wall and ALL IN from the second their feet alight from cars and planes in South Bend. It was as if no time had passed. We partied like 21 year olds partying like rock stars and that’s not something this mother of three gets to say out loud. But we did.

And these friends, who for months, sometimes years at a time have been so far away from me, were suddenly within arm’s reach. Space and time collapsed so that I felt like a 21 year old and a 41 year old at the same time. As if by magic, I was the girl who squandered words and time and laughter like they were going out of style. Who assumed the world to be chocked full of lionhearted boys who would always make me laugh and soul sisters who understood everything about me.

But now I’m old enough to see how lucky we were and to be acutely aware of the pleasure of laughing again with the people who have, hands down, made me laugh more than anyone else in my life. This kind of connection is not a given, it is a gift and to have gotten that gift as early in life as we did, is nothing short of a miracle.

There is a wit and a wildness to my friends. A keen sociability, an inability to sit still, a yen to stir up trouble and an insatiable fun tooth. I got a good arts and letters education at Notre Dame, but it was with my friends that I learned the important things. The stuff about people and friendship and love. About making yourself happy and making other people happy. About planning for fun. About being grateful. About having a nose for adventure. About pleasure and laughter.

About noticing.

And so it is because of you guys and thinking of you guys, that I found myself standing alone in a park, letting my son linger on a darkening hill with his friends.

Because I know that this is how it all starts. And I know that this is everything.

Apr 23 2012

Music Monday: Bobby Brown

Why not? I’ve got nothing but wine and time, so Imma gonna set this bitch up to publish tomorrow. Sorry, sheesh. I just read an amazing article in the Atlantic about Kanye and I’m very linguistically suggestible. Just google it- to link would take too much effort here with my phone in the airport.

The truth is sometimes a song crashes back into your life and makes you laugh and dance and vow to memorize the choreography in time for your 20th reunion – just in case – with your old friend Patrioouuk whose visit was in itself, a glorious a crashing back.

Brilliant. Funny. Brilliant. What d’ya say, Nugs?

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Mar 21 2012


Saint James got a phone for Christmas because it was time. It’s a cheap little phone, not a smart phone. He can only use it to text and call. This way, when he roams, we can reach him and he can reach us. For the first couple months the phone was languishing somewhere in his room, usually out of batteries. Now it’s fully charged, in his pocket or in his hand at all times.

A few days ago, Dash heard it vibrating when he was saying good night to Saint James. Saint James played dumb and pretended it wasn’t his until Dash found it on his nightstand and saw that there were texts from a bunch of girls. They had a chuckle, Saint James was a little red-faced, but no biggie. I tried to look at the messages later that night, but he had deleted everything. Foiled.

Next came the talk about not deleting messages because we need to make sure everything is kosher, followed by the talk about being a gentleman and a good guy and a good friend in person, but especially in writing.

He seems reasonably open to our talks, although the texting is definitely on the upswing. Dash and I are doing the dance – all a’dither with each other about our kid texting with girls, but totally chill about it with Saint James, because it’s no big deal – you know, guys and girls should be friends. We’re trying to convey the rules and parameters, while giving him space and respect, while still letting him know we have an eagle eye on him, while allowing him to feel like his own person, while spying on him, without him feeling like we’re spying because we’re not really spying because everything we’ve read and heard says parents need to monitor this stuff, while not embarrassing him, while embarrassing him just enough. It’s a pickle and I, for one, am floundering.


This morning I picked up his phone to see if he had stopped erasing messages per our talk and I was horrified to find that the texting with many girls has jelled into an awful lot of texting with one girl. An AWFUL lot. And aside from the purposefully atrocious spelling and grammar, these texts were surprisingly substantive. They texted about books, movies, soccer, the new kid, homework and I had to stop reading because it just went on and on and on. Dash came home from work and I was in a state.

I don’t know how to feel. I know this is normal. I know this is good. I’m happy he’s able to have a seemingly normal friendship with a girl at the ripe old age of 11. I’m happy he’s a social creature. I’m happy someone else gets to see what a good kid he is. But but but . . .

I just feel like I’m standing on a cliff, the winds of change whipping fiercely around me. And I’m ill-prepared. This is my baby boy we’re talking about.

Mar 12 2012

Music Monday: Radiohead

radiohead-09Jan2012062224260000How could I not? Doctor Dash and I travelled to the ‘Lou for a quick 24 hour get-away to see Radiohead and dip our toes into the lives of our dear friends, Dolly and Soul Daddy. Radiohead is one of Dash’s favorite bands, and so, by virtue of exposure, proximity, osmosis and all the rest, one of mine too. He’s the one who spearheaded this adventure, however, and for that, I am grateful.

Not only did we get to have our minds blown by one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen, for realz, we got to do it as two little anonymous people in St. Louis, swallowed up in collective adoration of the band with their very cool, happy, energetic fans. And not only that – this complicated, heady, loud, bad-ass show was sandwiched between lots of beers and laughs and nibbles with Dolly and Soul Daddy. We got to love up their kids, peer around their cute house, perch at their kitchen island and listen to their tunes, while they kept us fed, hydrated, giggling and on-schedule for the show. It was a blast – as lightening quick of a frolic as is humanly possible, with as many words stuffed into 24 hours as humanly possible, but so very satisfying for every little corner of my heart. The shimmer lingers on. YouTube Preview Image (As you can imagine, I was swooning during the entire show, but I swooned particularly deeply when they played this song. I love it so.)

Jan 14 2012

Forever Young? We can certainly try.

I love this lady. I aspire to be this lady. Bring on the pink Mary Janes and culottes. Last weekend My Little Spring Roll talked me into going to what is basically a spinning class at our yoga studio. I had seen this class on the schedule, but truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have tried it but for the dangling carrot of some time with my friend. As I huffed and puffed and giggled at her attempts to tilt her bike with her tiny little body, I thought to myself: how lucky am I? At this point in my life and where I live, I am absolutely surrounded by women who love to move, who love to try new things, who love to laugh and break a sweat. I’m a yoga girl, and usually a solo one at that, but lately I feel as if not a week goes by without a text or email from someone enticing me to go for a walk, go to a hip hop class, go snowboarding, go to a dog park, go dancing. (Oh, the dancing. Fountain of youth, right there). Lady Tabouli has even taken me for a steam with the Jewish old ladies a couple times. Divine! I’m friends with more than a few crazy triathlon gals, but they know not to come a knockin’.

As I grapple with what it means to be over forty, I can’t help but think about the state of my body. Not necessarily because of how it looks, but because of how it feels. Or how I want it to feel. Those days of college dieting and forcing myself to the gym are a distant memory and shit, good riddance. Now, I’m grateful to have the time, the means and mostly, the health to be able to move my ass. We exercise for ourselves, and for the selves we will be in 10, 20, 30, 40 years. We exercise to figure ourselves out, whether it be a piss-ass mood or an eternally tight shoulder. We exercise to find our bliss.

My friends, I’ve been trumpeting this for a while, but I’m officially putting it out there: I am all about the limber. Limber body = limber mind = limber heart. See an adventure with your eye, say yes with your mind, chase it with your body.

What are the chances Pinky Tuscadero up there isn’t one happy old biddy?

Much thanks to all you movers and shakers. You inspire me.

Nov 14 2011

Music Monday – Evolution of Western Dance Music and the Lovely Lykke Li

interactive2Check out this cool graphic depiction of the evolution of music. It’s sort of mind boggling and I can’t help but think of the spread of contagion – of the musicians, elders, kids and dj’s carrying this music from place to place back when music had to move physically, if it was to move at all. Heady, no?

Also, on this very tired Monday morning after a late arrival from Boston last night, I just want to curl up with the musical equivalent of a warm fuzzy blanket. Enjoy Lykke Li’s cover of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – so pretty, as is she. I’m intrigued by her because she’s quirky and weird – the kind of girl who would put bells on her ankles and sing a cappella in a public square. She played to a sold out First Ave last night while we were on an airplane hurtling through the night. I would have liked to have seen her, but I wouldn’t have traded this weekend for a hundred shows. We went for Dash’s cousin’s wedding, and in an absolutely jam packed weekend, we got to squeeze in lots of fiercely lovely time with our family and all of our East Coast peeps. It was intense, fun, and as always, bittersweet. I miss everyone. YouTube Preview Image

Nov 7 2011

Music Monday – Dawes

dawes_img03_hiresThese fellas were here on Friday and thanks to Creeper Bud and her uncanny knack for winning things on the radio, I got the see them perform twice. During the day they played a short set with lots of Q and A from The Current’s Bill DeVille at the tiny Minnesota Public Radio UBS Forum. They are adorable, talented, and so very soulful. They guys looked rumpled and sleepy but sounded anything but – and listening to Taylor Goldsmith’s honest and thoughtful answers to DeVille’s questions just made me love them even more. Being in that intimate space allowed the story telling to shine, and really that’s Goldsmith’s strength. The words, his words, are very beautiful. That night at the packed and sold-out First Ave, the four of them morphed into a bigger louder band and they completely swallowed up the adoring crowd. Goldsmith looked almost feral at times. Not sure why, but I am always taken aback when a folksy, Americana band starts to shred. So good. Here’s Time Spent in Los Angeles, by Dawes.

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