Apr 14 2014

Free-range Parenting

greenkidsI’ve mentioned this before, but Doctor Dash and I are constantly sliding books and articles to each other via night stand. He told us about an Atlantic article about how we’re overprotecting our children at dinner and he was so fired up about it, so nostalgic and verbose and downright frothy, that the kids and I were all ears. Of course, I couldn’t wait to read it and I wasn’t disappointed.

As summer approaches and we fling open our doors and send our youngsters out into the world, it’s nice to be reminded that it’s not only ok to pull back, it’s good for them. I have been trumpeting this philosophy of child rearing since the beginning days of this blog and it’s validating to read a well reasoned article supporting what I’ve always assumed were personal views shaped by my own gut feelings and a splash of laziness.

Letting kids figure out how to get around – even if it means getting lost and having moments of uncertainty – is empowering to them. Letting them brush up against strangers allows them tune into their own gut reactions and lets them feel and understand that balance of good versus bad in the world. (Hint: there is overwhelmingly more good, but you’d never know that by listening to the news). Falls, scrapes and collisions teach lessons about physics, physical boundaries and self care.

A little freedom is our way of saying to our kids: we trust you, we trust people, we trust our city. Even if we DO whisper a hasty Hail Mary prayer from time to time.

You will want to read this.

Mar 20 2013

Music Monday: Rhye

rhye-Music Mondays are turning into Music Wednesday as of late. In fact, poor Peevish Mama is becoming more and more of an afterthought, I’m afraid. Not that there aren’t a lot of thoughts. The thoughts are as abundant as always. Racing and chasing around my brain causing furrowed brow, nervous belly and angst in my chest, and then from time to time, a moment, a break in the clouds, a sign that all is well, and that I am doing if not THE right thing, A right thing, and I can laugh, dance, squeeze my family and breathe easy for a bit. Not that you’d know any of this by watching me go about my day. I am very good at acting completely normal. Maybe I should be an actress.

I think I need spring. But for the time being, I’ll just continue to suffer through these frigid days and find my warmth in music. For me, Rhye was love at first listen. Coup de foudre. I stumbled upon these guys quite by accident and had downloaded their latest album, Woman, within minutes. Seriously. The video hadn’t even ended.

A duo out of LA, they sound like Sade, but the singer is a boy and the vibe is thoroughly modern, while steeped in smooth early 90’s R&B. I kind of love how unapologetic they are about going there, like there there, like easy-listening, bearskin rug in front of a fire there. And yet, totally cool and thought provoking.

It’s exactly what I want to be listening to right now – slow, easy, sexy, warm. Damn.

And boy does this video tell a story. Enjoy your new make-out music.

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Mar 11 2013

Music Monday: Tame Impala

f6ec59cb-ac21-4255-a0c7-b0da03b29250Dash and I saw these guys a week ago at First Ave. They were really good – by turns glammy hippies and jammy rockers. They make the kind of music that gets you out of your head – songs that are sunny, psychedelic and dancy. To me anyway.

I fell for this song the very first time I heard it. It’s got everything I love: a rocking male falsetto, a sexy decrescendo and falling chords. Just makes me want to put my arms up, my booty down and groove. Which is exactly what I did.


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Feb 16 2013

The Tipping Point

valentines-day-sermonsValentine’s Day is an unofficial anniversary of sorts for Doctor Dash and me. It was on that day during our senior year in college that we cooked steaks with blue cheese in my little blue house in South Bend and finally fell into couplehood after months of being best friends and dancing around it. Actually, I was the one doing all the dancing. Dancing up close one day, dancing away the next. Dancing all in circles. A fickle whirling dervish, indeed. Dash, it turns out, is a patient man. Thank goodness for that. Then and now.

This Valentine’s Day marked 21 years of our being together. My math man also pointed out that we have now been together more than we’ve been apart in our lives. I have spent more than half of my life with Dash at my side. It’s staggering. We didn’t meet that young and we’re not that old now, so how can it be? Yet there it is. It’s simple math, and it blows my mind.

We spent Valentine’s night with the kids and we usually do, and I cooked steaks with blue cheese sauce as a small nod to our wee beginnings. We’ll get our proper date night on Saturday night when we go see Book of Mormon and then out for bites in some twinkly bar. I can’t wait.

I suppose I could say how different things are from way back when, but they don’t seem that different. Aside from more responsibility and less flannel, he and I are pretty much the same. I still look forward to seeing him at the end of the day, stepping out with him on a chilly night or lingering at the table after dinner while the kids bounce about not really clearing like they’re supposed to. Actually, when I picture any after dinner scene, I guess it is different. Perhaps I’ve forgotten how footloose and fancy free we once were.

But you grow, adapt and live, with the days piling up behind you at an alarming clip and then one day, you tip. Which means not much more than a moment in time to look back and to look ahead and be grateful.

I love you, Dash.

Jan 28 2013

Music Monday: Twin Shadow

twin-shadow-slideA few weeks ago I wrote a little Music Monday post dedicated to Dave Brubeck and my musical romance with Doctor Dash. That was by no means to suggest that we agree on errythang.

Sometimes I’ll happily bust out something new in the kitchen and he won’t bite. I mean, he’s never as effusive as I’d like him to be. Even when he loves something, he won’t come out and say it with many many descriptive words and animated gestures like I would. Imagine.

I dig this band. A lot. But to quote Dash: They’re a little too Corey Hart for my taste. To which I say, you can never be too Corey Hart.

I understand that he’s not as drawn to a dramatic, diversely coiffed, divaesque, daredevil lead singer with delicious derring do as I might be, but he’ll come around.

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Dec 10 2012

Music Monday: Dave Brubeck to Solid Gold

UnknownI can’t be 100% sure, but I think Dave Brubeck was the first concert Doctor Dash and I went to as a newly married couple. Brubeck died last week at age 91 and hearing the news made me think of that night in some hotel lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dash and I had been to a bunch of concerts together before, but none like this. It was kind of a swanky scene. We sat at a cocktail table with a candle on it right up close to the the stage. We were 27, but it felt like we were playing at being grown ups. Cocktails, live jazz, plush chairs.

Brubeck seemed impossibly old and impossibly sweet. Also, impossibly talented. I remember we both loved it, but I don’t remember much else about the night. What strikes me now, in retrospect, is how little of an inkling I had about how much going to see music was going to be our thing. Like in our marriage. As a couple. It’s just something he and I have always done together, in every city we’ve lived in and in many different venues.

I do not take this for granted. I do not take it for granted that my man will scootch up behind me in a big hot crowd at a loud loud show and be as happy as me. I do not take it for granted that he’s always turning me on to new music. I do not take it for granted that he’ll humor my incessant need to put words to what I hear, to attempt to describe and compare in order to understand. I do not take it for granted that he’s willing to take a gamble on some band or some person just because I have a notion that it’ll be good – and vice versa – because it is good, better than good, 99% of the time and fully worth it 100% of the time.

mnmusicfan_1350926289_121008-SolidGoldAnd so it was on Friday night when we had tickets to see Solid Gold at First Ave. Putting aside a long, busy, tiring, under-the-weather week, we drank a cup of green tea, tucked in the kids, sealed up the house and stepped out into the brisk winter night at 10:40 pm. The band was awesome – dashing and cool, loud and swoon-inducing, but very graciously Minnesota and obviously beloved by the crowd. We danced and cheered and clapped and were filled up with beautiful, heady, music – I’m still thinking about the show three days later.

The shimmer.

And I don’t take that for granted.

Enjoy a little Dave Brubeck. Enjoy a little Solid Gold. Two stops on my musical romance with Doctor Dash.

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Nov 5 2012

Music Monday – The National

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In honor of our national election . . . get it? I know, LAME. But these guys are anything but.

I’ve been meaning to throw The National some Music Monday love forever. They are a long time favorite of both Dash and mine. Both albums, Boxer and High Violet, are on frequent rotation at our house.

Their music is, flat out, beautiful. And on this tense, gray, damp autumn day it sounds just about perfect.

Oct 27 2012

Shine your lights, bright mamas.

mama1A couple years ago, when I was auditioning to write for Simple Good and Tasty, they asked for a picture. Of me. Jesus! I thought. What does my face have to do with anything?

I’ve got tons of pictures on my laptop, but as I scrolled through vacations, lazy days in the backyard, snowmen shots and birthdays, I realized I wasn’t actually in very many of them. My first reaction was to blame poor, hapless Doctor Dash. I swear, sometimes that guy does not know what dramas, unilateral brawls, injuries and slights have unfolded in the time it takes him to walk down stairs and say hello to me in the sunroom. He is a patient man. But also, there are a TON of pictures of him and he looks like a handsome devil in most of them. It’s totally unfair.

It’s like I don’t even exist! I railed.

What about this one?

UG! That’s hideous!

What about this one?

Humongous zit!

What about this one?


What about this one?

Could I look more olive green?

What about this one?

Double chin.

What about this one?


What about this one?

Horse face.

That is only a mild exaggeration. Turns out, there were actually some pictures of me, just none that I liked. And as I thought about it more, I realized I’m usually the one holding the camera, which makes it very hard to be in the picture. But if I am being completely honest with myself, there are also many times Dash might have offered to take my picture and I might have demurred. After all, I am far from picture ready most of the time. Make up, hair, outfit and mood rarely come together so that I’m jumping in front of the camera. I rarely put pictures of myself on this blog because it feels showy and self indulgent and also, post-worthy pics of moi are about as rare as hens teeth.

So when I read this LOVELY piece by Allison Tate over at the Huffington post, I thought Oh my god, she is SO right. She writes:

“I’m everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won’t be here — and I don’t know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now — but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.

When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don’t look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her — her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That’s the mother I remember. My mother’s body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn’t care that she didn’t look like a model. She was my mama.”

I just love that. The idea that your mama’s body is the vessel that carries the memories of childhood. The idea that our physical beings are beloved to someone, even if not to ourselves some of the time. I am all about women, mamas, being kinder and gentler to themselves and yet I’m not sure I practice what I preach.

So here’s a reminder, for you and for me – get in the picture, mama.

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

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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Sep 19 2012


YouTube Preview ImageI’m a sucker for a good documentary and this one looks great. Musings, meditations and analysis of the most basic thing we all want: happiness.

The question of what makes you happy is a good one to ask and answer for yourself. The question itself kind of makes me happy because it’s a reminder that yes, we have some control over this. And frankly, half the battle is simply reminding yourself to look and then knowing where to look. It’s all around us – begging to be noticed so it can work its magic on our souls.

It’s the Jewish New Year and it’s also the new school year, so in celebration of new beginnings, here are some of mine in no particular order:

1. Loud music

2. Dancing

3. Feeding my family

4. Watching my dog romp with another dog

5. Soccer goals

6. My book club

7. A great pair of boots or jeans

8. Knowing that my siblings are finding their loves

9. When cousins get to hang out

10. Doctor Dash making pizza in a frilly apron

11. Two for one bloody marys and the ladies that go with them

12. The change of seasons

13. Children singing

14. Yoga

15. Tiny dancing

16. Cool graffiti/street art

17. Salty cured meats

18. When Saint James roams for hours on his bike with his buddies . .  and then comes home, winded and happy.

video via Cup of Jo

Sep 10 2012

Music Monday: The XX

the_xx_blogSorry, friends of peevish – I know I’ve been missing in action lately. I’ll catch up soon, promise. For now, here’s this. A cool British band and  big fave of Dash and mine over the last year, this is chill out and maybe even make out music. It’s textured and rewards many listenings. Dig it.

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Aug 29 2012

Backing off.

So, Saint James has started a new school this year and by the end of the day, I am just beside myself to hear how it’s going. I wonder about him constantly, as he navigates new hallways with strange kids and (egads!) high schoolers looming about. I wonder about his teachers. I wonder who he sits with at lunch. I wonder how he even finds the lunchroom. I wonder if he knows where to go for soccer. I wonder if he bought a planner at the office. I wonder if he’s met any kids.

Today was his first day. But I managed to stuff a whole lotta wonderin’ into one day.

And then Doctor Dash gets to pick him up while I’m on girl duty, so I miss any minivan confessions that might have occurred. When I FINALLY get to see my son, whom I’ve been wondering so much about, I get the total brush off. He is nothing but a monosyllabic sweaty middle schooler who just HAS to get his homework done before soccer.


So Dash offers to fill me in, escorting me into the sun room, but I pick a fight, so peeved am I to be left out of EVERYTHING. And so he says forget it and walks away. Leaving me as I am. Still wondering about EVERYTHING and knowing NOTHING.

Twenty minutes later, I’m on the laptop and in walks Saint James and the first thing he says is: my religion teacher is a triplet!!! Like it’s the best thing ever. I sit up at attention, think better of it and slump back down, careful to keep my laptop open. You know. So I don’t look too interested. I don’t want to spook him.

And he starts to talk. And he answers my questions. And I find out everything. And I’m left wondering nothing.

All I had to do was back off.

Jul 9 2012

Music Monday: Trampled by Turtles

securedownloadYou know me, I’m not usually a girl overly moved by the twang. The twang hits me somewhere around the bridge of my nose, where the bass, hits me in the chest, in the gut and all the way on down – where all those good chakras reside. But sometimes I surprise myself and find myself loving a twangy band. I’m not sure there’s any rhyme or reason to it, besides the fact that the flavor of twang presented hits in a place that makes me want to take a deep breath. Is this making any sense? I don’t even understand myself right now. The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings and Trampled by Turtles are all bands and musicians in my regular rotation. They are kitchen music, and coming from me, that’s the highest complement.

securedownload-1We caught these guys at Rock the Garden a few weeks ago and they were awesome. Dash and I had already been fully blown away, sweaty, up close and personal-like, by Doomtree and had retreated to a sunny spot on the hill to snarf delicious food truck food and listen to TbT (as they’re called by their people). Notwithstanding the fact that this band attracts fans who may or may not be wearing a coonskin cap and/or an unidentified pelt wrapped around their waist, we were pretty much in heaven. Springy tunes, soft green grass, setting sun, garlicky falafel, lazy lolling. Shit. It don’t get any better than that.

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Jun 20 2012

Better Late than Never: Happy Fathers Day

dashandsantiDoctor Dash doesn’t ask for much. Especially when it comes to this blog. To him, this is my deal. I know he reads it and likes it, as only the patriarch of this little family would. I know he couldn’t care less when I neglect it. But once, just once, he said – I wish you had done a post about our L.A. trip. Boy, so do I.

peace montiIf this thing I do here, this writing for nothing, this writing to no one, has ANY point at all, it’s as a spot to stash our memories and family minutiae. If some of you like to visit and if you happen to find something that makes you laugh or look at your day a little differently or feel anything at all, then wow, that’s huge for me and definitely a cool and worthy byproduct. But even after all these years, I still don’t (or can’t) believe that to be true, and so when I write at all, I write for me, for us.

So here it is. A slightly belated Fathers Day post. Because even if I’ve said everything I have to say about Fathers Day, this Fathers Day was its own new day and worth noting and loving. Just like Dash. And Dash doesn’t ask for much.

shadowsOn Sunday we drove to a suburb with a carload of kids, ours and other people’s, for a soccer tournament. For me, there is no better sound than a bunch of boys singing along to the radio. I play along, I turn it up, I sneak glances in the rear view mirror and shimmy in my seat because this top 40 music grows on you like a FUNGUS. Doctor Dash has more high-brow musical tastes than I do, but he’s not immune to the fungus.

If you had told me ten years ago that he’d be helming the wheel of a dirty beat-up minivan, pumpin’ Nicki Minaj with a bunch of crooning soccer boys and two little girls giggling and turning around in their seats, I would have laughed. And yet, he has stepped into this role rather elegantly and with a lot of humor – it fits him like a glove. The game turned out to be a heartbreaker. And it rained, hard, for the hour that we huddled on the sidelines clutching a 2:1 lead to our chests only to have it yanked into a tie in the last second. Oh. Sports.

louWhen we got home, everyone scattered to their own corner of the house to wait out the rain and chill. Late afternoon the sun came out and we dusted ourselves off and decided to take Foxy Brown for a walk. We meandered around the lake, stopping to watch a family of wood ducks, eventually ending up at the Rose Garden and Peace Garden. We hadn’t planned on it, but I would need more than one hand to count the Mothers Days and Fathers Days we’ve spent there.

pinkSometimes no plans are the best plans and by some stroke of grace, the mood throughout every member of this moody little family was relaxed, goofy and very much about being together. Simple, easy, lovely.


Happy Fathers Day to Doctor Dash, my dad and my father-in-law, my brother, Golden, and all the daddy-os I know who try every day to make their families feel safe and secure, and don’t get to bitch about it like the moms, and only get a proper thank you in a quiet park on a breezy Sunday evening.

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