Mar 28 2011

Introducing Lil’ Ziggy, G Dog and TNT

posseI am so amused. Just as I was fretting about my kids not knowing how to entertain themselves, Saint James and the neighbor boys went on a rap writing rampage. They’ve got 12 songs written and have recorded two. Of course I’m biased, but I think they’re quite good. To the extent rap is a medium for telling your story or a fantasy version of your story, I’d say this is exactly what Saint James, er, Lil’ Ziggy and his posse are doing. They have each written their share of songs, they feature each other and provide the hooks for each other. It’s all very funny and extremely cute. In his song, Mercy, Lil’ Ziggy goes through a long list of mahem caused by the boys, including letting loose, riding a moose, playing ping pong and getting a deuce, spraying graffiti on someone’s hood and stealing fire wood and then the refrain, sung in a high falsetto, imploring the cops: You see those storm clouds above, asking for bloooood, all we want it mercy. Just give us some mercy mercy mercy. Tonight Tonight.

The last verse:

Bring it down!

Officers came said we had one last chance

We don’t care, cuz it’s not fair

We’re not done, let’s have some fun

Up till three hours past one

We put foam in a jacoozi (sic) then everyone else went snoozy

We posted on youtube, got a million views

We were rude, but we don’t regret it cuz we got all the credit.

No one came to edit, they all just fed it.

See? That’s some story telling right there. No one came to edit, they all just fed it? I love that! If you don’t know my son, you’d probably be alarmed by this, but honestly, he’s a gentle guy. Last night we were lolling on his bed while Doctor Dash read the raps out loud and Saint James was just laughing and laughing. I have no doubt he knows the difference between right and wrong –  understands that there’s quite a bit of terrain between a yarn and the truth. And to me, that wild acreage is a pretty fun place to play.

Mar 27 2011

On whimsy and boredom

NationalGeographicChannel9Maybe you’ve already seen this, but I’ve been in spring break unplugged mode and I just stumbled upon it and it made me feel like weeeeeeee! Apparently, the National Geographic Channel actually pulled off recreating a house flight inspired by the movie UP. Check out more pics here. So neat.

So, on a seemingly (but never entirely) unrelated note, yesterday we had no real plans aside from a date with the couch and a US v Argentina friendly soccer game at 6:00 p.m. We had a lazy Saturday morning and I managed to scoot out of the house for a noon yoga class. When I came back, Saint James had a friend over and they promptly took off for the community center down the street to kick a soccer ball around. Good boys. The girls, though, were bored, whiny, bouncing around the house and getting on each other’s nerves and mine. I finally got so exasperated that I kicked them out – it was a beautiful sunny day and they needed to be outside, breathing in the last bits of cold winter air. Go build a school of snow children, I snapped as I shut the door. They stayed out for a while, came back in soaking wet, pink cheeked and smiley, just the way I like ‘em.

Later that night when we were cleaning up after dinner I found a paper magazine subscription insert on the counter. I was about to toss it in the recycling when I saw that Supergirl had meticulously filled the whole thing out. Name, Address, E-mail (made up), Number of Issues – all in neat, tiny, purple letters. I still tossed it, of course, but not without a twinge of guilt. She was so bored, sooooooo bored, that she filled out a magazine subscription card.

But let’s be real, here. I shouldn’t feel guilty. Not at all. We just spent three glorious days in Lutsen with Nanook, Gear Daddy and familia. They got to ski and snowboard their hearts out, bunk up and giggle into the night, feast on all sorts of yummy food, celebrate Nanook’s birthday, watch American Idol with peeps, color, bicker, chat, spy, and generally scamper around a big, cool house while the grown-ups talked, drank, cooked and cast a lenient eye over everything they were doing. It was a blast. What is wrong with coming home from that kind of trip and just chilling out?

ficheIf you were to look at my shoulders, you wouldn’t see the devil and angel taking turns whispering in my ear. Instead you’d see Julie McCoy, our fave cruise director, on one shoulder, hatching plans, leading adventures, planning field trips, always thinking of ways to make my kids’ lives more FUN. On the other shoulder you’d see Joan Collins in a silky dressing gown, maribou kitten heels and a very large martini glass muttering that these kids need to learn to occupy themselves. The truth is, I like doing excursions with them because I’m a bit of a “flee the house” kind of a gal. But it’s just that kind of on-the-go life that has made them so intolerable if we ever do want to hang out at home. If they don’t have friends over, they are pretty much guaranteed to be driving me insane. Which makes me yell at everyone and shoo them into the car for – you guessed it – an excursion.

As far as I can remember, my parents didn’t spend all their free time trying to keep us entertained. There were giant swathes of idle time in my childhood, which I filled by reading books and the backs of shampoo bottles, playing Dukes of Hazzards, spying on the neighbor boy and convincing my brother I was a wizard. I know this isn’t anything new, but I wonder what my kids are missing out on by being constantly occupied and entertained. There are so many things that can only be learned with ample time: how to get along, how to love books, how to French braid hair, how to climb trees, how to choreograph dance routines to the entire Grease album and then the entire Xanadu album. I bet the dude who thought of floating that house had lots of idle time in his youth (and she brings it back! bam!)

The way things are going, it seems like our children’s generation, more than any other, is going to find success through knowing how to hustle and being creative. Seems to me, those are just the kind of skills that may be borne of a little boredom. At the risk of sounding like I’m rationalizing my laziness (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m totally comfortable doing), I think I need to be less Julie McCoy and more Joan Collins. And maybe, just maybe, my kids will be better off AND I’ll get to do more of this: joan_collins_photo_20

Mar 17 2011

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

guinnessI’ve posted a recipe for Irish Rebel Stew over at Simple Good and Tasty. It’s made with beef and Guinness and it’s delicious. Of course. How could it not be? Beef? Beer? Come on. Speaking of beer, my plans for St. Paul shenanigans with da girls had to be cancelled for today – this glorious, sunny, warm, perfect St. Patrick’s Day. Alas. Doctor Dash is coming off a week of nights, so a few beers might be in order this evening. Hope you all get a little green today, in whatever form that takes!

Mar 11 2011

I do know how.

My HipstaPrint 0-1The Summer Day – Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan,  and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,  how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me,  what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

I love this poem. It’s so simple. I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. But I do know how to pay attention. I see a pink cheek, small freshly painted blue nails and the twist of  a braid on a late winter’s day and I know to pause and take note.

Is this what I’m supposed to be doing with my one wild and precious life?

I think so.

What will she do with her one wild and precious life?

To ponder that exquisite question too closely or for too long is like staring into the sun. Better, for now, to stick with my moments.

Mar 10 2011

Back to the Future

20_male-web20_pancho-web20_nico-webDevious Knickers turned me onto this project by Argentine photographer, Irina Werning. She ferrets out old pics and gets the subjects to reenact them. Her ability to bring the same light and texture to these photos is uncanny. Not to mention the outfits! What a trip.

Mar 5 2011

Sweet Music

It’s no secret I’m addicted to live music. The more I go, the more I want to go. It’s kind of preposterous, except that it’s not. There are very few things in this world that make me feel so alive (sorry, I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true) and so, like a rat who has figured out which pellet spits out the tasty treat, I keep going back for more. I can feel the top of my head pop open and my heart fly around the room. And I can’t wipe the grin off my face for days. That joy, that juice, it lingers and lingers. The problem (if you can call it a problem) is that we are lucky lucky lucky here in the Twin Cities. It’s so easy to go, really not much more work than going downtown for a meal -you  just wear flats. At certain times of the year it’s actually hard to choose who to see. Obviously, I can’t go every night, or even every week (nor would I want to), but I’m not going to lie, when I pass something up, my mind wanders over to that loud, sweaty space as I’m wrangling the kids to bed and I can’t help but wonder what sort of magic I’m missing out on.

This past couple months I’ve seen some gems – a trifecta of beautiful ladies and then the amazing Fitz and the Tantrums, which you knew about. I’m not going to torture you with my amateurish and annoying reviews, but to the extent that I’m going to be reading this blog when I’m an old biddy, sunning myself on a chaise lounge in Florida like a tawny lizard, I want to get it down. Just so I can say, boy oh boy, have I seen some things, Marco! Did I have some times, Marco! (Marco would be the pool boy). I want to remember, because even right now when I’m living it, sometimes it’s hard to believe.

First up. The queen. The QUEEN! Ms. Lauryn Hill. At First Ave. After all these years. We knew she was going to come on late so we had our sitter come at ten o’clock. Yawning and moaning after the kids were in bed, I was so close to letting myself fade away, but Dash and a little green tea pushed me through. Once inside, she sent out her DJ and wild horses couldn’t have dragged me out of there. Five children later, she’s as incredible as ever. Truly one of my top five shows ever. (Five is an extremely elastic number in my world, but I really mean it this time.)

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Then came Dessa. Young, smart, drop dead gorgeous, girl-about-town and CEO of the Doomtree Collective. Big Red, Nanook and I became fans after she curated a hip hop series at the Guthrie and wanted to see her perform. We knew she could rap, we didn’t know she could sing. Boy, can she sing. And she’s really into collaborating, as you’ll see from this clip. We saw her at The Cedar which had partnered with the Jerome Foundation to commission local artists to create and perform new work together. Really cool. She’s brainy, wordy, sexy and funny. What’s not to love?

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And last but certainly not least was Robyn, the pint size powerhouse from Sweden. Thank you to Rosalita for spearheading this adventure. And when I say adventure, I mean adventure. She, Nanook and I were instantly engulfed in the happiest, gayest First Ave crowd I’ve ever experienced. She’s a little Madonna (but with a good voice), a little Gaga (without the theatrics), a little Gwen Stefani, a little Pink. And not for nothing, Europeans have such a different sensibility with regards to what it means to be sexy. She’s as sexy as the day is long, but sexy like Bjork: smart, empowered, unique sexy. Quirky sexy. Some of our artists could take a page out of her book, fo sho. She’s a fiesty, kick-ass pixie and I could have watched her and danced with the gays all night. She is phenomenal – total electronica, 80’s pop, and it’s infectious. We got the fever and spent another happy, silly, dancy few hours at the Saloon afterwards with Rosalita’s hilarious hair posse. Top five, people!

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And finally, Fitz and the Tantrums. Talk about lingering joy. They were SO GOOD. Thank you to Creeper Bud for turning me on to them and insisting that it was not an option to miss this one. I would drop everything to see them again. Only next time I suspect it won’t be at Bunkers. Lucky us. Lucky, lucky us.

Now where’s that Marco with my drink?

Mar 3 2011


buildingsI love it when Doctor Dash doodles. He never uses good paper – only wrinkled scraps and the backs of kids’ old worksheets. They’re intriguing to me – a peek into a part of his mind he doesn’t get to use very much. Sometimes in the daily grind, I forget that this person I live with is actually quite creative, fanciful and a bit of a dreamer. He seems drawn to magical floating cities with gravity defying citizenry and eccentric, vaguely Latin dudes with a story to tell. At least in his latest trail of paper crumbs. He’s probably going to be slightly embarrassed by this, but whatevs – it’s my blog. And I think they’re cool.

senor shakeitbandolerojumpers

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