Sep 30 2011

Kids in Bars

girlsSometimes, when one goes dancing with one’s betties, and the music is really good and the beers are 2 for 1, one loses one wits – a bit – and one leaves without closing out the tab. On Thursday morning I woke with a start. Damn. I was going to have to drive back down to Clubhouse Jager to get my credit card. Big Red, Lunch Lady Rocker Chick and I had gone to Transmission for LLRC’s birthday. I can’t give any details, but fun was had.

Wednesday nights at Jager are, hands down, the happiest place to be in all of the land with DJ Jake Rudh spinning 80’s New Wave and all sorts of lovely music-heads of all ages and stripes geeking out and dancing with wild abandon. Seriously. The moves I can bust out in this environment are high school bedroom mirror material. It is the most free, chill, friendly, goofy scene. My favorites from Wednesday night: a pretty pale girl with a pompadour and a white polka dot dress who did not stop dancing for even one second – formidable!, a tall skinny Tim Burtonesque dude with plaid pants and freaky awesome moves, another tall skinny dude sporting something between a mullet and a rat tail who was way smoother than he should have been, and a foursome of pudgy, gender ambiguous, bespectacled girl/boys.

We don’t, can’t, go to this dance party every week, but once a month is turning into a doable, even dare I say, salutary occurrence. Despite the many PBRs, I wake up with enviable vim and vigor after a night of this. Except that driving back downtown to the scene of my shenanigans with my two little girls in tow to pick up my forgotten credit card seemed like a whole new kind of walk of shame. Unfortunately they don’t open until 4, so I had no choice but to wait until school got out. Damn. I picked Devil Baby and Supergirl up with Foxy Brown in the car, passed back some snacks and vaguely mentioned we had to drive downtown.

Supergirl: Wait. Why do we have to go downtown again?

Me: Forgot my credit card.

Supergirl: Where did you forget it?

Me: That place where I went dancing last night.

Supergirl: Is it a bar?

Me: Yes.

Supergirl: Was there a band?

Me: Nope. Just this great DJ.

Supergirl: How late were you there?

Me: Midnight. [small lie]

Supergirl: Was it fun?

Me: SO fun.

Supergirl: Do you want us to wait in the car?

Me: That would probably be good.

. . . a few moments pass . . .

Supergirl: You know, I’ve always wanted to see the inside of a bar.

. . .

Ten minutes later we’re all inside and I’m paying the tab, having been assured by the lovely redheaded bartender that I was NOT the only one to have forgotten my card last night. Jager looks downright homey in the light of day, with slanting sunlight and the smell of comfort food wafting out of the kitchen. I’m half tempted to stay there for an early dinner with the girls. Supergirl spins on her barstool cooly assessing the hipsters partaking in happy hour and appetizers.

Supergirl: Mom?

Me: Ya?

Supergirl: I just thought of the BEST name for my soccer team!

Me: What?


Me: . . .

We were most definitely NOT staying for dinner.

Sep 27 2011


Slinkachu_The Last Resort_2_1000Slinkachu_The Last Resort_1_1000Slinkachu_The Last Resort_3_1000Isn’t this such a kick? Street artist, Slinkachu, sets up and photographs these fanciful little scenarios that play with perspective. I found this on Unearth, a site that collects street art from around the world. I really dig this site. It’s thought and wanderlust provoking – an antidote to boredom and cynicism. When I feel sick in my gills from what I’m reading in the news and media, a little shot of art is a no fail way to restore my faith in us. All is not lost. Our kids are not doomed. The earth is not screwed. There is beauty, whimsy, humor and heart all over this hot little planet if we’re just willing to look. And even if we are screwed and doomed (which we are, holy shit, we are), it’s good to put that away and see the good, only the good, from time to time.

I found these pictures late this summer when the coalescence of my anti-climactic 41st birthday, Devil Baby’s impending leap into kindergarten and a general end-of-summer antsiness sent me into a tailspin. If you were anywhere within a two block radius of me the last couple weeks in August, you would have been alarmed at my state: alternatively weepy and manic, confused, verbose, morose, fretful, paralyzed, nervous and freaky. Deaky. Apparently, this identity crisis of mine was like a far off train whistle rapidly approaching over the last few months. Lady Tabouli reminded me that I was having these – um – thoughts back at our book club weekend in February. After too much wine, I confessed my angst to the ladies and said something about the fact that I can’t just be this aging party girl who goes to see concerts to feel alive. I needed a PLAN. I had completely forgotten. The ladies don’t forget.

Months, weeks, days. The words weighed heavy on my chest. Bounced around between my ears. Spelled themselves out behind closed lids like Sesame Street letters: WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO NOW?



So here’s what I know: 1. I don’t know the answer to that question, 2. I am not alone – many of us are wondering the same thing, 3. It is ok to take a moment, take a breath, take some time to figure some things out.

You see that number 3 there? That’s where Slinkachu’s pics come into play. Little does he know that a Minnesota mama saw his pictures at a time in her life when the confusion and angst rivaled that of her early twenties. I was amused by them. They stayed in my head. I went back to look at them a couple more times, showed them to Supergirl early one morning and finally found my message there. I felt it open like a flower in my throat: perspective.

Take a step back from your damn self, sister! (This is me talking to myself in my best Florence from The Jeffersons voice.) Get your head outta your fanny and open your damn eyes! You still the mama and those babies need you more than ever. Step back, girl. Step back.

And so I am. Trying.

Sep 20 2011

Eggplant Love

eggplant1Hey ho! After being the shadiest writer alive all summer, I managed to squeak out a post for Simple Good and Tasty about the beautiful bodacious eggplant. Check it out here, homeys.

Sep 12 2011

In like. this one’s going out to someone I know who’s in fresh like. You know, dating less than a month, seeing each other every other day, cards on the table, endless conversations, swoony kisses. Love it. So rooting for this. And seriously, is there any one on earth smoother than John Legend? Think not.

Sep 11 2011


I was in Michigan visiting my parents with Saint James. My dad was at work, my mom was playing tennis, Doctor Dash was back in Minneapolis. We had not spoken yet that day. Cup of hot coffee in hand, I was trailing Saint James as he toddled around the house – the way we do when our first born is just one year old. My parents have beautiful Brazilian cherry wood floors, pristine and uncreaky compared to ours. Both of us in bare feet, we passed through elongated rectangles of sun and shadow, Saint James on the balls of his chubby feet, me back on my heels. The only sound I remember was the black lab’s nails clicking on the floor as she followed us – making a haphazard parade of three. Sasha moved up near Saint James and I nudged her to the side so she wouldn’t knock him over, sloshing some coffee on the floor. I went to get a paper towel and that’s when the phone rang. It was my mother. Viste la tele? She sounded out of breath, but it could have been the tennis. I turned on the TV in my parents’ bedroom and watched, not understanding at all what I was seeing. At that point, both planes had hit and the footage being replayed had the look of fiction. Of an action flick. Roiling smoke, balls of fire. Diehard. I ran to scoop up Saint James, put him in the room with me and shut the door. I sat on the bed to watch and listen, because this needed to be explained. What about the people above the holes? I thought of being in my office in Boston, overlooking the harbor – what it would feel like for my building to be pierced through the heart like that. I didn’t see the falling people until later. I had to be told by the voices on TV. My mom hadn’t gotten back from the club yet when the towers crumbled, slowly, almost gracefully, the buckling buildings seeming to elicit a gasp of horror from the universe. Or maybe it was just my own.

Sep 7 2011

Change of weather. Bon Iver.

Bon Iver’s music makes me heart-achey, in the very best of ways. Last month at the Orpheum, I was expecting a stripped down acoustic rendering of those tender and soaring songs I love so much. I had a vague notion that Justin Vernon would be alone on stage, sitting on a stool with a guitar, a laptop and a crazy looking microphone – maybe something with a funnel over it, or gold chainmail, or a fluffy cotton mitten. I try not to read about shows ahead of time – I don’t want set lists or context. Wide-eyed and free of expectations works for me, and that balmy Tuesday night was no exception.

As I settled into my seat, I scanned the crowd – chockablock with bespectacled lumberjacks and their ladies. No surprises there. But the stage was set up for a band, and from the looks of it, a big one. I turned to my husband and clapped my hands. I might have even said wheee! There is nothing on this earth that I love more than being roughed up by a wall of sound – except for maybe a rockin’ male falsetto. I was definitely in the right place.

The room was practically thrumming with anticipation and frankly, unabashed fandom for the low-key and hugely talented Vernon. This wasn’t lost on him and he was almost sheepish as he took the stage in his cute Western shirt, flanked by an enormous nine-piece band. They launched into Perth and because I was seeing it with my own eyes, my ears opened to just how many instruments and voices go into Bon Iver’s textured, intricate, ethereal sound. Multiple percussionists, horns and guitars backed Vernon, sometimes singing, sometimes switching instruments mid-number, filling the songs out to their absolute richest. And his voice. That voice. Is sublime.

At times the band was rocking so hard that it begged for standing up and moving into the swell. In the next breath, Vernon would pull back and quiet would unfurl like a blanket. It was gorgeous. And like the best live shows, the feeling of having witnessed something special lingers well after the last encore and the screaming applause. I walked around for days, my thoughts straying to the show, a knot of warmth in my chest right in that spot where I felt the drums.

Complicated, variegated, moody, romantic and vulnerable, I can think of no better soundtrack for this time of year, when we turn our faces to the weakening sun and hold thoughts of winter lightly behind our backs like an old tennis ball. Give a listen to Calgary. Doesn’t it sound how right now feels?

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