Jun 25 2012

Music Monday: Smashing Pumpkins

This Pumpkins cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide is an old fave of mine. Smashing Pumpkins were Doctor Dash’s favorite band for many years in the 90’s and thereby mine by extension and osmosis.

Today I’m dedicating this song to myself and anyone else feeling like they’ve been hit by the summer landslide. Everyday I’m the cruise director, the sunscreen enforcer, the camp counselor, the cheer leader, the chef, the maid, the chauffeur, the laundress and the referee, and I’m weary.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing cause I’ve built my life around you . . .

In this many years, I still haven’t cracked the code of surviving June intact. But I have figured this much out: only a few more weeks. And then the bliss of August. And then school begins. And then I start pining for summer.

Pine now. Embrace the landslide. Enjoy the song.

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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.

Jun 19 2012

Music Monday: GAYNGS

gayngs-1Gayngs is, hands down, my favorite band of the last year or so and although I can’t be sure, I think their last album might be a one and only. It’s called Relayted and if you would like some chill, sexy, variegated music to add to your windows-down summer drives or your windows-down summer loving, I would suggest you go buy it. Like, immediately.

Gayngs is a super band founded by Ryan Olson,¬†consisting of an ever changing constellation of over 25 musicians, including, Bon Iver, Dessa, P.O.S, Channy from Polica, and Har Mar Superstar to name just a few. It’s pure Minneapolis/Au Claire cross-pollination gorgeousness. Every song on it is a gem and makes me want to find an excuse to stand in my kitchen and groove. I’ve made many a meatball to these tunes. For my peeps who don’t live in MPLS, this was filmed at First Ave. Look at that aging beauty . . . my favorite place in this city.

I. Love. This. Album. YouTube Preview Image

Jun 11 2012

Happy Birthday, Devil Baby! Plus Music Monday.

securedownloadMy girl turns 6 today and if there is any truth to the old wives tale of the difficult years for kids being either even or odd, then we’re in for a good one coming up. Five was challenging with sweet DB, yet it still remains my favorite age. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – kindergartners are pure magic. They are bright, curious, without guile, hilarious and verbose. LOVE.

This past year, Devil Baby put her kindergarten teacher through the ringer. She had her Spanish teacher pulling her hair out, she brought her music teacher to her knees. Turns out, Devil Baby didn’t really change much when she went to school. At least, not until she did. Slowly, over time, with her lovely and creative teacher working overtime to figure her out, Devil Baby learned how to bend a little. How to be a good citizen even though she could really give two shits about being a good citizen. How to not do something she really wants to do, especially when that thing she really wants to do is to make the other kids laugh. She’s funny and she knows it. I called a meeting with her teacher in February because I was in a panic that she was being so naughty she would start to be rejected by her peers, but her teacher assured me there was no danger of that. They loved her shenanigans. The teachers, not so much.

If being a class clown weren’t enough, this funny little lady also developed an irrepressible need to whistle. This is the thing I want to remember most about Devil Baby’s fifth year of life. She purses those plush little lips of hers and out comes music, clear and sweet. She picks up tunes like pebbles on a beach. I don’t even think she knows when she’s doing it, which is why it became problematic at school. She would whistle when the teacher was talking, whistle during quiet time, whistle during music class, whistle during prayer service, whistle when she had been told to stop. I know Devil Baby is awake in the morning because I hear her whistle before her feet hit the floor. I happened to be flipping through some old pictures on my phone and found this one of her whistling while bowling. It’s just what she does and I hope it never stops.

This Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros song is a particular favorite of hers to whistle, not surprisingly. We saw them in concert a few weeks ago and had a rollicking good time. I fear peevish mama can’t keep up with the music reviews anymore, but I’ll dedicate this one to my baby who’s no longer a baby. This song is for my girl, who as she turns six, is defined by music, laughter and stubbornness. I’d say, it’s a winning combination.

I love you, DB. You are one and only and I thank my lucky stars for you. Happy happy happy day, girl.YouTube Preview Image

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.

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