Monday, June 30, 2008

miscellaneous dance tunes (feb 1986)

During high school I acquired one of those completely cool and necessary pieces of equipment for any music lover.

A turntable with a double cassette player.

This allowed me to make mix tapes from both albums and cassettes. Which led to the creation of my very first mix tape called miscellaneous dance tunes (feb 1986):

Side A

What's your problem? - blancmange
She went pop - Iam Siam
This is England - The Clash
Turning Japanese - Vapors
State of the Nation - Industry
What I like about you - Romantics
Everything Counts - Depeche Mode
Take on Me - A-Ha
Big in Japan - Alphaville
Don't Go - Yaz
Girl with a Curious Hand - Digny Fignus

Side B

I Want You - Caberet Voltaire
See You - Depeche Mode
Relax! - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (or as I wrote on the card, FGTH)
In a Big Country - Big Country
Situation - Yaz
Fallen Angel - Alphaville
Blue Movie - Digney Fignus
Beatnik - Buggles
Strip - Adam Ant
Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode

This tape has now become a staple in the minivan since The Housemartins CD became permanently lodged into the stereo. This only proves to the kids that I have adored Yaz for well over 20 years and next month's trip to see them in NYC is well-earned.

But little lady's favorite tune from this? Local Boston performer Digney Fignus's Girl with a Curious Hand.

Still have any of those "ancient" cassette tapes? What would we hear if you played it for us? Or are you so young that you have no idea what I am talking about?

Sing along....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Last night I took Amazing Guy out on a surprise...


Singular Saturday

For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nearly gave birth in the car, by a tree, in a lobby....

Birthday Week at Flexible Parenting

Brought to you by Alex Elliot of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting, I'm writing one more birthing story in honor of her son's birthday. Tuesday's story was my sons' birth. Yesterday was the story of my birth in 1968. This final story is my daughter's.


At 32 weeks pregnant with my third child, there was a flu bug going around our town and my older children's school. One evening the baby inside of me wasn't moving as much. I called the hospital and found myself late in the night having an amniocentesis and getting a pep talk that I may need an emergency c-section. I kept apologizing to my husband that I was incapable of keeping a baby inside of me since our then three-year-old twins had been born at 30 weeks.

But the crisis passed and the baby stayed inside of me. I was sent home on bed rest, just like the first pregnancy, but could work from home which meant I could sit up for extended periods. Eventually, by week 37 I could go out of the house.

I took the boys to family friends' house for a pizza dinner. Early in the evening I felt lousy and the husband offered to drive me to the hospital. We tracked down my brother to get the boys and my husband to meet me at the hospital.

I got there and was told nothing was happening. I was sent home.

I went to bed around 11pm. I woke up several hours later in a pain I had never felt. It came in waves so I paced around for some time. At one point I felt like I had to use the toilet so I went to the bathroom and pushed. Then I got up and walked around some more. After 40 minutes, I called the hospital only to find that my obstetrician - a woman younger than me who I adored - was actually on call that night.

"I'm not calling an ambulance" she said "but you are in labor. How fast can you get here?"

I explained that I needed to wait for my dad to get to the house to stay with the boys so it would be a while.

"I won't call [state child protection services] if you leave the kids alone sleeping in the house. Get to the hospital NOW!" she yelled.

I waited for my dad to get to the house.

As Amazing Guy and I got into the van an amazing amount of fluid gushed out of me right onto the front passenger seat. I jumped out of the car in shock and he laid out golf towels for me to sit on for the ride to the hospital.

Then the drive began. I had the windows down and my head out of the window as I panted through contractions. We drove past trees that I seriously considered yelling for him to pull over so I could just squat and get it over with.

It was nearly 3:00 am and we ran every red light. It didn't pose a risk for us or other drivers, since there were none.

We were told to go to the Emergency Department. Amazing Guy dropped me off at the entrance and I hobbled in pain to the desk as he went to leave the van with a parking attendant. I got to the clerk and even though I was told they would be ready for me I was directed to the special (and very slow) office just for pregnant women.

"But I'm about to deliver NOW!" I wailed.

"You all are honey" the unsympathetic clerk as she smacked her gum.

I stumbled into the huge lobby atrium to see my husband run through the front door and smack into my obstetrician who was trying to meet us. We were separated by a cleaning crew who had blocked off a large area of the lobby so they could apply a new coat of wax on the floor.

I stumbled panting from the pain into the special office for pregnant women and started the admittance process only to have my obstetrician come charging into the office pushing a wheelchair with my husband right behind her.

"We need to take her NOW!" she yelled.

The processing clerk fussed that I wasn't in the system.

"We'll get her into the system!" yelled my obstetrician.

I got into the birthing room with my obstetrician, my husband and two nurses. In no time I was in a hospital gown and the doctor was telling my husband to push on my right leg while she pushed the left. I asked if I could have an epidural.

"You are too far along" said a nurse near my head. "You're about to have this baby".

I experienced pain I never thought possible. I pushed and pushed. Mind you I had never taken a birthing class because my first pregnancy ended at 30 weeks and we could never get our acts together to attend one for this one.

At one point I yelled "Get this f---ing kid out of me!!!" Which led my doctor to get close to my ear and whisper "If you put as much energy into pushing as you do into yelling, you will get this baby out faster."

So I pushed really hard while gritting my teeth.

And my healthy, full-term baby girl came out ten minutes after I got into the birthing room.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Don't call me sweetheart!"

Birthday Week at Flexible Parenting

Brought to you by Alex Elliot of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting, I'm writing yet another birthing story in honor of her son's birthday. Guess which baby this one is.


They came home late from an event. He didn't listen to the radio so he wouldn't know the outcome of a basketball game that would be rebroadcast on one of the four channels on the television. Her belly was swollen from carrying a baby for 9 months.

She went to bed later than usual as he settled down on the couch to watch the replay of the game. During the second quarter she came to him saying she was in labor.

"No you're not." he assured her. He reminded her he had worked at the admittance desk of a maternity ward and he knew what a pregnant woman looked like.

He was desperate to watch the game.

"TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!" she not-so-politely declared.


He dropped her off at the front door of the hospital while he went to park the car. Once in the building he decided to go up the stairs in an attempt to find his wife. He suddenly realized he wouldn't be able to locate her this way.

He stuck his head out of the stairwell and into a hallway.


He found her. Politely reminding the obstetrician the correct way to address her.

And I arrived a few hours later at 2:42 in the morning.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Not really happening

Birthday Week at Flexible Parenting

Brought to you by Alex Elliot of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting, I'm writing my birthing story in honor of her son's birthday.


I was 27 weeks pregnant with twins in early August. While I looked like the size of a small elephant at 15 months gestation, I was healthy. On a Thursday morning I felt a bit lousy sitting at my desk at work so I called the head nurse for my obstetrician (he was the chief of obstetrics at a major teaching hospital - he had layers of nurses). She demanded I get into the office ASAP.

I went to a meeting instead.

I took the subway to the hospital.

I was yelled at in the examination room.

The medical team was beside themselves. I can't really recall what the issue was but I was put on bed rest. I clearly didn't do it well because a few days later I was in the hospital for a few days to keep me in a bed. I called it "bed rest boot camp".

Eventually they let me out and I spent three weeks getting up from bed, walking to the sofa, and watching Amazing Guy place a full ice chest of drinks and food next to me since I couldn't get up to fix food in the kitchen. I could only get up to use the toilet.

"If you get to 30 weeks," our doctor said, "[the babies] will go to the graduate school of their choice". Gives you a sense of the educational expectations of where I live.

In the middle of the night at 30 weeks, I woke up feeling waves of pressure and this feeling of panic. Amazing Guy calls the hospital and the doctor on call said I had a urinary tract infection.

At some point my husband starting yelling at the guy that this wasn't a urinary tract infection and that we were coming to the hospital.

This part is all a daze. The young woman obstetrician on call checked me and announced I was giving birth that day and an anesthesiologist whose first name was Wolfgang came in to give me an epidural. While I don't recall the pain leading up to it, I remember feeling very grateful to have the epidural. To the point I was suggesting we name the babies "Wolf" and "Gang" in honor of the man with the medicine.

I was wheeled into an operating room after 6:00 am with three obstetricians, Wolfgang the anesthesiologist, several nurses and a medical team (comprising of a doctor and nurse) for each baby. Including me and Amazing Guy we had enough to field a football team (American or futbol, take your pick).

We didn't know the gender of the babies but knew they were identical. We agreed on two boys names when we found out during the 14th week of pregnancy we were having twins. We could not agree on one girl's name, never mind two. Right before the babies came out, Amazing Guy leaned into my ear and told me he agreed to the two girls names I had wanted.

It was clear that I could deliver vaginally so I was told to push and actually enjoyed feeling the waves of contractions without the pain. One of the obstetricians told me a head was appearing and asked if I wanted to reach down and touch the top. I reached forward and giggle. His response was, "that is the best thing I've heard all day."

We'll disregard it was only the 6th hour of the day.

But I'm grateful for that touch. I wouldn't touch that baby for another 24 hours.

After a few more pushes our son came out, let out a cry and was whisked away to a table. I didn't see him.

The other son took another ten minutes to arrive. There were several jokes that he was enjoying my uterus all to himself. He eventually came out, didn't cry as much and was also whisked away to another table.

They were eventually wheeled away while I laid on a table. They would spend the next 2 months in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Solstice

In the fall I took the kids to the Autumnal Equinox performance along the Charles River. The same group that sings, parades and encourages the audience to ring bells as the sun sets over the river in September also performs a large summer solstice celebration next to the big city children's museum.

There were steel drums, huge butterfly puppets, men with dreadlocks escaping from straight jackets and aerialists.

There was a boater in the industrial channel next to the museum, between two bridges, who told the kids he was looking for a water dragon and desperately asked if they saw one. The kids would scream "Right behind you!!!!!!!!!" and he would dramatically miss finding the dragon trailing right behind his boat.

The main performance always involves something about the sun and the moon. There is a conscious effort to incorporate the songs, stories and dance from different cultures. This year it was China, Ireland and Latin America.

Before the main performance there was Indian dancing. I could not get enough of their incredible dancing and the music performed on the stage (instead of played from a CD).

But perhaps the image that will stay with me the most is the image I never captured with the camera. It was a woman in traditional West African clothes and head wrap dancing to La Bamba with a woman I had heard earlier in the evening speaking Spanish to a child. That woman was dressed in an elegant all-black evening gown. They were joined by a white woman dressed in a Mad Hatter hat and tight stripped pants with flared bottoms. They joyously danced together with several children in a walkway in front of the stage. All members of the audience, they got up to dance.

And welcome summer together.

See below for the die-hard Music Monday folks. And sorry for the delay! It was a late night and today would be the day that Blogger would decide to have technical difficulties with uploading photos.

Music Monday will be late today

Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

We were enjoying a summer solstice celebration last night. And funny. It went late because the sun was in the sky for so long. So I'll share some songs later today.

But in the mean time, got any songs to share?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Today we're going to a fancy....


Singular Saturday

For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Jami

To the original Haiku Buckaroo.

Jami is 60
Beautiful and talented
Proud of who she is

If I am half as smart, gorgeous and funny as Jami when I'm 60, I will consider myself lucky.

Happy Birthday, darling. But really I have the gift. I know you.

PS - this was my first haiku

Today is your day
Celebrate being alive
It's better than dead

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Real fans....

Real fans don't need to change the color of their blogs.

Real fans get their dad and brother on a conference call at 12 midnight and collectively weep as the NBA trophy is handed to the Celtics and collectively gasp as the series MVP is awarded to Paul Pierce. And weep some more.

Real fans go to the parade despite seeing police with riot gear and HUGE wooden sticks (what happened to little billy clubs?). And bring two seven year olds for their first ever championship "rolling rally" aka parade.

Coach "Doc" Rivers.

Real fans coach little kids in the game they love.

Real fans repeatedly point out during the game to their basketball playing sons "See! SEE! Even the pros pass the ball around A LOT and they win championships doing it! SEE! Doesn't my coaching make sense NOW!!!" as they roll their eyes.

Real fans overlook the brazen disregard of public health when seeing every single player in the rolling rally aka parade smoking a cigar on the duck boats taking them through the streets of our fair city. It is a clear tribute to the late, great Red Auerbach, who smoked cigars in the old Garden.

Real fans know they are real.

We don't have to prove it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Na na na na

Did you hear the Boston Garden during Game 6? Not those wimpy "how do I look?" fakes in the other side of the country. No, this is how fans should sound. Really loud.

And singing songs like this:

Na na na na,
na na na na,
hey hey hey,

with a full 5 minutes left in the game.

Oh yeah!

Celtics. The 2008 NBA Champions. 22 years since the last one. How wicked awesome are they?

They Beat LA.

*According to Wikipedia "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye was a song written and recorded by Gary DeCarlo, Dale Frashuer, and Paul Leka; attributed to a then fictitious band "Steam," it was released under the Mercury subsidiary label Fontana." - see, I can even do research while my team is winning the National Basketball League's chamionship.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The last karamelstroopwafel

Such restraint. Really.

Jenn in Holland has made an addict of me. Mind you she never offered me the source of my demise while I visited her in February. No. She gave me a package - a grocery store brand no less - as part of an overflowing hostess goodie box when she visited me last month.

I have made a small bag of caramel waffle cookies - called karamelstroopwafels - from The Netherlands last for over one month. I have never enjoyed caramel as much as I have in these thin, chewy cookies.

According to Holland's Best:

Stroopwafels, as the Dutch call them, are often referred to caramel cookie waffles by the American people. The Stroopwafel is a very popular Dutch cookie, loved by everyone. Basically it consists of two soft round Belgian waffle-like disks with caramel syrup in between them that creates a chewy center. Historical research indicates that Stroopwafels are one of the Netherlands' true specialties.

The origins of this [cookie] have been traced back to the 1800s, geographically situated in the Dutch province of North Holland, close to the city Gouda (think cheese).

These wonderful cookies can be eaten as a snack, with a cup of coffee or tea or for dessert... However, note that Stroopwafels have an extremely long shelf life and they freeze very well.

Good thing they have "an extremely long shelf life" since I've made mine last 36 days. Not that I was counting or anything....

Monday, June 16, 2008

So close

Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

As you know, I come from a basketball family. My dad played in high school and one year of college. I starting playing in third grade with my dad as my coach. I have coached the boys' basketball team for three years.

My dad got season tickets for the Celtics in 1978, the year Larry Bird was drafted. I spent the 1980's hearing "Beat LA" chanted through our town. I still think the long gone Boston Garden was the best place to watch a game. We no longer have those season tickets and I'll admit we hadn't been paying much attention to the team in recent years. When we took the kids to a game last season, it was like watching the team of misfits who play against the Harlem Globetrotters. And they are suppose to play like misfits.

Below is the video the Celtics play on the jumbotron over the court before home games. I have no idea who composed or performed the music. They are so close to winning it all. Staying up late for game 5 was brutal but I'll be up late for game 6 on Tuesday night.

However, considering how well they've played, Kevin Garnett has every reason to scream.

I have to admit it - I just love big, loud, sports anthems. Don't you?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Today I'm going to get my hair


Singular Saturday

For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dam good ad

The boys and I saw this before the Red Sox game Wednesday night (oh, they won). It is a Dam good ad. Especially since the boys knew about the European Cup, that Orange is Queen Beatrix's color and there are canals in Amsterdam.

Recognize the tune? Madame Jenn introduced us to it last year. Still waiting though for the video of her doing the JumpStyle though.

Yeah. She's a big tease, that Jenn....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Too Darn Hot

On Tuesday I saw something in my car I never thought I would see.

[Be impressed - I finally figured out how to get a cell phone photo on my blog!]

Everybody get your Cole Porter on....

According to the Kinsey report
ev'ry average man you know
much prefers to play his favorite sport
when the temperature is low
but when the thermometer goes way up
and the weather is sizzling hot
Mister Adam for his madam is not
cause it's too too
it's too darn hot, it's too darn hot
It's too too too too darn hot

Cole Porter from Kiss Me Kate (1946)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Her first dance recital

You may have heard that little lady had her first dance recital this weekend.

A ballerina should receive flowers when her performance is finished. When telling the florist this was my 4-year-old's first recital she warned me that sometimes little girls have a hard time getting on the stage.

"No need to worry" I assured the woman as she wrapped the bouquets - one for the dancer and one for her teacher.

"She will have a hard time getting off the stage".

Monday, June 09, 2008

Did I tell you I got an email from a New Yorker magazine music writer?

Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

No? Well, how horrid of me not to share that this spring I WAS HAVING AN EMAIL EXCHANGE WITH A NEW YORKER MAGAZINE MUSIC WRITER!!!!!!!!!

I rarely use multiple exclamation points. This is huge. Keep in mind I am a third generation New Yorker reader. My late grandmother from Natchez, Mississippi claimed to be a subscriber during the second year of the magazine's existence. The New Yorker is the only magazine that matters between me, my dad and my grandfather.

It all started earlier in March when I sent the following email, not expecting anything in return -

Hello Ms. Frere-Jones,

I thoroughly enjoyed your piece this week about Amy Winehouse. I haven't really listened to her music but your observations did make me wonder what has made her so popular, other than the self-destruction folks seem to enjoy watching.

I also really enjoyed what you wrote about Prince's Las Vegas concert last fall. It got me wondering if perhaps you could also travel to England to review the
reunion concert for Yazoo, Vince Clark and Alison Moyet's band in the early 1980's. They are playing a series of shows, including June 19th at Hammersmith Apollo in London.

I am a
big Vince Clark fan (I even own the Assembly LP which he made with Fergal Sharkey) and have seen him in Erasure several times but (obviously) never saw Yaz in concert since I was in middle school when they broke up.

Since I can't go, I figure reading your description of it could help make up for not being there.

Not sure if "readers' requests" help you with your editors but just wanted to make the suggestion. Thanks for writing for the New Yorker. I look forward to reading your pieces.

Take care,

Several days later, while visiting The Ambassador in New Orleans, I received this....

Dear [SMID]:

Thank you so much. (I'm actually Mr. Frere-Jones, but don't worry: happens every day.)
[Blogger note - I died when I read that part of the email.]

I wish I could see that reunion--I actually care, for once. But they've sent me to London recently, and Yaz doesn't quite spark the same in-house fire as Zeppelin. Pity: it will probably be better.


And then? What do I get a week later from Mr. Frere-Jones aka S?

Hell! How psyched am I to discover they're playing New York July 16 and 17? Wooh! It won't rate a column but I will write it up one way or the other.


Which led to a series of emails between me AND A NEW YORKER WRITER [pant pant] about how he found out about the concert at Brooklyn Vegan even though it wasn't on the Yaz web site and the quality of the acoustics at Terminal 5 where Yaz is playing on July 16 and 17.

I will be at Terminal 5 on July 17th, with a dear friend (who has become even more dear after spending yesterday watching the boys play their last soccer game of the season in 95+ degree weather), because my beloved husband bought us tickets within seconds of getting my email that Yaz was playing in New York City. Good thing he was so quick (and continues to deserve the blog title of Amazing Guy) since the show is now sold out.

Not that I am excited or anything. Not like the concert is in 39 days.

Any tunes to share? Concerts you always wished you saw? Hope to see? Do share...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Today we are all going to little lady's first dance


Singular Saturday

For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

So what is your favorite Judy Blume book?

Really. I want to know.

This month members of my book group are picking their favorite Judy Blume book and reading that. During last month's gathering there was talk of Are you There God? It's Me Margaret and Deena.

My problem is my all-time, favorite book from that particular era of reading (because 2-3 years is so long in the life of a pre-teen it constitutes an era) was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. I know I read Judy Blume novels, I just don't really remember them.

Maybe I'll cheat and just read Konigsburg's classic about a brother and sister who run away to the museum and sleep there for the night. Or I could just read Jezebel's weekly discussion of teen literature and claim those memories as my own. But I really can't since someone in my bookgroup is the one who told all of us about the site.

So keep me honest - which Judy Blume book should I read by the end of the month?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Look of horror

When did 4-year-olds have such loud opinions?

I'm happily making the switch from cold-weather clothes to those lovely, light, airy summer outfits. Linens, colorful cottons and sandals are coming down from the attic into the closet (or rather the bottom of the attic stairs which doubles as Amazing Guy and my shared closet. THAT is a true test of a marriage).

So I came downstairs ready for work in tan linen pants and a boxy linen black short sleeve shirt. I particularly like this shirt because the round buttons are huge. Little lady was laying on the couch after agonizing that the "perfect" dress which makes her look like a princess was in the dirty clothes. The "perfect" dress she tries to wear every single day.

"Pbbthb [an approximation of the noise that came out of her mouth]. You are wearing THAT?" she asked incredulously with a look of sheer horror on her face.

I would like to point out, again, that my daughter is 4 years old.

Not 14.

"What?" I defensively reply. "You don't like this shirt? You think it is too square?"

Wait a minute, I think. I'm defending my clothes to a 4 year old.

I can only imagine when she is 14.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Music Fest

Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

It wasn't the New Orleans Jazz and Music Heritage Festival. But for our little town, this past weekend had two wonderful days of music under a big white tent on our church green. Sponsored by a group of independent businesses and local residents of a historic part of town, it was the first of hopefully an annual event to bring live music not only into the neighborhood, but for the entire town.

David Polansky was a funny and smart children's performer. He had the kids singing and the parents laughing. If you are in the area, go find his next show and bring along your favorite little person or people. If you don't live in the area, seriously think about getting a CD of his. There were 3-year-old groupies begging for original songs.

There were high school kids playing their first band gig. They played a song written by the lead singer/guitarist.

Towards the end of their time, the singer announced his aunt had just arrived and really wanted to hear him sing the song he wrote. He asked the audience if he could sing it again. We all cheered to hear it again.

There was a women's a capella group which opened with one of my favorite songs, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down, and Right Myself a Letter which was made famous in 1935 by Fats Waller (and is on an earlier boys' birthday CD). There was a band which is known in these parts as the band put together by an auto magnet's son. What I didn't know was the band includes two former members of the 1970's band Boston (everybody start singing "More than a feeling!") and the saxophonist from John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. They were actually pretty good.

There were senior citizens from the local Council on Aging singing from West Side Story, reading the poem about being old and wearing purple, and dancing the jitterbug. There was the Senator's aide who I never knew played accoustic guitar and sang. And he had a serious following under the tent for his gig. The middle school advanced chorus sang several songs including the heartbreaking Randy Newman tune Louisiana 1927. There was also an awesome Latin funk band with no less than four percussionists. Now that is a band.

But by far my favorite was an African drummer group. Made up of kids from a public elementary school in other town, they danced, sang and drummed. They are taught by Jafar Manselle. Those of you with Curious George-watching people will recognize him from the live action segment that follows the episode where George conducts the orchestra. Little Lady did. She charged right up to him as he was getting ready, yelled "I saw you on TV!", he grinned and she ran away.

The kids were wonderful. They danced a gumboot dance (you all know I love that). They showed us the meaning of a Yoruba dance.

But they brought together a community. A community of human beings. Under a white tent on a spring day.

Any music to share? You can always tell a story about the song....


Flower Power at Looking Into

Don't forget to visit Looking Into for the next week plus some days to see beautiful flowers.