Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It Takes a Village To Raise A Rock Star

We rocked it tonight people. Well, I didn't, because I was only the roadie (and the groupie, considering my husband played, too), but Joe-Henry and his dad did their first open-mike together in quite a while. It was something new for us, since he hasn't done one since he started school last year, and now he's got all this strange social stuff going on. Feeling shy? Nervous? Something that never, ever happened to him before he went to school.

But he had a reason to be bold. The reason was, as is so often the case, a girl.

He invited his first grade teacher, Ms. G. He's been nursing quite the crush this year, and as soon as he found out that this was an open mike he could do, he wrote her a note and invited her.

He and his dad rehearsed for a couple weeks, the same songs, which was a new thing for him. He used to just pop up on stage with his little guitar and make up the most mind-blowing songs on the spot, and it used to make me so nervous I wanted to poop my pants. But he always, ALWAYS pulled it off.

Now I was wondering if this whole rehearsal thing was going to pay off. And he played the drums this time, too, which is also new, having not touched a guitar or mandolin in a while. Plus he went back to school today after being out for two days sick, so I wondered if he might be a little tired.

But nope. At five p.m., he took me into his room, pointed at his new sport jacket, (navy blue, brass buttons), blue dress shirt and blue tie with the pirate map on it. He wore it with jeans and black shoes, and looked like a million, bazillion dollars. In the car, he seemed quiet, but when I asked him if he was nervous, he said "No. I was just wondering if Ms. G was going to wear something fancy."

I had invited a few friends from work, as well as my brother and his girl, my niece and her husband, but when we pulled up at 5:30, there was one of the other first grade teachers from his school. Joe-Henry said "Hey! That's Mrs. S!", and we all introduced ourselves. A few minutes later, the reading specialist from his school and her daughter walked in the door. Pretty soon, my work mates arrived, then our family, then in walked Ms. G, with the ANOTHER first grade teacher! She was, according to Joe-Henry, looking "fancy enough", and to top it off, was wearing the earrings he had given her for Christmas. She said "I hope it's okay - I let a few other people at school know about it. I hope it won't make him nervous." I was so blown away at the support - his very own cheering section.

It made me feel so good about living here, where all these people show up to cheer on a seven year old. And it didn't make him a bit nervous to have them all there - it made him feel great. Happy and confident, and definitely rockin'.

Well, here! See for yourself. There's two songs, and the second one is worth sticking around for. If I do say so myself.
But I'm just the roadie.

Monday, February 25, 2008

2008 Oscar Recap from the Sick Room

So, we watched the Oscars from the sick bed last night. JH is still under it, though his fever is gone. He loved watching them last year, and it was funny to see the change in his attitude from one year to the next. His commentary is hysterical. Take this gem:

"Mom, why is her dress so hairy?"

Or this, after watching the nominated song from Enchanted ("So Close", see clip below), he shook his head and said "Man. Being a prince is hard work! If you're not lifting up the girls, you're twirling them around!"

Even though it was rather a record year for me, having seen Juno, Michael Clayton, Once, and of course Enchanted and Ratatouille, the highlight of the evening for me was that "Falling Slowly" won best song. And that Jon Stewart had the class to call Marketa out to make her speech.

On the fashion side, I loved Nicole's necklace, and thought Tilda Swinton's dress looked like a goth tablecloth, even though, I loved her acceptance speech.

Until next year, here's a little something sweet to tide you over:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hey, Winter! Get Lost

It's been coming all weekend. On Thursday, Joe-Henry had very little dinner. On Friday, after school he said he had felt really nauseous at school, and asked if he could take a nap. Then yesterday, he rallied a bit, but this morning, damn it, he woke with a fever of 101, and he sounds like he has black lung when he coughs.

February is such a tease. There's Valentine's Day, which I love, with all that lovely sentiment and of course, chocolate. And by February, you can usually tell that spring is around the corner. But we've had crappy luck, health-wise in February. Joe-Henry usually manages to come down with something, followed by one or both of his parents. It seems that this year is no different.

He is lounging in our bed, a little Camille in mismatched pajamas, watching too much tv, and not eating enough to sustain a bird. He's in decent enough spirits, but I can tell he feels wobbly. If he has what they've had at our school, it won't be a fun week. I'm hoping he recoups quickly, because I don't know how much more Nick Jr. I can take.

Oh, and do you remember how I wrote about being That House a while back? Well, those neighbors? The one's with the five kids? They moved out as fast as they moved in. They're still in town, so I hope Joe-Henry can still see his buddy, because the kid next door is getting a bit too old to play with. He comes and hangs out here, because his mom works and he's left with an older brother he doesn't really get along with. Also, I think he likes our snacks. But yesterday, he showed up with two other friends and wanted to play football with Joe-Henry. Mostly because he doesn't have a yard of his own. But when his friend said that he didn't like Joe-Henry, they hightailed it down the street to his dad's place, where hopefully they were all put to work remodeling the house. I was really disappointed in him, even though from JH's side of the story, he did stick up for him when his friend mouthed off. Still, I'm feeling like I wouldn't mind going a round or two with a nine year old. I'll probably just have a chat with his mom - not as satisfying, but it will have to do. And truly, it's where the problem lies.

So anyway, here we are. Out of sorts, under the weather, waiting out winter. It won't be long now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Earth's Shadow

When man and woman first began to people the earth, they were guided by stars and events in the sky. They didn't even have language. How frightening to see the moon or sun turn black, without even words to express themselves. Was the world ending? Were they being punished for something they did or didn't do?

Last night, as we sat with our neighbors on the edge of another's driveway, watching the moon go from red to black, chattering like monkeys, I thought of that as the sky turned dark, then darker, as the black moon rose in the sky. The grown ups went silent first, followed by the kids, then even the nearby traffic noise stopped. The awe was palpable, not even broken when a plane, just a tiny blinking light, flew directly across the inky moon.

Watching the magnificent lunar eclipse last night, and then waking this morning to see the full moon, no longer dark, but shrouded by fog, cradled in the crotch of my neighbors giant, bare tree (it would be so poetic if I could identify it by name, but I can't), I couldn't help but marvel at how lucky we are to be here.

To be witness to it, and to know what it is. To be grateful, even, for what it isn't.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Media Week

I got meme'd by the fabulous Kari over at Casual Heap, and I'm just now getting around to my list. I believe, if I read this thing correctly it's what I listened to, watched on tv and read this past week.

I'll start with my ipod.

I've taken my old mini out of retirement lately, because as much as I love my shuffle, sometimes a girl has to have control. And since my husband actually WROTE ME A SONG for Valentine's Day, I needed to listen to it more than once. (I got him a couple of books. I am so lame.) I also have some good housecleaning tunes on there, as well as some new faves from my buddy Stu at work. I don't have the new Sheryl Crow listed, but I got that for Charley for Valentine's Day and it's great, too.

As far as books go, I'm reading Saving Grandma by Frank Schaeffer
I just finished the first in that trilogy "Portofino", which was loaned to me, again, by my friend Stu. It's a very funny read. Next on my list is Where You Once Belonged by Kent Haruf, because I loved Plainsong and Eventide so much.

As for TV, thank God for Tivo, and the end of the Writer's Strike. But stuff we watch together? You could set your clocks by it.
There's Jeopardy! of course, and The Simpsons. After JH is asleep, there's also reruns of any of the Law & Order franchise: Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and my favorite version, Law & Order: Mind Your Manners.

I tivo'd "That Thing You Do!" because of my huge crush on Steve Zahn, and they play music in it, so JH loved it.

Sigh. Seriously, isn't he just dreamy? Now if only he and George Clooney would do a family friendly musical.

Charley brought home Dexter, which we'll be watching soon. I don't think there's any singing, though.

That's it. FASKINATING, no? I tag Franklin, Stu, Rodius & Lisa

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine(s)

I was talking yesterday to a much younger co-worker. She was telling me about her boyfriend, and describing all his good qualities. They are all important qualities to have, I said.

But does he make you laugh?

Maybe it's just me, but nothing is sexier to me than a funny man. Handsome will turn heads, but funny makes you stick around. But it has to be smart funny. Smart funny is harder to find.

Of course, smart funny without kind is no fun. They have to have a kind heart, be the sort of man who might, oh, bring your lunch to work if they thought you forgot it because they were worried you wouldn't have anything to eat. Even if it might behoove you to miss a meal or two. And they wouldn't say anything about THAT either, because they love you no matter what, and think you're sexier than anyone in the world. (Except maybe Charlize Theron. I understand, honey. She's on my list too.)

It also helps if they can make a really great cup of coffee. A great cup of coffee every morning for fourteen years of married life is a huge contribution to wedded bliss.

Does he listen to you? I mean, really listen? Because I can verify that lots of men can talk. But it's love if they listen. Especially when you have pms.

Oh, and that reminds me: Is he brave? Can he tell you, even though he is putting himself in grave danger, that the real reason you might be so pissy is because you have pms?

Those are just a few of the reasons I married my husband. Mostly though, I married him because I feel more like myself when I am with him.

I was so smart to say yes. And so lucky, that all these years later, I have not one, but two funny Valentines.

Thank you my sweet, comic Valentine. You make me smile with my heart.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Classics

Last night, Joe-Henry and I sat on the floor of the living room getting his class Valentine's together. He wanted to watch a Charlie Chaplin movie, so I put on "The Great Dictator". We had just watched "Modern Times" a few nights before, and he literally fell off the couch from laughing so hard.

Even though he couldn't really grasp what it was about, he knew it was funny about something serious. After watching intently for a while, he said "Mom, Charlie Chaplin is my favorite actor. Well, him and Winnie-the-Pooh".

High praise indeed.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

On the inside

I recently read an interview with Eartha Kitt in The Oregonian. At 81, she is a force to be reckoned with. Sexy and vital and amazing.

I've been having a bit of mid-life crisis lately. Or awakening. Or something. On the outside, I have all this gray hair and these age spots. What the hell? On the inside, I'm still 30. Only hotter than I was at 30. On the outside... not so much.

When I found this song, I had to laugh. That's it exactly! I spent my young years being "cute" or "sweet" or "nice" and it just didn't mesh at all with who I felt I was on the inside.

I'm coming to terms with all of that. Who I am on the inside. But it's true what they say: Youth is wasted on the young.

I was trying to let my hair grow out to it's natural color, let my "wisdom" show, but I couldn't do it. It's not that I didn't like it, I just didn't recognize myself. When we lived in LA, we used to see these women (and men), and from the back, they looked twenty, but when you got to the front, you wondered where they were hiding the teamsters that were holding up all that plastic surgery. They didn't look younger, they looked desperate. I don't want to look like that. But I think I'm starting to understand why they do it.

I don't think I'll be getting plastic surgery or botox any time soon, but I don't think I'm going to let myself go gray. I don't really want to be "evil".

It's just too early for old.

Friday, February 8, 2008

We're all juicy inside!

A friend from Seattle and LA stars in these videos, and she makes me laugh.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Are We Sure He's Ours?

My darling husband, light of my life, is not a sports guy. He doesn't even like to play board games. He played football in highschool, but he was also the first male cheerleader at Sylmar High (Go Spartans!), and was on the dance team (he got to hang out with all those girls!) Occasionally we'll go to a baseball game in the summer, or watch a basketball game on television once in a while, but we don't need to arrange our weekends according to what sport is playing when. Plus, he likes to shop, and is good at it. He likes to go to movies, and he's a good cook (when he chooses to), and he's a good listener. Although I know on occasion, just to prove he's a guy he'll pretend not to hear what I say.

So basically we have been raising Joe-Henry in a home that is relatively sports free. I signed him up for soccer last summer, and he likes to play baseball (he can hit it down the street and has a killer arm) and football (not so much) with the neighbor kids, which means they play but aren't really "rules" oriented about it. But he's not a rabid fanatic robot child who can repeat all the stats of every sport. It's just not what he's been exposed to.

Until Sunday. I had the great idea that since Charley was working on Superbowl Sunday (which isn't a paid holiday, but it should be since everyone wants it off, except my husband), it would be a great time to hit Ikea with my sister. She hasn't been yet, and I gave her a gift certificate in July, and why not go get a slice of Swedish Sunshine on this dreary February day?

But what to do with JH? No problem, says my sis! He can hang out with her husband and son. They'll be around, watching the Superbowl. They aren't going anywhere. So we hop in the car and head on over. Sis and I wave good-bye to the boys, and we had a wonderful time shopping, child-free, but I looked at my watch after a time, and thought "Oh, no. Time to head back. He'll be watching the clock, waiting to come home."

We walk in the door, and my son, (at least he looks like the kid I left there) is GLUED to the tv. I do everything I can think of to get his attention, but cannot be heard. He is deaf, dumb and blind to me, but seems to respond to my nephew when he says "Oh MAN! That just sucks." "YEAH!" says the pod who has replaced my child "That SUCKS!" I'm finally able to pry him from his spot in front of the tv with bribes to turn it on at home. So that is how it is that I watched the Superbowl for the first time in over ten years.

Gone is the little boy who liked pink, now I have a big kid who likes Star Wars, and now this.

My son likes football.

Who knows what will happen next. Not me, that's for sure.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Super Tuesday

Have you noticed the counter at the bottom of this blog? I did a couple of weeks ago: when I looked it said "364 days left in office". There is LESS THAN A YEAR LEFT of this train wreck of a presidency, and judging from the last Democratic debate, it's possible, just possible that we might get out of this debacle alive.

But no matter what they say, it's up to us. Pay attention to what they do. Look at voting records. Listen to what they say, yes, because occasionally they will slip up and say what they really mean. But look deeper than what the television will show you in 15 second sound bytes. In fact, here you go:

Here's Barack Obama's voting record, and here's Hillary Clinton's voting record.

And because I don't ever assume, here is Mitt Romney's score card (he doesn't have a voting record that we can see because he's not a member of congress), with the same for Mike Huckabee (who wouldn't even fill out the form about where he stands on the issues for project votesmart)and here is John McCain's voting record.

With thanks to the, Project Vote Smart, and Google. It's easy to find the information you need to make your decision. It's more time consuming to analyze the information, but it's critical that we do so. We've been brought to the brink of disaster by our own... what? Apathy, negligence, passivity?

Whatever...It's imperative that we don't do it again.