Friday, October 28, 2011

Trains Don't Stop Your Soul, They Break Your Heart.




My son loves trains. I mean he really loves trains. I've never seen a kid love trains like he does. He talks about them all day, loves when he gets to ride on one and sleeps with the Toys R Us BIG BOOK opened to the trains page. It's just ridiculous.





After my son got out of school today I took him and his sister to a nearby park. We go to this park every year and try to catch the fall leaves at their peak. We missed them this year by at least a week but it was still beautiful. The reds were already gone and those leaves are my favorite.





I take a lot of photos of my children and they've gotten really good at humoring me. For the most part they do what I ask and when they don't, I bribe them. Either way, I generally get the photos I want. Both of my kids were very good today and I promised Owen that when we were finished we would go to the playground. We had a party to get to later and I still hadn't made my yummy peach cobbler so we needed to motor to get it all done in time but when we finished, I loaded them back up and drove around to the playground. When we got there, the playground was roped off and it was closed. Owen was furious! I think I even heard a deep guttural growl when I told him it was closed. Truth is, I had a dilemma. There are two other playgrounds in this park and I could have taken the kids there but we'd had trouble at both before and I'd sworn to never return. Luckily I had some chocolate milk in the car and I knew where we were going for our party had train tracks we had to cross over so I quickly promised him that we'd wait and see a train on the way and avoided the bodily injury that would surely come should we go to those other playgrounds.



>With two kids in costumes and hot peach cobbler in my hand we headed to our Halloween party. We were listening to Johnny Flynn because it's my car and I listen to him all the time and all of us were singing along, per our usual. We got to the train tracks ans like I promised, we pulled over. We waited and we waited. Thankfully I'd left early so we weren't late yet but if we waited much longer we would be. The party started at 4:30 and it was rapidly approaching. I can think of few things tackier than being late and I absolutely hate being late! It stresses me out, but we waited.

After about fifteen minutes I turned to Owen and said "Buddy we might have to go to our party and come back another time to see a train." He was not pleased and I promised, so we waited.


Finally I turned to two fidgety children and said "Owen, we need to go. We will listen to this next Johnny Flynn song and if the train hasn't come, we're going." With an "OK" that sounded more like it came from the mouth of a zit faced 15 year old than my little 4 year old angel, I took out my Droid and started recording as this song started. I thought Johnny Flynn's Trains was perfect and I had zero hope that a train would actually come so we might as well listen to some good tunes while we waited in vain.


As the song neared the end and I knew we needed to go, the rail lights started flashing and my son screamed "Here comes a train Momma!" I actually jumped when he screamed. That's why you see my fingers for a second.


I'm not sure what it is about trains but I always found them a little depressing. Not so much trains like this but the big freight trains which my son loves more than anything. I always picture hungry people sleeping in those dirty cars on their way to nowhere. I might watch too many movies. Anyhoo, here's the video I shot for my son. He hasn't seen it yet but he'll be tickled pink when he watches it during breakfast!



He's a train for Halloween for God sakes!



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Daughter is a Princess


Admission is the first step towards acceptance.





I don't even know how it happened. I mean I can think of a lot of words to describe myself but princess isn't even in the top 100. I can imagine my friends would find the thought of that comical. I'm just not very girly, or "fluffy" as I like to call them and I guess I expected my daughter to not be "fluffy" as well. Turns out, she's a little fluffy.





It's not like this is a shock. I saw it coming. She doesn't like to be dirty. If she spills milk, she screams until I clean it up. If she falls, she looks at her hands and grunts at the dirt and if corrected she immediately yells "Momma, can I have a tissue?" She does this because she wants to dab the tears from her eyes in case she cries. WTF? Nothing but drama. Then I signed her up for ballet.




The day I paid the tuition for her ballet class, I took her to Target to try on leotards and tutus. It was a mistake in that I ended up putting it all back and buying new ones at a local consignment shop because they were crazy expensive! A black leotard was $17 at Target! I just couldn't justify that for a two year old. However, at Target when I tried them on her, she immediately stepped on the stool and looked at herself in the mirror and yelled "Look momma, I'm a princess!" I just sighed while tracing my memory bank for any time we watched or discussed Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle or Ariel. I found nothing. If she said she wanted to be Bella Swan, that would have made sense to me but this princess bullshit threw me for a loop.

I think she liked ballet. Of course "ballet" to her is running around in a room full of mirrors. That's right up her ally. She basically spends the hour looking at herself in the mirror, making faces at herself and asking if she can "twirl."

I know she looks constipated in this first photo but she's practicing her whine.






The ballet bar was blocking her view.





Oh, that's me back there too!





Woot Woot!





There aren't enough mirrors for two Rivers.









Work it! Own it!





I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween. My fingers were crossed that she'd want to be a witch. I could seriously work something like that. I had the black tutu dress all planned out in my mind but instead she announced proudly, "I want to be a princess!" Ugghhh...where do I begin?







Shoes. I started with the shoes. I knew immediately that there would be no glass slippers involved. We don't do glass slippers up in here! I absolutely refuse to let my daughter believe if only for a second that some secretly gay prince is going to sweep her off her feet while she does nothing for herself and waits on his ass to save her. I just don't know how to do that. So, the first thing I did (at the suggestion of a Facebook friend) was to buy her an old pair of $3 Chucks. I'd worried about the shoes first and wanted to find a more 2011 way of representing them. I think I succeeded. They're sparkly and will better equip that unassuming 2011 princess on the go! Stylish and silver! Just last night my girlfriend told me that silver goes with everything. I just smiled and nodded because I don't see it, but it works here. River loves them!






Then I was forced to move onto the dress. I looked around for a bit and ended up with two different dresses. One pink and one blue. She seems to like them both but her grandmother bought her a blue princess crown so today she wore the blue dress to the library for a Halloween Storytime.


She had fun and did some trick or treating at the library. She got some gum, a sucker and an Almond Joy. Sucker it is! I had to come home and sneak some of our Halloween candy into her pumpkin. I'm not giving my two year old gum she'll swallow or an Almond Joy she'll choke on! Also, she insisted on bringing that FAO Schwarz dog with her! I don't even have fights over stuff like that anymore. It isn't worth it. Just bring the damn thing! Yesterday she wore a chef's hat and matching apron to Giant. Whatever dude. Go on with your bad self.



Of course during Storytime River did anything but listen. I loved when a lady walked in with a bald baby and she yelled "Baby Nathan, Baby Nathan, Baby Nathan" over and over again. The guy had to stop reading. Then she sees a kid with a Thomas hat on and sings at the top of her lungs "Thomas and his friends!" Lets see, she almost clocked a dinosaur in the noggin with her pumpkin and she accosted Strawberry Shortcake...with love.

Their eyes met from across the room......





She rushed across the room to get to her and look at the awe in her eyes. I think she really thought it was Strawberry Shortcake! I had no intention of bursting that bubble.









Then she tried to give up her dog, that she refused to leave the house without. WTF?






I think she scared Strawberry a little when on the way out she made a b-line towards her and yelled "Bye Strawberry Shortcake!"





Monday, October 17, 2011

I Fell in Love With Duran Duran All Over Again Tonight!


I've been up since 5 AM. My husband and I joined some friends for a weekend in Virgina. We stayed at a rented house and went to different vineyards and did wine tastings. I mean I didn't because I'm allergic to sulfites but I was there for the camaraderie. I couldn't sleep so I'd been up since 5 which is just what you want for a 3.5 hour ride home and then a concert in D.C.

I've been keeping Duran Duran in business for the better part of 30 years. I've seen them 37 times and when I was in Jr high, I used to save my lunch money to buy their albums, books and magazines, most of which I still have. For years and years and years I bought every album, single, book, scrapbook video compilation and import I could get my hands on. I've got DD sweatbands for God's sakes! I have tour books and signed albums and a photo of Simon's scalp because I got so flustered when he was near. I've bought and made more Duran Duran shirts than I can even remember yet I still have them all. Needless to say, I don't buy tour books and shirts anymore because I just don't have the space for them. There was a day, back before I had my babies that I'd go see them 8 or 9 times on a leg of a tour but those days are gone now. I don't regret them, I loved them but it just is no longer feasible, financially and logistically. Not to mention that finding someone to go to a concert on a Sunday evening is not easy. No one loves them like I do. I'm sure that's not true but no one I know loves them like I do, that's for damn sure! I'm not sure I can remember a time when I didn't love them.


The only thing I can hold against them was the hair. Not theirs, mine. I hold them completely responsible for some of the more frightening, but fun hairstyle choices I made in the early years. I mostly blame John.




I bought our tickets in the pre-sale. I always do. All I need to do to make that happen is come up with the pre-sale code. This time it took me two tries. "Duran"...no. "Taylor" ....check! Ticketmaster should really be more imaginative.



I haven't seen Duran Duran in 3 years. That may not seem like a long time but for me it is. I was pregnant with River when I saw them last and she'll be 3 in a few months. I remember that I wore a shirt that said "Duranie" with a little arrow pointing to my belly. Such a nerd but I loved it! My seats were right up by the stage, right in front of the left side speakers. It was brutal. The beat was so strong that every time John plucked a cord, I had to switch feet just to get one off the ground. The sound reverberated through my body and made me dizzy. Not something you welcome when you're pregnant, but I loved it just the same.

Constitution Hall isn't a big place. It's actually the perfect size for Duran Duran. It's quaint without being too small. I've seen them at Madison Square Garden and while I had good seats, this was nice as well. At this concert I did something I'd never done before, I went in or tried to go in as a Duran Duran virgin. This isn't very easy if you've been singing them to yourself since before you got your period but I made an attempt anyway. I bought their latest CD the day it was released online and I've listened to it but I haven't submersed myself into it like I have all of their other CDs. There are many reasons for this. First, I seriously overdid it for a few years and listened to nothing else. I love them but I love strawberries too and if I ate them everyday for 30 years I would probably need a break. Second, I just don't have time for that kind of submersion. It was easy when it was just me to get up and drive to Atlantic City, Fairfax or Philly to see them and drive right home after, only to get up a couple of hours later to go to work. I just can't do that anymore. My bosses are a lot tougher now and sleeping on the job is not permitted unless I want to wake up with gum in my hair or drawings on my walls. Lastly, my musical tastes have wondered. Not away from Duran but I've opened myself up to new things. While still British (almost always British) I've fallen in love with the likes of Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn and Mumford & Sons. I've ventured out which I'm not really known for.

So I went to this concert not knowing the words to every song and it was interesting. I mean I still knew a lot of them and obviously the old songs I know like my social security number. It was the first time I didn't know the set list. I made a point to stay away from photos so I wouldn't know what they'd be wearing. It was just a different experience and I liked it. I also enjoyed the concert without taking photos or video. There have been shows where I've taken over 1,000 photos and I just didn't want to do that. I danced and sang my ass off! My ears are still ringing and my throat hurts. As it should be.

They had cameras set up next to everyone's mic and I really liked that. It gave a B&W view of them all night long. I thought it was cool. We don't get enough of Nick or Roger because they're somewhat hidden behind their instruments. Roger is just so friggen cute. I need to see more of his sweet face.

Over the years I have learned that there are a few constants with Duran Duran. First, they are never on time. They're on Duran Duran time, which means late. I can't remember one time when they hit the stage when they were supposed to but I can remember many times when I was in the audience with my friends and laughed about "Duran Duran time." I'm not complaining about when they come on stage because it doesn't matter to me, as long as they come. Also, it is a given that at least once or twice per show, Simon will forget the words. I think he did it 4 times last night. It's weird to be singing along to a song you've known fir 20+ years and the singer flubs the words. Once again, not complaining, just an observation. I've seen him trip on stage a lot too but he didn't do that last night or if he did, I missed it. If memory serves, he almost fell off the stage in Fairfax. Ahhhh, I love that man!

Another thing that I think Duran Duran always have going on is terrible opening bands. I'm sure they'd disagree but there really have been some awful ones. Juliet I liked and Neon Trees were awesome! I think they may be their best opening act ever! I can't think of the list of horrid ones but during the Liberty days they weren't getting great support but I was there regardless. I can't remember the name of the band that gave away pink cassette tapes but they were ungodly. I remember the opening act for Power Station though. The Swimming Pool Qs. Oh God, they were like watching a train wreck at close range. Just horrific! They were so bad that I got hit in the head with something someone threw at them, it may have been a shoe. I'd never seen so much shit fly past my head at a concert, ever.



That's me in the middle rockin' my inner chipmunk.




We got a little lost last night getting into DC with a wrong turn or two so we weren't there very early. We only had to sit for a bit before Neon Trees came on but as we sat there I heard the people behind me talking. I heard the guy say to his friends, "Did you see anyone dressed up like the 80s? I'm surprised we didn't see anyone." WTF? Why would you go to a Duran Duran concert expecting to see people dressed like they're from the 80s? Duran has been around for 30 years! Put down the fucking scrunchies and parachute pants! I think this guy pulled into DC looking for a clown car and was pissed that a bunch of big footed assholes didn't get out. I know most people haven't seen Duran Duran before and certainly not 37 times but show some respect! I don't go to see them to feel 17 again, I don't need Duran Duran for that but they're a really, really good live band. I think their tour shirts are too expensive but that's a whole other issue. I've always though that.


Constitution Hall Set List: BEFORE THE RAIN/PLANET EARTH/A VIEW TO A KILL/ALL YOU NEED IS NOW/BLAME THE MACHINES/COME UNDONE/SAFE/REFLEX/LEOPARD/GIRL PANIC/TIGER TIGER/CARELESS MEMORIES/LEAVE A LIGHT ON/ORDINARY WORLD/NOTORIOUS/HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF/SUNRISE [encore] WILD BOYS/RIO


They didn't play every song I would have liked to hear but that's to be expected. I've heard enough of them over the years to be pleased with what I did hear. It was the first time I'd ever seen them that they didn't play Save a Prayer. I kinda knew when Simon picked up the guitar for Leave a Light On that it wasn't going to happen. I've heard SAP so many times that I'm OK with that. I like hearing the new stuff and that really is a beautiful song.



It really was a great show. Simon will be 53 years old next week and you'd never know it. I'd say he looks like a rockstar but he is a rockstar so.... They look fucking awesome! John Taylor is still one of the most beautiful men I've ever seen in life and I know for a fact that the skin of his arm feels like a baby's ass because I've touched him. I've touched all of them, even Andy who has left twice like a fart in the wind. Not that I'm bitter.

I miss Taylor, Taylor, Taylor, Rhodes & Lebon but I've been through every incarnation of Duran Duran for 30 years and I've loved every minute of it!


This is a photo of me showing I had love for Andy back in the day. He isn't wearing glasses in the photo on the button on my shirt so this must have been before his light sensitivity kicked in.



I wish I could tell you that the hideous turquoise shirt I was wearing was the worst thing about that outfit but move that table and you'll see a pair of matching moon boots. Ha! I just laughed out loud!



They opened with Before the Rain and closed with Rio and it was magical. They are such a good live band and perhaps I'd forgotten that. It's only been 3 years since I've seen them but I have a 2 and 4 year old so that's in toddler years which is really like 150 years if you think about it. I'd love to take my kids someday but I don't know how to explain "Play the fucking bass John" to a 4 year old. He's just not ready for that kind of grit. Perhaps if I could get them to add a Thomas the Tank engine to the stage set that it would be more plausible but I'm not holding my breath on that one.



Simon's voice sounded amazing and I love Anna! She sounds perfect with them and has for years. As the band was standing at the front of the stage saying goodbye, John turned to his right and walked back up to his microphone. He commented "We'll keep coming back if you will" and walked off stage as Simon blew one last kiss to the audience. Ummm, yeah. I'm there.





I'm also passing on the gene.




I'm waiting for the cold to come because I think he's finally big enough to wear my Duran Duran Astronaut scarf!