Thursday, August 10, 2006
One year, I played "Mother Goose" while I was 3 months pregnant with Charlotte. I was extremely sick with morning sickness and had to perform during four different shows that day - EACH an hour long. I would go onstage, completely disheveled, say my lines, make thousands of mistakes and drop props all over the stage..... and then go throw up. Needless to say, I was not the hit of the show THAT year.
A couple of times I even blacked out - but THE SHOW MUST GO ON. I had throw up in my wig and I smelled like HELL from it. The young dancers back stage didn't understand why Mother Goose was lying on the floor. "What's wrong with that lady?" " Why is she so sweaty?" It was AWFUL!!!!!!!! I was so embarrased with my performance that year.
Oh-h-h-h, I have so many throw up stories during my pregnacy.
One big part of my morning sickness was that I simply couldn't bare certain smells. The first month, I made Pete completely sanitize the freezer and scrub down the fireplace. I didn't like THOSE smells. I smile when I think of him down on his hands and knees scrubbing his heart out with clorox and ajax.
The very worst smell was GARLIC.
I could smell it on people's breath, 10 miles away and I even smelled it in car exhaust for some reason. One time, a girl gave me a hug and I smelled garlic. I gagged like crazy during our embrace and quietly threw up in my mouth. I was so embarresed and just nodded when she asked me a question. I quickly dashed to the bathroom and got rid of it - and then threw up some more because I had throw up in my mouth.
I threw up so much during my pregnancy that I lost 30 pounds and broke millions of blood vessels around my eyes. I would not say that I was a glowing pregnant woman.
One horrible time, Pete and I had just been to the doctor at Piedmont and we stopped by "Harry's In A Hurry" to get some fresh fruit and a salad to take back to my office. The only food I could tolerate was FRESH, COLD food. I rolled down the window to get some air and of course I smelled garlic. I started gagging immediatly and Pete quickly grabbed the "Harry's In A Hurry Bag" with all of our fresh items and I threw up all over it. I was out of control and couldn't stop, and now Pete was gagging from watching me throw up. So he pulled in behind Fellini's in this big parking lot. I got out and continued to throw up on the road and Pete is barfing out his side of the car. This made me laugh so hard and the force of the gagging and laughing caused me to start peeing on the ground (thank God I have a skirt on so I could just aim for the asphalt). There were a lot of people milling around back behind the restaurants and stores and all they could see was a combination barf-arama, laugh-fest and pee-athon. It was so funny and I was SO nasty after that.
I also threw up in the produce section of Walmart. I quickly grabbed a plastic bag and threw my guts up next to the Fresh Georgia Peaches. This stupid kid kept looking at me (he was probably scared to death) and I said, "What??? Stop looking at me!". Then I heard a voice over in the deli section. It said, "Sugar, you just throw up all you want. How far along are ya? Four months? Oh honey I was sick my entire pregnancy with all three of my kids. I know how your feelin". So I walked around Wal Mart with a bag of throw up until I could finally find a trash can.
I also threw up in my car several times. The final time, I was so sick of getting my clothes dirty, so I tried to aim for the passenger side floor mat. I had perfect aim and only swerved into the other lane about 3 times. I got to the Studio, washed off my floor mat, squirted a little windex on the stain (windex is miraculous for throw up), popped some gum in my mouth and went into work.
Dispite my sickness, I never missed one day of work while pregnant. The medal ceremony will be at 1:00pm tommorow!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I am sitting here laughing because I remembered a day when I had a coughing fit.
Don't you hate when you get to the end of your cold and you have that annoying post nasal drip? It starts as a tickle and then it completely grabs your throat until you are forced to do manic coughing for 15 minutes.
One day, I was leaving a very important message for one of our parents at the dance school, where I work. We had been playing phone tag for days and I was so tired of holding the information and longed to just dump it on their answering machine. So I called them and started leaving a very detailed, long message about their child.
In the middle of it, the tickle started. I decided to ignore it and just swallow. If I could just get enough moisture in my throat, I could some how quell the cough. Well, that was not going to work and I started panicking.
As I was leaving this very detailed message, my mind started to drift to the thought of "What if I have a coughing fit on the answering machine? I am not going to be able to stop!" And...instead of saying what I needed to say, I started to go off task and said words that had nothing to do with their child. "So, I think Sally is going to need to come in and try on her tickle...wait, did I just say tickle? I meant to say, choke, I mean leotard."
And then it happend.....I had a full blown coughing attack where you cough so hard it sounds like your lung fell out on your desk. So, on this answering machine, you hear me say, in a gasping voice, "Hold on....." and I put down the phone and proceed to cough for what seemed like 10,000 years. In the middle of it, I try to get out "I'm gonna have to call you back" (kind of like when Mike Meyer's says "I'm Feeling Verclempt" on Coffee Talk?). What a treat it will be for that parent to come home, notice they have a message and press the play button.
If that is not bad enough, after I get my honey-lemon cough drop and drink a gallon of water, I call this person back and try to pick up where I left off.
And that is when I start remembering how ridiculous I sounded and I start to giggle. I keep saying, "I'm sorry, I just can't believe you heard me coughing like that" and then I compose my self only to fall apart again the minute I start talking. Then, I am laughing so hard that I have to put the phone down. I even pee a little bit in my pants. It's is so out of control that I can't even get the words out. I actually say to them, "I'm gonna have to call you back again".
Oh, my God! This person has to listen to two messages of me either laughing or coughing - and you know you can't take these messages back!
I make a third call and apologize for all of my outbursts and end up rambling on too long and make it even worse than coughing or laughing. I am the biggest dork known to man.
And I run this place? You've got to be kidding?
Ok, now I want to talk about LOVE. What do I love?
If you asked my mother, she would say I loved everything.
I am her “flower child” because I am always saying “I love that” or “I love…a certain person, food, song, outfit or season”.
You name it, “I LOVE IT”But what do I REALLY love?
More than anything in life?
I guess I could give my first answer, which would be my husband Pete, my daughter Charlotte or my wonderful family.
But that would not be as exciting to you as my second love: MUSIC.
Music has been the backdrop of my life since the day I was born.
I had no choice in this. I was destined to become a HUGE music lover.
At my house, music was always playing. On Saturday mornings, I would wake up listening to my Dad’s music. Sometimes it would be Three Dog Night, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Chicago, other times it would be Carol King, Cat Stevens and John Denver.
He had a HUGE record collection that I secretly coveted and would someday cart off to college.
My dad also sings and plays ukulele. I have such fond memories of family reunions and parties where the sing along would begin after dinner and go long after my bedtime. When my mom kissed me goodnight, I would go sit next to the air vent and listen to their beautiful voices, rich with harmony, climbing up to my bedroom. The final song was always “Good Night Ladies”. My parents had no idea that during these singing sessions, a spark was lit and my life would never be the same.
My grandmother also loved music. I can see us now, sitting in her car, singing at the top of our lungs. This was what we did when we were together. Can you believe that she would actually reach into her huge pocket book, take out her harmonica and play it while we drove down the street singing “When The Saints Go Marching In”? Now, how did she do that?
Singing became a refuge for me as I went through the difficult adolescent years. There is nothing like going into your room, turning on your favorite song and singing your heart out. My secret dream was to become a famous singer like Linda Rondstadt. My aunt Frances also had part in molding my future in singing. She taught me how to harmonize and it became my hobby to make up different harmony parts to songs on the radio.
In high school I put these harmonies in action by joining the chorus and eventually madrigal singers. There were moments when I was so moved by the music and our flawless harmonies between soprano, alto, tenor and bass that I would break down crying. You may think I am a little dramatic – but that is what music does to me, it brings me to my knees. If I hear a children’s choir or Kermit the Frog singing “Rainbow Connection”, you are going to see some tears.I realized the amazing feeling of singing for an audience when performing in my college Spring Musicals. There were moments onstage when everything just clicked: the orchestra was in time with our golden voices and the night was simply magic.
And now I ask myself, why do I love music so much? I love music because it builds bridges between people and makes lasting friendships. It makes a party come alive. It is the soundtrack playing in the background of our lives and the songs soars and swells the moment we fall in love, the instant we say “I do” and the second we see our beautiful child’s face for the very first time. As Pablo Casals writes: “Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart”. Now enough about me…what do YOU love?
Thursday, July 13, 2006
WHAT THE HELL IS IN MY PURSE
I just looked in my purse and for some reason I have nutmeg in the bottom of it. I was looking for a very important mini-spiral notebook and noticed that the 10,000 count, Extra large Ibuprofren bottle we have been searching frantically for the past month has been turned over and little brown tablets are in every corner and crevice of my purse. We just went to Costco and purchased two more 10,000 count Ibuprofrens to make up for our loss. I should have looked in the zipper portion of my purse.
And then I noticed the nutmeg. Why do I have nutmeg in my purse? It too, has opened and has sprinkled spicy dust all over the place. My purse needs a little pumpkin mix and we would have a wonderful pie.
Isn't it fascinating to look in other peoples purses? My friend Lisa, my sister and my mom know exactly what is in their purse. They have compartments and smaller containers for each of their important items. They probably know where their keys are and can hand you a fresh tissue when you need to blow your nose. I usually have a Subway napkin covered in sticky pen ink and a hair.
When their cell phone rings, they know exactly where it is and can answer on 2 rings. Mine somehow got placed in the side pocket underneath 3 pairs of sunglasses (why do I have three pair and not one and why is it not in a sunglass case?) and I always have to check my voicemail because I usually miss the call.
I love purses and usually do better when it does have those special compartments (except when losing pills). If I ever get suckered into a cute summer straw bag, it usually comes with the gaping black hole of an inside where your keys, wallet, ham sandwich and cell phone get sucked into the unknown. I NEVER can find anything in THOSE kinds of purses.
My ideal purse is one that is extremely cute and stylish on the outside, but has a secret life on the inside that the purse is too afraid to divulge to other purses. It contains pockets, hooks, zippers, side slots, and even a built in wallet that opens out to show your ID to the 14 year old cashier at the grocery store that doesn't believe you're old enough to buy Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade. That's my kind of purse, a purse with it's own baggage.
I just looked in the left section of my purse (the zippered middle divides the purse in two - kind of like "a tale of two purses") and saw one lone red twizzler from when we went to the movies - three weeks ago.
It has nutmeg on it. I wonder if that would taste good?
From the infamous words of Capitol One credit cards, "What's In Your Wallet?"
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
TO MY MOTHER
As I sit on the beach, looking out at the clear blue water, I am inspired to create the most wonderful gift for one of my MOST FAVORITE PEOPLE: My Mother!!!
I reach in my beach bag for a pen and paper to write down a few thoughts that lead to a story that tells a tale about a very special person...
She has the kindest voice and a beautiful face to go along with her beautiful heart.
This person REALLY listens, without trying to constantly interject.
Her laugh is like music.
There is nothing like the feeling you get when she laughs at your silly comments and stupid jokes.
She has the best sense of humor.
She is ever so neat, organized and very clever. She is one of the most creative people I know (even though she may not think she is)
She likes anyone who loves to dance as much as she does.
When people meet my mother, they are instantly in love.
They drink her in like a fine wine or an exquisite bottle of Cognac.
She is one word: DIVINE.
But a story is not enough.....I think I will get out my watercolors and paint the most marvelous picture.
In my picture, I will paint a family at the beach. Grandma is in the ocean, swimming in her white flowered bathing cap.
Dad is lounging in a beach chair, rubbing suntan oil on his already tan body,
his watch in his "Docksiders", drinking a bottle of "Pabst Blue Ribbon".
Papa is sitting under the beach umbrella, smoking a "Camel" and admiring his feet (he loves his feet).
He is laughing at my little sister, Sarah who has made a small pool out of her green bucket. She has crammed her "Coppertoned" body into her version of the ocean.
Grandma has just put a white beach hat on Sarah's head because her cheeks have become quite pink.
Ashley is wearing her pink and white halter bathing suit, turning cartwheels in the sand.
She has just yelled to you, that she thinks she sees "Lassie".
You are sitting on a blue raft at the water's edge, watching two seagulls fight for a fish.
In this picture, we are all YOUNG.
Our smiling faces are captured on the canvas, frozen in time.
We are all so unaware of what lies ahead.
In this picture, I have painted life at its best.
But a single picture cannot possibly express what I feel...Perhaps a song would be the right gift. The perfect song, like the perfect dish, must have all the right ingredients.
The song would have a dash of "Jeremiah Bullfrog" ROCK N ROLL, a cup of "Electric Avenue" REGGAE and "Boot Scoot Boogie" WOOGIE, a teaspoon of "Strip Right Down To Your Underwear" DIRTY DANCING, a pinch of authentic VIRGINIA SHAG, just a twist of "Make Me Want to SHOUT", a sliver of "Billy Jean" MOONWALKING, some "Party Train" GROOVE, some "Eli's Comin" GOSPEL and a SOULFUL tablespoon of "Proud Mary". I would top it off with the heart wrenching sounds of "Otis Redding", "Carol King" and "Joan Baez". This song would be served on a silver "Platter" with a cool side of "Pink Floyd".
There are enough stories to fill up a library; enough watercolors to decorate a gallery, a book of laughs to amuse the masses and a list of songs to entertain a party for hours.
As you gaze upon your blazing candles on each of your HAPPY BIRTHDAY cakes, may you be reminded of the WORK OF ART your life has been so far....
I'm So Glad You Were Born!
FIREFLY FISH CAMP
This was written by my sweet husband, Pete. He truly has a gift with words - not too many people know this about him. This is about our old lake house at Lake Burton. We have some great memories on this lake....
With the ferocity of a 10 ft. whip,
cracks the mid-year horizon,
rifling over the mountain tops
and across the cool, clear water,
finally shooting straight through the tightly drawn shutters.
With newly fallen dew below
and clear blue skies above,
the pristine chirp of a new born bird
followed by the gaggle of a flock of geese
welcome the visitors and embrace the core of their existence.
ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE HAS BEGUN...
It is a ritual
A day looked forward to
With the anticipation of a six year old at Christmas
Given what was at hand,
You could easily recognize the special nature of the place
Almost suspended in time,
perfectly situated between the ease of modern convenience
and the ragged beauty of a day gone by.
A SIMPLER, MORE PURE EXISTENCE
The idea is simple:
Be one with the beauty that God has provided
Take only what is needed and always give back.
Find your own place and inner peace will follow.
They spend the day as they please,
Napping in the warm air,
Sunning by the old wooden dock
And taking in the awe inspiring surroundings.
Sharing their hopes, dreams and visions,
They laugh and play.
They realize a fondness and closeness
that will bore a hole through their hearts like a worm through an apple
They eat and drink from the earth,
taking only what they need and leaving some for those who follow.
Their meals are simple, fish or fowl from the morning outings,
vegetables from the garden and grains milled and forged
Into the most delectable treats.
As the day concludes
A look of calm falls across everyone's 's face.
The rosy cheeked people,
Relaxed to the point of coma
Start to dream of their next visit
And what new experiences it will bring,
All the while hoping it will never change....
Firefly Fish Camp Is Born!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
I wrote the following back in 1998. This was way before having Charlotte. I was in the middle of "work hell" and couldn't see straight I was so stressed out...
All I want in this life is to feel safe.
Just take me away from the sinkholes,
the computers, the voice mails
and the cell phones.
All I need is place that’s quiet.
A place where I can smile
A place where I can just be
I don’t want any bad thoughts racing through my mind
In my place, I am simply OK
And THAT’s OK.
At night, I try to go to that safe place
I envision myself in my parent’s house on Green Oak Ridge
It is snowing outside and there is NO SCHOOL TOMMOROW
“Cobb County Schools are Closed!”
I am cozy in my bed
Under layers and layers of soft, clean sheets, blankets and bedspreads.
I always loved when it was cold enough to get out Gladys’ colorful crocheted Afghans: One for Sarah’s room (the zigzag design) and one for my room (the square design)
The weight of all the covers was so comforting and it was so heavy that I could barely move a muscle while I slept.
I’d wake up in the same position I fell asleep in….
I feel safe with one other person
He wraps his arms around me and I feel so warm in his arms
His voice can be so relaxing and he always seems to say the right thing
His hands become silk gloves as he soothes away my fears
One time when I came home feeling stressed out
He had a bath waiting for me
And he made me my favorite thing to eat
I wanted to cry I was so happy
He didn’t see what the “big deal” was
But it meant everything to me
For a few hours, all that mattered
Was that Pete loved me
And I loved him
For a few hours, I felt safe
I also try to remember our days in Hawaii
Can you imagine a day when you just wake up and say,
“Gee, What do you want to do today?”
Swimming in the crystal blue ocean, reading books, taking long walks,
making love or just laying in bed
Drinking fresh Pina Coladas
Actually being in a good mood for more than just one day
No one knows who you are
You get no annoying phone calls from irate parents or customers
In Hawaii, you are safe.
I had a dream that Pete and I were back in Hawaii
We were in a red convertible
And we were driving in slow motion
All around us were Cherry blossoms and fields of flowers
The tiny petals are falling from the trees and it looks like snow
Everything looks surreal, like an impressionistic painting
I lean my head back, look up into the blue sky and I can feel the sun’s rays beating down on my skin.
I am glowing
We are both smiling
We have arrived
And we are safe.
TRY TO REMEMBER
Every year in our dance recital program, I write a "Note From the Director". In Spring 2002, we decided our theme would be "United We Dance" in honor of 911. When I was researching for material, I found a story about "The Fantastics" on the internet and shared it with my students and their parents. This story is just amazing...
On May 3rd 1960 in Greenwich Village, New York, "The Fantasticks" opened in a hole-in-the-wall theatre called the Sullivan Street Playhouse. There were recommendations from "friends" to close the show on Opening Night after the New York Times and the Tribune gave it mixed reviews.
It was a musical fable, loosely based on "Romeo and Juliet" It had a tiny cast of five and set that consisted of a trunk, a banner and a cardboard moon. And yet, that very same simplicity made "The Fantasticks" so great and delighted audiences, both young and old.
By the way..."The Fantasticks" never did close. Those same "friends" who recommened that the show should close quickly, told one friend and then another and soon it became a huge hit that has been delighting audiences for generations. It actually remained open for 42 years and was titled the longest running musical, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
After the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, "The Fantasticks" closed for several days, as did pretty much all theatre in New York. Ground Zero was located three blocks away from the Sullivan Street Theatre and when the play re-opened, three days later, no one realized how the musical would take on new meaning. Especially the song, "Try to Remember." That beautiful song that was heard for 42 years, at the beginning of each production, would never again sound quite the same....
Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September when grass was green and grain so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September when you were a young and callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember, then follow.
Try to remember when life was so tender that no one wept except the willow
Try to remember when life was so tender that dreams were kept beside your pillow
Try to remember when life was so tender that love was an ember about to billow
Try to remember and if you remember, then follow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember. Although you know the snow will follow
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,without a hurt, the heart is hollow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember the fire of September that made you mellow
Deep in December our hearts should remember, then follow.
On Sunday January 13, 2002, after 17,162 performances, "The Fantasticks" took it's final bow. The tiny little musical about young love, with out a lot of gimmicks, that never quite made it to Broadway, left the Sullivan Street Theatre forever. But it left behind one special song that will stay in our hearts for all eternity. "Try To Remember" has become the official anthem for Broadway and September 11th. It pleads with us to reflect on simpler times and to remember our dreams. We should never forget the horrible events that happened on that day, but we should take pride in the amazing way it has united us all. It has united Broadway and Off Broadway; all of New York, our Nation and even our "little dance Studio". And today we will all be united in what we know best: Dance!
THE RED RECORD
My biggest dream when I was six years old was to be exactly like my dance teacher, Mrs. Sullivan.
She was everything to me!
She was an older dance teacher with grey hair and twinkling blue eyes. Before each dance class, she looked like any ordinary mother or grandmother. But she quickly transformed into a beautiful ballerina each time she brushed her long silver locks into a simple bun, tied on ballet skirt and slipped on her magical dance shoes.
Each week, Mrs. Sullivan would pick the best behaved student in class to take home her red record. The award winning dancer would be able to keep the record for one week, until the next ballet class.
That red record contained all of the secrets to dancing.
I know what you’re thinking, “How old are you if you were playing records instead of CD’s?”
That was back in the days when they didn’t even know what a cassette tape was!!
At the end of Mrs. Sullivan’s class, I would cross my fingers so hard and pray that she would pick me.
I wanted to scream, “Pick Me! Pick Me!” But instead, I just tried to give her my very best smile and not beg like some of the other girls in my class.
Finally, the day came when I was chosen to take home the prized record.
Now I could play that scratchy red record at home, in my room, and pretend I was the dance teacher.
Every afternoon after school, I would run up the stairs to my room and immediately put on my leotard, tights, ballet shoes and my favorite yellow “gypsy” skirt. My mom could not take that skirt off my body. I wore it CONSTANTLY!!!
Next, I would call me sister into my room for a dance lesson.
Following closely to the voice on the record, we would learn all of the ballet positions, plies, tendus, etc. With our eyes closed, heads back and feeling the rhythm of the music, we would be transported onto the big stage as we performed as prima ballerinas.
After our ballet lesson, I would put on my tap shoes and my sister Sarah, would put on her black patton leather church shoes.
I would pretend that my tap shoes were painted silver like Mrs. Sullivan’s and I would teach my sister how to “shuffle-ball-change”. Never have you heard such a racket.
There, in my room, I was inspired to teach, to perform and to create.
Looking back, I wonder if Ms. Sullivan realized what a profound impact she had on her students. When she looked at our faces, did she see the beautiful ballerina that was reflected in our eyes? If only Ms. Sullivan knew how much magic was in her teaching and in that little red record.
ON THE RADIO
Oh, how I love the radio! I was raised in a home that was surrounded by music and I can't think of a time when the radio wasn't playing. In my house, you could always count on the radio to wake you up on Saturday mornings. My dad LOVED Saturday mornings because it always began with a glass of orange juice, letting the cat out, grabbing the Saturday paper, starting the sprinkler and listening to his "rock and roll" music on his "hi-fi" stereo. Sounds of the Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, Elton John and Wings would creep up stairs and gently wake me into consciousness. Can you think of a more wonderful way to wake up?
As I got older, I began to listen on my very own radio. I can see my little brown and white transistor radio, SO CLEARLY, resting on my bedside table. It was on MORNING, NOON AND NIGHT!! In those days, our station choice was Z-93 and it remained locked in that position for years. The only time we slid the dial to another station was at night. My sister and I figured out a way to tune the radio so you could hear broadcasts from other cities and if we were lucky, we were able to hear the creaking door of Mystery Theatre. My sister and I began a bond that would last for years in front of that radio. We relied on it for our music, but also for the all important weather reports. You better believe that my little radio was glued to my ear when there was a possibility for a snow day! "Cobb County Schools will be closed" Yippee!!!!
In 6th Grade, our school bus had a radio with speakers (our school bus driver, Charles, was so cool)! The movie Caddyshack had just come out and everyone at school was obsessed with the music and the dialogue. We had every line memorized!! One afternoon, on our usual route home, the title track ("I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins) came on and the whole bus erupted into song. We were singing at the top of our lungs, dancing in our seats and acting like complete idiots. I remember feeling this strange kind of connection with each of my school mates.
In High School (see stylish "Pat Benatar" spiked hair-do above), you would be the "talk of the town" if you got your Perfect Album Side played on 96 ROCK. "This is Ashley from Marietta and this is MY Perfect Album Side". The DJ would ask you questions and then you would recite your songs that would be played for the next hour. All your friends would call you when they heard your songs and you would get nothing done at school the next day because of the constant congratulating. For a brief moment, you would rise from your weird girl status to rule the school....that is, until the next Perfect Album Side.
My senior year, it became un-cool with my crowd to listen to commercial radio, so I quickly tuned into ALBUM 88 to hear the latest alternative songs. I felt unbelievably "New Wave" listening to that music and even tried to dress like a punk rocker for a while (Definition of Punk Rock for a while: bleach stained pink blouse with bleach stained mini-skirt, black eyeliner, and red lipstick in my blond, all-American hair for exactly one night and then realized how ridiculous I look. What a poser!!!)
In college, I remember the freedom I felt for the very first time because I could actually drive in my car with out anyone wondering where I was going. Driving down Maple street, with the windows rolled down, hair blowing in the wind and the radio playing my favorite song. That tops my list of life's simple pleasures and is something that I have forgotten how to do. How quickly we forget how to be young and free?
Now my days are filled with Raffi tapes, THE WIGGLES CD and Sesame Street music. Who would have ever thought that the daughter of a music FANATIC would be reciting words VERBATIM, from my daughter's Barney Video? "If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops, oh what a rain that would be". I find myself singing those goofy songs OUT LOUD, usually in a public place like Old Navy and I forget that people can hear me. I can actually tell you all the names of ALL the members of THE WIGGLES, but I had no IDEA that Brangelina had their baby (why didn't you tell me???)
Although I would NOT trade being a mother FOR THE WORLD, I often think of my days with my radio and I am reminded of how much simpler life was when I was younger.....
I just want to go back to the days when you heard a new song that made you feel like you were going to burst with excitement and you CAN'T WAIT to learn the words. I want to be under the covers in my childhood bed and hear my mother say, "You can listen to the radio a little while longer, but then it's time for bed". I want to be with my Dad in his Datsun 280Z singing "Oh Black Water Keep On Rollin". I want to go back to college and fall in love again with my husband as we slow dance to "You Are So Beautiful" in front of his apartment. I want to be in my sister's car, driving down to Hilton Head, singing Ryan (not Bryan) Adams songs with her moon roof open and the stars shining above us. More than anything, I want my daughter, Charlotte, to feel the joy of the radio and to have all the great memories like I experienced. Maybe she'll be entranced by it's magic spell....or maybe she'll choose to be a rocket scientist. I guess I'll take either!
When I think of my Dad, I am reminded of many things....
I remember the sound of his soft-spoken voice saying, "Ash?"
That voice become beautiful music as he sits singing and struming his ukelele
"My Dog Has Fleas"
I'll never forget that time in the car when both were singing
"Oh Black Water, keep on rollin" AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS!
You see, a passion for music runs in our family.
My dad and I can play a new CD over and over until everyone wants to kill us!
SO SHOOT US! WE LOVE MUSIC!
Music takes over our senses.
A certain smell like the leaves of autumn, the taste of banana muffins, the sight of a country landscape and the sound of crashing waves reminds us of a GREAT song.
A song that set the mood for that perfect moment in time.
Dad is the one who introduced me to all the greats: Carol King, Kingston Trio, Joan Baez, John Denver and Elton John.
I used to sit in my room for hours listening to all his records.
Music is truly the one thing that connects us.
I also remember Saturday mornings
I think Dad loved Saturdays more than any other day of the week.
It was his therapy from the long hard work week.
I remember it all so clearly.... Dad creeping downstairs, letting Penny in from the garage...
"Me-e-e-o-w", out to get the paper, pouring a glass of orange juice, setting into his red chair with his feet pointing.
I could always count on waking to "ROCK - N- ROLL" on the radio and the sound of scissors clipping coupons.
"Where's Dad?" was always the question.
Dad would leave in the early morning hours and return with boxes of cereal, two for one coconut pies, cake mixes, jars and jars of "Duke's Mayonaisse," bread GALORE and his latest finds from "K & J" outlet.
Let me just tell you something about my dad: MY DAD LIKES TO SHOP - and he in an expert!
Some Saturdays would be spent in the yard perfecting the green lawn, planting azaleas and pulling ivy off the trees. No matter how much we complained,
"I HATE DOING STUPID YARD WORK"
it was always worth the long day's work.
At the end of the day, Dad would stand back and admire our beautiful yard.
After that he would drink a big glass of ice water, take a short nap, a long shower and then it's time to get ready to go out to dinner with our beautiful mother.
Dad would come downstairs in his new clothes (and we'd "Ooh" and "Aah" over them)
wearing his shiny Bass Weeguns and smelling so clean....I remember that smell. I think it was "Skin Bracer" - that green liquid that men smacked on their faces.
"THANKS, I NEEDED THAT"!
There are many things I wish I could remember.....
Like, when was the moment I stopped being my "daddies little girl"?
When was the moment I stopped holding his hand when I crossed the street?
When did I stop running and jumping in his arms when he came back from a long trip?
It seems that I just went out to that wide-open road and looked both ways....
with out looking back.
Always in such a hurry to grow up
There were years when it seemed like we were going in different directions
Sometimes struggling to find each other down the crooked, curvy path....
As I experience the magic of parenthood, I realize that path has finally led us back to the beginning -
To the point in our lives when we both need that hand to cross the street and loving arms to hold us tight.
Dad, I would like to thank you for your guidance, for your love and most of all, thank you for you!
Monday, July 10, 2006
FAME! I'M GONNA LIVE FOREVER!
I have always been a little obsessed with New York and do you know why? When I was 12 years old, I went to see the movie "FAME". It was a moment that changed the entire course of my life. I was like any other pre-teen girl and just got over my obsession with Donny and Marie when I saw the movie with my three friends from school. The plan was that we were going to see the movie and then my mom would pick us up and take us back to our house for a spend the night party.
The story line of the movie follows a group of friends during all four years at the New York High School For Performing Arts. I WAS GLUED TO THE SCREEN THE WHOLE TIME! My friends thought the movie was, "OK" and I thought they were all CRAZY - then I remembered they were more the "BLUE LAGOON" type girls. On a normal night, we would be consumed with the usual girl activities like hair, make-up, Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and crank phone calls. But not tonight. I simply could not get that movie out of my mind. I wanted to KNOW Leroy, Bruno and Coco. I wanted to lie on the classroom floor and go through all of the acting exercises with Doris and Montgomery. I wanted to burst into spontaneous song and dance in the middle of a busy New York Street. Did anyone else understand my passion?
I was completely inspired beyond words and while my friends played "light as a feather, stiff as a board", I was over in the corner making up dances.
The next morning, I declared that my new dream in life was to move to New York and to audition for the High School for Performing Arts. And I wanted to do it all: Dance, Sing and Act! I have always loved singing and who wouldn't agree that I was a great actor (especially on those mornings when I didn't want to go to school). But, I didn't know how to really dance. I had mastered the "Hustle", "The Bus Stop", "The Pretzel" and "The Robot". I had even won a "Twist" contest at my school for our Sock Hop Day. But let's face it, I was no Hillary Van Doren from the movie, "FAME".
My mom enrolled me in dance classes at the sattelite Atlanta Ballet location in my town. My teacher liked to dance to really unusual songs and particularly liked Eric Clapton. We used to giggle when we would do our movement across the floor to "Lay Down Sally" and "Cocaine". Those were the days when you could get away with murder and parents remained silent. These days, that teacher would be fired.
Where was I?? Anyways...In dance class, I became re-acquainted with the feet positions (from my younger days of dance) and was quick to learn passe, pique, grand battement, pas de chat and my absolute favorite: leaps! You can imagine my thrill doing our final recital dance to the song "Red Light" (which, if you don't already know, was from my favorite movie, "FAME"). You're going to love our costume: red leotard, pink tights, red leg warmers, and a sequin belt and headband. Aft the end of the year, I signed up for a two week summer ballet intensive. In my mind, I had become a real dancer and nothing was stopping me.
At home in my room, I would spend hours in front of the mirror pretending I was making my "big break". I would put on my dance outfit, get out the real, live, working microphone and sing the entire "Chorus Line" soundtrack and "Out Here On My Own" (yeah, I know, from FAME again) just like Irene Cara. I have never been so embarressed in my life when my neighbor told me that she heard me singing. I had no idea that the speakers on the back porch were broadcasting my performances to the whole neighborhood. I think I even disturbed the dogs. Oh, well...being a star can be humiliating.
And then....I don't know what happened. I must have lost that passion when puberty hit. Dance became less important and my friends at school, spend the night parties, BOYS and roller skating became my focus. I soon forgot about my dream of going to New York. I guess that just happens to some of us. But it is on my list of life's regrets, along with giving up piano lessons and my mom not letting me go to "Barbizon School Of Modeling" after I told the whole 7th grade class I was leaving school to star in commercials and fashion shows.
Soon I was 16 and driving, next I was graduating high school and then I was off to college. Thank goodness, I came back to performing when I was in college. I majored in theatre and transformed into a master thespian, becoming totally engrossed in all the characters I played. I even got back to dancing for my parts in the spring musicals.
I met my husband in college. We dated for several years, acted in a few plays together and talked of our dream of becoming at least part-time actors. We even went to an audition on the night of our first wedding anniversary. Life continued on, did a little local theatre and got what our parents call "real jobs".
And then one day...Pete DID take me to New York City. It was the most amazing experience and beyond my wildest dreams. We saw live theatre, walked down every street, strolled through Central Park, went to the Museum of Modern Art (or MOMA, as the New Yorkers like to say) toured the NBC Studio and had dinner in Greenwich Village. I had never felt so alive in all my life.
As we reached the top of the Empire State Building, I took a moment to soak in the beautiful city below me. I had finally made it to New York. I came not as a performer, but as an audience member, witnessing the city's rich culture, it's vibrant colors and it's electric energy. I said a quick prayer and thanked GOD for not sending me to see "AIRPLANE" on that magical night, long ago. Who knows, I could have turned out to be a flight attendant.
NO WEDDING BLUES
This was written for my sister for her wedding. I had just seen "Four Weddings and A Funeral" and completely lost it when I heard the poem "Funeral Blues" by W.H. Auden read by one of the characters.
I switched around some words and came up with my own version for my little sister, Sarah!
Stop all the clocks
Pack Up the stuffed animals and dismantle the balance beam
Alert the press with her megaphone
Throw up the pom-poms with a cheer
A child has grown to be a woman
This woman is my sister
And she's getting married
She is our bright flashlight in the darkness
The youngest of two
She is the truth, the best and the one
The one that we love
The one who has met her perfect match and will make him very happy
She is his east, his west, his north and south
Wherever his sun sets, her moon rises
There is always the laughter, always the dance
So here's to the girl with the blueberry shaped toes
The comb under her chair, the cloth napkin in her lap
Doing a split at the dinner table,
Saying "What did you say?"
Along with her constant questions about seatbelt safety.
Let us all take note,
There are no wedding blues here
No melancholy melodies filling a sad cafe
Just a few words about a wonderful person
That person is my sister
I'm her biggest fan
And she's getting married
I'm passing you the torch, now run with it.