Friday, September 19, 2014

Sense memory music.

Music brings the memories back like nothing else can. With some songs…certain songs…you are able to relive a moment. At least I am. 

I’m not talking about the time I went out and bought a bunch of beads and feathers to braid into my hair because Stevie Nicks wore them in the “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” video. Or how The Rolling Stones Tattoo You album has permanently taken over one-third of my brain.

I’m talking about songs that come on the radio and suddenly you see things. You smell things. You feel things. Things like this.

"I Want To Know What Love Is" - Foreigner.
Albert was one of my first real boyfriends. I was in 8th grade and he was in high school. He wore the tightest parachute pants you ever saw. He was from Cuba and had a really slight mustache and the blackest/waviest hair you ever saw glisten in the Florida sun. 

Albert and his best friend Gaby (yup, a guy named Gaby) would drive to my house in Gaby's El Camino. I was a virgin and had let Albert know I had no plans of giving it up to him, even though things could get pretty hot and heavy in the back of that El Camino. 

When he and Gaby weren't blasting "Feel For You" by Chaka Khan or talking to each other in Spanish he would sing me the chorus of this song, a little mockingly, especially the "I want you to show meeeeeee" part, or sometimes he'd sing that line to Gaby as I was heading to the fridge to get a Fanta. I never showed Albert what love was, even though he wanted me to real bad.

"Pressure" - Billy Joel/"Lights" - Journey.
I took an aerobics class with my mom in 1989. We wore leotards, leg warmers and headbands because we were cool and fashionable like that. The instructor was a pint size aerobics queen who took us through a routine to Billy Joel's "Pressure" that could have been its own Broadway production. After it was over I always felt like I was going to have a heart attack and die but I knew I was going to be OK because the big cool down routine was coming up soon. 

"Lights" by Journey would come on the boom box, we would stretch, lay on the floor and exhale as the instructor told us to let all of our worries lift up off us "like the San Francisco fog." Because I think "Lights" is about San Francisco? There's that "sun shines on the bay" part? Thanks aerobics instructor for almost killing me, and for teaching me something about geography.

Anything off of the Sports album by Huey Lewis and the News.
Huey Lewis and the News were in town, I'm in 7th grade and for some reason I lie to my friends telling them not only am I going to the concert (lie) but that I have backstage passes to the concert (lie) because lead guitarist Chris Hayes was a family friend (complete bullshit lie.) The night of the concert I was actually babysitting at the Marzak's house, the one where I got in trouble for putting a light bulb down the garbage disposal

If you asked me who I liked better, Huey Lewis or Chris Hayes I would say Chris Hayes. I even had a nickname for him. I called him "Peanut." Why? Who the hell knows. I made my little  brother Mike call him Peanut too. But come on...look at this guy and tell me you didn't have a crush on him and call him Peanut. 

I called my best friend Stacey from the Marzak's house after I turned the television up real loud and got those Marzak kids to scream like lunatics, so I could pretend I was calling from a payphone at the big show. I went on how great the concert was, and how I couldn't wait to see old Peanut afterwards.

So whenever I hear "I Want A New Drug" "The Heart of Rock and Roll" or my favorite Huey Lewis song, "If This Is It" I always feel kind of bad for lying to my best friend in 7th grade about going to a stupid concert.

Bust mostly I think about how ridiculous it was that those Marzak kids -- one who was a toddler -- had to pretend to be at a Huey Lewis concert. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sunday afternoon fever.

When we were young entertainment was way different. It was way more simple. We lived our lives way less on demand.

In the late 70’s/early 80’s the following technological advances kept me sufficiently entertained:

  • Having a tape deck cued up and ready to record when The Knack's "My Sharona" or "Bad Girls" by Donna Summer came on the radio. HURRY & PUSH PLAY/RECORD!
  • My dad palming the cable guy 15 bucks to give us free HBO.

Besides Saturday, another day of the week had pretty epic television programming. While talking with some friends last night we came to realize the significance and importance of Sunday afternoon television. 

Here’s what was playing in the background at my house every Sunday after mass.

Davey and Goliath.
If Gumby and Mr. Bill had a baby it would be Davey and Goliath -- a stop-motion show produced by the Lutheran Church about a boy and a talking dog that was created back in the 1960’s ran on three different television stations simultaneously on Sundays in New York. Only Davey and the audience could hear Goliath the dog speak as he and Davey had adventures and learned religious life lessons. The short 15 minute episodes with names like “Lost in a Cave” “Bully Up a Tree” and “Chicken” were actually pretty sweet. I loved the way Goliath talked (his sing-songy "DAY-veee") and I’d always stop on them when turning the dial, landing on one of the three episodes that happened to be on.

Abbott and Costello.
I loved Lucy, Carol Burnett, and these two guys -- always on every Sunday afternoon. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello did everything, vaudeville, radio, television and movies. It took a lot to get a little girl interested in something on the glowing box that was pretty dated and in black and white, but Bud and Lou reeled me in every time. I loved Abbott’s deadpan straight man to Costello’s brilliant buffoon. My favorites were the films they did with popular movie monsters like “Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man” “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.” And this. I loved this. I'd watch it with my grandfather who'd be wiping away tears from laughing. I especially enjoy how riled up Costello gets towards the end.
The Yankee Game.
Always on. Always. Really loud. My family loved their Yankees. Lou Piniella. Reggie Jackson. Thurman Munson. Phil Rizzuto's voice. You guys better win or doors will be slammed, things will be thrown and people will yell and swear at the television set. Family time. Please win Yankees. Please

The Wonderful World of Disney.
And to round out my day of television I present this:

Hearing the opening theme signaled it was almost time to leave Grandma and Papa's house or we had just gotten home from their place. It also signaled the end to the weekend, time to put on the footie pj's, brush teeth and get ready for bed and the week to come.

Each of these programs I remember watching with a friend, my brother, my grandparents or aunt -- someone I loved. It was quality time, not "screen time." There were no guilty feelings, no "you really should be outside playing not watching TV" vibe about any of it because that's what we were all doing. We were watching TV. 

We were watching TV together. Even if we were yelling and sweating and pacing because the Yankees were down by four runs -- we were together.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Let me start off by saying that our recent two-night stay at Great Wolf Lodge was totally fun...the water park was awesome, there was a great zip lining/ropes course we all did together, miniature golf and 4D World were great. 

Again, the insane water park is the big draw and the kids had an absolute blast.


The vacation I just had at Great Wolf was by no means a vacation. It was 48 hours of following my 6 and 9 year old back and forth through an enormous hotel, running up and down stairwells with a magic wand, and trudging into the deep end of an overcrowded wave pool to fetch them for the zillionth time.

Oh, and Great Wolf Lodge is weird you guys. It's totally weird. 

Some of the wolves could use a makeover.
Many looked sick, were a little patchy or appeared malnourished like this guy, who greeted us at the entrance. 

An unnatural love of flip-flops.
Flip-flop enthusiasts Great Wolf Lodge. Because their gift shop is full of flip flop paraphernalia. 
Signs, t-shirts and actual flip-flops. They have the flip-flop fever at Great Wolf.

Pun-ny names.
That kids would not understand and if you're a good parent you will roll your eyes at. 
Somewhere, all five members of Duran Duran and Ozzy Osbourne know something in the universe is not quite right.

And this moose just looks terribly confused -- maybe by all that cutlery? Or maybe the fact that adults are coming to his breakfast buffet it their pajamas? Barefoot? Sans bra? And not in a good way? Yeah. That's probably it.

Super weird clocktower show.
In one of the more weird kid "shows" I've ever witnessed, a giant animatronic owl, racoon, moose head, Native American woman and a half of an old-timey kid in a tree stump sing a song about how 
"there's nothing to be scared of." I beg to differ.

Magic Quest.
The boys favorite thing was Magic Quest, this interactive game where you get a 
magic wand that activates characters, pictures, caged creatures, trees trunks and 
bears that hang on a wall with glowing eyes to give you clues to collect different jewels, treasures and
various other magical items.

All of the kids are frantically running around the entire hotel with wild looks in their eyes, knocking over whoever is in their way to get their last piece of gold, scrolls, runes or whatever. The actors on the screens playing the various wizards and faeries were constantly referring to my children as "Magi's" -- "Oh, hello Magi, I didn't see you there" and "Thank you Magi, you've saved us." Huh. This one in a tree stump reminded me of Grace Slick in an old Jefferson Starship video.

You are tagged and bagged at check-in and cannot take this wristband off until check-out. As a person who takes off her rings and jewelry the second she walks in the door, sleeping with this on was maddening.
I kinda felt like I was in the hospital. The mental kind.

Again, this was a family vacation. The kids had the time of their lives. THE BEST TRIP EVER according to them which thrills me beyond belief. 

You know what else thrills me? That I think I lost weight on vacation from running around so much with those damn wands, that I finally got to cut that thing off my wrist and that I don't have to walk by that "Hungry As A Wolf" restaurant one more time because it kind of made my stomach hurt.

And I while I may not understand the flip-flop fever that inundates the gift shop, I completely understand the need for this in the gift shop.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Suddenly, it's summer.

Summer snuck up on me this year, it always does. Like one day in June I'm pulling out a turtleneck sweater then BAM! it's time to start shaving my legs again.

There are so many things I love about cream, the beach, popsicles, sitting outside at night, ice cream, sparklers and more ice cream.

Here are some great things that scream summer to me:

Sally Hansen Nail Polish:
Damn, this polish by Sally Hansen is good. You can use one coat instead of two, it has a flat brush that makes the application really easy and it lasts like almost two full weeks without chipping. Thanks Sally.

Cherry Vanilla Cologne:
Not a perfume but a "cologne" purchased at Rite Aid for under ten smackers. 
And it delivers -- smells like cherry vanilla baby.

Pimm's Cup Cocktail from East Glisan Pizza Lounge:
From my favorite neighborhood pizza joint, sooo refreshing and delicious I could drink two. Or three. Don't judge me, it's summer and I'm thirsty. Pimm's No. 1, cucumber, orange, lemon and ginger ale. Heaven.

This Necklace:
I like cherries.

Ice Cream Sandwiches:
Melt-y vanilla in between chocolate cake-y rectangles. Licking the vanilla around 
the edges then cleaning the cake-y stuff off your fingers like a cat. Summer.

"Suddenly Last Summer" by The Motels:
Of course I love Summer of '69 and Cruel Summer, but no other '80s song quenches my thirst like Martha Davis hot sexy voice singing of a love that doesn't end once the summer does. And the video is all dreamy and has an ice cream truck in it. I am totally singing this next time I karaoke.

I know it's now mid-August and summer is suddenly about to end...lets soak up these last few weeks. Get an ice cream sandwich from my friend the Good Humor Man. Lick your fingers you guys. Smell like cherries and vanilla. And have a foofy summer cocktail. 

Because in a month it's all pumpkins, turtlenecks and candy corn.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Reflections of the way life used to be.

Nothing says '80s graduation better than sepia toned high school seniors tossing their caps in the air. Right?

This isn't a yearbook - this is REFLECTIONS ~ A MEMORY BOOK

I think it was a little extra freebie giveaway that came with my class ring. A freebie that I took on as a serious senior project.

With this being high school graduation season looking through turning through the pages of Reflections made me reflect even more...on my high school experience, movies and music of the '80s, and how much time and effort I put into crafting my own reflection-perfection.

There was a place to put all of those little cards with peoples names on them 
that you got with your graduation announcements.

A place to put your senior photo and write your class motto.
(We had a motto? I guess we had a motto.)

A place to write fond memories of your teachers, like dreamy Mr. Olson...

               I was in the drama club which according to this photo had 900 members. 
Also, that's me as a big-haired Helen Keller.

There were pages for photos.
Me and a group of girls in boxer shorts singing "Old Time Rock 'n Roll" (shudder) and receipt from a motel my friends and I liked to frequent at the beach. 
Yep. Memories.

I wasn't very good keeping up with the news/world events.

But I did know a lot about "Fads"
We ate Doritos.

I loved R.E.M., Rocky Horror, Bill and Ted, Little Shop and Remote Control.

I loved this stuff too.

This proves that stuff was way cheaper and that I was a skater-girl poser.

 Graduation. Donatello's and afterwards Steve's house for a party.

My Hollywood ending.
It's funny those tracks say "Hollywood" - I was heading from sunny Tampa, Florida to snowy Bend, Oregon. 

I do love the image and how I didn't crowd it with a bunch of crap. I was excited. I was scared. I was leaving my boyfriend and my friends. I was terrified.

My favorite part of this page is the quote I cut out from Sassy magazine that says, "I know a guy in Oregon. He's very into nature. A very simple and beautiful man." 

This was all I really knew about Oregon at 18. A quote from Sassy magazine. I swore I'd move back to Florida. Or New York. Or Hollywood; even though I'd never been there.

Like the newspaper clipping says, high school is history. I had big plans. 

I wonder if seniors today still sign each others yearbooks? Or are their yearbooks on an tablet or a phone? I hope not. 

Whatever the case I'm pretty sure they don't have Reflections, A Memory Book to reflect upon. Poor things.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The ballad of the power ballad.

You love a good ‘80s power ballad, right? Every Rose Has its ThornLove Bites, I Wanna Know What Love Is, I Can't Fight This Feeling, pretty much anything by Heart, etc. 

But what do you do when it’s fallin’ apart? And you knew it was gone from the very start? 

You close your eyes, and you dream of these underrated, awesome, dramatic kinda/sorta hits of the decade.

“When You Close Your Eyes” – Night Ranger.
Sister Christian be damned, this is by far my favorite Night Ranger song.

The guitar lick at the beginning, the dra-ma-tic  video with the couple who looks a little too old to be going to the prom, the guys in the band with better bangs than I had, and…a monkey? Yep, a monkey drinking coffee. It's the '80s. Oh and the girl longingly looking out the window with a houseful of kids, reminiscing about what could have been…sigh. I just love this song you guys.

Favorite line: Naturally, the “I remember we learned about love in the back of a Chevrolet…well it felt so good to be young, feels like yesterday” part.

“The Search is Over” – Survivor.
Oh my goodness Survivor, who knew you and your Eye of the Tiger tough-guy ways had a soft side?

The video kind of had a creepy vibe with him constantly lurking over his "friend" sleeping in bed. Come on you idiot -- she's hot! She likes you! The search is over! SHE WAS WITH YOU ALL THE WHILE.

Favorite line: “So if you ever loved me, show me that you give a damn, you'll know for certain the man I really am.”

Anything off the "Air Supply’s Greatest Hits" tape.
If you say you didn't have this cassette tape in 1983 I'm sorry, I don’t know if I believe you.

It’s hard to choose just one song off of a greatest hits compilation because all of them are truly…great. I know, I know…sap-city, but great in their own Air Supply way! Even the Nights are Better, Every Woman in the World, Here I Am, and the incomparable Making Love Out of Nothing at All. 

This video...holy crap. Really bad acting! Photographs coming to life! Smoke machines! Jumpsuits! Mullets! Afros! This video has everything! 

The only thing that would make it better would be if they got that monkey from the Night Ranger video!

Favorite line: But I'm never gonna make it without you, do you really want to see me crawl? And I'm never gonna make it like you do, making love out of nothing at all."

Did you love any of these as much as I did? *sigh* These songs still yank my whammy bar and strike the ultimate power ballad chord in my heart.

And I'm not ashamed to admit that Night Ranger one can still make me cry. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Let it go.

I’m pretty good about getting rid of things when I’m done with them. Not great, but pretty good.

Like I love selling/donating clothes that I don't wear anymore that have been stuffed into my closet, making glorious room so I can actually slide the hangers back and forth -- such a novelty!

And I'll gladly toss away food-encrusted cookie sheets from the drawer under the stove and stained towels from hair dye from my linen closet. 

But you guys, some things are hard for me to get rid of. I’m not talking about things like dairies or photo albums -- those stay. I’m talking about things like this:

Simple clogs.

These were purchase in the ‘90s right out of college after realizing I was not a Birkenstock kind of a girl –- perhaps I could pull off these hippie clogs? I wore these everywhere. To death. The lining is torn out and the leather is pretty worn and they don’t smell the greatest. But they are SO COMFORTABLE. Now they sit by the sliding glass door off the kitchen and everyone in the family wears them if they need to run the recycling out or walk the dog around the block. They are the family clogs, and I will never throw them away.

Gap t-shirts.

Again, purchased loooong ago, basic t-shirts in black and white. These are stretched out, stained and friggin' huge but comfortable. I would get rid of these before the clogs but I really hope I don’t have to ever make that choice.

This "salad."

OK, this is from last Sunday and was served with our Easter dinner. It's something my mom made that involves a packet of orange Jello mix, cottage cheese, mayonnaise and canned mandarins/pineapple (don't judge it, because you haven't tried it.) It's one of those weird concoctions that when served on a holiday it is deemed "salad." I refuse to throw this away, I will finish every last bite. And with the mayo/cottage cheese combo I better get busy on this delicious SALAD (that tastes like a creamsicle) before it spoils.

Pretty in Pink cassette tape.

I no longer own a cassette player and my car doesn't have one. I keep this on my bookshelf –- it’s the last thing I see before I go to sleep/first thing I see when I wake up. I will most likely be buried with this. That's not weird, right? 

Oh, and this:

Cheerleader lamp.

My childhood lamp that sat on my nightstand -- Mom made it for me in her '70s ceramics class. It was supposed to look like me, with the brown hair and eyes and, um, enthusiasm for cheerleading? No...I never had that. There must not have been a lamp shaped like a candy bar or Carvel soft serve cone for her to paint, so I got the cheerleader. 

Like I said I don't really hang onto things so I don't know how this bulky, fragile lamp managed to make the cut moving from New York, to Florida to my garage here in Portland. But it did. 

And I'm glad it did. I really don't mind seeing that smiling face a few feet in front of me when I open up the door off the living room that leads into my highly disorganized garage. 

I have two boys who are not at all interested in my old "young-mom-as-a-cheerleader-if-she enjoyed cheerleading" lamp. But it's been with me almost my whole life, and I'm not getting rid of it.

To conclude; I would choose the lamp over the clogs, t-shirts, the creamsicle salad and (gulp) the cassette tape.