Thursday, December 20, 2012

As tears go by.

I think I was around eleven or twelve when I received one of the greatest gifts ever for Christmas - A GUITAR!

I had begged for one since the dawn of MTV and envisioned something red, shiny and electric. Instead I got something beige, bulky and acoustic. But I was still pretty excited about the whole thing.

Dream vs. Reality.

My parents had hidden it away in the closet – after I had opened my final gift and come to terms with another year going by with no guitar, my dad told me to go and get something for him out of there.

Annoyed, I opened the closet door.
And there she was.

All curvy in a big black case - when I saw it I let out a yelp so loud our neighbor next door called to make sure everything was ok.

Things I loved about my childhood living room:
Stop-sign-shaped table with poinsettia.
Avocado carpet.
Fancy folding wood-paneled doors.

The closet was through that opening on the right.

Along with the guitar, my parents had also gotten me some private lessons at the Ossining Music Center, which was a good long walk from our house. I couldn’t wait to start and become the next Eddie Van Halen! Because that was what was totally going to happen! Totally.

My first lesson was the following week with my instructor, Mike. Before I met Mike I had a picture of what he would look like in my head. I was expecting someone resembling Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - instead I got someone who was a mix between Jerry Garcia and my math teacher.

The best part of guitar lessons was the walk up to see Mike.

Strutting my stuff carrying that big old case – to say I felt like hot stuff was the understatement of the year. People driving/riding their ten-speeds by must have been in awe of my coolness. In my mind they saw a guitar-playing-chick on her way to play her next big gig. In reality what they saw was a chubby, pre-teen girl sweating bullets trying to lug a giant guitar case while dodging traffic.

Over the first few lessons I learned some basics; how to hold the guitar, how to tune the guitar, a few basic chords, etc. But just like anything in my life the whole process wasn't moving fast enough. By lesson three I was bored and wanting out. I practiced, but not enough.

Here are the few gems I took away from guitar lessons with Mike:

As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones.
This was my crowning achievement, the only song I could play in it's entirety. Totally worth my parents hard earned money. I can still pick up a guitar today and whip this one out, complete with singing, and have people say, "I didn't know you played the guitar!" Awesome.

Solo from We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister.
I'm sure Mike taught me the whole song, but I have no memory of ever playing anything other than the annoying, loud solo part in the middle - which is somehow even more loud and annoying on an acoustic guitar. I can still play that bad ass solo with no sheet music. Call me a musical genius.

Opening chords from Metal Health - Quiet Riot.
You see where I'm going here? See, I'm not gonna learn a whole song, that's for suckers. But I will play the hell out of the opening of Metal Health, and it will make you want to bang your head and it will drive you mad.

So that about completes my guitar achievements - Merry Christmas.
I don't think Mike would be very proud of how well I've kept up.

My guitar made several moves with me, from New York to Florida to Oregon, until a few years ago when I finally sold it at a yard sale for fifteen bucks. Like most things I sell at yard sales, I kinda regret doing that.

When I do think back on some of the greatest Christmas gifts ever, the "Year of the Guitar" is right up there along with the "Year of the Atari "and the "Year of the giant Barbie Make Up Head."

Thank you Teacher Mike, for making an entire Stones song somehow stick in my brain forever, a whole song - not just the opening chords to Satisfaction or something like that.

Every time I hear that pretty, pretty song, I think of looking in that closet, that big 'ol guitar, and Christmastime.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Actor's Diet.

I am so excited to be guest-blogging on The Actor's Diet this week.
I am especially excited because I got to write about two things I love a lot:
1.)  Portland 
2.)  FOOD.
To read my post and see various photos of me eating relentlessly,
click on the link below.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Making a list, checking it twice.

When I was younger I started counting down the days until Christmas pretty early in the year. Like, as soon as I had unwrapped my last gift from Santa and settled in with a giant slice of stolen and kooken that my Grandma Ewart had baked, I was busy stuffing my face and looking forward to next year.

Did anyone else’s grandmother make stolen for Christmas? Stolen was a dessert with dried fruits that kind of looked like a giant donut. And kooken? I don’t remember what the hell that was, but I ate it.

I loved making detailed lists of what I wanted for Christmas, as well as detailed lists of what the big man had delivered to me. I would divulge the list of my holiday haul to one of the most important parties that existed in my life – my diary.

I was eight years old. This was a very good year. A Barbie? A Charlies Angels doll? Pay Day? (Meh.) AND A LOOM? I made like 900 potholders on that thing and they were all awesome. I was handing them out like hotcakes to my mother, grandmothers, teachers, babysitters, strangers on the street, anyone who would take them. Oh, and hellllooo electronics - Merlin and Speak and Spell. A very good year indeed, despite the rainy weather. Oh, and Merry Christmas Dairy! I'm sure the cows had a big celebration. And Merry Christmas to you too, Hello Kitty Diary. I loved you.
Thank you Santa.

1987. I have grown up quite a bit and my taste is much more refined. Name brands are obviously very important - FORENZA sweaters, OUTBACK RED turtlenecks, "AXCESS" watch, BENETTON outfit and perfume, E-SPIRIT, LIZ CLAIBORNE, etc. But the best gift of all as you can see, was JASON. Obviously my self esteem was in the toilet, God only knows what he saw in me, with him being so "gorgeous" and all. A few days later Jason told me he loved me, got expelled from school, and I never saw him again. Happy New Year!


I'm happy to say I don't write down every little thing that I get for Christmas anymore. If I did it would probably read something like this:

This was the best Christmas ever. I got to sleep until 8:00 this morning! I had a really good cup of coffee. I laid by the fireplace like a cat until I was hot to the touch. I got some face wash and that vanilla lotion that I like and a new bra from Nordy's. And Scotchmallow's from See's Candies. And I got a new book about Mick Jagger.

I guess name brands still are a little important to me - Nordy's, See's Candies...

This would all make for another good year. 
Merry Christmas Diary. 

Christmas morning '79.
Stockings, bad haircuts, footie pajamas.