Friday, April 29, 2016

Cream of Chihuahua

Image from Google Images

Kids get attached to things.  A stuffed animal.  A toy.  Whatever.  

My sister had a blanket as a kid that she LOVED.  It was (as I recall) a light yellow blanket, soft as can be, with a silk edge.  She called it her "Spotty blanket".  And it was the only thing that she wanted when she was sleepy or sad or sick or just needed a moment to herself.  She would suck her thumb and rub the silken part of Spotty against her nose and it would calm her. I had my sister.  She was my attachment.  Much to her dismay!  

Well, we had a babysitter who lived across the street named Sally.  We loved Sally.  We loved her kids, we loved her house and we loved her dogs.  She had these 2 chihuahuas.  Chico and Muffin.  Chico was like the Taco Bell chihuahua and Muffin was a black and white chihuahau. They were cute.  We always like them.  But they were ALWAYS getting busy.  I mean all the time.  Gettin' it on.  

When we were bad, Sally would punish us with cream of mushroom soup.  She would force us to eat it.  That was our punishment.  And it worked.  I never wanted to do anything stupid enough to be fed that crap.  

But of course, one day, we did something stupid.  I'm sure it was me.  My sister was usually the good one.  But she ended up having to also be punished for all my wrongdoings.  Sorry sister.  Anyhow... one day I remember sitting at the table, unable to move until we finished our bowls of soup, whining because the last thing I wanted to be doing was eating this horrible soup that tasted like a dead skunk.  

Next thing I know (or remember), Leigh is kind of freaking out and trying to get away from the table.  She noticed that Spotty had become a third party in the Chico and Muffin love fest.  A Chico, Muffin and Spotty threesome if you will.  But we were being punished.  So Sally wouldn't let her get up from the table. And that was very unfortunate for Spotty.  Because Spotty ended up getting some cream of chihuahua soup all up on her.  When we finished our soup, we were able to leave the table.  Leigh rushed over to save Spotty.  But it was too late.  The damage had been done.

Leigh had to give up Spotty that day. It's impossible to get the smell of cream of chihuahua out of anything. She was devastated. There was no replacing Spotty. And still to this day we have a sour spot in our hearts for Chihuahuas and Cream of Mushroom Soup.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

MTV, GN'R and other ramblings

Me as Axl, Halloween 2009 with one of my favorite partners in crime.

I've always been a fan of music.  You might think it's odd to say that, because who doesn't love music?  But there are actually people out there who don't.  My parents named me Jessica after the Allman Brothers' song. My sister and I used to hang out with our babysitter's older daughter and stand around a record player singing Funky Town by Lipps Inc. at the top of our lungs. And then, we heard about Music Television aka MTV.  Our neighbors told us if we turned the dial on our tv enough, we could tune in MTV.  So we rushed home, took over the television and began turning the knob round and round and round and round and round, for what seemed like an eternity.  It was probably only a few minutes in reality, but to a 4 and 8 year old it seemed like a day.  But eventually it worked and music television would be on our tv all day long.  I mean ALL DAY long.  We would sit in front of the tv, enamored by all these musical geniuses and their video creations.  I would study these songs.  I would write down the lyrics.  I would make dance routines.  I wanted to be each and every one of them.  In fact, I was Madonna or Cyndi Lauper interchangeably for practically every Halloween.

When I got a little older, I would hold singing competitions in the neighborhood.  I invented The Voice.  You had to be able to sing (on perfect pitch) Sheena Easton's part in U Got The Look by Prince to be in my special club.  I was a little tough on all the kids, but team Jessica had to be the best.  And we were.  I continued my love of music and all things music when hair bands became popular.  I knew every word to every Motley Crue, Skid Row, Guns N' Roses, Cinderella, and Poison song.  Then I got into rap.  Dirty rap.  The dirtier the better.  The more vulgar, the better.  And my mom was ok with me blasting Easy E and 2 Live Crew when I was 14.  Thanks mom!

Then came grunge.  Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam. Then I went back to Classic Rock.  Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Beatles.  Then I moved away to college and discovered Phish, Dave Matthews, Widespread Panic.  Then came my chick phase... Indigo Girls, Natalie Merchant, Tracy Chapman.  I got my ass kicked at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and I kicked a girls' ass at a Phil & Friends show.  You tell me a time we were together and I will tell you what kind of music we were listening to. And I haven't even touched the surface of all the music out there.  There is so much!

I'm rambling.  The point is, I love music. I will pay a lot of money to see music.  I am sad that I have missed the opportunity to see some of the greats. So when I heard that Gun N' Roses were going to play again, we jumped at the opportunity to go. Guns N' Roses was the backdrop for a big chunk of my high school career.  I would sit in a friend's bedroom and listen to both Use Your Illusions for hours on end while they played video games. And so we found ourselves in Las Vegas. And when our plane landed we heard that Axl had broken his foot.  So our hearts dropped.  Because Axl has a reputation for being a prima donna.  So we worried that he was going to bail on the show and our trip would have been for nothing.  But yay Axl!  You finally took some responsibility.  And you showed up on time.  And you fucking rocked it!  We had a great time. We met people from Germany, Belgium, Sweden, New Zealand, Brussels. And you know how I know I had fun?  I didn't take a single picture.  Nope.  Because I was tuned in. Just like I tuned in MTV all those years ago.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Big Dreamin' in the Big Apple

Smoked Salmon Everything Bagel with Scallion Cream Cheese from Best Bagel & Coffee, 
225 W. 35th St.

I'm actually surprised that it took me 39 years to get to the Big Apple. So when my mom wanted to do a girls' trip to NYC, I was ecstatic. I am so lucky to have experienced it all with my mom, sister and niece.  And I must say, it was built up in my mind to be this big, beautiful, fast moving, multi-cultured, unforgiving, chew you up, spit you out, hard core city. And half of that is true. It is big. We only touched on two boroughs... Manhattan, and a smidgeon of Brooklyn. It is beautiful. The people, the parks, the architecture, the smells, the tastes... all beautiful (well ok, there were a couple of smells I could have done without). It is fast moving. There are people (a lot of them, around 9 million of them), cars, buses, trains and boats constantly working on getting to their destinations. It is multi-cultured. You will find people from all walks of life in NYC. Every nationality, language, religion and color. They all live here. And they've all brought their culture with them to share!

But what shocked me most about New York, was how friendly, helpful and accommodating people were. You think big city and you think head down, ear plugs in, don't talk to me stature. And that is  true of a lot of people, but most of them are quick to take out their headphones and press pause to give you directions or shoot you a smile on the subway.

Pastrami Sandwich from the Carnegie Deli - Best Pastrami Sandwich I've ever eaten
 854 7th Ave.

My dream when I graduated from college was to work as a writer at Rolling Stone magazine.  I was going to move to New York (on the zero dollars I had saved), get me a job writing about music (cause no one else wants that to be their job, so there wouldn't be any competition), live in a nice little apartment (preferably one with a washer/dryer and no roommate of course), and walk around like Mary Tyler Moore every day.  Yeah.  That was the dream.

The reality was that I would have to have 2 other jobs to even afford an apartment that would most likely not be in a good area.  And with 3 jobs, how was I ever going to find time to see the music I was going to write about? So at least I was able to finally play out my dream.  I went where the Rolling Stone offices are.  Pretended that this was where I would commute to every day.  Walked around talking to myself as though I was a very important NYC music writer.  I even told some kid to go fetch me a cup of coffee (I kid).

But my life today isn't so far from my dream.  I get paid to see live music.  I have the luxury to take off work whenever I want to travel for more music.  I have a nice townhouse in the birthplace of Rock n' Roll where I don't have to share laundry with others and I chose my roommate and he's pretty awesome.  He even takes out the trash.  I wouldn't change my life in a New York minute!