I AM THE DJ (Series – 8)
February 9, 2015

The Grammy Edition…I’m quietly watching the Grammy’s feeling vaguely disconnected from the show as so many of the artists are ones I tend to avoid. Nothing personal but I’m not a giant fan of mainstream, pop or country. I may be missing out on a lot of great music but my listening time is limited so I’m not feeling like I need to diversify. That said, a random few artists I adore are mysteriously here on the show so I’m fast-forwarding through but taking the time to note a few songs that Cole might like for our next playlist. There have been some interesting performances…AC/DC who sounded great…ELO who don’t sound as great as they once did, despite the boost of having Ed Sheeran jumping in for one of my favorites of theirs, Mr. Blue Sky.

Annie Lennox remains one of the coolest women in music, even though age has hardened her voice a bit. Seeing her perform Screaming Jay Hawkins “I Put a Spell On You” with Hozier was pretty much worth watching the show. I love her…(and I realize that the pixie is my best do too…note to self – book haircut!!!!).

I didn’t make it through but so loved Chris Martin singing with Beck. It’s cool that Beck snuck under the radar and won two big awards. He’s so talented and while I don’t always love his stuff, I totally respect his genius. And I love Chris Martin’s voice!

1. LIVING FOR LOVE – Madonna
2. LITTLE RED WAGON – Miranda Lambert
3. MORNING PHASE – Beck
4. GOOD KISSER – Usher
5. THINKING OUT LOUD – Ed Sheeran
6. MR. BLUE SKY – ELO
7. I PUT A SPELL ON YOU – Screaming Jay Hawkins
8. WHO’S THAT GIRL – Eurythmics
9. SHOTS – Imagine Dragons
10. FOUR FIVE SECONDS – Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney

THE LAST SONG (Series – 2)
February 1, 2015

I’ll try to do this at the end of each month. Although the first post was mid-month, and included everything to date, this one is just January so there may be some duplicates. From here on out however it will be monthly listings. I’ve come to realize that songs filter through my head constantly. Someone says something and it triggers a song in my head or I notice something that peaks my interest and a song too accompanies it. The same happens with the naming of each post. Most often as I’m writing the song is revealed. Sometimes I have a song title that actually informs the post too.

1. NEW YEAR’S DAY – U2
2. LOOK AT GRANDMA – Bo Diddley
3. WHEN YOU’RE NEAR ME I HAVE DIFFICULTY – XTC
4. SUNDAY MORNING – Johnny Cash
5. I AM THE DJ – David Bowie
6. BLUE CHAIR – Elvis Costello
7. I READ A LOT – Nick Lowe
8. THE LAST SONG – The Foo Fighters
9. LOST IN THE SUPERMARKET – The Clash
10. DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME – The Police
11. WHEN I WRITE THE BOOK – Nick Lowe
12. ALL BY MYSELF – Eric Carmen
13. LOST IN THE SUPERMARKET – The Clash
14. IN MY LIFE – The Beatles
15. YELLOW – Coldplay
16. IN MY ROOM – The Beach Boys
17. LOST IN THE SUPERMARKET – The Clash
18. KID – The Pretenders
19. DON’T STOP ME NOW – Queen
20. ELEANOR RIGBY – The Beatles
21. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE – The Beatles

I AM THE DJ (Series – 7)
January 23, 2015

Whoo Hoo!!! One week into January and Cole was ready to give up the holiday music. He’s listened to the Annie soundtrack quite a lot but mostly with my husband and he willingly gave Daft Punk and Panda Bear a try with the guys when they went to Santa Monica last weekend. And liked it!

With me his go to is Coldplay and Nick Waterhouse. I meant to create a new playlist for January 2015 on Spotify early in the month but am only getting around to doing it now. This month has soared by. Among the songs I’m going to introduce him to this weekend are the following eclectic mix:

1. Catfish & The Bottlemen – Kathleen
2. Ify Jerry Krusad – Everybody Likes Something Good
3. Vampire Weekend – Step
4. Tinariwen – Tenere Taqqim Tossam
5. Mitski – Townie
6. Stone Roses – Fools Gold
7. Wire Train – Chamber of Hello
8. Sleater Kinney – Fangless
9. Belle & Sebastian – The Party Line
10. Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna

LET’S DANCE
January 16, 2015

Tonight is Cole’s middle school Winter Formal Dance. It will be held the school auditorium from 6-9pm. Cole’s going, It took him a while to decide whether or not he really wanted to but ultimately he decided he wanted to go.

He loves to dance, but in truth, he never really has a great time at these school dances. I’m not sure why. Probably the poor acoustics in the in auditorium making the music unbearably loud and the general chaotic nature of middle school dances. He’s not one for big loud or crowd.

However, I suspect that the lure lies, in no small part, in the desire not to miss out. Kids have been talking about it for the past couple of weeks. Everyone’s asking everyone if they’re going…trying to figure out if the cool kids will be there.

All of the kids in our little friend/family tribe have been wavering as to whether they’d attend or not, and slowly as the day approached, each decided to go in the end. Funny how they’ve all come to the same conclusion. No one wants to be the one who missed out.

Missing out on a school dance is a big deal when you’re thirteen. Even if you don’t really want to go, you could be missing out on the chance to witness something everyone will be talking about or to dance next to or with that cute guy or girl in your class, or to just have fun hanging out with your friends on the sidelines. Being the lone kid out on Monday morning when everyone is rehashing the dance feels terrible.

So off he’ll go in his cool dotted Crew Cuts button up with a contrasting striped tie (it is a formal)…ready to dance and have a memorable time with friends. I’ll probably be sipping wine somewhere nearby with the other parents as we wait for the kids to text us to come pick them up…kind of wishing I was dancing too…

ALL BY MYSELF
January 15, 2015

I dream of finding a little alone time in my day, my week, my month, my life…

My weekday generally consists of waking around 6 am, going through the morning routine of getting everyone ready for school and work. The boys leave around 7:30 am, and I usually run around the house doing a little tidying, having some breakfast, and getting a jump on work emails before I head out to the office. I am guilty of using this time to dawdle too. It’s literally the only time I’m consistently alone in the house, ever.

Then I work…I work for an international film distribution and production company. It’s a business I’ve been in for about twenty years in one way or another. I currently do contracts and financing and formerly, pre-Cole, did international sales. I enjoy it. I work for an interesting company, with a great group of people, and am challenged by my work. I generally leave work by 6:30 and arrive home sometime around 7-7:15 pm.

My husband picks up Cole from school and usually has his homework and dinner handled by the time I get home. One of us then prepares our dinner, we try to cook most nights, and then we settle in to eat, bathe the boy, and get him tucked into bed by 8:30. He still prefers if I sit with him while he falls asleep, so I usually try to watch a one of my TV shows quietly while the boy falls asleep (my husband and I have some shows we enjoy together, and some not so much!), whilst playing Words With Friends or catching up on some favorite web news.

If I don’t fall asleep while putting Cole to bed, I’ll indulge in some TV with the husband and then do some reading (pre-bed reading is a must) before I fall asleep around 10:30. And then, it starts all over again. It’s very Groundhog Day.

There’s little opportunity in the day for alone time or me time. Maybe it’s selfish. There’s nothing specific I do when I have a bit of time to myself. In fact, I usually end up doing some of those little housey projects that never seem to get done – revamping the linens closet, or clearing out Cole’s old clothes and toys, or tossing all of the old tea from the cupboard (yes, tea expires as I’ve recently learned! That 2009 box of Christmas Chai is probably not going to taste very good!). All mundane, but all satisfying accomplishments. All simple tasks, but all things that an impatient, sometimes demanding child make so hard to do in the context of shared time.

And forget about the kind of me time where I can take the time to give myself a pedicure or manicure. The boys complain about the odors of the remover and polish making it harder to do in shared time.

Weekends tend to be more family time, or time that Cole and I spend together. Because I’ve got longer work hours and commute than my husband, they have several hours of time together that he misses with me, so come Saturday morning, he craves mom time. We usually try to get out of the house and do something, even if it’s just errands and our regular lunch with my mom. It gives my husband some time to himself…The boy is less inclined to go out with just dad during the weekend because he’s somehow come to view it as “our” time. Unless of course he’s holed his teenage self up his room to have his own alone time (his new favorite thing). I suppose I should learn to take advantage of his need for “me” time, and try to sneak a little of my own at the same time!

THE LAST SONG (Series – 1)
January 10, 2015

Somewhere down the line in reestablishing my blog and writing, I decided to challenge myself and have a little fun with the titles of each post by using a song title that connects with the subject, at least in my mind. I’m not sure if anyone’s noticed, or even cares much, but I thought I’d share the artists and songs that relate the posts. I plan to continue this and in the future I’ll doing monthly round up of the artists. Besides, writing, I love music so it’s a fun way to bring the two together. Thus far, following are the titles and their artists:

1. A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON – Louis Armstrong
2. A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION – Elvis Presley
3. ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU – Michael Buble
4. ARE YOU READY TO BE HEARTBROKEN – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
5. BLUE CHAIR – Elvis Costello
6. DANCING WITH MYSELF – Billy Idol
7. DO YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT IT – Frank Black & The Catholics
8. DO YOU HEAR ME? – Missing Persons
9. EVERY DAY IS LIKE SUNDAY – The Smiths
10. EVERYDAY I WRITE THE BOOKS – Elvis Costello
11. HELL ON WHEELS – Charlie Daniels
12. I AM THE DJ (Series) – David Bowie
13. I LOVE TO READ – Nick Lowe
14. I MELT WITH YOU – Simple Minds
15. I WOULD WALK 500 MILES – The Proclaimers
16. I’M JUST A GIRL – No Doubt
17. I’LL STAND BY YOU – The Pretenders
18. JUST THE TWO OF US – Bill Withers
19. LOOK AT GRANDMA – Bo Diddley (in honor of Cole’s Grandma)
20. MARK ME ABSENT – The Clash
21. MASHED POTATO TIME – Dee Dee Sharp (In honor of Cole’s Dad who was in the original Hairspray movie)
22. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY – Slade
23. NEW YEAR’S DAY – U2
24. NOVACAINE FOR THE SOUL – The Eels
25. OUT ON THE WEEKEND – Neil Young
26. PEOPLE ARE STRANGE – The Doors
27. ROBERT ONION – Frank Black & The Catholics
28. SCARS – Papa Roach
29. SCIENTIST – Coldplay
30. SUNDAY MORNING – Johnny Cash
31. SWEET DREAMS – Eurythmics
32. TEENAGE DREAM – Katie Perry
33. TEENAGER OF THE YEAR – Frank Black
34. THANK YOU FOR SENDING ME AN ANGEL
35. UNDONE (The Sweater Song) – Weezer
36. WE ARE THE WORLD – The Live Aid song for Africa
37. WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG – The Killers
38. WHEN YOU’RE NEAR ME I HAVE DIFFICULTY – XTC
39. YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND – Carole King
40. THE LAST SONG – The Foo Fighters

I AM THE DJ (Series – 6)
January 6, 2015

We made it through the past few weeks of holiday listening to nothing but holiday music. Thankfully Spotify has some fun, and very comprehensive playlists already! The Ultimate Holiday Playlist was great, and there were lots of fun versions on the Indie Holiday Playlist.

But this past weekend, I was cooked. I don’t think I could handle another fa la la, or white Christmas. Since Michael Buble was a favorite Christmas album, I decided to try some of his non-holiday music. I’ve never really listened to him save for the Christmas album, nor had Cole. I’m old enough now that I can admit without shame that the songs we listened to weren’t bad. We both kind of liked them.

We also spent days listening to the Annie soundtrack after seeing the movie with some friends over the weekend. Cole had been a fan of the Broadway soundtrack, and acted in the play himself so the music is all familiar to and favored by him. The movie version, of course, has some updated versions and some originals so it felt fresh to him. He did let me know that he thought his friend Sami was a much better Miss Hannigan than Cameron Diaz. He thinks she sings better too.

His dad took a stab at DJing too. He’s introduced Cole to the Dandy Warhols with some success. I’m not sure what they listened to on the way to and fro school yesterday but I’m hoping it wasn’t holiday music. Come this weekend, I’m banning it from any driving I do! I’ll have to think about some new music to introduce him to. While Annie is okay, I don’t think I can listen to it with any regularity. I fell asleep with Hard Knock Life running through my head on a loop…contemplating some serious headbanging to get it out!

I AM THE DJ (Series – 5)
December 12, 2014

I think I’ve mentioned that Cole loves Christmas. Particularly, Cole loves Christmas Eve at my brother’s house. My brother and sister-in-law started what has become a family tradition celebration of Christmas Eve. My brother loves Christmas, a love inherited from our mom, and he set out to create a wonderful family night for his two girls and for all of the extended family. It’s truly a special night and I don’t think any of the kids (all now teenagers) would trade it for anything. Especially Cole.

The evening’s events unfold almost exactly the same year after year (running on more than ten years at this point), and any deviation would be noticed, and corrected, by all of the kids. It’s successfully a warm, festive, thoroughly enjoyable celebration each year, and the one day Cole looks forward to more than any other, even his birthday!

Besides his love of Christmas Eve, Cole’s other favorite wintertime passion is holiday music. He’ll take it anyway he can. He’s even sat through Americana Christmas, listening to the likes of John Prine and Emmylou Harris (both talents but not generally in his wheelhouse of musical interest. Here are few things we’ve had on playlists this week:

1. Weezer – Oh Come All Ye Faithful
2. Bad Religion – Little Drummer Boy (Really, any of their holiday songs are great!)
3. REM – Deck The Halls
4. The Eels – Christmas Is Going To The Dogs
5. Pink Martini – Santa Baby (One of my favorites – especially Eartha Kitt’s version)
6. Smashing Pumpkins – Christmastime
7. Fitz & The Tantrums – Santa Stole My Lady
8. Dean Martin – Let It Snow
9. Ray Charles – Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer
10. Oasis – Merry Christmas Everybody

One on going, pretty much love from start to finish is last year’s Michael Buble Christmas album. That, and Bad Religion’s holiday album, also released last year. Both are pretty great!