Archive for the guilty pleasure monday! Category

guilty pleasure monday: norwegian wood (beatles)

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, miracles of science, music on October 26, 2009 by wrekehavoc

please, please, please cut me slack this week.

as i write this, i am trying to make it through perhaps the worst month, or at least one of the very worst months, i have encountered in my short but eventful career as a human. you may recall the start of the month when my husband and my ceiling collapsed just over 24 hours apart. and yes, i left for san francisco, a story i have yet to finish here.

later that week, i took BC for a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, a simple operation with a short healing period everyone said. bring on the ice cream. only, too bad for the girl — she’s probably the only child on the planet who isn’t keen on ice cream, ice pops, or other soft, cold foods. additionally, the pain meds didn’t control her pain, and when they were raised, she threw up. on columbus day afternoon, she ended up visiting the ER to get some IV fluids because she was completely tapped out. when she returned, we thought we were going to turn a corner. and we did.

a bad one.

girlfriend was still not eating or drinking and getting sicker by the day, complete with a fever. anti-nausea meds were not making things any better. by wednesday morning, the ENT on call told me to take her back to the ER and possibly get her admitted to get her back on track. that’s exactly what happened. she and i spent wednesday through saturday noon at fairfax inova, a terrific hospital for pediatrics. we had a few challenges: one morning, we awoke to find the roof leaking onto her IV, so we were moved next door to a room where he child inside was confined because of “droplets” — a sure sign that someone in there had something contagious.

hospitals are important institutions, and i surely am not knocking them in any way, shape or form, as lord knows we have needed them in the past and will one day need them again, perhaps. but a hospital is not a great place to stay healthy.

i can’t be 100 percent certain, but i think that’s where girlfriend and i caught the flu.

when we were released on saturday, i thought the worst was over. girlfriend returned to school on monday. tuesday, i finally got my IVIG, albeit two weeks after i was supposed to get hooked up (i couldn’t schedule it while my poor little girl was recuperating.) tuesday afternoon, i started feeling poorly; at the same time, i received a phone call from the school clinic: come pick up BC. she has a fever of 101.5F.

what????

so girlfriend and i proceeded to spend some more quality time together. we went to her pediatrician’s on wednesday as a follow-up for her hospitalization. the doctor, noting that she still had a fever and was coughing, asked us to start some tamiflu just in case. BC is not yet adept at swallowing pills, so we visited a local old-fashioned pharmacy to get the darn stuff compounded into a liquid. (for you trivia buffs, the actual compounding part? not covered by insurance.) just before noon, she started tamiflu.

and at 1:00? she threw up a little blood.

people had warned me that when the artery/ies behind the tonsils blow, you need to run, not walk, to an ER. halfway there, i pulled over. there’s no more blood, mommy BC pointed out. i called BTD because, after all, he is my Brother The Doctor, who talked me down from the ledge and told me that if it stopped, go home. if the levee breaks, you’d know it.

at 3 am that morning, the levee broke.

girlfriend tugged at my sleeve. mommy, my mouth is full of blood! sure enough, it was extremely clear what was happening. we put on our shoes, i grabbed my purse, and off we rode into the night. i ran red lights, i ran over a median at the hospital, and i parked the car in front of the ER. (thank you, G-d, for the parking space.) the triage nurse took her in pretty speedily — i am, pathetically, an experienced ER patient at virginia hospital center, you know; and this was much faster than when i had almost no platelets left in my body — and next thing you know, we are in a bed in the ER. the doctor talked for a minute and left. i looked at girlfriend. suddenly, she vomited up a tremendous amount of blood, more than i had ever seen in one place that was not in a transfusion or donation bag.

i was terrified!  i pulled open the curtain. please help! my daughter is throwing up blood!!

three nurses and the doctor came running to see poor little BC, spewing so much blood that i was terrified that she was going to faint. or worse. off came the clothes. in went the IV (not easily, either.) and soon enough, girlfriend was whisked off to emergency surgery to close things up.

i waited for about an hour until the doctor came out and told me that he’d closed up the leaker. normally, he’d send her home after recovery; but after hearing her recent history, he wanted to keep her for the day to make sure she was on the right track. if she behaved herself, he would send her home around dinner time.

i was frantically calling home on the hospital phone (i left my cell home when i ran out), only to remember that i had brought all the phones upstairs to my room so that ringing would not wake up BS, who desperately needed sleep and who was camping out downstairs. so i just continued to leave messages on his cell and on the home phone voice mail, hoping eventually i’d get a live person. and i did, two hours later. BS came to the hospital at 9, just after he’d gotten jools to school. this was a good thing. this meant that i could finally hit the doctor’s myself, as i was not feeling so great by this time. adrenaline had taken me pretty freaking far, but i didn’t think it was going to last.

because my doctor was booked, i ended up visiting Ye Olde Doc In The Box (aka the urgent care clinic.) lots of people wearing masks and a receptionist telling me that there was already a 90 minute wait were not stellar signs, but this was the only opportunity i was going to get, so i sat and sat with my mask on, trying not to pass out.  when the nurse called me in, she noticed my hospital bracelet, the one i got from earlier in the day. when i explained how the day had started, she was pretty startled. nevertheless, she noted, we need to test you for flu.

for the record, having pointy q-tips shoved hard up both nostrils is not pleasant.

long story short: doctor comes in and tells me that i have type A influenza. but hey, i protested, i had the regular flu shot last month!

well then, you probably have swine flu. but they’re both treated the same way, so does it really matter?

with apologies to gertrude stein: tamiflu is tamiflu is tamiflu.

i give the doc props — he actually called up my immunologist to double-check how i should be handled. they both decided that with my track record of bacterial infections, i should rock the zithromax as well.

so basically, BC and i have both been fighting the flu. poor little girl has been fighting it on top of recuperating from not one, but two surgeries. i am praying my husband and son do not get sick or this house of cards will crumble. as you can imagine, my creativity is the least of it at this moment.

so here’s my favorite song of all time. nothing to feel guilty about. completely unfunny, especially since it’s about a guy who burns down a woman’s house because she doesn’t put out. but still an incredibly beautiful song, even when john gets creepy at the end, as he does in this version.

i know i’ll be feeling better soon, everyone will be better soon, and the world will be right again. in the meantime, everyone wash your freaking hands, cover your freaking mouths, and take care of yourselves!!!

guilty pleasure monday: the time warp (rocky horror picture show)

Posted in guilty pleasure monday!, music on October 12, 2009 by wrekehavoc

in honor of columbus day, i give you… columbia!

i love the rocky horror picture show…not enough to dress up like any of the characters and act it out, but enough to have seen it a few times in my formative years.

i have plenty of tales of my rocky horror movie viewings, including one that required my friends and i to spend some serious time in the belmar police station (not my doing, incidentally; i was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.) but the first time i saw the rocky horror picture show, i was struck by two things: a roll of toilet paper (right in the eye, damn it) and rice.  i was also struck by the surreality of the story line. my most difficult realization was that some of the characters were related…which was an incredibly gross idea. as always, i was trying desperately to follow the plot and understand the message; only, too bad for me. there really is no message.

the whole point, i think, is participation. people yelling the lines at the scream, people dressed up and acting the show out in front of the film, people, in short, behaving badly: a dream for a teenager who always behaved, i think.

now, i put the tamer kidz bop version on my kids’ mp3 players. i really don’t have the stomach to explain what a pelvic thrust is all about for now, and kidz bop sufficiently bowdlerizes it all, just in time for halloween. it’s cool — the whole family can do the time warp, and no one can be the wiser.

i suspect that when columbus discovered america, he had no intention of claiming it for sweet transvestites, meatloaf, and pink haired ladies. sorry, chris.

guilty pleasure monday: drown (smashing pumpkins)

Posted in guilty pleasure monday!, music on October 5, 2009 by wrekehavoc

a rarity: something by the smashing pumpkins that i actually like!

i never got the smashing pumpkins. there was something so calculated and so predictable about their approach to music that i just could never get too excited about anything they did. the music never worked for me. plus, they kinda creeped me out.

sadly, i could not escape the pumpkins in the ’90s. i still remember when mellon collie and the infinite sadness was released. i was one of four tech producers (and about six or seven account managers and business-type people) stuffed into a windowless office. the geekers all sat in the four corners of the room, while the other folks were circled around haphazardly. one of my fellow geeks was a huge pumpkins fan, and when mellon collie came out, he played it. constantly. to this day, i cannot abide that double album.  if i don’t hear bullet with butterfly wings anymore in my lifetime, it will be too soon.

but long before mellon collie entered the picture, there was drown, a song the pumpkins contributed to the movie singles. (damn, just thinking about that soundtrack puts a paul westerberg earworm in my head. but i digress…) there’s a certain languid dreaminess to drown that i really enjoy. if you’re in one of those moods, the song will envelope you in a way that lets you wallow forever.

however, there’s only so much wallowing a person can do before wallowing becomes boring. so in small doses, i heart this song.

just don’t call me a pumpkins fan.


guilty pleasure monday: stay awake (mary poppins)

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, music on September 28, 2009 by wrekehavoc

ah, the magic of The Mouse.

those of you who’ve been around here for awhile know i’m pretty ambivalent about disney, disney world, and everything remotely related to walt’s creations. i’ve ranted and ranted and ranted. and ranted yet again about our trips to disney. (and even had some happy moments to share, because like most of their cartoons, disney’s prefab experiences are never black and white.) the kids, however, really enjoy going; so once every so often, we trek down to florida so that we can hear american singing we can spend absurd amounts of cash on items that my kids will begbegbeg for and then probably forget about within one week of our return home we can all have fun as a family in that magical world.

that being said, i do love me some disney movies. sure, there are ones that left me scarred for life (bambi and dumbo, i’m talking about you.) and of course, there’s a certain predictability in their storylines: you know that in the first 20 minutes, something awful is going to happen. but there are degrees of awfulness, i think; and mary poppins never really scared me. i’m thinking julie andrews and dick van dyke singing and dancing all the way through had something to do with that. back then, julie andrews always ended up in a happy ending: hell, only a year later, she escaped the nazis! so a stodgy english banker had nothing on the divine ms. j.

my mother also tells me that when i was being born, the hospital was piping in music. she remembers hearing a lot of chim chim cheree.

anyway, i rediscovered the song stay awake quite by accident. BC had received this baby disney CD as a gift, and she really started to love it. it became a nightly staple; only, too bad for me. the girl didn’t seem to like one song: stay awake. pity, too, because i then found a lovely cover of it by suzanne vega (ignore the grim video), but no dice. see, the song perfectly captured my ambivalence toward nighttime as a mom. on the one hand, i was wiped out: parenthood is exhausting at times, and i wanted girlfriend to conk out so i could get a moment to myself. on the other hand, i enjoyed our time together so much, i didn’t want the day to end.

i guess some things will never change.

guilty pleasure monday: let’s hear it for the boy (deniece williams)

Posted in FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), music on September 21, 2009 by wrekehavoc

because he’s a hellboy, but he’s OUR hellboy!

i remember when i was a young mom with a little girl who looked like a precious moments figurine and who behaved pretty damn well, no matter what situation.  i attributed it all to our complete preparation: crayons? check. distracting toys? check. never-ending stash of cheerios? check! i read my books and i was on top of things. but of course, all of her model behavior was simply because we were such awesome parents.

of course.

anyway, BC was about 18 months old when we took a trip to visit my dear friend wah and her family in wisconsin.  wah and i have been friends since we were teenagers; i love the fact that we have been friends so long, we don’t need to sugarcoat anything. this is a girl who will tell you that your butt looks big in that outfit. of course, she will also give you ideas about something else to wear. no malice, just truth with a dose of warmth.

for this and for so many other reasons, i love this chick with all my heart.

anyway, we went to visit wah’s family on two occasions and had a great time with them. but i still remember the first trip. we visited a noodles and co for dinner — my first — and sat down, our family and hers. wah has two wonderful boys, and at the time, i think they were probably about 2 and 4, though i could be wildly wrong. we sat down to wait to be served. i say we, but i mean BS, BC, and me. BC was perched daintily on her booster seat, coloring with crayons and smiling like a little angel girl.  cue smugness here: my, but once again, aren’t we such awesome parents?

wah’s boys, on the other hand, were happily racing around the table, playfully shouting, and basically, not sitting still. i must have looked over with that face with which i am now so familiar — the why can’t you control your child face. the i’m a superior parent face. i. can. make. my. child. sit. still. i. do. it. with. sheer. will. and preparation. why can’t you?

wah caught me. she shook her head, and she said words i never forgot:

wait til you have a boy.

…………………………………………………

fast forward a few years. i do have a boy; and while he doesn’t run around in restaurants, i can see the lesson she was trying to teach me: different children are built differently. you don’t have to be a piaget or steiner devotee to know this: you need only be a parent who is wise to the ways of her kids. each child is wired differently, and it doesn’t make much of a difference whether you’ve read up on child development or whether you go with your gut. the truth is, different children require different approaches.

and different children should be appreciated for the gifts they are.

so today, here’s one for my boy.  my energetic, spirited, rockin’ little jools.

my beautiful boy.

guilty pleasure monday: photograph (def leppard)

Posted in BS (beloved spouse), guilty pleasure monday!, music on September 14, 2009 by wrekehavoc

the one song where i required actual medical attention.

the creme de la creme of hair metal, english band def leppard (intentionally misspelled by the group so as to not seem like a punk band) are still rocking it worldwide, in spite of losing band members as well as band member body parts. (bionic drummer rick allen has been drumming for the band for decades even though he lost his arm in a car crash. perhaps he was meant to be a spinal tap drummer at some point in his life?)

i have particularly happy memories of def leppard from the summer of 1983, when i was about to enter college. as mentioned in an earlier post, i had worked as a day camp counselor (for the whopping sum of $50/week), which left my evenings free to be a somewhat economically-challenged teenager. some nights, when my oldest brother, BTD, had no one interesting to hang with (i always knew i was asked only after every conceivable person did not pan out before me, but what the hell), we’d drive over to the boardwalk and play pinball and drink cheap grape water and sometimes, sometimes, get cheap pizza at the sawmill. with some financial support from my folks, we’d maybe go on one of the wildly unsafe waterslides at night, which was extra cool because i was afraid back then to wear my contacts when i did that. so there i’d be, a few stories up in the air, in the dark, going down a waterslide (where one false slip and you’d end up as road pizza a few hundred feet down) where i could not see. good. times.

but, most of the time, my oldest brother was having a life (and my middle brother larry did not want to be within one mile of my presence because i was that annoying moody 18 year old sister (tonight on ABCFamily!)). so i spent the bulk of the summer with my buddy, simone. simone would drive like a big ass bird (to quote her dad) to toms river, pick me up, and we’d end up pretty much where we’d always end up: the ocean county mall. we’d rock the stores, gossiping about everyone we knew, then finish up at friendly’s (where my freshmen 15 started before i entered college thanks to the reese’s peanut butter cup sundae). many times, we were obliged to bring her younger brother, joel, along for the ride. joel was so cool, we nicknamed him chilly willy. [i’m not certain, but i believe he is now an accountant, a profession which would suit him to a T, considering he was so calm, cool, and collected, even as a young guy. it’s important to be cool when people are crapping themselves after realizing their tax realities.]

i’m pretty sure it was joel’s def leppard tape.

we listened to def leppard’s pyromania c o n s t a n t l y that summer in simone’s dad’s car. it must have been a tape. but what a killer summer soundtrack. foolin’ — what a great song to scream out a window! the videos made no sense, of course (and this was back in the day when we watched videos, boys and girls born after 1980) but the music wailed — and of course, gave us important words to live by, like:

Gunter glieben glauchen globen


you betcha.

anyway, it was a special summer for me, thanks in no small part to simone (and chilly willy’s soundtrack).

fast forward to 1990. i was a newlywed in VA, back in the days before the internet had been invented by al gore. it had been a long while since i had heard pyromania; it wasn’t in my CD collection, so i went sadly without for many years. i was upstairs in our tiny, two-level WWII-era townhouse. suddenly, i heard the opening chords to photograph coming from the TV downstairs. SQUEE! my little bear brain yelped. i ran down the upstairs hall (official olympic length: 5 feet) and proceeded to run down the steps to see the video — because we WATCHED our music back then, you know. only, too bad for me: i was wearing brand new, slippery-soft cotton socks. i slipped and tripped while running down those recently-redone wooden stairs.

WHOOPS!

i fell on my back and my butt, all the way down the damn staircase. (about 16 stairs, i believe, for those of you keeping track.) i landed, badly banged up, at the landing. lucky for me, i had been hired the month prior at a place that offered me a crappy level of health insurance; i ended up going to a quack who did very little for me. and voila! i started down the road of back pain bliss that i still experience to this day. sweet!

anyway, i love this song. and i will always hope that my first memory of it involves driving in a car and singing at the top of my lungs (which probably didn’t go over well when we were passing by members of the chasidic community in the town where simone lived.) to be sure, BS still looks at me funny whenever photograph comes on the radio in the car.

i think he’s afraid i’ll lose control and smack the car into the nearest pole, ending up with my not-so-glamorous photograph in the paper.

for all the wrong reasons.

guilty pleasure monday: millworker (james taylor)

Posted in guilty pleasure monday!, music, political animal on September 7, 2009 by wrekehavoc

perfect for labor day.

when i was about 17 or so, i remember one afternoon, putzing around, watching TV. we had recently gotten cable, so i was happily clicking the giant buttons on the big brown cable box (years and years before a little remote would enter my life.) lo and behold, i landed on PBS, which was showing a musical, working, based on the book by the brilliant author studs terkel. i was transfixed; it was one of those moments where i realized that other people were fascinated by the exploration of the lives of people, whether thrilling or mundane. different composers wrote songs for the musical; james taylor contributed three.

but the song that stopped me in my tracks was millworker. in the song, a woman explores her life as a millworker, noting the path that her life took to bring her to that awful boring job. it’s moving in its simplicity, it’s anger, and its poetry. she knows she’s a cog in a tiny corporate machine; she’s resigned to the fact that this is her apparent destiny.

So may I work your mills just as long as I am able
And never meet the man whose name is on the label

(it’s still)me and my machine
For the rest of the morning
And the rest of the afternoon (and on and on and on…)
for the rest of my life

i think it may be the most beautiful song james taylor has ever written.

on this labor day, i am thinking of my friends who have lost their jobs in the past year or so. i am thinking about the difficulties they face; i am thinking of the courage they have been displaying.  i have known so many of these people while i was that TV-watching teen; it pains me to see them struggling, as i feel like they are family to me.

americans let it happen; it was all about the almighty dollar. first, the trend was to take jobs away from more expensive company people — you had to pay them benefits, you know — and then contract those jobs out to others who required no benefits from the company. then, the trend seemed to take the jobs away from those contractors and move the work overseas, where labor is cheaper. eventually, greed sold a lot of people down the river in this country, and it has imploded on itself.

anyone who inherited the mess of the past nine years was bound to hit an uphill struggle. it’s a pity that the President is making efforts to improve the plight of people, and he is being fought every single step of the way. sure, question authority — but this is a time when things are bad and getting worse. these are times when we all need to pull together as a team. while people are wasting time on non-issues (the President’s birth certificate, the President’s ethnicity, etc.), we lose time and traction on trying to improve things. sure, it isn’t nirvana — but some people don’t have the luxury at present to sit and pontificate over bullshit. they need a home; they need food; they need health care.

and they need jobs.

and i’ll leave you with this particularly fine cover of the song by none other than my beloved bruce who, i believe, really makes the song speak for working people everywhere.