Suburban Moms Go Acoustic with Mikey Wax

This was originally posted on skirt.com on January 31, 2011. It’s been edited. Heavily. (Though, probably still not nearly enough.)

I’m reposting because my friend Mikey Wax is performing at Hotel Café on Tuesday, July 1. You should go see him. Here’s why…

Hearing live music is one of my greatest loves in life. Innocently flirting with cute young boys is another. Last Monday night I hit the jackpot and go to do both.

My daughter’s elementary school held a fundraiser that was a little bit outside the box. It was the brainstorm of super cool mom who’s really into new music and an artist named Mikey Wax caught her attention.

And for good reason – he’s incredibly talented. (And super cute…in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, Mikey performs concerts at people’s houses. For free. All you have to do is guarantee 25 people and he will make it out to your house to perform for you and your closest friends in the hopes of building a fan base and selling his CDs. (And trust me once you hear him perform you’ll be buying a CD!)

Debbie saw that he was planning a trip from his home state of New York out to California for some shows, booked a date with him, and created a Mom’s Acoustic Night Out fundraiser. Tickets were only $10 and seating was limited to 50 people.  We held the show in the school library and Debbie turned our library into a funky coffee house by ditching the fluorescent bulbs and bringing lamps and candles and twinkly lights. There was tea and bubbly water and baked goods. (Oh, if only we weren’t on school property and could have had wine!) She even made laminated passes for everyone.

As school fundraisers go, it was pretty awesome. Mostly because Mikey was awesome.

 

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Photo of Mikey Wax courtesy of Laura Starks Photography

 

His voice was amazing and his songs were just fantastic. He’s young and adorable and has a really great presence about him. Hello suburban cougar moms – having this guy serenade you and your mommy friends in an intimate setting is even better than flirting with a hot waiter. (And everyone knows how much I love to do that!)

Before the show he was chatting with my friend Laura and me and telling us about his house tours and how he usually stays at hotels, but sometimes ends up crashing at the house where he plays.

“Where are you staying tonight?” Laura asked him. “You know Charlene’s happily married but she really likes young guys. Do you want to stay at her house?”

Yeah I love it when my friends whore me out.

 “Oh, and my husband is out of town. Hmmm, how could we explain it to the kids?” I said.

I think he might have blushed.

“Don’t worry, I’m kidding,” I said. Then I turned to Laura, “You know you’re kind of embarrassing me. I usually like to have these conversations after a few cocktails, not at the school library.”

After the show a few of us took him out for a drink and bought him some dinner. (Oh, shut up!)

He was pretty enamored with Southern California. Of course every east coaster who visits in January is enamored with Southern California. What’s not to love – it’s sunny and 75 degrees outside. Sunny and 75 in January is the reason why tiny little houses with ugly backyards and no closet space cost over a half a million dollars.

He talked about his musical influences and growing up in Long Island listening to Billy Joel.

When I was 25 or 26 I went to a wedding in Long Island that was next door to Billy Joel’s house and at one point Billy Joel just came over, uninvited, and started wandering around the pool area where everyone was having cocktails.

“Wow,” he said, “when was that? In the 90’s or something?”

I thought back, “Yeah, I guess it was in 1991.”

You know, back when Mikey was six!

That’s when I realized my time flirting with a cute musician was over and it was officially time to go home.

Watch this video of Mikey and become an instant fan.

Then go see him next Tuesday night at Hotel Café. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased here.

Or if that’s not possible contact Mikey for a house show. You’ll be the coolest mom in your ‘hood and get to hang out with a cute musician.

That, my friend, is what I call a win!

 

 

 

 

 

Where Would YOU Go if Money Was No Object?

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. I chose prompt #5:  8 places you’d go this summer if money wasn’t an object.

Hmmm… do I have to do them all this summer? I guess I’d better get started. And since we’re talking Lotto Dreams travel, I’ll have to hire a Lear Jet so I don’t have to mingle with the type of people who fly tourist. (Which is pretty much me!)

Earth
Earth – photo credit Tonynetone via Creative Commons

#1 Istanbul

When I was in college a favorite marketing professor of mine told tales of her backpacking trips abroad. She was the one who sparked the desire in me to backpack across Europe during the summer of 1986. She traveled to many places and her favorite place hands down was Istanbul. She made it sound so magical I’ve wanted to go ever since. She especially loved the Grand Bazaar where haggling for beautiful and unique treasures was an art form. Most Saturdays Chandler and I go yard saling and haggle over prices of used junk unique treasures. I cherish the time with him and I enjoy our little treasure hunts, but somehow I think shopping for shit we don’t need in Turkey would be way better.

Istanbul-Grand-Bazaar
Istanbul Grand Bazaar Photo credit Brian Snelson via Creative Commons

#2 Italy

I became engaged in Italy and it holds a very special place in my heart. The food, the art, the culture, the people, the gorgeous countryside, the art, the wine, the fooood (yeah, there’s a reason Elizabeth Gilbert ate her way through Italy) – I am madly in love with Italy. However, I have not spent any time at the lake district or on the Italian coast. (Unless you count those nine hours in 1986 when I sat at the very unattractive port of Brindisi waiting for the ferry to the party nation of Greece.) I would love to rent a villa at Lake Como or the Amalfi Coast and spend an entire summer there lying around doing absolutely nothing but drinking wine and eating. (Except that I have six more destinations to visit!)

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Standing on Juliet’s balcony in Verona, Italy the day after my engagement.

#3 London

I spent a semester of college attending school in London and it quickly became one of my favorite cities. Dave and I have often talked about how we would love to live in London for a year or two. I love the museums and the architecture, the parks and the pubs. I love shopping on Portobello Road and Kensington High Street. I can’t wait to take my kids to London one day and show them the sights. My kids don’t really love cities, but I think London would turn them around.

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Lovely London – Photo credit Tim Morris via Creative Commons

#4 Greece

Was that nine hour wait in the industrial port of Brindisi and 24 hour barf-over-the-side ferry ride worth it? You bet. During that 1986 trip I went to Athens (don’t bother) and Ios (party paradise) and then returned to Greece in 1988 (before starting my semester in London) to visit Ios once again, and added Mykonos and Santorini. The stark contrast of the white stucco buildings and bright blue sea is just breathtaking. I think I’d skip Ios this time (mostly out of fear that they wouldn’t let me off the boat because I’m too old!) But I would love to spend some serious time there lounging on the beaches of Santori, Mykonos and Corfu reading a book and eating  a lot of simple Mediterranean food and not much else. Ah yes, the art of doing nothing!

Brindisi-to-Greece
Heading to Greece via huge ferry slumber party

#5 New York City

Well, I’m halfway through my fantasy travel summer and of course a trip to New York is mandatory. I haven’t been to New York in eight years and I miss it desperately. I always feel so alive in that city. I love the shops and restaurants. I love the bars and seeing plays both on and off Broadway. I love walking everywhere. And I simply adore the fashion. People don’t dress up in California like they do in New York.  I could stand on the streets of Manhattan and people watch all day.

Side note:  I follow a fabulous blog called Fashables that features street style photography. (Photographs taken of random people walking down the street.) It helps me get my New York fix. But I am dying to go back soon for reals.

Fashables collage
New York street style photography by Ryan Shell of Fashables

# 6 Napa Valley/San Francisco 

Napa/San Francisco totally counts as one place right? I went to Napa earlier this year for the 2013 Wine Sisterhood trip (did I mention it was amazing) and can’t wait to go back. The trip I went on was a girlfriend’s trip, but I’d love to take my husband there. We went in 1990 when we were dating and we are well overdue for a trip back. And since this is a money-is-no-object fantasy, I’d like to hire a limo to take us to all the wineries and restaurants (yes every single one) and drink until I start to slur and eat until I start to waddle. I think a week should do it. I loved the Andaz Napa Hotel and would definitely stay there again. And a trip to San Fransicso on the way to our next destination would definitely be in order.

Chappellet-vineyards
Beautiful Chappellet vineyards in Napa Valley

#7 Hawaii

Dave and I have been there three times – twice to Maui (once before we were married and for our honeymoon) and once to Kauai when Chandler was just under two. As much as I love Hawaii (and I do), I probably wouldn’t put it in my Top 8, but Marley is dying to go to Hawaii. She finds it horribly unfair that Chandler has been to Hawaii and she hasn’t. The fact that Chandler doesn’t remember the trip at all does not seem to sway her thinking about this gross injustice we have committed against her.

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Honeymooning in Maui

Hmmm… now that I’ve looked over my list I’m not sure I’ve really chosen that wisely. Maybe I should ditch London and Greece and tell Marley too bad about Hawaii and choose an African Safari or Costa Rica or Machu Picchu or Puerto Rico. I also love the Canadian Rockies and I’d like to see Columbia and Brazil and Berlin and Croatia. Eight is just not enough. So where would my final destination be?…

#8 Michigan

Michigan? What?! Instead of an African Safari? Well, I’ve already decided to ditch Hawaii (sorry Marley) and all this traveling has made me rather tired. And my mom and uncle own a lovely little cottage on a small lake in Michigan and my cousins own the house next door. It’s like we have our own little family compound. And while it’s not exactly rustic, it’s not very luxurious either -somewhere in between. Just right as Goldilocks would say. There are boats and wave runners and kayaks for sport and plenty of lounge chairs for reading and napping. The trees are green and the people are friendly. (Like scary-weird friendly.) It’s a little bit of heaven right smack in the middle of the country and it feels like home. At the end of a long journey (even an imaginary one) there’s no place like home.

White Lake Sunrise
Michigan Sunrise

What 8 places would you travel to if money were no object? I’d love to know!

Mama Kat workshop logo

My Vision Board… My Dream Board… My 2013

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My visions of 2013

Yeah, I made a vision board this year. (Or dream board as some people call them.) Some of my friends think I’m lame for doing this. They see no value in it. It’s a time waster. A little too new age. Too  hippie.

I don’t care. I love doing it. It inspires me. And when I invite my (new age hippie) girlfriends over (and throw in some yummy brie and $10 wine) all the better.

When my girlfriends got to my house I told them I was already finished and showed them this board….

dream board
Now that’s a nice vision!

They really (really) liked that vision!

Then we got started for reals.

What is a vision board? It’s a collage made up of pictures and word or phrases of your vision of the future. It can be anything you want it to be. You can do a vision board any time, but I try make a new one around the start of a new year.

My vision boards always seem to be sort of similar. There is always a woman smiling and having fun. There is always coffee and wine. The words “inspiration” and “dream” seem to be forever present.

But this year I’ve added some new words. Some new phrases.

“The Joy of playing it un-safe” – because I always seem to play it safe.

Vision-Board-taking-chances
Doing scary things!

“Breaking out of your comfort zone” – that definitely needs to happen this year. And it actually already is. I’ve started putting myself out there this year in ways that I haven’t before.

“Author” – not writer, but author. Author. This is the year I shop my book.

There is a picture of New York City. (After all, when I sell my book I’ll have to go to New York to see my publisher won’t I?)

“Metamorphosis” – this year things need to change. I need to change. Doing the same things over and over (and over again) will not net me new results. I think I (finally) get that now. (I hope I do anyway.)

And yes there is my smiling girl having the time of her life (with the hair that I covet but can never have thanks to my cursed widow’s peak), the woman doing yoga, the woman who is strong and fit, and the woman in an outfit that I know would look awesome on me.

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I want to feel like this! (And I want that hair!)

There’s a photo of Bradley Cooper, but not because I love him (though I do), but  because I can see him playing one of the characters in my book if  it were ever when it’s made into a movie.

There is a hammock at a beach. (Yes please.)

Some beautiful pictures of nature.

The word “romance.” It would be nice for Dave and I to have some of that this year. I’d really like to work on that.

“Be inspired”

“Imagine all Your Possibilities”

“Eat Drink Read”

“What if…”

What if…

What if…

What if this year turns out to be everything I want it to be?

dream board
The view from my desk. (To remind me to be my very best me!)

What are your visions for 2013?

The Long Road Home

As we start our journey home from Colorado to California (with a two night layover in Las Vegas) I find myself a bit weepy.  I’m not sad.  In fact just the opposite; I’m so happy right now I can hardly stand it.

I think it’s the nostalgia of the car trip that’s getting to me.  My husband Dave and I are listening to “The Best of Van Morrison” – a road trip staple – while the kids zone out to Star Wars in the back, their huge wireless headphones blocking out the music and our terrible singing.  I find myself thinking of our first real road trip over 16 years ago when I set off on a cross country drive sitting next to a man I loved more than any man before him.

On December 27, 1991, after putting all of my furniture into storage, I shoved my entire wardrobe and everything else I deemed essential into a rented Uhaul car-top carrier attached to my 1984 Toyota Celica and Dave and I set off towards New York.  (Okay, technically it was New Jersey, but you know…)

Dave and I started dating in the summer of 1989.  I fell hard for him right away.  I think he fell hard for me too but HEDIDNOTWANTAGIRLFRIEND so he was very non-committal.  (Once after we were dating for about a year we went to Phoenix for the weekend and he introduced me to his uncle – who lived there – as his date.  His date?  To Phoenix?  Yeah, he had serious commitment problems.)

In January of ’91 he got a promotion that required him to relocate to New York.  And even though I still never heard him ever utter the word “girlfriend” we decided to carry on long distance to see what happened. We managed to see each other for long weekends about every six weeks.  In October he asked me to move to New York.  I’d been ready since February.

I really think that if he hadn’t moved to New York we wouldn’t have ended up together.  It was the distance and missing me that made him realize he was in love with me.  If he had stayed in California I think I would have grown tired of waiting for him to commit and left him or I would have started nagging him for a commitment and he would have grown tired of that and he would have left me.  It turns out the distance that  separated us is ultimately the thing that brought us closer together.  It’s funny the little curve balls life tends to throw at you.

So two days after Christmas, after giving up a highly coveted job in the music industry and a really great apartment, I kissed my friends and family goodbye and set off on the road trip of my life.  We had a great time.  We tried to visit the Grand Canyon (well we did visit the Grand Canyon, we just couldn’t see it because it was socked in with fog), we stayed with some friends in Houston and had the best Queso Fundido I’ve ever had in my life, made it to New Orleans for New Year’s Eve, and got lost on some Louisiana back road that provided us with a story we still tell today.

When we were living in New York (okay, okay New Jersey) Dave actually lost his job due to a merger but was still under contract so he was still getting paid.  Talk about the time of our lives!  One day we were walking down the street in Hoboken and Dave turned to me and said, “It’s so cold.  Let’s go to Florida tomorrow.”  And we did.  We drove all the way down to Key West.  A few weeks later we drove through New England all the way to Montreal.  Four months later he got a job in Los Angeles and we loaded all of our belongings and my Celica onto a moving van and drove his Honda back home.

We’ve been on many crazy road trips since then – LA to Seattle and back, and twice we’ve driven roundtrip from Los Angeles to Wichita (once to pickup heirloom furniture and another time for his grandmother’s funeral).  When Chandler was just shy of four and Marley was only 3 months old we drove from Los Angeles to the Canadian Rockies and back.  We had to stop every 3 or 4 hours so I could nurse Marley, but that was one of the best and most beautiful trips of our lives.   3,000 miles in 10 days.  We both wish it could have been longer, though that probably would have meant driving even farther.  Not counting this trip where we are sure to log in over 2,000 miles, we’ve probably driven over 20,000 miles together on road trips alone.

There are things that remain constant for all of our trips:  two travel mugs and a Thermos full of coffee to start our day, music that is (for the most part) mutually agreed upon, whenever we stop for gas he fills up the car and I wash the windows, we always have a big box of Gobstoppers to suck on (the passenger pops them into the mouth of the driver), and the air conditioning is only turned on once the outside temp reaches 83 degrees (that’s his stupid ass rule – though you know, with all the fluorocarbons the A/C releases into the air I put up with it without complaining.)

This is actually our first vacation car trip since that trip to Canada almost 8 years ago.  Sure we’ve gone on some 5 or 6 hour drives for camping trips, but that hardly counts as a road trip by our standards.  And today, as we start our journey home and sing “Have I Told You Lately” to each other, the first song we danced to together as husband and wife, happy tears escape from the corners of my eyes -tears shed in reminiscence of the road trips of our past and in anticipation of all the miles we will surely travel together in our future.

*This post originally appeared on skirt.com on August 24, 2008. I have archived it here after learning that skirt will be shutting down the blogging portion of its site on November 30, 2013.