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just a sarcastic working mom living life in New England

RIP, Les Paul. Thanks for one of the best nights of my life August 14, 2009

Filed under: Music,things I love — nashsmom @ 6:02 pm
Tags: , ,

Les Paul died and I couldn’t help but smile.   Not because he died (duh) but because one of my most memorable “hollywood nights” was at a tribute to Les Paul.  I don’t know that I’ve ever documented it anywhere so here goes…..

It was 1994 and I was living in L.A. working at Capitol Records.  Les Paul recorded the majority of his records (yes, that’s what we called them back then) for Capitol and there was going to be a Tribute to Les Paul night at the House of Blues.  I managed to score 3 tickets so I invited my music loving pal, Jennifer.  If I recall correctly, this may have been in the plan all along but it sounds so random now,  I decided to  invite Spencer Davis to come along with us.  For all you kids, Spencer Davis was the founder of a 60’s group called The Spencer Davis Group (natch) that also featured, among others, Steve Winwood.  They had a big hit with “Gimme Some Lovin'” (look it up) which I licensed on a pretty non-stop basis as part of my job at Capitol.  We had become friendly and when I extended the invite, he was thrilled.  Needless to say, Jennifer and I were more thrilled.  We were going on a date with a legend and we were on cloud nine.  Little did we know that was just the beginning of  what we still to this day refer to as the “pinch me night”.

We met Spencer at Barney’s Beanery for dinner.  We got to know each other  better and were off to a great start laughing, drinking and hearing stories from him about our favorite rock stars.   We then headed up the hill to the HOB (House of Blues people, stay with me).  The parking lot  was jammed as the crowd from the first show left (talking about how Eddie Van Halen and Peter Frampton had been on stage moments ago)  and the crowd for the later,  much cooler show moved in.  As we made our way to the entrance, we ran into the first of our many rock stars –  Robby Krieger from The Doors.  He greeted Spencer with a hug and our date was quick to introduce us.  Turns out Robby needed some help getting in as his name wasn’t on the list.  We got him in and made our way to the bar for a drink. Then Spencer mentioned that he had never met Les Paul and would love the opportunity to do so.  I put on my hollywood hat and went up to the beefy bouncer at “the” backstage door.  (the inside of HOB is a maze but having been there a few times before, I knew my way around cuz that’s how I rolled in those days).  I tried to convince explained that I was a hot shot at Capitol Records, Mr. Paul’s label, and I was escorting THE Mr. Spencer Davis and Mr. Davis would like to come up and say hello before the show.  He walkie talkied with upstairs bouncer and I nervously sweated patiently waited all cool until I eventually got the “yeah, send ’em up”.  I gathered the troops and we made our way up the winding stairs only to be greeted by Graham Nash of Crosby Stills & Nash fame (look them up kids, they’re kind of a big deal).  He was thrilled to see Spencer and Spencer quickly introduced us to Mr. Nash as well as to his good friend, Dave Edmunds (google him).  At this point Jennifer was nearing heart attack stage with all the excitement.  (I was too but really, she was dying!)  Les was out on the balcony having his dinner all alone.  I poked my head out and asked if I could bring Spencer out to say “hi”.  He was more than happy to have us all join him at his table while he continued to have his dinner and the four of us just chatted it up for a bit.  It was thrilling for all of us, but Spencer was BEAMING and it made me so happy to have not only been there for it but to have helped to make it happen.  A photographer inside got wind of the legend meeting the rock star and came out and snapped this pic (which I later had Spencer autograph for me):

les_spencer

The night could have ended there and all three of us would have been more than happy but alas, it was just beginning.  We went back down to the main room for the tribute show.  The place was jammed and there wasn’t an inch of space to be found.  That is until Stephen Stills spotted Spencer and waved him (and his two dates!) into the VIP area.  There were only two seats next to Mr. Stills (and Mr. Nash who also joined us) so they asked this super cute guy if he could move down one seat.  He was more than happy to so I moved in and sat next to him and Jennifer sat between me and Spencer who sat next to his CS&N pals.  One by one guitar legends got up and jammed with Les Paul (oh God, was he on stage all night or just at the end??  I can’t even remember).   Robby Kreiger, Johnny Rivers, Dave Edmunds, Jeff Healy, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.  It just kept going getting better and better as they went.  Slash and Gilby Clarke (Guns & Roses!  Finally someone you’ve heard of!)  and their two bimbos were sitting directly in front of us and were drunk, obnoxious and annoying (not necessarily in that order).  They talked through most of it and I was filled with hate for them for tarnishing our perfect night.  Then all of  a sudden super cute guy sitting next to me asked us to excuse him so he could get out.  I assumed to go to the bathroom and thought he was nuts because who knew what he might miss!  Two minutes later the guy on stage said “ladies and gentlemen, Steve Vai”.  And there he was, super cute guy. Up on stage tearing up the guitar like nobody’s business!!  The old guys were great but this guy blew the roof off.  Do a search for him on youtube and you’ll see what I mean.  And the best part?  Slash finally shut the hell up.  I mean he was speechless.  Until Steve super-cute-guy Vai finished and he said “I can’t follow that”.  HA!  That right a$$hole!!   When Steve Vai returned to his seat (next to me!!) everyone in the VIP section was patting him on the back telling him how awesome he was, including me.  When Slash got up to play, I told Steve what what Slash said and he chuckled and thought I was kidding but Jennifer backed me up and told him it was true.  I think he really liked that!  

The night ended with everyone that had played gathering on stage for one last super jam.  The stage was filled with everyone I’ve mentioned above plus Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Doobie Brothers & Steely Dan) and Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats on drums.  

jam

Spencer gave Jennifer and I a hug and a kiss and we parted ways.  I’m sure he went home straight to bed but me and Jennifer?  We sat up for hours recounting every second of the night squealing like school girls after holding it in all night in an effort to be cool.  But really, after a night like that?  We were cool.  At least for this one night.  

Thank you, Les Paul.  For creating the guitar and the music that paved the way for rock & roll as we know it.   You are a true legend and will be sadly missed.

 

The New Ya-Ya’s August 2, 2009

Filed under: things I love — nashsmom @ 7:58 pm

They did it. Ms Picket and Carolyn….On-line have gone and written themselves a book – and it is fantastic!  

To

I’m not going to write a review because I don’t do that sort of thing.  So I’m just going to blog about this fantastic little book I just read and it’s going to go something like this…..

I love to read.   I especially love reading biographies.  Historical, celebrity, survivors – I love them all.  This summer I’ve read Larry King, Tori Spelling (and Candy’s – had to hear both sides but hands down Candy’s the bitch – just sayin’) and Melissa Gilbert’s  books (did you know she “dated” Billy Idol and George Clooney??  And loved the booze and cocaine??) . 

But I also dig a good fiction chick book.  One of my all time favorites being The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  When I first read this book I couldn’t put it down.   Me and my hubby were in Montreal and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended and one night, after he went to sleep, I stayed up until 3 in the morning sitting in the bathtub of our hotel room (in my pjs) to finish it.    I loved it so much that if Nash were a girl, his name was going to be Vivienne  so I could call him her Vivi after the main character of the book.  It’s about friendship and motherhood.  It’s about having fun, drinking too much and doing wild and crazy things.  It’s about loving husbands that sometimes say or do the wrong thing.  It’s about teaching your children to not be afraid (the elephant ride??) and to be the best that they can be.  And it all revolves around this big old scrapbook that the Ya-Ya’s kept filled with their memories.

Darcy and Carolyn have rolled these two favorite things together.  They’ve modernized my favorite fiction book with the true story look at their own lives.  In their story, the Ya-Ya’s aren’t friends that grew up together since grade school, but friends that meet over the internet via their blogs.  Yet  before they ever even met face to face, they had just as strong of a friendship as Vivi and Teensy.   And in their story, their blogs and e-mails play the role of the scrapbook.  Oh, and instead of mint juleps they drink Miller Lite.  

These ladies are storytellers and writers.  They’re all thinky one minute and cursing like a trucker the next.  Every page holds a new story that will seem oddly familiar.  Holidays with crazy relatives, fights with husbands, struggles with kids, and that always elusive question –  “what the hell am I doing?”.

It’s a page turner.  Even if you don’t know a thing about these girls, you’ll immediately be drawn into their lives and feel like you’ve known them forever.  And you’ll love them.   And cheer for them.   All those things you’re afraid to tell anyone?  They have the balls to say it out loud AND in print.   You’ll want to know what happens next.  And guess what?  You’ll be able to find out by reading the continuing story on their respective blogs.  Or maybe you’ll just catch them when they’re on Oprah after she’s given “To” her stamp as a Book Club read.

I didn’t finish this one in the bathtub (but I totally would have had that been an option).  I read a little on the train Friday and then during moms-day-off-at-the-mall yesterday as I treated myself to a long solo lunch at Joe’s American Grill (holla!) where I nearly finished it off (along with a sangria – have you tried these??  amazing!) but completed it early this morning sitting in a rocking chair inherited from Ms. Picket herself which just seemed right.

I would offer to lend you my copy, but let’s support these gals and order your own copy.  I promise after you’ve read it, you’ll be glad you did.  As the poorly written slogan says, click here and Just Do It.

 

Wizards, a little slice of heaven and oh, a house full of teens July 20, 2009

Filed under: things I love — nashsmom @ 7:28 am

The weekend started with Nash’s best friend’s birthday party.  It was a Harry Potter theme and this mom put all other moms to shame with this one.  She’s been planning it for months (years??) and had more activities at this one party than I have planned for all seven of Nash’s parties combined.  The kids made wands, they shopped from their Hogwart’s list at the store for their school supplies, they made potions from bone dust and then everyone put on their swimsuits and had a balloon toss and hit the slip and slide.  She and a friend were dressed in full gear with capes and the works.  I won’t even mention the cake that would put Duff at Ace of Cakes to shame and the engraved party favors.  Here’s my little Harry…

potter

Immediately following the party we jumped in the car and headed to my cousin-in-law’s place on a lake in New Hampshire.  It was spectacular.  A gorgeous house over looking the lake and mountains, a sunset boat ride, great food, drink and company.  It was just the three of us, the two of them, their two teenage sons and oh, TWELVE of the 18 year old’s closest friends.  That’s right.  FOURTEEN teen boys AND *gasp* girls.  All crashing in the big basement – community style.  They were all polite and called the hosts “Mr. & Mrs. A.” which I thought was adorable and respectful.  We stayed out of each other’s way for the most part (even though Nash was fascinated with said teenagers).  They all piled in their car(s?) and went into the little town for ice cream.  While they were gone, we had dinner and drinks and just hung out on the screened in deck, safe from bugs, until the sky was black.  The teens returned four (!) hours later from their “ice cream” run with the biggest case of the munchies I’ve ever witnessed.  They filled the kitchen and began cutting brownies, making plates of nachos and frantically filling containers with every snack they could find.  Two girls were desperately searching for a bag of salt and vinegar chips.  They weren’t on the table where they left them but hey, here’s another bag of chips.   Oh no.  “Those are sour cream & onion and we HAVE to have the salt & vinegar!!!!”   I thought about telling them we ate them, but I’m pretty sure they would have thrown me over the deck.  They were eventually tracked down and there was a squeal of delight as  they headed back to the basement with their armfuls of snacky food.  (10 minutes later one of the guys was back to make yet another plate of nachos, something I’m sure continued even after we went to bed)  It was interesting to see what we’ll be in store for in another 10 years.  (Eeek!)

After a few hours and not nearly enough sleep, Nash woke me up at 6:15.  I tried to get him to watch a movie and let me sleep a bit more, but alas, no luck.  So we headed for the beach at 7 AM.  Me, Nash, 2 ducks and 1 loon.  It looked something like this:

NH

We spent the entire day on the beach.  We swam, we kayaked, we boated, we sailed, we built sand cities, we entertained 4 dogs, we ate, we drank, we talked, we had an a-maz-ing time.   Eventually we had to drag Nash away from the beach and hit the road.  He wanted McDonald’s but  fell asleep in the car 10 minutes after we left.  He woke up when we were almost home and said “are we at McDonald’s yet?”.  And we were – but now we were 10 minutes from our own house.  

I piled the wet, sandy laundry near the basement door, but couldn’t bring myself to get it down the stairs.  We covered ourselves in aloe lotion and fell fast asleep.   Short, sweet but perfect weekend.

 

Mass Julius July 17, 2009

Filed under: things I love — nashsmom @ 9:30 pm
Tags: ,

(I’m just going to pretend it hasn’t been 3 weeks since I last posted…..)

For those of you that know me (or are faithful readers from way back), you know I love Target.   I mean seriously head-over-heals-can’t-live-without love.   But we all feel the same way about Tar-jay so no need to go on.  

You probably know that I also love Paul Frank.  For those who don’t know him, he’s the guy that created this guy, Julius:

julius

A little over 10 years ago while visiting L.A., I found myself in a hip little shop off Melrose Avenue and found this cute little blue coin purse with this adorable monkey face on it.  I bought it and proceeded to become obsessed with all things Paul Frank and thanks to eBay, started a mad collection.  But as much as I love my online ordering, going to a Paul Frank store or even finding PF goods at Nordstrom or Newbury Comics was sheer bliss.  It’s always better to see stuff in person, right?  

SO, imagine my surprise when I walked into Target yesterday and saw this:

jk8JULIUS in TARGET!!    

Now I can just walk into my favorite store on earth and browse one of my favorite designers right here in my ‘hood.  It appears to be slowly rolling out.  The Target I was at yesterday only had things for little girls.  But it looks like more kids and infant stuff is rolling out as well as some jammies for me and some bags, umbrellas, bikes, and I’m sure more surprises. 

 And the best part?  It’s Target prices.  The $25 kids shirts are now $7.99.

I can hardly stand it.  If you need me, I think you know where I’ll be….

 

Money CAN buy happiness May 17, 2009

Filed under: Nash,things I love — nashsmom @ 10:53 pm

Nash has a relentless inability to sleep past 6 AM on the weekends as well as an inability to be anywhere in the house without someone else within hearing range of his voice.   Needless to say, it sucks.  So last night I bribed him.  I told him if he stayed in his room until 7:30, I would give him $5.  After he fell asleep, I put the following note in his room:

note

At 5:17 AM (not a typo) he came stomping up the steps to our bedroom.  I told him we had a deal and to go back down to his room and look for the note I left him.  He stomped back down and did not return until 7:43.   Bliss!!   He was very proud of himself and seemed genuinely excited about the Charlie Brown videos he watched.

I never thought I would see the day where 7:43 was “sleeping in” or that I would have to spend $5 to get it…..

 

Happy Mother’s Day! May 8, 2009

Filed under: Nash,things I love — nashsmom @ 8:41 am

I got this from Nash this morning…..

mommy_

Apparently my son thinks that I think he is crazy.  (I don’t)   And it’s awesome that he notes my love of Target.  And in case you missed my Twitter (are you following me??  Click on “nash’s mom on twitter” on the right side of the page to see my updates!) on this one, the thing that I apparently can’t stand is “Watching Portuguese”.  First off, I must say that I have absolutely no problem with this but find it hysterical – Nash likes to go in on the “set up” menu of his Charlie Brown DVDs and watch them in different languages.  He’s been on a Portuguese kick lately and seriously sits in front of the TV watching these videos that he knows by heart in English and thinks he can learn another language by watching them this way.  Gotta give him credit for trying.  So far he can count five (uno, dose, tres, cuatro ….. sound familiar??) and say Charlie Brown (um, “charlie” “brown”).   

And you know what?  I DO love it when he cudels with me!!  

Thank you, Nash!  I love you!!

 

Tinted Windows April 29, 2009

Filed under: Music,things I love — nashsmom @ 8:17 am

Every summer there’s at least one song that you blast while you’re driving with the windows down and you sing along at the top of your lungs and it makes all the bad stuff go away you just feel great.   Yesterday we had a little taste of summer with a record temperature of 93 (second hottest April day in the history or recorded temps!!  Yes, weather nerd, I know.)  and I’m happy to report, that song has been found so I’m officially ready for summer.  The hubby discovered this one last week and it almost seemed too good to be true.  A power-pop supergroup made up of, get this, Taylor Hanson from Hanson on lead vocals (think “Mmmmbop” all grows up.  Yum!), James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins killing on guitar, Adam Schlesinger (writer/producer/singer of at least a dozen songs you’ve had stuck in your head at some point over the last ten years) on bass and vocals and my favorite part of the mix is the drummer.  These three were getting the band together, writing songs  but they just needed to find the right drummer.  They all agreed they wanted someone like Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick.  So what did they do?  They got Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick!!  

So roll down the windows (or look out the window) and crank up your stereo (or computer) and enjoy this year’s first head-bopping summer song.  Ladies and gentlemen, Tinted Windows…..