Concerts, concerts and more concerts

On the way to work the other day my 4 year old son Matteo asked me which band was playing on the CD that we were listening to. It was an Irish band, The Cranberries. He then asked me if I had ever seen them in concert. I took a moment to reflect and eventually I said yes. Then he asked me who I went to this concert with and I knew that answer immediately, Kathy. I even remember the venue – The Greek Theater at Griffith Park.

From that random question I started to think back on all the concerts I have attended. I made it a point to attend at least 1 concert each year since that first concert until the year I had my daughter Malina – and that was the year that I somehow drove to local bookstore, less than a week after being able to drive (after having a cesarean section (c-section)), to see the Barenaked Ladies sing a few songs promoting a children’s album that they had just released. I left Max at home with Malina and was off!!

There is something about music that makes me extremely happy. Seeing music live makes me even happier! I have gone to concerts alone, driven 2 hours down to San Diego after work to see a show with friends (and then proceeded to drive back to Los Angeles to go to work the next day), I have been to just one concert in Europe (Germany to be exact), and driven all the way to Sacramento for a weekend to catch a concert that was at a hotel, and the stories go on and on as to the crazy things I have done to see a live show.

I am a very organized person…. I keep way too many items that I should throw away. Included in these items are concert tickets! Yes, I have saved almost every concert ticket that I have ever bought. With that being said the last 7 years (since having kids) has thrown me on my bottom and I do not have everything so organized as I once did. I have placed the last 7 years of knick-knacks in boxes that are just waiting to be put in a scrap book. The reason I have mentioned my scrapbooks is that right now I am going to list all the concerts I went to pre-kids just to have an organized record of it all and to see how many concerts I have attended.

I still remember my first concert was Kool and the Gang and I went with two of my cousins. By chance I saw Kool and the Gang open for Van Halen 2 years ago with Max. Talk about full circle. I will guess that I have seen many Barenaked Ladies concerts and the first show that I saw them perform at was at the American Legion in Hollywood- great small venue. The last saw I saw them perform at was the Santa Monica Civic Center in Santa Monica- that was a Christmas show…. For those who do not know the Barenaked Ladies they are a Canadian band that I first heard living in Western New York in a town that was 10 minutes from the Canadian border. Okay I am rambling… can you tell I’m excited???

Here goes nothing….

Kool and the Gang, NYC Fresh Fest III, Midnight Star & Whoodini, Genesis, INXS, Debbie Gibson, Steve Miller Band- (2 concerts), Billie Joel, B- 52’s – (3 concerts), USC Homecoming Concert, EMF, U2 – (4 concerts), Erasure (2 concerts), Ocean Blue– (2 concerts), Depeche Mode– (2 concerts), Lollapalooza 1994, I Mother Earth, Barenaked Ladies – (8 concerts), Natalie Merchant, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Refreshments, Porno For Pyros, David Bowie with Nine Inch Nails, Green Day, Whitney Houston, Violent Femmes, Jane’s Addiction, Smash Mouth, The Cranberries, Coachella, Dave Matthew’s Band, and The Who.

Recently I have seen Blink 182 (2 shows) and one day when I organize my boxes of knick-knacks I will recall what else I have been to… How fun it was to put this list together. No surprise to me the Barenaked Ladies are the group I have seen most- 8 shows and in second place is U2, a band that I have been listening to since I was 8 years old thanks to my brothers playing their “War” album before I was even double digits in age. I even wrote an English paper in college about U2‘s album “War” back in the day (I would love to see that now). For the record my total concerts is 49 from this post- that is without most of the last 7 years that I have settled into parenthood. I hope you have enjoyed this musical journey with me today… Feel free to let me know your favorite concert or your favorite bands if you wish!

(day 360)


Back to the gym & enjoying some music

another sunset

Driving home last night we caught a spectacular sunset. It was beautiful. As we made our way from the busy streets towards the beach I saw some vibrant colors ahead with a little piece of blue sky. When we were driving next to the ocean I had to stop the car and take it in. Wow! We caught the sunset only minutes after I was singing my heart out to the song “No Need to Argue” by The Cranberries. That would be two days in a row that I heard songs on the radio that I just had to sing. The songs took me back, way back… the other day it was “Kiss Off” by the Violent Femmes. Music can be so powerful.

For the last month I have been procrastinating about joining a gym. Last winter I changed my gym membership at the YMCA for one at the university where I work- my membership fees went down as did my frequency to the gym. After a summer of swimming occasionally the exercise ended. Yesterday I finally returned to a local gym and had a great workout with a friend. It was nothing extreme, but it was great to be back at the gym burning some calories, tightening some muscles and feeling great after my workout.

(day 358)

Staying “Young” with Blink 182

the marquee

I was very lucky to score 2 tickets to one of the 5 shows that Blink 182 played in Los Angeles over the last week on their tour celebrating the 20 year release of their “Untitled” album. When the tickets went on sell the first 2 shows were sold out in about 10 minutes. Shortly after another 3 shows were added at a different venue. My friend and I decided to go for show #3 at The Wiltern in Koreatown (Los Angeles).

Age range at the show: around 12 to 50+. Yes, I fit in that range- definitely more toward the higher end these days. My husband once asked me if I was too old to keep going to concerts and I said “no”. (We have been to 2 or 3 concerts together too over the years). I have been going to concerts since I was 12 years old and only took a break from a yearly show when my kids were very young. Tom, Mark and Travis put on a great show.

We were in the balcony level as we wanted reserved seating. The seats were good.. I could see everything! The show was great—I think “I Miss You” is my favorite song. My ears were ringing for a day after the concert, and I don’t know how I woke up, dressed two kids and myself, and made it to work on time- but I am a professional who can balance it all out as needed. Thanks Blink 182 for an awesome evening where I took the opportunity to be young again rocking it out with you guys from Poway (San Diego County) California one more time (hopefully not my last)!

outside the theatre

mia inside the theatre


group shot


group shot 2

travis 2

group shot 3

mark & special guest


confetti time

confetti time 2

after the show

(day 339)

They Might Be Giants

the stage

I had the pleasure of checking out two very cool musicians from Brooklyn, New York yesterday afternoon with Max and the kids on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus. The two musicians, who by chance have the same first name of John, have a band named They Might Be Giants (TMBG).

I listened to their music quite frequently in the early 1990’s, especially when I was in college. I started listening them again a few years back when I discovered that they make children’s music! I am always looking for good music to listen to with my kids, and welcomed the chance to listen to a band that both the kids and I could enjoy.

A few weeks back I saw that They Might Be Giants would be playing a family concert at UCLA. I jumped at the opportunity to go since we had the afternoon free. My last concert with Max was Van Halen and this was the first time everyone in the family watched live music in a theatre together. The show was incredible. The venue was kid friendly and the music was great! I was surprised to hear their first song was one from my teenager days – ” Istanbul ( Not Constantinople)” and they later played another hit from the 1990’s that I knew quite well too – “Birdhouse in Your Soul”. As for the kids music that they played we knew many of those songs. At one point I was dancing in the aisle with the kids, and at another point Malilna and I were sitting in another aisle in front of the stage.

I forgot the battery for my camera at home – so all I had available was my cell phone for photos, but I took shots anyways. They Might Be Giants threw out all the rules from the beginning of the show encouraging you to dance in the aisles, sit wherever there was a spot, and crowd the stage. These guys put on a great family show. When the concert ended they gave away TMBG stickers and stayed on stage handing them out until everyone had a handful of stickers. It was truly enjoyable being able to go up to the stage after the show and tell John how much that my family enjoyed the show. I look forward to them returning to Los Angeles next year so we can go see them again – yes, yet another family tradition!

touching the guitar


sticker handout

Some of my favorite moments of the concert: Photo 1: John letting the kids play his guitar, Photo 2: the confetti going everywhere, Photo 3: sticker handout at the end of the show.

(day 321)

time to go home

The kids heading back to the car after a great concert!

I shouldn’t be listening to “Green Day” on our drive to daycare!

Yesterday I rushed to the freeway like I do every day. We are always running late!!! The first part of the drive is always nice since we drive past the beach. I am always temped to park along the road and lay a towel out in the sand, but I don’t. While I drive we always listen to music to pass the time. I recently purchased a nice 3 disc CD of Disney music that we have been enjoying. Somehow it ended up in the kids’ room. I know that I have a collection of music that is not appropriate for the kids that I avoid playing unless I am alone– but yesterday I decided to try playing one of the safer choices- “Green Day’s” Dookie CD.

I thought to myself Matteo is only 4 years old so he won’t notice anything inappropriate (curse words). We were all the way to song #4, Longview, when a few adult words were sang by lead singer Billie Joe. I thought I was in the clear until I heard a little voice in the back saying, “Why is he saying f*ck mommy? That’s a bad word.” Damn, I was caught! I quickly replied “Sometimes when people sing they use those type of words, but I don’t ever want to hear you saying it.” The CD was immediately turned off and the radio was turned on.

I should have known that 4 year olds know all the curse words too. He does have an older sister; I would have never played it with my 7 year old in the car. I have said this before, but I never thought I would be a rebel- listening to inappropriate music for kids- but I am. I have to save those CDs for when I am alone at night.

I have made many changes since becoming a parent such as changing my driving vocabulary. I now say “animal” instead of “idiot” when I drive with the kids and comment about all the bad drivers on the streets of Los Angeles. Max has chosen to curse in Italian. It worked quite well until this summer when Malina befriended an Italian girl who translated his choice words to English. That made me laugh!

So for now I will enjoy my ‘alone’ time (let’s see that’s up to 20 minutes a day) to listen to my more mature music and continue to blast it a bit on the loud side from time to time.

If it were up to me I would be listening to Green Day a bit more than Disney, but I am a responsible parent! 🙂

(day 278)

Random post- discovering my tape collection again


The other week while I was putting the kids to bed I noticed that the CD player was not working correctly. I was about to turn on the radio when I discovered that they have a tape deck on their boombox (portable stereo). I was so excited!!! When I sold my record player the other month I thought we did not have a tape player anymore, which was a shame since I have at least 100 tapes. Moving to our new place I took the tapes of the box that I had previously kept them in and organized them in a cabinet.

Once the kids were asleep I went into the cabinet and began reviewing my options. There were so many tapes that I did not buy on CD to continue hearing them.

I started with England’s XTC’s tape Skylarking from 1986.

My next choice was Australia’s INXS’s tape Shabooh Shoobah from 1982.

I ended the night with a mixed tape that my friend Sandra made for me before I moved abroad to Switzerland and France. That tape was the highlight of the evening as it was a mix of different tunes and brought me right back to my morning walks around Paris that always ended in the Jardin du Luxembourg sitting on one of those green metal chairs, closing my eyes, and daydreaming.

Unfortunately I have not had time to revisit my tape collection again since that evening, but hopefully I will return to it soon. Meanwhile I am happy that when I find the time it will be a great evening listening to my tapes, sharing memories and creating new ones.

(day 214)

If I Had A Million Dollars….

album cover

I love the band the Barenaked Ladies. I first heard their music during my time as Jesuit volunteer living in Western New York, Buffalo to be exact. They are a Canadian band of 4 members currently, but spent most of their years as a group of 5. I still listen to their kid friendly music frequently in the car. The other day I overheard my daughter Malina singing one of their more popular songs. The song is called “If I Had A Million Dollars”. I wondered what she would do with $1,000,000.00 and just had to ask her. Here was her reply:

If Malina had $1,000,000.00 she would buy her dad fancy clothes. She offered to buy me fancy clothes, but I was not interested in that and a requested to trip to Paris instead. She said she would buy herself fancy clothes and a house. She said she’d buy her brother Matteo fancy clothes. I told her that he does not need fancy clothes because he grows too quickly and ruins all of his clothes.

If Max had $1,000,000.00 he would buy a house or fund a trip for his family (us four in America and those in Italy) to stay at the Italian beach for one month every August as he once did as a kid. He also would be interested in going somewhere tropical in the winter time- how about Bora Bora he suggested.

If Matteo had a $1,000,000.00 he would buy a golden coin made of chocolate.

Now if I had a $1,000,000.00 I would stop working full-time and take a part-time job, or just volunteer at the kids’ school. This way I could spend more time with my family. I would buy a house for my parents to live in Los Angeles and be closer to us. I would take a trip.. maybe somewhere I love or somewhere new. I really want to go visit the beaches in Thailand, but prefer to visit here without the kids. With that being said I guess I would like to return to Europe, perhaps for a whole summer.

Years ago in my early 20’s when I listened to this song on my Walkman heading to the bus stop I had visions of what I would do with $1,000,000.00 and changed the lyrics to the song some while daydreaming. I still have visions, only they have changed to include my family. What would you do with a million dollars?

Lyrics to “If I Had A Million Dollars”

If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
I’d buy you a house
(I would buy you a house)
If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
I’d buy you furniture for your house
(Maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I’d buy you a K-Car
(A nice Reliant automobile)
If I had a million dollars I’d buy your love

If I had a million dollars
I’d build a tree fort in our yard
If I had million dollars
You could help, it wouldn’t be that hard
If I had million dollars
Maybe we could put like a little tiny fridge in there somewhere
You know, we could just go up there and hang out
Like open the fridge and stuff
There would already be laid out foods for us
Like little pre-wrapped sausages and things

They have pre-wrapped sausages but they don’t have pre-wrapped bacon
Well, can you blame ’em
Uh, yeah

If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I’d buy you a fur coat
(But not a real fur coat that’s cruel)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I’d buy you an exotic pet
(Yep, like a llama or an emu)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a a million dollars)
Well, I’d buy you John Merrick’s remains
(Ooh, all them crazy elephant bones)
And If I had a million dollars I’d buy your love

If I had a million dollars
We wouldn’t have to walk to the store
If I had a million dollars
Now, we’d take a limousine ’cause it costs more
If I had a million dollars
We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner
But we would eat Kraft Dinner
Of course we would, we’d just eat more
And buy really expensive ketchups with it
That’s right, all the fanciest ke… dijon ketchups!
Mmmmmm, Mmmm-Hmmm

If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I’d buy you a green dress
(But not a real green dress, that’s cruel)
And if I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I’d buy you some art
(A Picasso or a Garfunkel)
If I had a million dollars
(If I had a million dollars)
Well, I’d buy you a monkey
(Haven’t you always wanted a monkey)

If I had a million dollars
I’d buy your love

If I had a million dollars, If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars, If I had a million dollars
If I had a million dollars
I’d be rich

**If you’ve never heard the song and are interested you can click here for a You Tube video.**

(day 178)