Friday, December 30, 2011

The last year on earth

What if it really was the last year of earth as we know it? What if it all was going to end? How would you live your life? Would you make a 'Bucket List' and just go balls out and go for it? Go for anything and everything that you ever wanted to do or create in your life?

I see so many heartbreaking stories of people, children with terminal illnesses that do outstanding things and change the lives of so many around them. They are an inspiration to the lives of the living. But still so many people will walk through their lives in a daze, blaming everything but themselves, that the deck of cards they were dealt are crap and always will be just that- crap. Sadly they will never know, nor even want to change, because it is just too much trouble.

But let's just say, for fun I mean, that this is the last year. What would you do differently?

Now, let's just say, that you actually begin living the life that you always dreamed of, become the person you always thought you would become, and that you enjoy every moment- like it was your very last.

I say let's go out and get that mother fucker. Together. Sound good?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sent to Print

Well this photo alone should explain my silence. I have been busier than a cat with 9 assholes. But my first novel in the series has been sent to print and I can finally see a bit of light on the horizon for myself to continue with my day to day writing and well, maybe a manicure. So here is to the beginning of a new era of this blog, I will be adding lots of inside scoops about the book and the process of creating it.

As for the music we are getting mixes back from our engineer/producer Paul Frost of the UK band The Zico Chain, and they are turning out amazing!!! The album will be released in March 2012 and we will be getting back to playing live in the new year.

More fun to come...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Strings have it...

And so we begin- with the violin. Charlene Huang, a longtime friend and fellow underground musician, has stepped in to add her magical instrument to our songs- and they sound so good it is giving me goosebumps.

Tony is behind the desk once again at Hemispheres Studios in North Hollywood, and from where I sit- just a few feet behind him, I can see he is really hitting his engineering stride now. Pressing buttons with a flair, leaning forward to hit the talk-back button, and directing Charlene with a kind ease through each song. I am smiling a lot as I watch this comfortable interaction.

I am not one to sit idle, and I try to express my ideas for Charlene, even though I cannot play, and will never be able to play the violin as beautifully as she- but I do know a good hook when I hear it, and Charlene is such a pro she easily picks up whatever Tony and I are throwing out. I am amazed at what beauty and richness this layer has added to the songs, causing a few of them to haunt me even now as I type this a day later. We finished five of the ten songs that we will add violin to, and that means we will be back in the studio again in a few weeks to finish up.

My son is now becoming a pro in the studio, and he was so comfortable yesterday I was amazed. Not only did he just chill on his own watching his favorite show 'Despicable Me' in the lounge attached to the studio, coming in the control room every now and then to approve the recordings... Then finally when he came to sit with me to listen to the recording process, the violin sounded way too much like a lullaby and he was knocked out for over an hour! Good to know! This kid amazes me every day, he is cooler than I could ever dream to be- I am just so happy to be able to share this amazing journey of music with him.

I can see the end now, and I am so excited to finally get to do what I do best... with every song that we check off with violin- I can finally sing on them! Whew! Good lord I have waited a long time to sing my final takes! Been sitting on my arse, watching everyone else have all the fun for months, just listening to the scratch vocals over and over, and I am soooooooo ready to sing for REALS! That's ok, I have been using this time to practice, practice, practice and fine tune the lyrics so these songs will be the best, most heartfelt, damn music I got's in me! Yipeeee!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Harvest Moon

It's time to harvest the crops, time to pull those seeds from the earth and expose the ripe fruit.
It's going to be a bountiful Fall.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Let's hear it for Guitars!

Back again we went into the studio, and once again I was seated, oh so comfy in that large overstuffed leather chair in the control room of Hemispheres Studios. This time, it was acoustic guitar that was the star of the show, so up steps Tony Grimes; my sweet husband and awesome other half of our band Wall of Tom.

It is so wonderful to get to this part of our album's recording, because this is how it all started anyways... with just me singing and Tony playing acoustic guitar in our living room. The songs began from those very strings of Tony's Taylor Acoustic guitar, and now they will be set in stone from that same guitar, and those whimsical fingers that pluck them. This time of course it is in the controlled setting of a studio with all the proper baffles and wonderful microphones (Neumann U-87's)and once again the great SSL board at Hemispheres Studio.

Our friend and recording engineer Brian Fowler stepped behind the desk to record Tony, once the owner of Hemispheres James Lugo had set the session up and gotten the right Mic's in place. It is really fun for me to see Tony get to step out of his norm as the engineer, and get to be the artist... even though I know he went back and forth a few times just to make sure everything was lining up as it should.

The evening was once again a family affair, and our little boy was rockin' with his Daddy for hours. Our son is getting very comfortable in the studio, and he is so used to hearing these songs- I'm sure he has memorized every word even though he cannot speak them yet. When the music starts playing he will look at me with a big smile on his face as if to say 'Wow, I know this song!'

The night went quickly and in six hours, with a break for dinner and play time in between, twelve songs were done. Tony played beautifully, and the richness and warmth of the microphones have done their jobs well.

As I placed my passed out child into his car seat to go home, I smiled to myself. What a fun adventure this album has been so far, and to be able to share it with my family is such a special thing. My husband, my child, all of us have been working so hard on creating this album... it is going to be laced with our love from track to track.

Next stop on this album train is piano next week, and then violin the following week. Until then...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A writers world

Ever since I got the wild idea to write a novel, I have been researching the world of publishing. Since I have been in the music industry for so long, I realize I have no idea about the business side of books. There is so much to learn, and you would think that writing a book is hard, but really once the words have been written, the hard part actually begins.

For me, the telling of the story is enthralling and the words fly off my fingers in record time. My heart beats faster with each paragraph, and when I finally reached the last page I wept with joy. Really.

Even editing is fun, it's just re-working the page... placing a different inflection on a thought, coloring more depth into a character who is too black and white. All this is still very exciting, and while I am still in the middle of this process, I am doing even more research on the ways of the world of publishing. Talking with publishers, literary agents, and published authors alike- I have begun to see a familiar pattern.

Today's publishing, I am learning, is following in the music businesses footsteps. As more bookstores close their doors, so much like the record stores we all loved did, the world of book publishing is depending on it's authors to market their own books. This does not surprise me in one bit since the music industry has collapsed in a heap and all of us musicians had to pick our selves up and learn how to market our bands in the ways of social media. We had to book our own shows, our own tours, do all our own press, package our own albums, call every radio station, design our websites, create a website on every social website that exists and update that website every day. And then we all had to go out and get a day job to pay for all the art we were creating.

Sure it sounds exhausting, but shit, we all had to do it- so it's best not to bitch about it, but learn to enjoy it all... and after finally getting used to doing all of it, it has become the norm and we have much much more control of our art. Sure some of us still have people that work for us, and there are wonderful small labels that work extremely hard for their artists, but even huge artists that have the very top labels working for them- are updating their own Twitter account daily, if not hourly, and I read posts all the time on Facebook from Miss Lady Gaga herself, doing all she can to self promote her art.

This is the new age of music, and now it is becoming the new age of books. I am learning how even if you have a wonderful publishing company, big or small, it is now the norm to market your book, figure out your target market, and publicize it in a fun creative way... I mean, you don't have to do anything sure, But... you want to sell some books right?

Yes I do. And I really believe in my book, and the two books I am going to write as the next installments in the series. So here I go into the writers world of marketing... It is actually fun, and I am of course going to utilize every avenue I can dream up- which for me, is a hell of a lot.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good things come to those who wait.

As the old saying goes, we have been rewarded for the waiting game. The album has been on hold for awhile now... waiting not so patiently for bass. Our good friend Dave Wadsworth, who has been playing bass with Wall of Tom for the last two years or so, has been on the vacation of a lifetime- Spain, Switzerland, you name it- Dave was going there. He just didn't have the time to put in for us, so sadly we realized we were going to have to use a different bass player for this album.

But who to choose?

We of course automatically thought to use Daniel Seeff, who was a member of Wall of Tom for five years, two albums, two music videos, and countless good times. The only trouble was, Daniel is one of the busiest- most sought after bass players in all of Los Angeles. We gave him a call and he said he would love to be a part of this album but he was booked for weeks and only had a small window of time available.

Well... thankfully we knew that we could fit him in through that small window (he is quite spry) and get our bass done, as long as we had the patience to wait a few weeks. Hmmmmmmm... I think I have said it before, I hate waiting. I have no patience. Especially when I am sitting on the one thing that I am so damn excited about. But, that being said, I realized if I want to release the best album of my career, I would have to sit on my rear for just a bit.

It was worth it. Daniel is a gift, and I am so happy to have this man's talent added to the album. It was a day of laughter, jokes and music as we stepped into ESI Studios in Glendale. Which by all quinkie-dinks was the very studio that we recorded our second album 'Eight' together 5 years ago. It was just like old times as the three of us; myself, Tony and Daniel began to record... all with one exception- there was a little baby running around the studio like a mad-man.

It made for an even more interesting day having a toddler to chase after, but all in all- we made it happen, with Tony behind the engineers desk, and Daniel on the Upright and electric Bass, with a lot of silliness in between. Our drummer on the album Charles, even stopped by the studio to listen in to Daniel's tracking, and was super excited and impressed (the compliments were flowing so graciously back and forth between the two of them, one would think they were in love) but that is the connection that is the most important when laying the foundation of an album, drum and bass go hand in hand.

So all that and a bag of tamales we got it done. The bass is DONE. God it feels good to say that. I was beginning to think I could never say that, and now the songs sound better than I have ever heard them. It is so exciting once again... Now we move to guitar- thankfully Tony is on that already, and once the acoustic guitar is finished we go to piano and violin.

Oh, and on a side note- my son is a drummer. He has always been interested in piano, plucking the guitar and slapping the bass. But when I sat him behind the huge drum kit and placed the sticks in his tiny hands- he went wild! His smile was ear to ear as he banged away at any drum or cymbal his arms could reach. It was the perfect end to a groovy day in the studio... I think we may have to go on the road as the Partridge family instead of Wall of Tom. Of course, there is still a chance our little boy will become a race car driver.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lame, Lame, Lots to do!

Sooo Sorry that I have not posted lately! I have been overworked with baby walking, book editing, and music making! More fun blogs to come- Happy 4th to everyone!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Beat goes On...

I am sitting in an over sized brown leather chair, just a few feet behind the massive SSL sound board, in the control room of Hemispheres Recording Studio in North Hollywood. In the live room sits Charles Ruggiero behind the Yamaha kit banging away... getting levels of each separate drum, through each separate microphone, that is then connected to all separate tracks on the SSL board, and into the Pro Tools session that is Wall of Tom's new album.

Behind the sound board sits James Lugo, world renowned musician and brainchild of the 'Vocal Asylum'. James was a natural choice to track our drums since he and Charles have been working together for years now, and considering the vibe of these songs and Mr. Lugo's background in creating radio oriented sound, he fits better than a glove... not to mention his own air-drumming techniques are legendary.

Now over the speakers, a click enters the room, soon followed by guitar. My stomach flips a bit as my voice appears, but my oddity is soon overpowered by the feeling of amazement as soon as I hear the drums. Charles is amazing. Amazing is not even a word I should be using, but I really detest people who use the word 'phenomenal'. His groove is so groovy, his kick and snare are vibrating my ass off this chair. My senses are overwhelmed, and my mind is racing faster than my heart as he enters the crescendo... it's a complete mind fuck and I am enjoying the hell out of it.

At 4:12pm we are completely done with 7 of the 12 songs, and have begun the roll on the eighth. Charles and James have moved into their element and they are bouncing their ideas off us like bullets from a machine gun. This is what creation is all about, and their input is changing the arrangements of the songs, ever so slightly, taking them to the next level of cool.

It is now 5pm, and the songs have been flowing off Charles' sticks in record time... although he did call it at 10am, when we first started setting up, that we would be finished by 6. I think he may be right since we are now on the 11th song, and the energy is on high for this cover.
Yes, we are doing a cover for this album- and it is so obscure that if any of you can guess it- I'll give you a quarter. (and no family members that know the answer- you have been sworn to secrecy) As the song begins James is coaching Charles through the markers.. you know- verse, chorus, verse, bridge, stop.. and the dance he is doing with his cues is bringing Tony, Charles and I to tears... as a cheerleader I have done a lot of these moves and if we just had a set of pom-poms it would make this visual complete. I love recording, and this is just one prime example of why music should never be considered work because it is so much fun.

5:41- We are breaking down the drums and bouncing all the tracks back onto our drive. Really. I am still in shock, and although I have moved from this comfy chair many times today, it is here that I end my session before heading home. I am happy. I am overjoyed.

Now it's time for the bass. And the beat goes on...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The beginning, Not the end.

And so it begins... As the countdown has commenced, and I didn't get carried off by the Rapture- we will indeed begin the recording process this week. I was a bit worried for a moment, and then I said 'Oh what the hell!' Nothing is getting in the way of our new album!

I cannot even begin to tell you what these songs mean to me, each one in a different way, but it is sooo exciting for me to begin music once again. 12 songs. All bleeding from a different place. Wow, that sounded gory huh? No, but songs really do come from somewhere deep within and it is really cool to get them out of you, kinda like the childbearing thing.. but in a musical way.

We begin with Drums, and Charles Ruggiero has stepped into the ring. What a professional and wonderful human being this man is. It is such a joy to work with someone of his musical caliber, with a heart of gold- and we have so enjoyed this process of the album. I cannot wait to hear what Charles will do in the studio... And if those hand and chest slaps were any sign of what is to come, this album has one hell of a heartbeat.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Motherhood has it’s perks.

So this Mothers day was my very first… although I was pregnant on the last, but that only counts as harboring a child in my book.

On Saturday May 6th, I was invited to an event at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood, to support Cirque du Soleils Founder Guy Laliberte's One Drop Foundation and hosted by our longtime friend, LA fashion designer Kelly Nishimoto.

It sounded like such fun to attend an event that my little dude could enjoy along with me… and I had not yet seen the new Redbury Hotel, so it was a win-win in every direction.

The Redbury was decorated in retro Hollywood classics, and I really enjoyed the vibrant colors (hot pink and grey are one of my favorite color combinations.) and a throwback style giving a nod to old Hollywood glamour and Rock royalty- Think Marilyn in Sepia tones and Mick in shades of black and white.

Not only was this event kid friendly with an 8 year old DJ spinning the beats, a performance by some incredibly talented and disturbingly flexible Cirque style performers, but it also had some mini Mommy Massages, yummy sparkling wine, and a ‘cute booty’ by Kelly Nishimoto gift bag. (To which I will honestly admit I have been wearing my ‘cute booty pants every day since.)

But the one thing that I realized on my very first Mothers day, was that all Mothers are the same, no matter what designer you are wearing, or who is working on what… we all cannot have more than one minute of eye contact, in any given conversation, because our eyes are always partially focused on our children. It is the most hilarious thing that I have noticed about Motherhood and I was so happy to be in a room of people who totally understand.

Mothers are amazing, and being one is amazing…Thank you Kelly for a very pampered afternoon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mothers Day Weekend

Since I have had my own child, I now realize what a Mother is, and how much I love mine. Do something nice for the Mothers in your life this weekend- it is damn hard work and they do it all for a smile.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Two weeks and counting...

In two weeks it begins.

My band Wall of Tom is about to set sail aboard the ship of creation. We have the bones. We have big ideas. I am really proud of these songs. It seems like we have been writing them for months now, and we have played them so many times over and over that they are seared in our minds forever this way... but soon we get to record them for reals.

For reals is in a studio where you begin at the start. Drums.

I must do a bit of a background for those of you who do not know the history of my band.

I started Wall of Tom back in 2001 and over the years I have been fortunate to play with some amazing musicians backing me, live and in the studio, for the past three albums I have made. I have always held onto the belief that if you always play with musicians who are better than you, then you yourself will be challenged into your own next phase of learning and growth. I can honestly say that I have become the artist that I am today because of the incredible musicians I have met and created music with.

Charles Ruggiero is one of them. Charles is more part of our chosen family than a collaborator in the past, even though we have recorded together before at our Sunday gatherings for shits and giggles.
But this album is different, it has a different feel, and a needs special touch...we know that we have put our songs in just the right hands, because Charles is one talented Mother F#cker. (No offense to the impending Mothers Day.)

12 songs... It begins with Drums. My Son approves.

Friday, April 29, 2011

If you build it, they will come...

Sure it's from a movie, but it's also my motto for the next few months. It feels good. I feel good. Well, that's a lie, because actually at the moment, I am suffering with yet another bothersome cold that my sweet little germ-pool child has cast upon me. But other than that... I feel good.

I am currently watching my husband standing atop a 12 foot ladder attempting to install a ceiling fan. It is really fun entertainment for me at this moment, in my weakened state, but I digress to my original point. If you build it they will come...

With the music out of our hands for the moment, my husband and musical partner in crime have had some free time on our hands. We dabble in the yard, we chase after the kid, re-arrange a room...and we drink red wine. Yep, and we enjoy the heck out of all of that.

Before the baby came, we had the brilliant idea of turning our two car detached garage into a rehearsal/recording/hang out/pool room. It was a great idea. The garage is huge, and if we just put about twenty grand into it, it could be a dream.

So, after the baby came, we realized our big room was a big expense that we were just smart enough to avoid, although we had already ripped out the walls, built in the garage door to a one-car garage door, and installed a sliding glass door facing the pool.

And so... it has sat that way for 10 months now, slowly filling up with all the toys and baby accoutrements that your child quickly outgrows. But a few days ago when I was digging in the dirt, I cast my eye over to the garage and sat up straight as the inspiration struck.

What was I doing? How could I have been so blinded by a price quote? I know how to do things! I know how to build things with my own two hands, inexpensively, and make them look really good. I did my time with interior design, put in a good year or two on the showroom floor, learning all the creative tricks that designers know. With all that I learned, it helped me become the snob I am today. No, not that kind of snob... I am the reverse snob! I'm the person who wants to tell you how 'little' I spent on something, and how I took it and brushed it over with my magic wand and turned it into a masterpiece! I am a flea market junkie. I am a Craigslist antique furniture stalker. I am a estate sale hound.... and I have more cool vintage furniture than I know what to do with. I have been this way for years and years, and I think the reason why I have always been the one throwing all the parties is because I actually had furniture for everyone to sit on.

And so, baby in arms, I have attacked the hated garage, and now to my husbands delight, we are hard at work creating our 'creative space'. It may take a month or two, it might bring colorful curse words to our lips, and it may bring out muscles we never thought we had... but you better damn well believe we will be recording in that sucker by July.

I mean it is already hang-able. I'm hanging out in it right now, and I am just thrilled, yes I am easily pleased- but so are most of my friends so we are gonna have a darn good time in this sucker.

So as we build it, and they all come over, make sure to bring a hammer, a drum kit, and a smile and we will put you to work right quick. I'm so not kidding, you know who you are...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grow baby grow

It's happening... that special time when the weather begins to turn warmer, the flowers begin to bloom, and I wish I had my pool heated because I am so ready to jump in. I love this time of year, because I begin to spend large amounts of time outside, reaping the fruits of my labors of love from the past year, plus get that tan I have been missing all winter long.

I am happy to say I have inherited a very green thumb, and I get a massive thrill planting exotic wildflowers and succulents together just to see what will happen in the spring. Well, this year I have succeeded... and the combinations of colors, shapes and forms are so appealing to my eyes.

Exactly eleven days ago I planted my sunflowers, and as of yesterday I can see the little sprouts of at least seven, maybe eight, giant sunflowers. I couldn't be more proud. Last year I planted them too, and they grew taller than I... actually, I was gearing the birth of my son around one of them, and sure enough, as soon as his sunny face was looking down upon me, my water broke. Sunflowers are a sign of joy and happiness to me, so to see my little tadpoles emerge, it is a sure victory for my summer.

My husband and I put in a garden every year, and we are doing our best at teaching our nine month old son, the joys of gardening. He helped us plant all the corn, beets, broccoli, peppers, artichokes, tomatoes and cucumbers... he did pull a couple of them right back out of the earth, and I pray for their speedy recovery, but I had to let him do it- he was having such a good time.

Art imitates life... and as I finish planting the last seed, we are singing the last of the vocal scratch tracks of the twelfth song, for our upcoming album 'The Lovers'.
Half the songs are all ready at the drummers door, and we will begin the recording process just as my sunflowers are a few inches high. I think this year I will gear our album progress with my sunflowers... yes, that seems about right. While they grow taller and stronger, we will add bass, violin, mandolin and cello, and when the first flower face emerges we will be adding piano, lead guitars and vocals. Finally, when the seeds arrive to freckle the face of my sunflowers, and they are smiling down from over our heads, we will be finished with the mixing and our album will be born.

Grow baby grow. It's gonna be a great summer.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The City of Lost Angels

I have heard time and time again how people have grown up in small towns and they move to Los Angeles to become big stars. It is so very true and happens day after day, month after month, year after year. This city is where a lot of dreams come true, some people make it up to that big screen, some people go back home, and some people get lost along the way.

Since I moved to Hollywood eleven years ago I have seen a whole lot of this goings on, and you cannot turn a blind eye to the homeless situation that surrounds you on a daily basis. So the best way that I have dealt with it, is to endear the Lost Angels to my heart... Here is my road map to the greatest homeless folks around the city:

#1 Sir Poops A lot: This was my first encounter with the stinking sensation- I had just moved to the corner of El Cerrito and Franklin Ave and was walking to my favorite coffee shop on Hollywood Blvd. when I noticed a man squatting on the sidewalk, going ehhh... Number Two. It was a startling shock, and I tried not to vomit, so instead I smiled at him- tipped my hat and moved quickly away so he could finish his business in ummm, private. I ran into Sir Poops quite a few times in that same neighborhood, and now every time the clubs close down at 2am and I see all the girls take off their towering high heels to walk down the sidewalk barefoot, I just cannot seem to wipe the smile off my face.

#2 The Cat Lady: This lady was a phenomenon because she almost did not seem homeless, with her jeans rolled up and her shirts torn in all the right places, and her brilliant smile never left her face. I liked her the best, not because of her fashion sense, but because of her cat. She had the coolest tiger striped cat that would ride on her shoulders as she walked in between cars on the North/East corner of Highland and Franklin. I swear that cat was never spooked and was so happy just to ride around on his owner... now this is not an easy feat, and since I own a cat, the first time I encountered the Cat Lady I went home to try it with my own feline... I will never do that again, and I still have a scar on my back to show my idiocy.

#3 The Angry Woman: Now this little lady is still there, and I see her daily as I pass the North/West corner of Highland and Franklin. There standing in front of the big old Church is the angriest woman I have ever encountered... and sometimes the quietest, you never know what you are gonna get. I have learned in passing to keep your head down and to avert your eyes, walking quickly and briskly by. Do Not Sing, Do Not Smile, Do Not Make Eye Contact- EVER! For this Angry Woman will yell obscenities that would make a preacher sweat, and will scare the living crap out of you as she chases you down the street... not far, but far enough that you will cross the street before walking past her again.

#4 My Bum: This guy has got the best gig and is super resourceful. Firstly, he was located one entire summer near the underpass of Gower and Franklin, one street away from the Hollywood sign, ten feet away from a liquor store, and another ten feet from the Gower exit; where he set up daily shop with his 'Donation' sign and a bottle of booze at his side. Now, this guy was not only thinking Location, Location, Location, he also had handily set up a 4 man tent, and was living in street style. I really liked this fella, who was always friendly and chatty, I was sorry to see him go when the winter came. It was my Niece who loved him most, we passed him daily when she was staying with us that summer, and she would smile and wave at him and say "There's my Bum!"

#5 And finally, the most endearing of all, and new on my list... The Showman. This is the man I just recently encountered on the corner of Vine and Franklin, as I was exiting from the freeway, and stopped at the stop sign, my eyes did a double take at what I thought I was seeing on the South/West corner. Oh yes. I've seen it all now. Cock, hairy balls, and a smile- was all this guy was wearing. My eyes began to burn, and I was instantly taken back to College, where my roommate had this poster hanging on her bedroom wall, of some hot piece of man with the saying 'Not all men are created equal'... Yep. It's true. What's funny is that when I told a few friends about it, they asked- 'well was he totally naked?' and I had to try to go back to that shining memory and figure out where his clothes were, yes, I believe that his pants were around his ankles- but other than that, Nope... I got nothing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Abbot Kinney's not so secret accessory

It was bound to happen. Finally, after 9 months and one week of being Mommy and Daddy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- it was time for us to be ALONE. My husbands mother was in town for a visit and we though 'Perfect', we will book a hotel- not too far away, but far enough away that we felt like we were somewhere else than home. Venice Beach it was, only 40 minutes away, and I had been hearing lots of good things about the Abbot Kinney scene; lots of cute little shops, restaurants, bars and of course the beach was right there too.

We woke up Sunday morning giddy with excitement of our impending adventure, spent as much time as we could that morning with the baby, giving him an extra amount of love to tide him over for any separation anxiety he may encounter... Who am I kidding- it was me that was all ready having the anxiety. I couldn't imagine not being there for my little dude when he woke up in the middle of the night, nor for that matter when he awoke happy and playful in the morning- I would not be there. Oh lord, my husband saw me dragging my feet and he packed my ass up and threw me in the car. I swallowed hard and waved bye to the baby and Grandma, who by the way is far more capable than I, to care for a child so I knew he was in loving, kind hands which, as we drove mile after mile, I kept reminding myself of this fact so I gently unclenched my fists and began to finally relax and enjoy myself.

I looked over at my husband and he gave me a wink and smiled. It was then that I had a flash of memory of this person who I had fallen in love with, this man who stood by my side for years, who sang straight to my heart... Wow, how I had forgotten him this way? That little baby had come into my life and wiped my mind of so much, but it felt so good to remember the man that had started it all.

Our quick escape was going well when we decided to take a walk down Abbot Kinney and check out what everyone was talking about. As we drove around trying to find a parking spot I noticed a woman walking with a stroller, and I smiled to myself- you never notice those things until you become a parent, and it brought just a slight pang to my heart as I thought of my little boy. No! I was going to enjoy myself so I quickly looked away and noticed a parking spot.

As we began to walk down the colorful street lovingly hand in hand, we passed another family, with a stroller built for two, and we smiled warmly at the couple, who in turn gave us a dirty glare and walked away quickly. We shrugged our shoulders and laughed saying 'yeah they hate us because they think we are just single and carefree', and this made us laugh a bit harder. Then we passed a noisy bar packed full of beautiful, carefree, single and tan beach people who were spilling onto the street from all the open window seats. It was then that I almost fell over noticing on every open window seat there were babies strapped to their mothers or lazily lounging in their car seats, while the parents drank beer and shot the shit with their friends on a Sunday afternoon.

I turned to my husband who's lower jaw was on the floor, and I said 'Am I crazy, or is there babies EVERYWHERE?' This made us turn our heads and look down the street and sure enough, on every corner were groups of strollers, toddlers toddeling, babies Bjorning, and happy families socializing with each other.
My stomach was now turning and I wanted to scream 'But I have one of those too!' Only... I didn't at the moment, and to these parents I looked like that creepy lady who is eyeballing their children with lustful eyes.

We suffered though our stay in Babies Ab' Kinney with frequent phone calls to Grandma, and lots of wine. I would love to say I had the best sleep of my life, but I was awake most of the night thinking of my little boy, and as soon as the continental breakfast was over, we were on our way home.

As we pulled into the driveway, we see our little boy happily watering the plants with Grandma, and I run to him to squeeze him and he looks at me like 'Oh hey, hi Mom, now put me back down, I'm playing here.' But he cannot get out of the family hug since now my husband is hugging him too with all his might.

It's tough being a parent, but it is also the greatest thing in the world. We were a couple for so long, and we did so many fun and carefree things whenever we wanted. Now that our life is so different it is important to remember each other and to have your own private time together, and don't get me wrong-we did have a lot of fun. We will do it again I'm sure, but you had better believe if we ever go to Venice and Abbot Kinney again we are bringing our son, our very own most treasured and precious accessory.