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Monday, August 22, 2011

zaiki and co.: Bargemusic in Brooklyn, or why birthdays don't suc...

zaiki and co.: Bargemusic in Brooklyn, or why birthdays don't suc...: In order to make me feel better about looming upcoming birthday next week, Kevin took me out to see a piano concert in Brooklyn . The twist...

Bargemusic in Brooklyn, or why birthdays don't suck anymore

In order to make me feel better about looming upcoming birthday next week, Kevin took me out to see a piano concert in Brooklyn. The twist was that the concert was happening on a barge tethered pretty much underneath the Brooklyn Bridge (check out http://www.bargemusic.com/). We chose a solo concert, and off to Brooklyn on a Friday night (no kids! No kids! No kids! Have I mentioned NO KIDS!!!!) we went. The girls were abandoned left with their grandmother, aunt and uncle for the night, so we didn’t have to worry about getting back too soon. Kevin looked handsome as usual, I had lipstick on, life was good.

Of course, it had to rain so hard on the way that our car was shaking.
Of course, we got stuck in major traffic in Holland tunnel.
Of course, we left late and made it to the concert 2 minutes before it started.
Of course, we made a few wrong turns around Brooklyn (our GPS didn’t give clear directions for some reason, I guess it was confused that it wasn’t in the suburbs anymore).

But we did make it there in the end. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a concert on a barge: back in mother Russia, you dressed your Sunday best to go to a classical music concert, but here, in the land of whatever-is-comfortable, I just didn’t know. Have I mentioned I don’t get out much?

The concert was fabulous. As someone who is just rejoining the world of occasional kid-free entertainment, I’d appreciate live Sesame Street performance if I’m left along for a few hours and can have half a bottle of wine beforehand, but this was a lot of fun. In my other, more bohemian life, I always liked classical piano music – the sound is clean and effortless, there is not a single false note, provided the player is any good, of course. 

The artist, Julien Quentin, was grand – he played Beethoven’s Sonata #8 in C minor and Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz. He did throw in a couple of improvs that just sounded like adolescent angst and cats to me but I'm an uncooth suburbian, who am I to judge? Plus anyone who graduated from Juilliard School is entitled to experiment and express himself, and we the regular folk need to just sit there and clap our hands together. :)

I love Beethoven and Liszt - they both sound light, crisp and gentle, with the flurry of emotion underneath that lightness, just enough to feel but not to touch and define. I floated away, away, and finally was able to exhale and let go of the last couple of horrible weeks. Stopping for wine and appetizers afterwards made us both feel like our old selves again.

The venue deserves a separate mention: a converted old barge with musty under-the-dock smell and huge glass wall that faces the Hudson and Manhattan; a sign in the ladies' room that reads "If you flush any paper down our toilets, HORRIBLE things will happen"; an old and blackened fire place; a baby grand piano and great acoustics.

There was just a handful of people attending, but they were a colorful mix: younger bespectacled music intellectuals who come off a bit snooty, old Brooklynites who look and smell like dusty fragile library books, a few older couples (men were wearing pleaded shorts and high dress socks which always makes me want to take their hand into mine, gaze them in the eye and ask "why?"), and us.

The music, barge’s gentle rocking and damp semi-darkness, smell of the dock, the rain and lightning outside, lingering effects of the wine – it was perfect to ring in another year of my life. I used to dread birthdays – they always reminded me of things I failed to accomplish, but now I think I’m ok with them. I do my best, I have a lot on my plate and if something falls off, that is fine with me. Or maybe I have simply reached the age (26, always 26, people!! Remember that!!) where it doesn't matter anymore?

A birthday means I survived another year of chaos. J

Sunday, August 14, 2011

zaiki and co.: Lida Little and the terrible, horrible, very bad d...

zaiki and co.: Lida Little and the terrible, horrible, very bad d...: "travelblog.com
I am so tired. Bad weekend all around, won't go into too many details, but it was a terrible, horrible, very bad day. L..."

Lida Little and the terrible, horrible, very bad day

travelblog.com
I am so tired. Bad weekend all around, won't go into too many details, but it was a terrible, horrible, very bad day. Let's just say it involved unruly children, lots of screaming from lots of people, some poop, and at the end me melting down and then drinking two thirds of a bottle of wine (after the kids were in bed of course).

As I sit here trying to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw (only far less glam, probably less crazy and without any Jimmy Choos in my closet) I couldn't help but wonder why my children's whining affects me so much. Is it the pitch, the frequency, the intensity? Are we, as mothers, wired to never ignore our own whining children?For me, the noise grates on my ears and I feel it all the way in my spine.

It's not even the whining, although there was plenty of it. It's this age - terrible twos- that I particularly dislike. The clumsiness, the testing of limits, spitting (oh yay, we discovered we can spit!), hitting and other uncool behavior.

It's all the things I'm sure I'll be finding endearing as zaiki grow up and fly the nest. But right now, I could really do without it.

It's getting a mouthful of milk and spitting it on the floor -- Sonya does it all the time now, and I'm just done with cleaning after her. Maybe the puddles on the floor will attract so many ants that they'll carry her off (if you can spot a literary reference here, I'll give you five bucks).

It's headbutting me in the thigh so I get a charlie horse each time. Or headbutting me in mouth so my lip swells up, teariing my blouse off at the indoor playground while clinging to me like a terrified gorilla baby.

It's hitting the other sister in the head with the goddamned weeble and then screaming after being disciplined.

Oh yeah, and launching yourself off the couch arm face first into the opposite couch arm while screaming "Super Maya!!" and busting your nose open also makes the cut.

It's running away from me down the street (and the little monkeys are getting fast!!!), and sprinting even faster when I yell "Stop!!". I was actually terrified that a car would hit them.

There are more, but I'll spare you. I'm not whining. I'm just venting. This was a bad weekend, and I'm glad to put it behind me. Maya went to bed saying "Sonya is crazy" over and over again. They also picked up "Oh My God". Those two can serve as a soundbite of the day. 

I feel a sense of calm now. It's over, the girls are in bed (after thousand hugs, kisses and some hand holding), I'm off to read a book and lose myself in the scream- and milk-free world of Harry Potter. And to bad evil horrible really bad weekend I say "Avada Kedavra!"