Punky Mama

1 Comment

I Spent Nine Hours in a Recording Studio With Two Kids and I Kept My Sanity.

Ryan in his little corner of the studio.....

Ryan in his little corner of the studio…..

I knew it was coming for a while.  Thorazine were headed into the studio.  We are recording a few of our new songs and one song is coming out on Punk Aid 4: For Autism in the fall.  When both parents are in the same band the kids have to come along. It’s that or a sitter and a sitter would add on over $100 on the studio costs for us and because we are two people we pay for half of the band expenses.  Suffice to say sitters are avoided whenever possible.

I started prepping the kids weeks before our time in the studio. Our rehearsal space is a studio, so we recorded there knowing the kids would be comfortable. I told them that recording was a long boring part of being in a band, but totally necessary. I implored that without their support it would be impossible for us to record. Of course we had a plan in place.  My husband and the rest of the band got to the studio before I did and they got set up and miked.  When we were about 30 minutes from needing me to record the scratch track I left home.  I was armed with a ton of stuff,  their computers, headsets, and tons of food and snacks.

Once we got the kids settled in we never saw them.  They spent a ton of time eating, playing way too many computer games, and sometimes playing together. There were people coming and going for the Guitars not Guns Program but the kids took it in stride. After we were on hour four it was time for guitar over dubs so I took the kids to the park where they got to swing and jump over the benches for about an hour.  Eventually we walked

Aaron rocking out from his spot in the studio kitchen!

Aaron rocking out from his spot in the studio kitchen!

back and they settled in again and the vocal recording started.

I could see Ryan was getting bored and done with what he brought with him so he hung out with me. After I did a couple of takes he asked to be in

the room with me.  I told him ONLY if he could be silent. I got the best take with Ryan standing next to me bopping up and down to the music mouthing the words at me. After that take I got the biggest hug and the pride in his eyes was something I will never forget.  The rest of the session he accompanied me in the booth. It made it so magical for me.  To have him not just be at the studio, but be in the room as I recorded my part of the song brought the band and my role as a parent together in a way that I will never forget. In the control room was Hoover and Elliott. Elliott is very understated about feedback on anything in life and he said, I really like the growl singing. I had Hoover rooting for me like a wild man and Ryan bopping and dancing by my side. It helped me get the job done. After the nine full hours in

Our park break was essential!

Our park break was essential!

the studio were over, we went to dinner because heck I am not cooking after a day like that. We sat together as a family and it felt good and right.

I always thought being in a band would feel so selfish and take time from my family.  I thought it was an endeavor for a younger person.  I was never so wrong.  The kids are so completely supportive and this has become part of our normal life.  The band makes sure that the kids don’t miss important events like swim meets and birthday parties because we all care about each other, the kids included. Thorazine used to be four members but now it has grown to six.

1 Comment

Step Away From The Ebay

My mother in law passed away in the fall.  It’s been a crazy time of clearing her house and donating her things. Some of her things they wanted to sell and I was asked to sell them on Ebay. At Christmas time I sold about $300 worth of old puzzles and toys.  It was great to have the extra money at Christmas and it was fairly easy.

This time my house is buried in boxes and I after 131 auctions posted I am not even close to  halfway finished. It is sucking me in and often I am at the post office with ten to twenty packages and waiting on those who win but wait for freaking ever to pay.  It is taking me from doing things I need to do like work on our west coast tour and blogging. This week I had enough and I let the auctions I had end.  It’s overwhelming and I need a few days off from worrying if I shipped something on time and if there is a post office on my way to something else. It gets especially hectic when I am trying to work night shifts and do packing, answering questions, posting, and post office runs. So I made the executive decision that things are not going to be posted again till the weekend. i need to be normal for a while, the boxes will be there where I left them till the weekend. Till then I am going to think about rock and roll tour for a while.

Leave a comment

PSSA Opt Out Check In

It’s PSSA time again and of course I oped the boys out of the testing. In the three years since I started opting my kids out of the testing the money and time spent on the test, it’s prep, and scoring has increased, not decreased. This takes even more money from the backs of struggling public schools and the wheel of dysfunction goes around and around with no solution in sight.  The anxiety Ryan experiences about the test is still there. Nothing has changed on our end.

This would be Aaron’s first year of testing, but he is not taking the test. He was sick today with an earache and he is recovering from a scratched cornea.  Don’t ask.  The pediatrician’s partner was shocked to know I opted my kids out of the testing. She exclaimed how do you know how they are doing in school?  I assured her that school has plenty of measures of how a kid is doing and the PSSA’s are not really a way to measure learning, but her face told me she did not agree.

Our school was great and helped the kids who opted out and the younger kids complete a cyber day with some of the learning coaches at school, while everyone else tested. Tomorrow we are going to sleep in, complete the boys cyber school day at home, and meet another family from our school who opted out at the science museum. We can take our kids who are easily overwhelmed in a crowd to the museum because it will be quiet since all the other kids are not going on field trips as they test. There will be little discussion of testing just learning and living.

Leave a comment

Is Anybody Home??

I could apologize for the absence but I’m not sorry. For me writing songs and blogging sometimes clash in my brain making it hard to do both at the same time. Imagine patting your head and rubbing your tummy. Yeah that is what blogging and songwriting are for me.

It’s been hectic but fulfilling lately. I traveled to the state capitol and I shared about my passion for the version of Cyber School my kids attend. I had appointments to speak to state representatives about our school and the good it is doing with the students it serves. It was an emotional but fascinating day. I was able to convey the ideas of a non profit cyber charter using not for profit curriculum’s to bring the kids who public school does not work for, a whole person education. My story was well received.

I could tell you that Thorazine is more active than I ever thought it would be again. We have a few shows out of town; a couple upcoming interviews, we are planning a West Coast tour for the summer, and are going into the studio to record for inclusion on a punk compilation and for releasing on the Internet.   It’s wonderfully overwhelming and I often think to pinch myself because this is the life I love. I adore Elliott and the kids. I would do anything for my family. At the same time I really have always loved making music. I actually got to write a song about the darkest days of special needs parenting which has been incredibly freeing.

Thorazine’s next interview is this Tuesday March 10th at 9PM with the Ed Show Fanzine out of Tampa Florida. The whole band is going to attend via google hangout. I am going to have to cut the meeting of the summer swim team board short to be home in time. Elliott is going to get the kids to bed after swim team so we can both be on the interview. This is representative of what our life is like lately.

It’s amazing


The Belle Of Brooklyn!

Thorazine were invited to come to New York City to play which both delighted and terrified me all at the same time. New York is full of young pretty people. What do they want with a punk band full of folks pushing 50?  It was a great idea for a show, a benefit for an outdoor free concert in the summer, and all ages in the afternoon.  We could bring the kids which is always a plus.

For two weeks I was dreaming about all the millions of ways this show could be a bust. Every morning I woke up with a new horrific way this show could fail. It was making my waking hours miserable. It was our first real out of town show since reuniting, besides Wilmington, DE which is really only thirty five minutes from Philly.

Packing up yesterday was rough.  Elliott, who our bass player has renamed Captain Seven Amps for his multiple on stage amps, was a wreck.  His crippling stage fright is back after all the years of not playing.  He gets VERY cranky before a show. That does not bode well for a family ride to New York.  He quit the band at least twice and was calling a sitter for the kids and got as far as dialing the phone. We got all seven amps in the SUV, and the kids, and Aaron’s food headed out on the road. We stopped once, got the kids a snack, and went to the bathroom.  Captain Seven Amps was still wound so tight.  The kids breathing was under his skin. Then we got lost in Brooklyn.  The club was on Grand STREET but I had typed GRAND AVENUE into my GPS so we arrived on time to the wrong address in Brooklyn.  We then got back on track.  The kids were amazing being super quiet as we tried to navigate Brooklyn.  We arrived at the club and I got the best parking spot a girl could get out front of the club.  Dallas was all JO HOW DID YOU GET THAT SPACE!! Poor dude had to park four blocks away.

After we loaded in Captain Seven Amps went off to pace, Hoover took the kids, and bought me a beer.  It was kinda exactly what I needed. We took some deep breaths and the show started.  All the bands were really good.  The crowd was small to start but the placed really filled up as the afternoon wore on.  The kids LOVED the bands. They were up front with Hoover and Elliott the whole time, of course they wore ear plugs.  Then the place REALLY filled up.  I mean a ton of people.  Our old bass player F’ed was there, a friend from my bar also made the trip, and four friends from ELEMENTARY school, another old friend from the warehouse dwelling years, and a ton of people I never met before. When we played our set a pit broke out and I was grateful that F’ed got Ryan behind him and stayed at the edge of the melee.  We played FAST AND FURIOUS.  It was so fun and the crowd roared after every song. Dallas and I exchanged looks with each other with our eyes that conveyed WHAT THE HECK IS THIS RESPONSE . I was so blown away at the response of a crowd in New York which are known for being jaded. Looking out and seeing the faces of women I played with on the playground, seeing my kids eyes wide and dancing, and the roar of the crowd of a full venue was so intense.

After the show we sold our merchandise as bands do.  The kids were so EXCITED to help!! Merch is Aaron’s thing. He loves the inventory and making change. We talked to the people buying merch. A group of guys came up and excitedly said we were into Thorazine as teenagers and we never got to see you live. We came to the show this afternoon hoping it was you and that this was not a lame reunion band with one original member.  With wide eyes the guy exclaimed you guys are almost ALL original members!!!  It was so exciting to see you and we had a great time and can’t wait to see you again. Then I faced four women I have not seen in years. These women remember the first time I sang onstage with the school play in where a nine year old me got to sing Beauty School Dropout in our Catholic School sanitized version of Grease.  I remember that moment in my life sharply and after that experience I wanted to be in a band, but not till many years later did it become a reality. It was such a full circle life moment to have them at the show smiling and screaming in between songs.

At the end of the show we were packing up the cars and still selling merchandise in the street in front of the club, then headed for dinner with the band and my old Catholic elementary school friends. The kids were hungry but they were great in the restaurant. Hoover was showing Ryan how to use European utensil etiquette style which touched me because it is something I never thought to tell him about. We picked an Italian restaurant knowing that we may find food safe for Aaron to consume, which we did, but supplemented with food we brought with us.   I got to visit with women who I vividly remember as kids. They missed Thorazine the first time because keeping in touch with people was so much harder before the internet and social media.  We talked and talked which made me laugh because when you have friends you have not seen in that long things can become awkward but it was the opposite. One of my old friends laughed at one point and said, this is going to be a blog post.

As we got on the highway back to Philly Ryan piped up.  Mom, Dad, I have been to every rehearsal but I had no clue how exciting a show would be.  You guys are real ROCK STARS and the people were screaming, bumping into each other, and stuff!!  I could not stop dancing through your set.  When people started bumping into each other it was so exciting but I was really glad F’ed was there to block me from them but I could see everything.  Aaron said yeah I could not stop watching you guys. Then Ryan exclaimed that he was a lucky kid to have parents in a band and he could not wait till the next road trip. I replied well we were invited to play in Rochester NY next, his eyes lighted up and he said oh, I am ready!!   Then he said I love being able to support you guys like you support me by coming to swim meets.  I said well Ryan that is what a family is supposed to be about.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,463 other followers