LA Culture, Family-Friendly

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Too much thinking.

It’s been quite a hectic week here in my skull. How are all you lovely people out there? Good? Great!

I’ve been trying to plan a local-area relocation, which in our case is far more complicated than it should ever be for anyone, even HITLER. R. and I always have a bit of an adventure, as between us we have a mindboggling lists of Must-Haves and Must-Not-Haves for a new apartment, everything from a big kitchen to no wool carpet to being at least a mile from the freeway (note to out-of-towners: we have A LOT of freeways) to having a guarantee that there have never been pets in the unit (allergies) to being in an urban neighborhood where you can walk to stuff… and can that all be within our budget, please?

Because W. is 4, we have to add to the mix: Is there a decent preschool we can afford that has an immediate opening, and is the school district decent because oh my lord I don’t want to move again in a year?

I looked up the symptoms of fibromyalgia recently, and one that made me laugh (chronic pain gives you a weird sense of humor) was “inability to multitask.” Funny because: yes, exactly, but it never occurred to me that was a symptom of anything. I should be specific here: under normal circumstances, I am a genius multitasker, the person who can be given 20 tasks and 20 deadlines and keep your company together by also remembering all the stuff you forgot that wasn’t even my job. So inability to multitask, for me, might mean I’m working at a normal-people level (I’m not really sure, I haven’t done a focus group on it or anything). My point – there is one, and related to the paragraphs before even! – is that this process is apparently one higher than the number of tasks I can handle. Because if you’ve ever watched an engine struggle to spark and then die? I have that exact feeling in my head.

So hey, it’s a good thing I have some things to do this weekend! Saturday night, my friend Michele and I are going to the Greg Proops Chat Show at Largo. This monthly live talk show is pretty much my favorite thing happening in Los Angeles, and yes, I say that with the full awareness that 50 amazing things are happening within the city limits at any given time. There’s comedy, music, and of course, chat; the guests that have been announced so far for Saturday are Margaret Cho and Andy Richter. I know, pretty cool, huh?

For years now, I have had a secret dream: to leave and return to Largo within 12 hours. That weirdly specific fantasy will become reality on Sunday, for the venue is presenting its first children’s concert at 11am, and lucky for me I have a child. The groundbreaking artist in question will be Justin Roberts, who my kid likes, which puts him on a list of maybe 4-5 children’s recording artists, because my boy, he likes the big people’s music (so far, anyway). Those people usually play past his bedtime. Or are dead. Anyway, I’m not hugely familiar with Mr. Roberts’ oeuvre, but I have liked what I’ve heard, and kids’ music tends to separate into good and evil pretty quickly.

I’m hoping this leads to more family shows; until now, McCabe’s has been the best bet in town, but I think – while I don’t want to endorse a series that doesn’t technically exist yet – Largo would be better. For one thing, although I’m quite certain nobody has ever gone to Largo purely out of a desire to sit in their comfy, comfy chairs, they’re still a few steps up from McCabe’s folding jobbies; I am old and broken-down and this matters to me. But not as much as this: McCabe’s books some seriously great people, but if you see a kids’ show with an artist you’ve never heard of, you can’t really go confident that they’ll be great too. I learned this lesson up close, and quite frankly I still don’t want to talk about it. I really, really, really don’t think a Largo series would be like that. So bring your kids if you’ve got ‘em, because this could be the start of something really cool.

Wouldn’t it be great if the next time I posted I’d found an apartment and moved and gotten the kid in school stuff ? Like, in 3 days? Yeah, I don’t think it’ll happen either. Wish me luck!

And so it’s about… his art?

We had another hitting incident at the Remo drum circle yesterday. This one mystified me, as usually W’s victims have at least looked at him funny. This kid was just standing there when W. hit him in the arm with his drumstick.

“Why did you hit that kid, anyway?” I asked him (after reading him the riot act).

“I was using dat widdle boy as a cwash cymbal.”

Oh. Great.

I mean, it’s not like we haven’t had to give the people-are-not-drums talk a few times, but never before for such a specific reason.

Sorry it’s been quiet ’round here… we’ve had company in our wee little room and that doesn’t leave much time or space for writing. Quick update: Everyone’s reasonably healthy, I’ve got a bunch of potential employment situations in the works, and… well, that’s about it in a nutshell. Fascinating minutiae to come.

Being nice.

W. has problems with impulse control sometimes. He’ll be fine for months and then blam, people (mostly me) start gettin’ hit. I’m about 80% sure this coincides with physical growth spurts – not that it’s an excuse, but I think it’s the reason.

And so, along with the negative consequences (which are completely ineffective when used alone with my particular kid), we reintroduce the concept of the Super Reward – 24 hours of no hitting, no hurting and no being mean and he gets to pick out a medium-sized toy. That’s how we transition out of these phases. It goes a lot more quickly this way.

This afternoon, he said he was ready to try for one. For the next two hours, he sat in his play area playing quietly, except that every five minutes or so, he’d sing out, “So far, so gooo-ood! I am just putting balls in dis truck and dere is no being mean at all.

And you know it’s so important not to laugh. And you don’t laugh. And you wonder if you will rupture an internal organ, with the not laughing.

And that’s pretty much how life goes, until suddenly he’s two inches taller and much more pleasant.


If you’re in the northern part of the Los Angeles area and looking for something to do tomorrow, the Multicultural Festival at Moorpark College is free and might be interesting. W.’s favorite band (we like them too!), Masanga Marimba Ensemble, is playing in the late AM, and there’s lots of other musical contents that looks interesting, along with things such as lectures on bird flu that we will probably not attend.

Masanga has a few other free shows coming up, as well. They’re well worth checking out.

Ralph’s World SoCal dates

Hey! Looks like the Ralph’s World tour is coming back to the House of Blueses West Hollywood and Anaheim on their (his?) Rice Krispies/HoB-sponsored tour. (I’ve gotta think that’s a sponsorship pairing that doesn’t come up too much, but we went to both shows on the first leg and I can guarantee you you will in fact see Snap, Crackle, and Pop right there on the stage.)

What is Ralph’s World, you ask, those of you who don’t watch Playhouse Disney or have any musician friends in the greater Chicago area?

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