About rockmommyct

I am a mother, writer, rock and roll musician, and guitar teacher.

Week One, Son Two

As I start to type this, little Logan Alexander is in my arms. I’ve long since mastered the art of nursing and using the Internet (and holding baby and typing). I’m exhausted and waiting for a roofing contractor to wipe a buttload of snow off our roof, and he’s 20 minutes late.

I’m not gonna lie: Caring for a newborn baby is much easier this time, but the experience of being home has been much harder.

As most of you who read this know, I started Rockmommy shortly after I gave birth to my first son, Nathan Mariano, in July 2012. I was just learning the ropes of mommyhood and how to balance being a mom with being Marisa, the rocker/writer/exercise lover.

When Nathan came home, my husband was so sweet and considerate; everyone I knew was oh, so helpful, and when hubs went to work at 7, Nathan and I slept peacefully till 10 or so, when we’d start our day (which, since it was summertime, consisted of a nice walk, nursing, and various errands). This time, I returned home on Sunday to a clingy but cute toddler who couldn’t deal with me nursing our infant, a husband who seemed to find fault with everything from how I spoke to child #1 to how I handled dinner (and since I’m hormonal, I’m extra sensitive). That, and a ground full of snow. So much for nice walks. And so much for the love fest!

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me and baby Logan on his birthday

Yet, I must be grateful for the plusses: I know what I’m doing. I don’t think nursing and not sleeping is the hardest thing in the world (which is what all new moms, myself included, think). I have a lovely, spacious-but-not-too-big house (albeit with a leaky roof, but a house, nonetheless). I have this blog and a wonderful career as a writer and a guitar teacher. Most importantly, I have two little dudes and  one big dude who love me. It’s going to be life in a frathouse for the next 18 years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Some initial things I’m noticing about little Logan:

1.) He’s VERY alert. Loves to look from side to side when I nurse him.

2.) He does the grunting/headbutting thing when he’s hungry (and he is just as hungry as Nathan was, every hour, so perhaps my milk isn’t creamy enough).

3.) He seems to be okay with being fully swaddled. Last night he got up every two hours (as opposed to every hour). And my husband didn’t have to promise to buy him a BMW to get him to go back to sleep.

Life is full of so many unexpected things. I certainly didn’t expect to get pregnant twice or have TWO boys (I figured I’d have a daughter). I didn’t expect to marry the person I did, or to spend my parenting years in Connecticut (which, so far, is how I’m spending them).

Today, I’m so thankful for all I’ve been given.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Complex Sadness of Loving, and Losing, an Addict

I never saw “Capote,” “Magnolia,” or “The Big Lebowski.” But watching Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Boogie Nights” — one of my all-time favorite movies — was enough to make me a fan. It doesn’t take a film critic to know that every movie he ever acted in was brilliant.

So much has been written and posted on Hoffman’s tragic death, and about heroin addiction. And I agree with a lot of it.

For me, Hoffman’s death feels particularly painful because it reminds me of Bruce, the junkie I once called my boyfriend.

I’ve always been more than a little attracted to bad boys. And in my teens and 20s, I needed mine with more than just a faint hint of danger. They were my escape.

Bruce was no exception. I was 25 when we met. One look at his tattoos and a conversation about guitars during his cigarette break and I knew I wanted more. He turned out to be a total romantic, the kind of guy who showed up with roses before a dinner, who wanted to go to all the rock shows I wanted to go to.  

Little did I know that his dating me would contribute to his heroin relapse.

I could go on and on about the time he overdosed and missed seeing me perform, or the month-long rehab stint at NIH (I’m from DC), when I brought him pumpkin pie and we made snow angels on the lawn. Instead, I’ll fast forward to February 13, 2002, one day before Valentine’s Day. Bruce had supposedly been sober for almost three months, though unable to find a job. We had tentative plans to go to dinner somewhere. Hours after I dropped him off at his group house, I left my office with plans to hang out with friends. But as soon as I hit the parking lot, I discovered my car was gone.

Long story short, Bruce stole my car to cop dope in Baltimore. It took cops three weeks to find and catch up with him — after my car had been repossessed he stole another — and I only visited him in jail once to break up with him.

But the damage was done. When I found my car, I also found the belt he’d used to squeeze his arm and pop a vein out, and the maroon bookbag stuffed with orange-tipped syringes. In my trunk, his eyeglasses case was stuffed with three more syringes and brown-speckled baggies of junk. While I shudder now at the memory, at the time I found myself consumed with morbid fascination over the contents of his eyeglasses case.

Which brings me back to Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was found with a syringe stuck in his arm, and something like 50 empty bags of what is believed to have been heroin.

Most people mourn the loss of a brilliant actor. I mourn the loss of a father. I can’t imagine being seven, or even ten, and losing my father in that way. And even as I vacillate between feeling anger toward his “selfish” behavior — as a mom I cannot imagine how anyone could use heroin when they have children — and compassion for him as an addict, I can’t help but reflect on the tragedy of all of it.

Most everyone I know who is an alcoholic or a junkie is misjudged. Bruce wasn’t a super-talented actor, but he was a tremendously talented guitarist, and a truly kind, charismatic person. He was funny as hell, possessing a raw intelligence that begged to be tapped. He was an amazing sous chef who taught me how to roll sushi. He inspired me to write so much music.

Bruce died nearly ten years ago. We weren’t together at the time, but his passing made me so sad. Like Hoffman’s death, Bruce’s death was such a waste.

I’m not sure what the answer is for junkies like Bruce or Philip Seymour Hoffman. I have seen addicts with five, ten, 15 years of sobriety go out. Addiction never truly leaves your psyche; if you’re lucky you just learn how to manage it. And it doesn’t take much to lose everything you’ve worked for. From what media reports are claiming, an encounter with prescription meds was all it took for Hoffman to sink into a full-blown relapse.

Unfortunately, most addicts who die won’t get obituaries on the front page of The New York Times. But hopefully the death of someone with so much clean time will inspire those who are getting help to keep fighting for their sobriety. 

On P!nk Envy and Finding Time to Work Out

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Image P!nk’s 2014 Grammy performance.

Did you watch the Grammy awards the other night? Unsurprisingly, I fell asleep after Paul McCartney (so bummed I missed the Macklemore marriage performance/ceremony) but from what I heard, I didn’t miss much else that was worth watching.

 In a nutshell, pop-rocker P!nk blew everyone away with her circus acrobatics and suspension escapades. Pretty much set the bar at a new high for pop musicians. In comparison, Katy Perry’s performance was pretty ordinary. 

 Instead of being totally inspired by P!nk, though, I have to admit I was a bit envious. I’m a mom, she’s a mom. And yes — it’s her job (and not my job) to perform. But when I read interviews where the reporter’s all “P!nk, you’re balancing music and motherhood — how do you do it?!” I have to roll my eyes. No real mom — one who has a job, or is a fulltime mother and therefore has to care for at least one child while keeping up with bills and chores — could ever have the time or finances to reach the level of P!nkness that P!nk has achieved since birthing her daughter Willow.  

 I’m not blasting it out on social media sites, but I’m pregnant. Really, really pregnant. Gonna-pop-out-that-baby-in-two-weeks pregnant. So time to exercise is scarce. Not only am I pregnant, but I am a mom of a little toddler. And in recent weeks, I’ve “scaled back” to just being a mom with one job (freelance writing and guitar teaching is on hold because I can hardly move!). Still, I barely have enough time to work out 4-5 times a week. I use the term “work out” loosely. Sometimes it’s a 40-minute Skype session with my trainer or an hour-long Pilates class; other times it’s 15 minutes on the treadmill in my jeans because there isn’t enough time to change AND get 15 minutes in before I have to pick up my son from daycare.  

 I wish magazines like People and Us Weekly featured the occasional “real” woman, post-pregnancy. The one who has little to no help in raising her kids, stresses over money, and can’t afford a personal trainer. 

I worked my butt off to lose the baby weight for #1, therefore I feel my results were more inspiring than P!nk’s or Gwen Stefani’s or any other celeb’s results. Still, I’ll never get to try circus acrobatics because they require so much time. I doubt I’ll get to run another marathon before 40 (thank God for jogging strollers!). Perhaps I will get to do another 10K, maybe even a half marathon. One can only hope. 

 

10 Things I’m Grateful I Did Before I Settled Down

Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. Mine was, as it always is, chaotic. 

I had, as expected, zero time to do anything moms of the 1980s seemed to have time to do (ahem, shopping!). So I purchased most all of my presents online. I made it to Crate & Barrel just once to get a few little do dads, but that was about it. 

A lot of good things happened, though: 1.) I got to spend a ton of time with my mom, dad, brother, and his baby girl. 2.) My husband and son were super sweet. 3.) I was reminded how lucky I am to have such cool inlaws. 

Yet, as time is of the essence, I can’t help but think about all of the things I would never have time to do now — from traveling to other countries to playing weekly shows with a band. And to anyone in their 20s and early 30s who wants to marry and breed, these are things that have contributed, ultimately, to my satisfaction. I don’t feel like I didn’t missed out on much. 

 And now, the top ten things I am grateful I did before I “settled down”: 

  1. Traveled to London in 2001, on a whim, to see my friend Jason. And I hit up Amsterdam on the same trip (what happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam). 
  2. Enjoyed a trip to Paris with my whole family, and to Scotland, with my parents. 
  3. Toured the East Coast (twice!) for two weeks — once solo and once with my band. Speaking of bands, I had about six of them. Grandma’s Mini, which I formed in 1999 with Ann Brandstadter, was my first one! 
  4. Dated a lot of interesting, and not so interesting, dudes. Made for good writing inspiration (“Eggs” and “S&G” are two of my best tunes). 
  5. Lived in four culturally rich, interesting, and diverse cities — Washington, D.C., New Orleans, La., Chicago, Ill., and Brooklyn, N.Y. Perhaps that’s why, on some days, Fairfield, Conn., seems so suburban. 
  6. Enjoyed dozens of media/magazine/rockstar parties as a super-connected, music-arts writer living in New York. I can’t believe I actually felt “old” at 29!
  7. Wrote for dozens of major media outlets while living the freelance lifestyle in Brooklyn. As in Brooklyn, N.Y., where everyone cool lives or aspires to live. 
  8. Attended graduate school at Northwestern University and was only one of 20 students accepted to the magazine journalism program. Ah, magazines … 
  9. Accidentally discovered a second career I am passionate about — guitar teaching — through chance encounters and volunteer work.  
  10. In 2006, after a soccer match on the west side, swung by Dorothea’s super-fun birthday party. There, I happened to meet the man who would ultimately become my husband. It took two years for me to see he had all the qualities I ever really needed in a man, but I’m so glad I saw the light eventually. 

Ok, so, I never got to study abroad or backpack across Europe. I’ve yet to record and produce an amazing, full-length album, though I do have a sub-par album and a smattering of perfectly recorded singles. I am only 60 percent through my novel, and I cannot imagine when there will be enough time to finish it (see previous entry). There’s still some stuff left to do. But today I have a dream for a son, incredible guitar students, and an amazing writing career (though I’m less than perfectly prolific when it comes to my personal stuff, or so it seems). I also own an adorable little house with said husband. 

Life is, ultimately, about experiencing amazing things. What have you done? And what are you holding back from doing? 

 

Another baby is coming!

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Nathan and mommy, Thanksgiving 2013

Yes, there it is. I said it. Not on Facebook or on Twitter. But here, on my beloved Rockmommy blog I don’t spend enough time with — I am 30 weeks pregnant with a girl or a boy. A baby. They said I couldn’t even have one. Boy, were they wrong! 

While I’m excited — after all, I did want two kids … eventually! — I am scared as shit. I had my life all perfect: Writing, teaching guitar, enjoying being a hot, MILF-y mom. Going to shows. Traveling. Spending time with my little dude. And then it happened, again. 

Zack’s first Father’s Day. 

We enjoyed a nice lunch at Flipside, our favorite burger joint in Fairfield, just the three of us. And I noticed at the playground an hour later that I was feeling unusually nauseated after my “normal” burger salad lunch. So I asked Zack to watch dude so I could “go to the bathroom.” That’s when I took the test. Seconds later, it’s “honey, I’m pregnant again.” 

The rest of the day was a hazy shock. Not one of relaxation, which hubs undoubtedly had hoped for. 

And now here we are. After whittling down to a Size 2 (yes, I am still guilty of vanity, that hasn’t changed), I am now as big as a house again, uncomfortable and getting up a zillion times to pee. 

This time, it is so much harder! 

Little dude wants to be held and carried and loved — how is he going to react when I have to share my love with another? I plan to go back to teaching guitar in late March — will my amazing mother in law need me to hire an assistant? How am I going to handle four loads of laundry a week, twice as many bottles/sippy cups, and less money to spend on myself for the little things that make me happy? 

I’m grateful, indeed. But still freaking out. 

First Post-Nathan Gigs: Nov. 8 & 9!!

Hey all! Just wanted to update everyone that I’m playing two amazing gigs with three other female frontwomen/instrumentalists — plus my drummer friend Jon, bassists Michelle and Morgan, and lead guitarist Nora (coming home from college to play!).Marisa Mini

We’re playing under the moniker “Marisa Mini & The Underage Hotties” although, currently, only one of us is underage (that would be little Nora). And said underage hottie could probably school me, guitar wise. She’s a music school freshman. Nothing to laugh at about that. She also did a kickass job playing ukulele at my baby son’s first birthday Luau.

Here is all the information you need:

Singer-instrumentalists Gail Silverman, Rew Starr, Michele the Vamp (of Loki the Grump), and Marisa Mini – best known for their ferocious, funny, empowering and sometimes downright raunchy sets – return to their New York roots for a mid-Fall, two-night Girls Rock & Girls Rule showcase!

11/08/13

Branded Saloon

603 Vanderbilt Ave (between Prospect Pl & St Marks Ave)

Brooklyn, NY 11238

www.brandedsaloon.com

8 p.m. – 1 a.m.

 

11/09/13

Two Boots

281 Fairfield Avenue

Bridgeport, CT 06604

Twobootsbridgeport.com

 

About the Music:

 

(A)llerdings!

From the rubble of NYC’s Loki the Grump and Berlin’s Cathode Ray Mission comes (A)llerdings!  a gruesome threesome to attack your senses with crazy noisy, yet somehow fun, music.

 

Gail Silverman akaG.w/ Donald “Duck” Dixon

Former front woman for NYC band G-spot, G’s recent solo efforts showcase her vocals as well as a “somewhat” softer more spiritual side.  Nonetheless G. still delivers her own unique fierce and quirky style; sometimes introspective, often tongue-in-cheek , always taking the listener on a thought provoking  journey, filled with surprises!

 

Marisa Mini

Marisa Mini is a guitarist and singer hailing from Washington, D.C., whose lyrical and performance style reminds one of Liz Phair, with the humor and bluntness of Peaches. She plays standard rock and roll with punk/grunge undertones — and an increasing touch of blues and pop. Whether acoustic or electric, she lives by the motto “less talk and more rock.”

 

Rew Starr

Rew, often called the female *Velvet Underground* sounds like the luv child of Patti Smith & Ronnie Spector (or Courtney Love singing w/ Dylan lyrics). Rew Starr, who is known for quirky two-hour Internet “ReW & WhO?”show, has been compared to a glam-rock Vargas pin-up and is always full of fun and surprises.