Tag Archives: Christmas

Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale Makes Me Wanna ROCK

When rockers reach a certain age, one of the following things usually happens. They either dreamed of burning out, but they fade away; they try to continue performing the way they always have before, blissfully unaware that they look like the Crypt Keeper, and have mostly lost their voices, strutting about like roosters, making final millions off their glory days; they appear to have made deals with the devil, continue to perform as they always have, looking and sounding BETTER than in their glory days, when in reality, they should be melting in a corner somewhere from all the toxic substances they and their friends imbibed, making mere mortals yearn for a hot gray streak and some tight pants; OR, they reinvent themselves. Who would have thought that Hot Legs, Maggie May singing Rod Stewart would have decided at some point to put on a tux, or a velvety smoking jacket and turn that bluesy voice to the standards? And succeed? What’s that you say? Nobody? I agree, but honestly, his voice lends itself to those sexy old songs, so when you think about it, it’s not much of a stretch. You want to know who IS a surprise? Everybody’s old Twisted friend Dee Snider, HE has blown me away. Mr. We’re Not Gonna Take it, has wiped off the makeup, lost the belly shirts, brushed his hair and written a Christmas musical, and it ROCKS!

Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale is previewing in Chicago. I had reason to be up there for a few days with the family, and we wanted to see some theatre. We are BIG fans of musicals, and the Million Dollar Quartet was playing, I kind of wanted to see it, but my husband had other ideas. He had been looking at what was playing and he told me he wanted to go see the Christmas Tale. Now I experienced my teen years during the 80’s, so I am no stranger, and you might say, I’m a pretty big fan of hair bands and heavy metal, but I will admit I had a moment of trepidation. I thought about it though, and remembered that I regularly drag the Mr. to the ballet, and we are going to see Cinderella in January, so I said ok. He excitedly got online and in about four minutes had purchased tickets for our family, which includes an eighteen year-old daughter and a thirteen year-old son.

I’m not gonna lie. I spent the afternoon certain we had just blown our money, but I was SOOOOO wrong. We got to the theatre, and were greeted with classic Christmas music, a set that looked like a backstage area, with a cozy, Christmas-y living room set up, complete with tree, in the corner. We were given little red or green flash lights when we entered, which my husband and I immediately recognized as a substitute for that rock concert staple, the lighter. Suddenly, Dee Snider’s voice boomed out of nowhere (kind of like the rock god that he is) telling us that we paid to see a ROCK & ROLL Christmas show, not some boring old stuffy show, and what the heck was with the boring, slow music, which then changed to some more appropriate rock Christmas music. Mr. Snider came out on stage in rock and roll leather (toned down a little, but right about where it should’ve been), took his seat in the leather chair in the cozy corner, and began his role as narrator.

The description I’m going to give you here is going to be frustratingly limited. If I tell too much, it will ruin the COMPLETELY unexpected surprise at the end. The gist of the story is as follows. We have a frustrated heavy metal band trying to make it. They started out ten or fifteen years too late, and have been trying to get their hair band to a level of success seemingly impossible for such a group today. They try everything they can think of, including some pretty shady dealings with a certain unsavory character, who apparently bestows good health, attractive gray streaks, and good skin to rockers who should be dead, but they continue to struggle. The lead singer, D.D., played by Adam Michaels, is one of the prettiest men since Bret Michaels in his heyday. He does a fantastic job in his pink spandex and beautifully applied make up. My daughter was speechless, because she’d never seen a pretty man before, and my thirteen year old son was speechless with horror because he’d never seen a pretty man before. The rest of the band (except the drummer, who was a very funny bright spot) physically remind me of rockers from the 80’s, but I’ll let you decide who you think they look like, because that’s half the fun.

I really can’t say more than that about the actual plot, because it would be shameful of me to ruin the ending for you. What I WILL tell you, is that Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale, is one of the best times I’ve ever had at the theatre. It was funny, it had a great message, there were some good-natured jabs at some other older rockers, and some current pop culture references that my kids got. There were old Twisted Sister songs, Christmas songs, and a few new ones, written just for the show. I will also tell you, that at the very end, when everybody including Dee comes out on stage together to rock the audience out of the theatre, the happy vibes are palpable. You know how you always hear about how performers feed off the energy of the audience? Well, Mr. Snider was so joyous, and excited, and seriously, just plain happy, that the happy vibes came off of him in almost visible waves, and everyone in that fairly small theatre could feel them. His face lit up like a little kid, and we all felt so energized and great and happy when we left, that I’m having a hard time putting the degree to which we felt wonderful into words. We saw the show two nights ago, and as we drove back to Cincinnati from Chicago today, my family was talking about how we all still felt so great because of it.

Since the show is previewing in Chicago, getting it’s sea legs as it were, I’m not sure if it will end up in New York, but I really hope it does. The world needs more of this kind of entertainment. There was nothing negative, nothing nasty or mean; it proves that any kind of topic can be tackled without nudity, cursing, hateful actions, or fear. It really is a great show for the whole family. If Dee Snider sees this (and chances are he might, because I’m going to email him a link to it) hear me loud and clear; if the show goes to Broadway, don’t let them ruin it, and WRITE MORE PLAYS, MUSICALS, ETC. You’ve got a great thing going here. Use that giant brain that you obviously have to spread more of the kind of happiness you have created with this show. The world needs more joy. Good job sir. We like you, and we like your show. Merry Christmas 🙂

The show is playing through December at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place in Chicago, Illinois. Go see it.

The Joys of Christmas Break

Well, it’s been a year since I last posted on my blog. In that intervening time, my mother lost her battle with dementia, I found out that the depression she suffered from for as long as I knew her was actually much, much more and I am finally starting to recover from the eight years of handling everything.

In the interests of my recovery from the severe stress I was under, I’ve started doing yoga, and I’m taking time off from substitute teaching. I just don’t think I can handle too many needy people right now and if you know anything about school kids, they can be pretty needy.

Even though I am not teaching right now, doesn’t mean that I don’t need and love Christmas break. Or winter break. Or holiday break, or whatever you want to call it. We call it Christmas break and it works for us. Unfortunately, we don’t get a full two weeks, but the week and a half that we ARE getting is beautiful. I’ve been sleeping about twelve hours a night, I’ve seen three movies so far, and I got another pile of books to add to my to-be-read stack that I am convinced will someday fall over on me and crush me to death.

I am becoming even more live and let live than I was before and I am beginning to feel my muscles relax. I am keeping tabs on the events of the world because I don’t like to be taken by surprise, but I’m trying really hard to block out a lot of the buzz. I’m binge watching House of Cards on Netflix and catching up on movies like The Conjuring and Dark Shadows. I think I might add a category on here for reviews of books and movies and such, since I think that would be fun for me to do, and maybe fun for you all to read.

Gonna keep it fairly short today since I’m just getting my groove back, so you all have a wonderful, safe New Year and be kind to one another.

I Married The Easter Bunny Part VI

Once Mark left for the Air Force, I was pretty bereft.  I was lonely, I was bored, I was lonely.  During boot camp, he was allowed to call home in a pretty limited fashion.  Most of our communications were in the form of letters.  If I happened to be at work or the store when he DID call, my heart was sick because I never knew when he’d be able to call again.

Once he went to tech school, I was not only bored and lonely, I was insecure.  He was allowed to have a little bit of a social life and social life in tech school consisted of drinking, going to the beach, and bars and drinking some more.  I was sitting at home doing very little.  After my recent experience with cheating, my psyche was a wreck.  If he didn’t call or was late calling or if he wasn’t there when I called him, I was sure he was cheating on me.  He wasn’t, but I was afraid that he was.

Speaking of calling, my social life at the time consisted of talking to him on the phone.  We’d talk for hours.  My Dad worked for the phone company, so our long distance bills were free, but his weren’t.  He was using a huge chunk of his pay to pay for the calls.  I’d help him when I could, but I wasn’t doing much better in the money department.

After about three months of not seeing each other, he finally came home at Christmas.  I think he was home for two weeks and they were an awesome two weeks.  He bought me a little promise ring for Christmas that year.  I knew he bought it because he used my employee discount at the jewelry store were I was now working.  The very one that AH and B had tormented me in.  Anyway, the ring was beautiful.  I was a little heart with a fairly decent sized diamond in it.  I knew it was coming, so he decided to come up with a creative way to give it to me.

He hired a Santa Claus to deliver the ring to my house.  He came over for Christmas Eve dinner and just about the time we got done, someone knocked on the front door.  He started smiling and told me to go answer the door.  I had no idea who it was and felt a little apprehensive as I got up from the table.  I walked to the front door and very clearly could see Santa standing on the front porch.  Instead of opening the door, I turned around and ran back to the dining room.  Mark and my parents saw the look on my face and asked me what was wrong.  When I told them Santa was on the porch, Mark said “Well go answer the door!”  I have a weird shy streak and really didn’t want to open the door, so Mark came with me and we let him in.

Long story short, Santa made me sit on his lap and gave me my ring and a few other smaller gifts before he took his leave to finish his Christmas Eve duties.  When he left HO HO HOing and everything, I thought I was going to die.  But I loved it.  A few seconds after he left, we decided to look out to watch him go, but he was already gone.  The super weird thing that happened that night though was the way he left.  We have no idea where he went.  It was actually a snowy Christmas that year and when we looked out, there were no footprints in the snow.  None coming up the porch stairs pointing at the house for when he had arrived, and none going down the porch stairs pointing away, from where he left.  We actually opened the door all the way and looked to either side thinking maybe he walked to the side of the porch and jumped off into the yard to walk to a car or something, but there were no footprints.  None.  Santa had delivered my promise ring and disappeared without a trace.  I have no explanation other than it was really Santa and he sprinkled us with some kind of magical Santa dust that has protected us to this day and will hopefully continue to protect us for the remainder of our lives.

Next time, the actual engagement and the wedding that almost was.

Another Christmas Past

The Crib of the Nativity at Krohn Conservatory

When I was a little girl, we had a fancy dinner cooked by my Mom on Christmas Eve and another fancy dinner cooked by my Mom on Christmas Day.  It never failed that our dishwasher would break down and ALLLLLL those dishes would have to be hand washed.  By the end of the holiday, sometimes before the end of it, she was pissed off and exhausted.  It was always my Dad’s fault, whether it was or not, although usually it was because for example, on the years that he actually got her a gift, it was ordinarily something fab like a set of pans.  I decided a long time ago that when I grew up, Christmas was going to be different.

My family and I do the standard putting up of the tree the day after Thanksgiving.  I like to have the house decorated completely by the end of that weekend so I don’t have to worry about it and can enjoy the season.  I make lots of cookies over the ensuing weeks, but I like baking.  My shopping is usually done by the second week of December because again, I learned from my elders and I want to enjoy the season.

This year, my daughter was in a Christmas band concert which was fun and my husband was travelling a lot, so we didn’t do as many “Christmas-y” things as we usually do, but it was still nice and relaxing.  My son had his Christmas Cub Scout pack meeting, which included Santa and a cake raffle, which sent us home with a cake.  Again, low-key, but fun.  The week before Christmas, we went to the Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park near Cincinnati, Ohio and looked at the beautiful flowers and plants and Christmas displays and visited the Crib of the Nativity located on the premises.

I have been going to this Crib my whole life.  There are no longer live shepherds standing guard, but there are still sheep and they still wear big bells that clank in that certain way that sounds like Christmas to me.  The inside of the display is beautiful.  It is a typical Nativity scene, but there is a live donkey and a live cow.  It is peaceful, it is quiet.  It reminds you what Christmas is all about.

On Christmas Eve, we have our parents over for dinner.  We only have the Moms now, but that’s ok.  I make a ham and a few side dishes.  The table looks pretty, I have lots of candles and Christmas lights around the house, so it looks pretty too.  We eat dinner and then have cookies and peppermint hot fudge sundaes for dessert.  After dinner, my kids open their gifts from my husband’s side of the family and we sit around and talk for a little while until my husband takes the Grandmas home.  After that, we get the kids to bed once Santa gets into the US.  We track him on NORAD you know.   My son sleeps on the floor in my daughter’s room.  They talk and bond and all is good.  Santa comes and the next morning everyone is happy.

I purposely don’t overdo the “Martha Stewart” stuff at Christmas and I very easily could, I’m crafty and arty and design-y, but I’d rather my family have happy Christmases.  I don’t want my kids to feel awkward because someone (their mom) is overworked and exhausted.  That is not what Christmas is for.  On the big day, my husband goes and picks up my mom who lives literally three minutes away, we open gifts, have a nice breakfast, most of which I prepare in advance, and then we have a jammy day.  The kids play with their new stuff or sort new clothes or whatever they choose to do.  I usually read one of my new books and my husband floats between all of us looking at what is going on.  It is peaceful.  It is quiet and happy.  Mom goes home around one or two in the afternoon, and we continue with what we were doing.  This year we watched /Annie Get Your Gun/ and we snacked.  I don’t make a big dinner.  I make sure to have lots of yummy snack stuff and we graze.  It’s fun.  We are all relaxed.  We are all happy together.  Nobody gets mad.

If you find that your Christmas is not making you happy, step back a bit and find a thing or two you can do without and get rid of it.  It’s not about everything being perfect.  It’s about everyone being together.  It’s about everyone being happy and relaxed and remembering that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus.  It doesn’t matter if He was born in June or October or on December 25th.  That’s when we celebrate it.  Enjoy the quiet of Christmas Eve.  Wonder at the stillness of the night.  Try to make it, so that when you are an old person and the Ghost of Christmas Past takes you on a journey, you won’t see any sad, distressing scenes, but rather you will see pictures of a happy family spending time together.

God Bless Us Everyone 🙂