We’re Gonna Make You a Star

The whole country wants to be famous!

Over the last year my daughter has become intrigued by YouTube. She started watching a woman who bakes and does silly challenges like “not my arms” and a bunch of blindfolded food tasting. Some of the videos are funny, some are stupid and some actually teach my kid how to do something! I became intrigued when I read that this particular YouTube star made $6 million last year. After reading this I jumped right down the rabbit hole and read dozens of articles about people who are YouTube famous. Sadly, the top earner is a guy who makes videos of himself playing video games. People are now so lazy that instead of playing their own video games they watch other people play the games on YouTube.

After seeing the ridiculous amounts of cash being handed over for these videos I, of course, had to poke around to see what kind of videos were popular. I found some pretty disturbing things including grown women playing with toys and talking in strange little girl voices, children opening toys for other children to watch and get jealous about (also known as consumerism at it’s finest) and channel after channel of people dumping food on their heads and/or eating disgusting things. If the content wasn’t bad enough, some of the videos were so shaky and the editing so choppy that I thought I might throw up if I continued to watch. My husband and I immediately subscribed our daughter to the handful of channels we found to be acceptable and told her the rest of YouTube was off limits. YouTube, like most parts of the internet, can be used for good or to slowly melt your brain and turn you into a bag of rocks with hands.

This lasted for about a week and then she wanted to start searching for her own content. She claimed she had already seen every video on the half dozen channels she was subscribed to. I had a short talk with her about what it means to exaggerate and sat down with her to find more videos after she conceded that she had not, in fact, watched every video on the channels she was subscribed to. On a side note, I don’t know where she gets speaking in absolutes from, I never exaggerate!

After watching the first ten seconds of about a hundred videos and declining to allow her to continue watching she came across a video of a little girl, not much older than herself, painting her own face like a Disney character. I was even impressed with this kid’s ability to paint her face evenly and with skill. I was not so impressed with the fact that she couldn’t find the word she was looking for when trying to describe the consistency of a product and ended up saying “texture” instead. I am thinking Mom and Dad might want to buy this kid a book every now and then instead of a bag full of makeup. But who am I to judge? My child was reading at age five but still can’t grasp the concept of an organized sport like soccer. We all teach what we know. After watching a few of these videos I realized that the Mom is also skilled at makeup and face painting so I guess she IS teaching what she knows. If only we could find a million people who wanted to watch a Mom and daughter sitting around reading we would also be YouTube famous!

Since my daughter thinks she can do anything that she sees someone else doing, her newest obsession is face painting. She has a pretty healthy ego. She started by painting my face, her Dad’s and then her Grandparents’. She moved on to painting her own face within a day and started using both face paint and makeup. Luckily I don’t really wear makeup but I own a lot of it “just in case” I ever need it. I have pallets of eye shadow with blues and yellows, silvers and gold. I have brushes and bronzers, eyeliner pencils, pens and liquids and lip glosses in every color. Most of my makeup has been relocated to the little one’s vanity table along with her train cases full of face paints. She even asked for more face paint and an 88 color eyeshadow pallet for Christmas. What she got was the paint, the makeup and a mannequin head to work on. I guess my parents were also sick of being her dummies!

She may have a future in Hollywood or Hot Topic, it could go either way…

For the last two days I have observed my daughter sitting in front of anyone who will listen pretending to be filming a video. She has been performing makeup and face painting tutorials along with inserting product placements explaining what makeup she is using and where it can be purchased. She has actually begun to explain pretty much everything she is doing, whether it be building legos or painting, in great detail as if her entire life is a YouTube video. The kid is a natural.

I have been telling my family for the last year that we should have our own reality television show. Some days it’s hard to believe the conversations my daughter and I are having are actually taking place. Throw in my parents and it would be ratings gold. I guess mini-me feels the same way!

Today’s playlist:

What’s a Kid’s Menu?

Riley’s body weight in sushi!

The kid loves her little box of sushi!

When I was a little girl one of my favorite things to do was go out to dinner at fancy restaurants. My parents and their best friends traveled together often with me and my “cousin” who was a year older than me. We ate lavish dinners while on vacation in places like Cancun Mexico, New York and the Playboy Club Resort somewhere in the midwest. You know, because Playboy was known for their family friendly vacations in the eighties! The children were always allowed to order whatever we wanted whether it be filet mignon or chocolate mousse. I don’t know if I ever saw a kids menu as a child – I certainly didn’t order from one!

We also spent many weekends in town going to restaurants like the London Chop House and Machus Red Fox. I was a precocious child and an adventurous eater. I was a foodie before there was such thing as a foodie. On any given dinner outing I would order three or four appetizers instead of an entree. I almost always ordered a shrimp cocktail along with escargot or mussels. I vividly remember ordering octopus for the first time at Pegasus in Greek Town after hanging out backstage at an event at Cobo Hall and getting hypnotized by one of the performers. My “Uncle” Bob used to love to tell the story about the six of us going to a sushi restaurant in the late 70s and me devouring all of the food because the rest of them were more meat and potatoes kind of people. I probably ate my body’s weight in raw fish on that trip to Chicago.

As an Indian Princess I spent many dinners freaking out the other girls with my choice of food. I ate frog legs and eel and anything else that made the other girls gag in disgust. I cracked king crab legs like an Alaskan fisherman as my fellow eight year old diners scarfed down macaroni and cheese and battered chicken lips and buttholes. I gagged right back at them as they ordered what I viewed as food unfit for consumption.

Apparently the foodie gene runs deep. My daughter has been eating sushi since she was two. She has also been ordering her own food since she could talk. The waitstaff at restaurants is still often surprised when she orders for herself at the age of six. I get more compliments about her ability to articulate what she wants than I do about the fact that she was reading the menu before she was five years old! The other night our waiter commented that we could probably drop her off at the door with a twenty dollar bill and she would do just fine dining by herself and paying the bill. I agreed except for the fact that she would order a soda which is strictly forbidden in our house (we don’t consume what we can’t spell).

The chopstick pro!

Brunch with Belle at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial

We were at a charity event a few years ago that was a giant strolling buffet with forty or fifty restaurants serving their most popular dishes. As we walked by the Kona Grill booth a waitress who recognized us said “there’s the little girl who orders like a thirty year old!” It’s still amusing to me to listen to my kid order sushi – requesting extra ginger and refusing the chop stick helpers. Nobu Matsuhisa would be proud!

When she was four she almost gave a waiter at Seafire Steakhouse in Atlantis a nervous breakdown when she ordered a $63 lobster duo instead of a $6 kids menu plate of noodles and marinara sauce. He looked from her to me for approval and when I nodded my head he actually pointed at the menu to make sure I was able to read the price. He then looked to her Dad for the same approval and eventually walked away looking a little startled. Of course she couldn’t have chosen the $50 single lobster tail, that simply wouldn’t have been enough shellfish! If I recall correctly she also finished my Dad’s wagyu beef and my tuna before ordering herself a dessert. We set the dining bar high for her in Atlantis when we took her to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill when she was a mere thirteen months old. They had to borrow a high chair from a neighboring restaurant because they had an age limit that I ignored while making the reservation. She was the youngest diner they had ever seen and she was better behaved than many of the adults around us. Then again, she was not imbibing in the cocktails that were flowing like the water wall behind us.

Mesa Grill – Atlantis – Bahamas – The youngest diner!

Our favorite restaurant in Atlantis!







I had a conversation with my chiropractor once about the differences between Atlantis and his favorite vacation destination, Riviera Maya, Mexico. One of the main selling points for him was the cheap food in Mexico. We talked about the meal plans in Atlantis and when I told him that we chose not to partake in the plans because the kids had to eat from the kids menus he almost fell over. He proceeded to tell me how he forced his ten and twelve year old children to order from the kids menu on vacation. I proceeded to send him into apoplexy when I shared the story about the lobster tail duo. To him it was a waste to spend more than $10 on a meal for his kids. To me it was child abuse to force feed a child the garbage available on the kids menus at steak houses and high end restaurants.

My love of food never really crossed over to an ability to actually cook my own food. I often burn toast and destroy pretty basic dishes like soup – as evidenced by my disintegrated noodle soup. I have literally set three stoves on fire on three separate occasions. I am more of a consumer than creator when it comes to fine cuisine. My daughter on the other hand is becoming quite the little chef. She cooks with her Dad every week and she finds great delight in preparing dishes for her family, especially on special occasions. I am grateful for this – not so much because it is good for her, but I will most likely need someone to cook for me if anything ever happens to her Dad. I have just started cooking one meal a week so anything could happen!


Punk Rock Music Will Save Your Soul!

Sarcasm. coffee & punk rock in the morning…

I don’t know how old I was when I fell in love with music, but I was young. I don’t remember a time when there was not music in my house. As a child I heard a lot of the Beatles and Beach Boys, Elvis and Neil Diamond. I remember driving on winter days with my Dad, heater cranked up, windows down rocking out to Roy Orbison. In second grade my favorite aunt took me to see the first concert I chose to go to on my own – The Stray Cats. I was certain at the young age of seven that I would grow up to marry Brian Setzer. I blame him for my undeniable attraction to musicians. It is clearly his fault that I grew up to marry a man who sings and plays guitar. I won’t even mention the fact that they both have killer hair and to die for eyes.

How could I resist a man with a guitar?

Almost every memory I have in life has a song or a band attached to it. I remember the Christmas I got my first bike whenever I hear “Surfin’ Safari” and the time I was brought home at 3 am by the police when I hear the Talking Heads. Violent Femmes remind me of dropping in on a half pipe on my hot pink Steve Caballero board, eating the ramp and bleeding all over my favorite Descendents t-shirt. “Jesus Saves” by Slayer reminds me of getting caught skipping school as a sophomore and Ministry brings me back to my senior prom. My life has always had it’s own soundtrack running behind the scenes.


Prom circa 1990

My favorite Powell Peralta

My favorite music has always been fast, loud and angry. Even as a kid I couldn’t stomach pop music. I didn’t want to hear vapid lyrics about dancing and falling in love. I wanted substance. By the time I was a teenager I wanted to scream about social injustice and being marginalized. I was drawn to the music that expressed how I was feeling. I knew I was different from my peers by the time I was eight years old. I rode a motorcycle and performed daredevil tricks on my banana yellow Schwin. I wore muscle shirts and jeans instead of polos and cardigans like my classmates. My rejection of all things mainstream became more fierce as my teenage years approached. This is when I began my life long love affair with punk rock.

Punk has been compared to the mafia, in that once you are in, you are in for life. It’s not a genre or style, it’s something that seeps into your bones and becomes part of your very being. To me it is like a religion. Listening to Black Flag gives me the same sense of belonging as reading the Bible or listening to a lecture by the Dalai Lama. My places of worship are St. Andrew’s Hall and the Magic Stick watching Negative Approach or Refused. The difference is that you leave these holy grounds sweaty and possibly with a new t-shirt that smells vaguely like dirt and gasoline.

I spent quite a few years trying to be something that didn’t suit me. I will never do that again. I had forgotten for awhile that I am and will always be a punk rock kid deep down in my soul. I will never really fit in with the people around me and that is okay. I am who I am because somewhere long ago I became aware that being myself was more important than fitting in. Believing in myself has always been all I have ever needed. I don’t need anyone else’s approval.

I am watching my daughter learn these lessons today. She told her Dad yesterday that the kids in school think she is weird and they just look at her when she talks about the things she does at home, mouths agape. He told her that one day she will come to appreciate all of the things we do at home, from jamming to punk rock in the basement to sitting around creating art together. We are a little weird and there is nothing that’s going to change that. That’s okay. One day she is going to look back at our time together in the same way I look back at jumping on a motorcycle at three years old with my Dad and picking up a skateboard at thirteen. One day punk rock is going to seep into her bones too and she will remember the times we took her to the Warped tour and to see the Interrupters. I have no doubt that one day she is going to do great things and that starts with being herself no matter what anyone else thinks.