Joe and Jack Watch the Baby

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Many years ago when my youngest child was barely two, I left the baby to be watched by his favorite people: His father, Joe, and his uncle, Jack, and went off to my work day teaching the youth of America.

Now Joe and Jack, are both punk rock legends and therefore considered symbols of “wild, reckless abandon” and RARELY tagged as “responsible, mature adults.”

Why?

Because let’s face it: in the punk rock world, sex, drugs, violence and three chord repetitive anthems sell. The only thing the title of “responsible, mature adult” might sell in that world, would be Activia yogurt and Depends adult briefs and I don’t know any hardcore punks looking for those products right at the moment.

Now, one of these men, in my opinion, looks like the devil and… the other one… I believe… IS the devil. But… I well never tell you which one is which… feel free to debate the topic among your companions and friends.

And you may be thinking right now, What type of woman leaves a baby with Lucifer and El Diablo?  Why would she do that?

And my response would be: despite public belief and my personal quarrels with each… they both loved and very competently protected and cared for the baby until one day… things went terribly awry.

Dylan, aka, “the baby” was toddling around the house, as usual, in a diaper, pudgy little feet and hands naked and free, big over-sized baby belly protruding over his diaper, long silky locks of lovely curls bouncing upon his shoulders: cherubic little man.

He was known for getting into trouble but doing it in complete silence. Yes… the baby rarely talked.

He loved to terrify us by striping stark naked, hiding in the neighbor’s bush next door, and watching quietly from the shadows, as we would run up and down the street screaming for him, horrified that we may have actually lost him.

This daily routine left each of us distraught and shaken but, every time we thought he was truly gone, he would somehow magically appear out of nowhere and stand in the middle of the grass staring at us until we noticed him.

It actually took us over six months to find his hiding place: Bad baby.

On this day though, Dylan wasn’t trying to terrorize his parents or his uncle for that matter. He was just running about, playing with his toys when he approached Joe, his father, and said, “Ow.”

According to Joe, his expression was deadpan. He wasn’t crying. His face in no way conveyed pain.

He just kept taking his tiny little dough ball of a finger, touching it gently to the side of his nose, and repeating the word, “Ow.”

At this point in time, Dylan’s uncle, Jack, came into the room to see what was wrong.

For awhile, both Joe and Jack stared at the baby, unsure of what to do until one of them, or both of them, got the bright idea to look up the baby’s nose and that is when all hell broke loose.

The baby had a large yellow, glossy wet, massive orb stuck up inside of his nasal canal.

They didn’t stop to ask questions.

They freaked out and called me.

I was in the middle of my teaching day when the office rang through to my room and said, “D.D. your husband needs to talk with you. He says it’s an emergency.”

I waited for Joe to break through the line and before he had a chance to speak said, “Is everyone alive?”

“Yes,” he answered and was immediately overpowered by the booming voice of my brother in the background shouting, “I’m sure it’s his brain!”

I tried to remain calm as Joe explained the situation.

The baby.

The pointing finger.

The repeated use of the word “Ow.”

And the protruding, glossy-wet mass of whatever was stuck up my baby’s nose.

“I think Jack’s right,” Joe whispered, as if the baby could understand him and he didn’t want to cause him concern. “I think it’s his brain.”

“BRAIN!” Jack shouted from the background, our family legendary in our ability to intensify any given situation by a magnitude of a hundred.

“It’s not his brain,” I said. “Jesus. You two.”

Joe yelled to Jack, “She doesn’t think it’s his brain.”

And for a moment… there was a peaceful silence on the line.

“Put the baby on the phone,” I demanded.

“She wants to talk to the baby,” Joe whispered to Jack.

“She wants to talk to the baby?” Jack repeated.

“Put the fucking baby on the phone,” I said, annoyed at the Heckle and Jeckle shenanigans I was trying to deal with.

I heard Jack pick up the baby, bring him to the phone, where Dylan’s soft gurgly baby breathing, his tiny little coo sounds, let me know that he was present and listening.

“Dylan,” I said. “Tell mommy what’s wrong.”

“Ow,” the baby whispered. “Ow.”

And I could picture his little finger pointing to his tiny baby nose.

Jack carried Dylan away and I waited for Joe to come back on the line.

“It’s not his brain,” I said. “He’s obviously stuck something up his nose and you two are going to have to pull it out.”

“Pull it out?” Joe sounded as if I asked him to diaper an old man’s ass. “How do you want us to pull it out?”

“Get some tweezers,” I said. “Have Jack hold the baby down, while you pull whatever it is out of his nose.”

Joe laid down the phone and I heard a ruckus in the background as he spoke to Jack.

“She wants us to do what?”

“Pull it out,” Joe said.

“Are you sure it’s not his brain?”

“I don’t think so.” Joe said, trying to remain calm.

A few moments later I heard the baby being held down: whiny, squirmy protests… a few baby sobs… then…

“Oh my God! Look at it!” Jack said followed by…

“Dude it’s a grape. Look it’s a fucking grape.” from Joe before I heard the baby cry with annoyance struggling to be let go.

There was another brief silence before I heard Dylan’s fat little baby feet toddling quickly away from the scene.

Joe returned to the phone out of breath, “It was a grape.”

“I heard,” I said as I hung up the phone, apologized to my students for interrupting their class time and my inappropriate use of the “F” word, and then finished out my work day.

When I arrived home that evening the boys were very excited to show me the grape which, I realized immediately, was not a grape, but one of the yellow, golden raisins I had given Dylan two days ago which he had obviously stuck up his nose.

“That’s disgusting,” Jack said. “So that thing was up there for like two days just juicing up.”

Joe looked at me as if I had been the one to cause all of this trouble.

“What?” I said, before grabbing the baby up, kicking open the front door, and sitting down on the swing.

I listened as Jack and Joe squabbled over the size of the object they had pulled from the baby’s nose, while I gently pushed the swing back and forth with one foot… Dylan cuddled close to me… his little head nuzzled upon my shoulder.

I wondered if he would grow up to be like his Father or his Uncle Jack?

“Bad baby.” I whispered, “Very bad baby.” before I kissed him on his forehead and waited for him to fall off to sleep.

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Saturday July 13th through Saturday July 27th: Ms Wood will be on SUMMER VACATION!

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no swimming

Enjoy one of your favorite posts from the past until I return to entertain you!

And thank you for your loyal following.

D.D. Wood

Yearbook Class creates a Special Show Flyer for Steve Soto and Manic Hispanic resulting in the Children being Visually Scarred for Life and Ms. Wood Rethinking her Postion on Internet Filters

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BEST QUALITY

This is Yearbook.

The class I am in charge of at Millikan High School.

They are a wild, spirited group and I love them dearly.

One day, excited by the fact that the school had finally turned off the internet filters and had left the viewing discretion up to the teachers, I offered the kids a chance to create a Photoshop flyer for my friend Steve Soto and his band Manic Hispanic, believing that I was giving my students a life experience that would be considered valuable.

Now, being that this is high school, it wasn’t as if everyone jumped up and down and raised their hands to participate but… they did however… begin googling the name Steve Soto and Manic Hispanic happy to finally be unfettered from their technological bonds.

“This is so bad ass, Ms. Wood,” one of my senior editors said. “We can go on Facebook. We can go on Google images. Now we can really get some great Yearbook work done.”

I had my doubts about this statement but they were so excited, so punch-drunk with their new found freedom, that I felt I was in no position to bring them down: that would be like waking up on Christmas morning and finding out that you had received zero presents and Santa had also shit in your stocking.

“Oh,” one of the kids said after looking Manic Hispanic up online, “They do some type of Mexican gangster thing right?”

Everyone looked at me waiting to see if it was okay for us to like a “Mexican gangster” thing in the classroom.

“Well, yeah..” I said. “But it’s like a parody. Can anyone tell me what a parody is?”

Ten hands jumped up.

If we were going to bend the rules a bit… I figured I better find a way to keep the California Content Standards firmly in place while we did it and cover my ass in case someone found our Yearbook curriculum to be lacking.

I listened as they all babbled on about parodies and then I told them what they were supposed to do.

“Steve told me he wants something like Blood In Blood Out for the flyer. Do you guys know what that is?”

But before I had a verbal answer to assure me that they knew exactly what Blood In Blood Out was, a Latino cult classic crime-drama film, I saw twenty little teenage hands hit the keyboards hard and type in the words: Blood In Blood Out and two seconds later, there was a deafening moment of complete and total silence before loud screeches began to echo across the tops of computer stations and fill the classroom.

“What?” I screamed from my desk. “What are you freaking out about?”

I stood up to look at the computer screens and found that each and everyone of them was inundated by photos, photos once highly banned at our school site, now prominently displayed, in full-color glory, on our classroom monitors.

“OH MY GOD!” I shouted as I rushed towards the computer stations.

It was horrific I tell you.

A teacher’s worst nightmare.

A total lack of control.

A total educational malfunction.

Who would have known that the words: Blood In and Blood Out would bring a flood of cancerous anal polyps up on each and every screen?

My students were screaming.

My students were gasping.

Some of them just sat there, so stunned by the visual assault on their senses, that they just stared, mouths agape, at what they were viewing and all I could think was Jesus Christ how the fuck am I going to explain this one?

I knew what I had to do.

I stood tall and put on my teacher voice and said firmly, “Stop what you are doing and take your hands away from the computers.”

Everyone pulled their hands back as we continued to stare… mesmerized by the anal polyps… unable to look away.

“That is so weird,” one of the editors finally said followed by, “Can we Instagram them to someone Ms. Wood?”

Oh my God… NO… I thought to myself but out loud, I knew that if I didn’t act cool about this, they were going to pull out their iphones and start clicking because… that is exactly what teenagers do… when they smell fear in their teacher.

So I pulled out my iphone, snapped a photo of the anal polyps and made a big deal about how funny it was going to be for all of us to send it to my friend Sharla Bafia who was a “real goody two-shoes” and would totally freak out.

They all loved being in on the joke so they sat giggling softly, as if she could hear us, as we waited for Sharla’s response, which of course was almost instantaneous and read:  “WHAT THE FUCK DUDE?”

We all had a good chuckle as we shut the images of anal polyps down and tried to strike them permanently from our memory.

I kept my game face on but inside… I was beyond relieved that I got out of that situation without it turning into a total clusterfuck.

“Okay,” I said calmly. “Let’s try this again. But this time, please type in the words: Movie Blood In and Blood Out.”

Everyone did as I asked, with only a sly devious smile or giggle here or there, which I shut down immediately with my most vicious teacher stare.

How’s it going? Steve texted right then.

I didn’t want him concerned about the anal polyp incident, he needed this flyer posted within the next hour, so I just replied: Great!… and went back to watching the students.

And for about twenty minutes, everything was totally calm as they pulled film images off the internet, and all vied to created the best band flyer for my friend until someone shouted out, “What should we use for a background?”

I was typing away on my own computer, not really paying attention to what they were up to once things calmed down, and so I shouted out absentmindedly, “I don’t know… black and gold sounds good right?”

And I heard once again twenty little hands go to type words… this time… black and gold… into the computer… and once again there was a moment of complete silence followed by a series of sharp screams, which this time, was punctuated by a few solidly loud, OH MY GODS!

I jumped, startled, and saw on each screen a large black man, walking two naked white women who were chained and completely covered in gold dust.

“OH JESUS FUCK!” I screeched without thinking.

Each head turned.

Each mouth dropped.

Suddenly, the focus was directly on me.

“You said fuck,” one of the editors whispered.. shocked by the unfiltered internet but stunned by Ms. Wood loosing her cool.

“You said Jesus and fuck in the same sentence,” someone else said in a mocking tone.

“God damn it,” I shouted. “Everyone shut down Google image RIGHT NOW!”

They didn’t move.

“I said RIGHT NOW!” I screamed as I pointed my finger at them and stomped my little feet.

Not one student disobeyed.

Everyone shut off Google image and sat quietly.

Really… what was there to say after what we had all witnessed in the last thirty minutes of class?

I wasn’t even sure how to proceed with the entire situation.

I was firmly in the camp of open internet filters in our high school community but obviously… I hadn’t thought it entirely through.

“Liz,” I said to one of my senior editors. “Make the flyer for Steve. Everyone else. Go on Facebook and just relax for a few minutes.”

Facebook: the crack cocaine of the high school world.

Suddenly, caught up in their social networking addiction, the incidents of the class faded into the background.

I went back to my desk knowing that Liz, responsible and capable, would knock that flyer out in minutes and if once again assaulted with anal polyps or black men with naked gold women, would just shut it out of her mind and continue to get her work done: There was a reason she was the number one editor and had a A+ in Yearbook.

She was an educational bad ass.

Once again I settled down… I prayed to St. Jude, Patron Saint of Lost Causes, and hoped that I wouldn’t have twenty parent phone calls by the end of the day.

And that was when my computer was taken over remotely… by our staff computer administrator: Mr. Rios… who had obviously been trolling for “inappropriate content” the first day of our unfiltered technology school existence.

Having fun with those unfiltered computers in there Ms. Wood? The message read.

I leaned my elbows on my desk and covered my face with my hands.

I had no response.

The jig was up.

He had witnessed everything from his secret post.

I wanted to type back: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Or just the numbers: 1984.

But instead, I just sat there… eyes covered… mentally taxed… and listened to the happy click of my students fingers in the background as they blissfully went on with their Facebook instant messaging… until I heard another beep to let me know he had messaged me again:

Okay, it said. Being that I’m Latino I get the whole Blood In Blood Out mishap and obviously… they are enjoying the whole Facebook freedom right now but…  how did you guys end up with the black man and the naked chained women covered in gold dust?

And right then my phone went off.

It was Steve of course asking about the flyer: Is it done yet? he asked innocently but already worked up from the entire event, caused by my need to please my friend, make my kids feel like big shots by having them create a hip band flyer, and show how totally cool Ms. Wood was in her “alter band world” I so wanted to respond from my flawed shadow self and text in all caps: SHUT THE FUCK UP STEVE SOTO! YOU’LL GET YOUR GOD DAMN FLYER WHEN YOU GET IT!”

But instead… I wrote… Almost done… and covered my eyes again with my hands… hoping that it would all just go away.

There was another “beep” signaling once again a new message from my computer administrator.

Well Ms. Wood? It said.

I had to concede.

And I hated to concede but in this case…. I had to admit that I might be wrong.

I’m rethinking my whole opposition to the internet filters, I typed.

You bet your @ss you are!  He wrote back and then unlocked my screen and let me get back to work.

“Done,” Liz said from her station and I walked over to find that she had made a fantastic flyer for my friend.

“That looks great,” I said.

Manic Hispanic Yearbook Flyer

“You sure you wouldn’t like me to add an anal polyp or a black man with chained naked women covered in gold dust?” she asked.

I gave her the evil eye.

“Obviously not,” she said sarcastically. “So who am I sending this to?”

Five minutes later, Steve had his flyer and was posting it on Facebook, the bell rang and the kids left, and it seemed that maybe they were not permanently scarred after all… And I sat down for a moment to calm my mind and let go of the atrocities of the last hour, praying to God that I would never see an anal polyp, a black man with naked chained white women covered in gold dust, or a message from my computer administrator, in my classroom, ever, EVER again.

Ms. Wood Goes on a Bike Ride Ending in an Unexpected Police Chase and a Sudden Realization for Mr. Warren Renfrow.

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COPKIDNEWWARREN

I am new to the world of cycling.

In fact, I have only been on my bike a couple of times.

But, it seems that most of the musician men friends I know, are all about riding bicycles these days: R. Scott, Darryl Mitchell, Mike Martt, Johnny Minguez, Steve Houston and Warren Renfrow, all former or current members of well-know bands, participate in cycling and though I haven’t seen them all in action yet… I have noted an alarming number of them wearing tight little spandex pants and helmets with strange points on the back.

Now, these are not men who look like the men from the Tour de France… who look like they should be wearing spandex swag… these are big burly tattooed men… blue collared Blutos… rough and tough … and to see them sporting their delicate little panties and day-glow race helmets is frankly… a bit disconcerting.

But having grown up with brothers and raised in a houseful of an endless parade of boys during the 1970’s… where I longed to be the girl version of Evil Knievel… in on all of their ramp jumping fiascos… I find myself drawn to ride with them… ride fast….. and really… if I’m truly to be honest… kick their fucking asses all over the bike trail.

It’s a competitive thing… a feminist thing… but I honestly never planned to get the Seal Beach Police Department involved in my Battle of the Sexes “vendetta.”

It was early Sunday morning when I met up on the bike path with Warren Renfrow and almost fell off my 10-speed with joy once I realized that I might actually have a friend to ride with; Stephen my man, unwilling to delve into the world of hot spandex… more comfortable on his Schwinn cruiser then a Bianchi 10-speed… and always looking for a chance to work on his 64 convertible Valiant, unfettered by my constant interruptions.

Warren had been riding for awhile and since it was my first time out, I was a bit trepidatious about the thinness of the tire… the downward position of the bars… the speed which I hit each downhill drop… as I followed behind him from El Dorado Park past the Power Plants. But by the time I was nearing Seal Beach, I was out in front, moving at a good solid pace and ready to ride farther.

Now, maybe he was just being nice and cutting me some slack… but I don’t think so: I was really getting the hang of it.

By the time we hit the beginning of Bolsa Chica I was hooked.

I was about to ride on when Warren shouted out, “D.D. come back!”

I pressed my hand breaks and turned around.

“What?” I said all sassy.

“You still have to ride home,” he said. “This was a good first trek for you but, I don’t think you should push it.”

Push it?

He’s lucky he didn’t lose an eye saying that to me.

I’m sure he was just being a good riding partner… concerned that I would be able to make the trip home… but all I heard in my demented mind was:

You’re a girl.

You can’t ride that far.

You weak-ass idiot.

You better go home now and leave the long ride to the big boys.

“Fine,” I said and took off at a fast pace as I cut back through the Sunset Beach housing.

Warren could have given a shit.

He lumbered about… totally ignoring me as he drank off of his stupid plastic sippy cup bottle that all of those bike guys have.

I stormed ahead: my chucks pushing hard on the pedals…. my Ramones shirt blowing in the breeze…. my big bun of hair bobbing up and down blissfully helmet free: I felt like a rebel.

He caught up to me at the red light off of Anderson, right next to Turc’s, and he was still in a nice glide when the light turned green. He gave me a smug nod and took off like a bat out of hell.

I was FURIOUS.

I started back from a total stop, downshifted and raced to catch up to him.

By the time I hit the first hill’s rise on PCH… in the Naval Weapons Station Wetlands… I had him.

I was beyond stoked.

I was gonna make him pay.

I couldn’t wait to be the rookie that pushed past the “Big Man” and road him into the ground.

And this is when I made the worst rookie move I could have ever made.

If there had been a video feed of this moment… cyclists everywhere would have thrown their arms up in exasperation, slapped their foreheads stunned and dismayed, and then turned to laugh at me with all of their little cycling friends.

I thought that the best way to conquer the hill was to shift into high gear and hit the pedals hard but my momentum slowed to almost a dead stop and by the time I adjusted my gears and looked up again, Warren was at the top of the second hill, drinking out of his stupid ass little sissy cup again, legs splayed wide, riding as if he was an old man on a Sunday joy ride through the park, casually enjoying the wetlands,  his demeanor.. pleased with the fact that he left me, the idiot, behind, without a second thought.

I was sure at that moment… that my head was actually going to explode.

I leaned forward, clenched my teeth and started barreling up the second hill.

Warren was almost across Seal Beach Boulevard when I came flying down towards him at an impressive pace.

I broke into a wide grin.

I saw him stop on the other side of Seal and wait at the curb for me.

Fuck that shit, I whispered to myself, You’re going down Mr. Crane Operator Man.

I pedaled harder.

I pedaled faster.

I didn’t give a shit that I had the red light.

I didn’t care that cars were driving through the intersection in front of me.

I would die beating Warren Renfrow’s ass.

I held fast to my grips, leaned forward aggressively and steeled myself to run the intersection.

I watched as Warren’s eyes suddenly grew large.

I ignored him as I zig-zagged between moving cars and stopped pedaling as if I had just won a lengthy race, knowing that my advanced momentum would carry me through the finish line, in front of him, and that’s… when I saw the cop: About half way down Seal Beach Boulevard, moving at a good clip between the police station and PCH.

I couldn’t see his eyes through the windshield, but I heard the cruiser accelerate and knew someone inside was ready to give a big ticket and hungry for a chase.

I hit the pedals hard again, and blew past Warren like a rocket.

I was off PCH and turning down the alley behind 17th Street to hide in the neighborhood when I heard Warren yell, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”

And then the police car skidded around the corner after me.

I was almost out of view from the main drag when I saw the cop race down Seventeenth hoping to catch me coming out the other side.

I hit the breaks, flipped the handle bars to the right and stopped in a hard skid.

A quick backpedal and I was back racing towards Warren at top speed.

“GO!” I shouted as I rushed past him. “GO!” I screamed as I blasted on by and rode hard towards 12th Street where I turned right into the neighborhood behind the Pavilions and followed, my head low, hidden behind the concrete wall, until I cut through the back parking lot of the Chase bank on Bolsa and pedaled the last one hundred yards of PCH to the bike path at a furious pace, only allowing my legs to slow as I cut the gate by the stone remains of the legendary Marina Palace and caught my breath; chubby tired and worn as I coasted down the bike trail towards home.

Warren raced up behind me.

“Jesus!” He shouted. “Sonny warned me about you. You fucking Grishams are crazy!”

I pictured Big Sonny’s face, our mutual friend, his dark glasses, greaser vato, long bushy gray goatee, shaking his head in disgust as he said to Warren, “Just remember one thing bro… she’s a Grisham” and my face flushed.

I could just imagine him cackling, crowing actually, about being right.

I road on in silence… part of me… glad to keep our family reputation for insanity alive… part of me sad that I probably would never be riding bikes with Warren Renfrow again.

We made it home, and Warren took a moment to stop and talk with my man about cars, and music, and whatever else.

I straddled my bike from a distance, an outsider, just an ear shot away from their conversation, when I heard something about me and the cops.

“I heard that!” I shouted.

They both turned and looked at me.

“Obviously you didn’t,” Stephen laughed, Warren joining him.

So I climbed on my bike, made my best pouty face and rode off, leaving the two of them deep in conversation, most likely about what a total jackass I was.

The next day, I decided I better call Sonny and come clean about my antics before Warren got a chance to tell him.

“I told him you were fucking crazy!” Sonny said. “All you mother fucking Grishams are!”

I felt deflated… ready to give in and concede defeat when Sonny added, “Hey… hey….”

“Yeah,” I said quietly.

“I’m really proud of you. I like that you still know how to get away from the fucking cops.”

And then he hung up.

But I didn’t mind.

In Sonny’s eyes I was still the winner of the race that day.

And that… was enough… for me.

Last Night at The Blasters

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blastersposterblog

I rarely go out.

RARELY go out.

You can ask anyone.

Over the years my aversion to shows has become so legendary that when I do appear people think that I am a figment of their imagination.

But I have recently been dipping my toes in the water again…

Feeling the need to swim back into music…

A show here… a show there….

An impromptu trip to Bakersfield to see Johnny Two-Bags and Salvation Town with X, and a walk around the Buck Owens museum and suddenly…. I’ve been feeling “all in…”

Bobby De Luna:

Bobby D.

a known musical recluse as well… must have been feeling my “itch” because he began to call and harass me about it.

“You went to Bakersfield without me fucker? Call me back.”

And so, it wasn’t surprising that he would be the one to ask me to go to The Blasters, The Knittters and X at The Observatory.

And I really wanted to go… I did.

I wanted to see the music… I wanted to watch the performances of many of the musicians I grew up with… I just didn’t want what goes a long with it: Huge crowds of people, a flood of memories related to my sketchy rock-and-roll past, and a night wedged into uncomfortable clothing.

But the drive for music was pulling me… added with Bobby’s way of forcing me out of my rat hole… the way he always does… with messages like:

“If you don’t come with me I’m going to come over and slap you in the face right in front of Nana”

or…

“I swear to God D.D. Grish, if you even think about cancelling mother fucker…”

or my personal favorite…

“I’ll let you out of dinner before the show but… if you try to cancel going with me… I will come over and make your children orphans”

Fine Bobby.

I get it.

I’ll go.

I spent hours working my way into about five pairs of spanxs and then a corset to really hold in those years of massive cupcake eating.

I knew that I had succeeded in looking pretty decent for an old lady when Dylan, my son walked into the bathroom and said, “You look really good mom. Wow… Your boobs are huge.”

I thanked him for the compliment and was pleased to see that Lexi, my daughter, had done my hair and eyelashes in such a way that for once I actually looked put together and not like the disheveled high school professor I had become; hair in a messy bun, glasses somewhat askew on my face, tell-tell coffee stain or cupcake smear down the front of my shirt.

At The Blasters

I waved goodbye to my kids, teetered off on my four-inch red heels towards the street where I wobbled at the curb and waited for Bobby to pick me up…

I watched as he drove right past me.

I called his cell phone and before I could even say anything he said, “Jesus… was that you I just passed? I thought it was some really good looking tranny.”

Fucker.

We road off to The Observatory, parked about ten miles away, and walked our pilgrimage with a multitude of others until we arrived at our musical mecca.

It had been about fifteen years since I had been to the venue.. back when it was still known as The Galaxy… and as I walked through the corridors, past the small band room to the main stage… I was overwhelmed by the packed house.

Years of being in just these types of band situations caused my instincts to kick in and I found myself immediately jockeying for a position: across from the emergency exit, tight against the rail… close behind a photographer with a very large tripod, and Bobby standing behind me to block my back.

I settled in.

The Knitters were already on stage and the sound was fantastic.

Deep and rich, each instrument blending together in a fine mix of Americana… the members at home on stage and in their own skins after so many years of being seasoned performers.

It was amazing to see so many people wedged into one place, now way too old to slam dance, fight or push… everyone bobbing to the music and having a really good time.

For a moment I actually felt comfortable and safe.

For a moment I thought “Hey… maybe I can deal with a crowd if it is as passive and happy as this one…”

For a moment it all seemed okay until the only walkway turned into a bottleneck of people, backed up from the stage door to the front entrance, and I felt panic set in.

Having almost been trampled once at a rabid ACDC concert some time circa 1986, my fear of being trapped in the crowd intensified in magnitude until I gave Bobby a quick nod… barely waiting for a response… before pushing my way towards the outside smoking area where I actually text’d my man to come and pick me up and bring me home.

“Where are you?” was not the response I was looking for but, was the response I got from Bobby De Luna who text’d me back first.

I was about to type him back when another text from him rolled through…

“You better not fucking ditch me D.D. Grish”

I looked around at the other panickers sitting in the smoking area with me, heard their own hushed whispers to spouses and lovers through a variety of smart phones… and thought, This is ridiculous, before I plastered on my best Barbara Stanwick steely face and strutted back into the club.

I made it as far as the small band room before I heard the roar of the main stage, freaked out, and detoured into the quiet sanctity of the small space, where the next band was just getting ready to take the stage and only a few of their die hard followers were waiting to hear them play.

It was there that my messiah appeared in the form of: Steve Cunningham.

Thank God for my friends who work the shows.

Steve’s face lit up and so did mine as we hugged and laughed before he gave me a backstage wrist band and told me to go get comfortable.

I almost ran outside to go around to the back where I called Stephen, my man, and told him I didn’t want to go home yet.

“I’m almost to the club,” he moaned. “What the hell?” but being the good man that he is, turned around to kill some time before we agreed he would come back and get me at 10.

I walked through the backstage gate and was greeted by the faces of many of my old friends.

Suddenly, I felt like I was 20 again… on stage in my petty coat, bullet belt, half naked except for a small leopard skin jacket and a bra:

LeopardJacket

I watched as John Doe walked past… and smiled to myself thinking that he looked like a 60’s version of my grandpa now, with his little skinny pants, funky leather vest and cowboy shirt, gray long hair parted to the side, greasy and straggly and remembered the night that I once hula danced for him at Disgraceland, Tupelo Joe on ukelele, Pleasant and the Lame Flames dancing by my side, Joe, my ex-husband, grinning from the couch as he watched in quiet admiration.

Exene was standing in the corner, looking like a cute little punk plump sugar cookie, cigarette in one hand, beer in the other, whispering conspiratorially with a girl in a green cowboy dress, yellow and black bumblebee boots, and purple hair about God knows what… but still courteous enough to hide her smoke and booze, in the photo I instagramed to my students as she smiled as innocently or as innocently as Exene ever possibly could…

Exene and Wood

I crossed through the lot and headed backstage to find Drac, my friend in charge of the event, and ran straight into Jonny Ray Bartel who plays stand up with The Knitters.

I smiled, not realizing that no one recognized the woman that was here tonight… no longer the skinny blonde in the petty coats, my long dark hair and black glasses, my twenty pounds of plump frame, hiding the girl I used to be.

“Hey Sassypants!” I said.

He walked past me, turned around and give me a dirty look, until about five minutes later when he realized who I was and came up to give me a big hug.

“Shit, D.D.” He said. “Sorry I was upset. My bass pick-up kept falling out during the set.”

It was a nice lie…not recognizing me… the way he hid it in the truth.

I told him it sounded great from the front… no one knew… and I wanted to add; Can’t do anything about it now… you’re done playing… But he rolled his eyes as if I was just appeasing him and went off in search of his brother.

My phone whistled.

“Where the fuck are you fucker?”

Bobby De Luna.

“Backstage.” I text’d back and couldn’t help but smile knowing the response I was about to get.

“Fucker. I’m gonna stand out here and be a civilian.”

I giggled to myself, I could just imagine what he was going to say later, once he found out that I was ditching him at 10.

I listened to The Blasters, caught up on the lives of all my old friends, lamented the people we had lost over the years, to drugs, disease, and alcohol, before taking one last look around, making a mental photograph of the moment, Exene now singing Jackson with Dave Alvin from the stage, Phil waiting to make a grand entrance, the new up-and-coming baby musicians huddled together in their own little group, before heading out the gate and walking to the marquee where I would wait for Stephen to come and pick me up.

Later, I would be half naked in the car, removing corset after corset, unwilling to sit in pain the entire ride home, not caring who might see Ms. Wood, their favorite high school teacher, rolling down the freeway in a state of undress…. dying for relief, and a late night Del Taco red burrito with a large coke….

But for right then, for just that moment… I sat on the curb… and listened to the last few songs of The Blasters and felt the melancholy of the evening washing over me… wishing that I had documented every moment of our young musical lives in each of my writings, in each of my songs, a photograph of everything we once were… locked in time… forever immortalized.

Paul Brashier Drops His Drawers

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This is Paul Brashier.

Paul Brashier has been my friend since I was a very young child and he is one of a small, select group of people who can actually make me laugh so hard that I will eventually end up peeing my pants if I do not run away from him immediately.

It is a quality that I both love and hate in him.

Love? Because it really is fun to have friends that can make you laugh that hard.

Hate? Because he can make you laugh even when you don’t want to… even when you are so entirely angry with him as a human being… so much so… that you truly want to kill him… he can still make you laugh.

You could be standing behind him, with a ball ping hammer in your hand, ready to knock his block off, and he would just turn around, make a face…strike an exaggerated pose… or inhale off of his asthma intake loudly before saying something like “Hey Tappy Tapperson and the Tappets… how about you take that fucking hammer and move along” and you’d be falling out again and unable to get in a good swing.

Paul moved away from my neighborhood for many years but now is back… with his lovely wife and family… and when I recently saw this photo of him on his Facebook wall… it reminded me of a minor moment from years earlier at the neighborhood Albertson’s.

In fact… it was the first time in my life that I have ever seen Paul Brashier totally embarrassed. So much so, that he couldn’t look me in the eye for several hours after the incident.

We were riding together in my mini-van with my good friend, Christy Godfrey. Christy is a teacher and has that look and attitude about her that seems very proper and very strict. However, once you get to know her, you find out that she is actually quite a lot of fun.

Paul did not know this yet about Christy, so as we all drove towards the Albertson’s: Christy riding shotgun, Paul in the back… he was, in his opinion, loosening her up with his comedy routine and doing a pretty good job of keeping us both from breathing during the entire short ride to the store.

He was really on a roll.

When we got there…. I wanted to stay in the car with Christy and chat and so… I handed Paul some money and asked him if he wouldn’t mind going into the store for me.

He pretended to fuss… to roll his eyes and make a scene… but then he cracked a joke, jumped out of the car, pretended to jab at me through the open window, before he walked in front of the mini-van, undid his pants, and mooned me.

Now, I knew immediately that it was just his way of  teasing me… a kind of “fuck you” for making him go into the Albertson’s on his own… and that he planned to show just a bit of crack before pulling up his pants and moving along.

Unfortunately for Paul… he lost his grip on his clothing… and I watched as Mr. Skinny Ass dropped his pants completely to the ground.

One minute… he was fully clothed in the Albertson’s parking lot and the next minute… he was buck-ass naked, free-balling it and pants-less in the middle of Middle Class America.

I watched as he panicked.

Even from behind I could tell.

His head did a triple-take in all directions.

He stopped… stunned… and stared at the large middle-aged woman who was now standing in front of him. She stopped… stunned… her shopping cart a shield against the punk rock pervert she was watching.  Her eyes grew large… her knuckles grew white as she clutched the handle of the basket… unsure if she should move forward to her car, which we soon found out was parked next to us, or make a run for the light of the supermarket door and the safety of the rent-a-cop who was napping on the bench next to the magazine rack.

Paul reached down as quickly as possible to pick up his pants… without thinking about the view Christy and I were privy to from behind. He bent over completely, balls dangling, ass cheeks spread wide, and winked his brown-eye in Christy’s face.

I heard her gasp…. Paul heard it too. I watched as he froze… the realization of what Christy had just seen… hitting him full force.

I couldn’t take any more: I threw my head back and howled with glee.

When I looked up again… Paul was scurrying towards the store, not sure what to do: too embarrassed to come back to the van and obviously afraid that the woman he had accidentally flashed was about to call the police and report him.

Luckily for Paul… he had nothing to worry about.

She walked up next to the van, saw that Christy’s window was open, turned to speak to Christy… giant smile on her face… and said, “God bless the youth of America.”

She was still beaming as she emptied her cart, got into her car, and waved excitedly as she drove off: Paul Brashier’s nudity the highlight of her mundane evening and maybe even the highlight of her entire mundane life.

Christy sat quietly for a moment… head down… not sure what to think.

Having never been around a “Punk Rock” group in her life, until she had the unfortunate luck of running into me, she didn’t really know what to do.

“Should I say something when he gets back in the car?” She asked.

I was still in the throws of laughter but managed to get out the words, “If he even comes back to the car.”

We waited.

It was a really long wait.

I could only imagine what was going through Paul’s mind. It must have been agonizing for him.

I knew Paul well… and though he can come off as quite wild from time-to-time he was raised to have some semblance of middle-class manners and I knew that he was really struggling with this moment.

Finally, we saw him come out of the store… baseball hat low over his eyes… Dickie’s jacket buttoned up to the neck… pants cinched tightly… head down… grocery bag swinging… as he made for a quick clip across the lot and hurriedly got back into the car.

I tried not to look at him… I swear I tried not to laugh… but I just couldn’t do it.

Christy and I both lost all control.

I caught his face in the rear view mirror and watched as he looked out the window… first a bit angry and miffed but then… comforted by our laughter… a bit of a smirk returning to his face.

He was still too embarrassed to chime in… recap the events…. and that was alright by me.

It was actually great to finally see him the one totally caught off guard…

FINALLY the person who for once did NOT get the last laugh.

Recording with Flaco Jimenez and playing with The Texas Tornados

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In the 1990’s when I was signed to my first big recording deal with Hollywood Records, I was fortunate enough to have several of my all-time superstar favorite musicians want to play on my album.

So, when my producer said that Flaco Jimenez from The Texas Tornados loved my song, I Wonder Why, and wanted to add his Tejano accordion stylings on the track, I was all in.

I had never met Flaco, I had only admired his work as a fellow musician and a fan and so… the day that he first came to the studio… I was a bit shy.

Lucky for me… Flaco wasn’t.

In fact… Flaco is FAR from shy. He is actually a giant flirt but in a way that is so sweet and kind he could have basically said the crudest of things to me and I still would have looked at him and smiled like a starstruck school girl: He really is that charming.

He showed up in old polyester grandpa pants and an over-sized sweatshirt. His hair smelled of Tres Flores and he reminded me of all of the men that I had loved growing up: greaser grandpas that worked on cars, had tool sheds with pin-up girl calendars on the wall, and always bought you that coca-cola you weren’t supposed to have right before dinner at the old school liquor store while picking up that cigar that grandma didn’t want him to smoke.

Yep.

For me it was love at first sight and for Flaco… it was love when he had a pretty girl standing next to him singing like a bird while he played along… at least… that’s what he said to me in his charmingly witty way.

We ran through some takes and caught the feel of the music rather quickly and so the PR rep began to take the publicity photos.

Flaco has a very thick Spanish accent and though I could understand most of what he was saying… I was a bit confused when he kept asking me to put my head on his accordion.

I couldn’t figure out why in the hell he would want me to put my head on his accordion but… I figured if a musical great asks you to put your head on his accordion well… then you do it.

I leaned over and laid my head against the keys.

Flaco laughed and pushed my head back up and said, “Your head. Your head!”

I put my head back down and pressed it against the keys again.

“Ay!” he said laughing and then repeated louder. “YOUR HEAD!”

After about five minutes of me putting my head down… Flaco pushing it up… the people standing inside of the control room staring at us and starting to wonder if we were playing some musical blow job game, Julian, my producer, finally pushed the talk back button in the control room and said, “What the hell are you two doing?”

The photographer stood mute… not sure how to handle the situation so he just stared at Julian hoping that his production skills went further than just musical instruction.

Flaco shouted out towards the glass, “I want her to put her HEAD on my instrument for the photographer.”

Julian looked stunned for a moment… not sure if we were moving into some type of creepy sex-for-music scandal before I saw his face light up and he said, “Oh! He wants you to put your HAND on his accordion.”

“Yes!” Flaco laughed and nodded his head, “Come D.D. put your HAND on my instrument.”

I tried not to envision my “hand” on Flaco’s “instrument” as I reached over and pretended to play the keys on the accordion.

Flaco put his hand next to mine, leaned in for a giant hug, and smiled big at the photographer waiting for the flash to snap.

“Jesus,” I heard the photographer mumble under his breath.

“You didn’t understand him either,” I snapped.

“Whaaaaaahhh?” Flaco said.

“Nothing Flaco,” I squeezed his arm and then turned to give the photographer a dirty look. “Everything is fine.”

About a week later, the record company called and said, “Flaco really likes you. The Texas Tornados want you to play a series of shows with them. Are you okay with that?”

Were they kidding?

I was ecstatic.

My family was elated.

And I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to meet the boys.

“Just some local shows,” my manager said. “But we want to get a bit of a buzz going for ya.”

Our first show together was at The Coachhouse and I wanted to bring them all gifts so… I talked to my A&R rep and we gave them each the best of the Disney swag: Solid gold Mickey Mouse watches in special collector cartoon tins. They were super cool gifts and though I was nervous to meet all the guys together, I was excited to give them to the band.

I arrived for sound check, walked up the back stairs of The Coachhouse, and found the guys hanging out in the large Green room.

Augie Meyers definitely looked the scariest. He has that old hard biker thing going and I swear if he had shouted at me I would have stopped and pee’d in fear on the spot. He eyeballed me up and down as he sat on the couch, one leg crossed over the other, arms splayed out over the backside of the couch cushions, as if he were sizing me up and deciding whether or not to like me.

Freddy Fender looked up from re-stringing his guitar and smiled. He had always reminded me of a Latino Jerry Garcia, someone I had never seen as much of a threat, so I smiled back and gave him a bit of a wave.

Doug Sahm, was the funny man of the group… he reminded me of Joe Walsh from The Eagles… always looking for some type of trouble and fun and so he shouted a big “HEY!” before Flaco rushed over and grabbed me.

“This is D.D.” he said to the band, as if he were presenting them with a special gift, and when I saw Augie Meyer’s face light up, I knew that everything was going to be okay. They all stood up to hug me and shake my hand and I felt like I suddenly had my own personal gang of musical bad asses: men who would be more then willing to silence any type of idiotic heckler in the crowd. I knew it was going to be a beautiful series of shows and as I glowed in their presence… I handed them their gifts.

You would have thought that they had never received a present from anyone in their lifetime. They were all overwhelmed with my thoughtfulness and Augie actually bent down and kissed my head, he seemed almost embarrassed to accept his watch but took it out of the case, admired it briefly, before putting it on and preparing to sound check for the show.

That night both our sets went off without a hitch. We played to a sold-out crowd and woke up to stellar reviews. It seriously felt like my life couldn’t get any better and the warm feeling continued until later that night when I watched Freddy Fender giving an interview on television.

He was in the middle of talking about the tour when his microphone kept clinking against something in his pocket.

The metallic sound was so distracting to the interviewer that he actually stopped the interview with Freddy and asked, “What’s going on in your pocket?”

Freddy smiled and pulled out the Disney cartoon watch tin and held it up to the camera. “Oh,” he said, laughing as he opened it wide for the viewers to see. “D.D. Wood gave this to me. I love it. I’m diabetic and I keep all of my insulin needles in this little container. See? It fits them perfectly. Isn’t it a lovely gift?”

I looked at his wrist: no watch.

I looked back at his hand: tin full of needles.

God I hoped people heard the diabetic part and weren’t already sending me hate mail about how I was enabling the habit of “Mr. Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and basically trying to kill off a living legend.

Jesus.

My husband who was watching the show with me looked over and laughed out loud.

“I love it!” He said with a great big growl and a loud clap of his hands. “Freddy Fender just gave you the best shout out ever.”

I wasn’t so sure about that.

“He liked the tin. He isn’t wearing the watch,” I said with a pout.

“Gimme a break,” my husband said. “Keeping his needles in your tin is way better.”

I gave him a skeptical look.

My next show with The Tornados, I walked up, grabbed Freddy, and pulled the tin from his pocket.

“Really?” I said. “Really? On National television?  You tell people you love the tin and you don’t even wear the watch?”

“What?” He said. “The watch is cool and all but… that little tin is just so perfect for my rigs.”

“Hey this ain’t prison,” I said. “Don’t be getting all drug slang on me.”

He laughed and gave me a big hug, “It’s not like I said you were there with me little girl.”

Flaco came up and hugged me. “I heard you brought your mother to this show may I meet her?”

Freddy actually rolled his eyes.

I could only imagine what was going to happen next but I led Flaco to my mom and watched from the stage, trying to concentrate on my set, as Flaco flirted and laughed with my mother.

I couldn’t stop myself from wondering what it would be like to have Flaco as my step-dad and The Texas Tornados as regular visitors at my household.

I smiled at the thought as I finished my last song and bowed to the crowd.

“He seems to really like your mom,” Augie said from the wings as I unplugged my Fender and walked off the stage.

“Is that a good thing?” I asked.

Augie shook his head and laughed.

Doug walked up behind us and said, “You might need a drink child.” Which was a pretty serious statement from someone very much clean and sober at the time.

But Flaco, was a perfect gentleman. He kissed my mother’s hand at the end of the night and she road home with me charmed as everyone was by Flaco’s attention.

I played several more shows with The Tornados before we parted ways.

Several years later Doug was gone… Freddy was too…. and I think of Augie and Flaco and miss our time together… and in my heart I am so grateful that I had my moment with the Godfathers of Tejano, these Kings of country music.