...sugar and spice and everything nice...

Friday, April 29, 2005

My husband is a....

My husband is a hip-hop dj/producer for the group Mars ILL. This has made for some funny conversations around the monkey bars with faux-urban (my word for....edit:: that first definition wasnt quite right. Ive come up with a better one. It's the folks who want to live as if in the suburbs while in the city--avoiding the city experience) moms. It usually goes something like this:

mom: "So what does your husband do that requires him to be out of town?"
me: "Oh, he produces music and travels with a group."
mom: "What instrument does he play?"
me: "Well, it's a hip-hop group."
mom: "Oh! That's so interesting!"
me: "Yeah! He's the dj" (to which I receive a look I dont know how to interpret) "he scratches" (moving my hand to mimick the movement.) "And he produces music for the group and other groups. He doesnt rap."
mom: "Wow! What't the name of their group?"
me: (knowing full well that there is a 95% chance she's never heard of them) "Mars ILL."
mom: "Hmmm. I havent heard of them."
me: "Yeah, they have a pretty nice following here in Atlanta. They play a lot of clubs here and around the country."
mom: "Wow, how interesting!"

Of course this isnt how every conversation goes, but a lot of the time it is awkward and strange, as if they cant quite get it. (If you ask me it has to do with the fact that I dont look like I'd be married to a hip-hop producer so it throws them off! But what should the wife of a hip-hop dj look like?)

I am so proud of my man. When we first met we were in college, and I would stay at his parents house on the weekends because my family lived across the country. He would spend hours downstairs in the basement "working on beats" and driving me crazy! I wanted those precious hours spent with me! But God had other plans. Nate had this little Gemini mixer, an ARS-10? and a record player (I say record player because it was literally a record player--not a turntable.) He was doing a few shows around the area with a friend he had met (Rahlo, now of The Blacksoil Project) and was making beats out of old Jimmy Hendrix albums, and later, Tears for Fears.

I would go to most of the shows with him, and secretly I was so nervous. They were just learning their craft, like babies learning to walk, and I would pray that the audience would get into it and respond. A few years later they were doing it full time, and we were deciding whether or not to marry. I remember him sitting me down and saying something to the effect of "I love you, but I know this is what God wants me to do, and you have to decide if you can do this too." It was a big deal, because I had dreams of what I thought my life would be, and traveling around with a hip-hop group wasnt exactly a part of the plan at the point! But I did know that God had brought this man into my life and my life was now full of love. I knew that he was the biggest blessing I had ever received, and I also knew I didnt want to live this life without him around! So I trusted that God's plans were bigger than mine, and the journey began!

Since then I have seen some pretty amazing things happen with the group that came to be Mars ILL. Three albums, several 12"'s, an EP, as well as guest spots on some great albums, record contracts, traveling all over the country, a music video, etc. But what keeps me going is the encouragement we get from people who love the music. When I hear the response from people, when we get emails from fans, or when I read what reviewers have written about the albums, or see interviews with the group I am encouraged! I am reminded that having my husband gone for weeks at a time, regularly, is worth it! I see what God is doing and I am excited!

If you are interested in knowing more about what Mars ILL is about, check out my link on the lower right column.
And here's a little blurb about the crew:

Mars ILL Friends and Family

manCHILD started out with SintaxtheTerrific and DJ Hi-Tech in the underground group The Pride in the mid 90's. In the late 90's they joined forces with other like-minded individuals to form the Deepspace 5 crew which now includes groups like Labklik, Mars ILL, and artists such as Playdough, Sev Statik, Beat Rabbi, and DJ Manny.

At the same time Dust was paying dues with Rahlo (now of Blacksoil Project) and The Judge as Basses Loaded. Mid 90's Rahlo and Dust joined forces with Nobul (later became Thinking of Michalis Constant) and toured as Dead Poet Society across the US and overseas. After meeting Dust at a hip-hop convention in the late 90's manCHILD joined the group and he Dust and Rahlo became Mars ILL.

In 2000 Dust and manCHILD set out on their own to make history with the release of Raw Material, then followed that with a 12", the Blue Collar Sessions EP and on and on. Next on the agenda is the anxiously awaited sophomore release from Gotee, ProPain, due out this July.

Mars ILL Albums/EP's/12"'s released to date:

Raw Material (Sphere of Hip Hop/Uprock)
12" Mona Lisa
The Night We Called It A Day~Deepspace 5 (Uprock)
Blue Collar Sessions (Ill Boogie Records)
12" Redefine
Sound Methods (Mars ILL)
Backbreakanomics (Gotee Records)
12" Breathe Slow
Sound Methods v.2.0 (Mars ILL)
Pirate Radio (Mars ILL)
Unique, Just Like Everyone Else~Deepspace 5 (Gotee Records May 10th 2005)
ProPain (due out July 19, 2005 Gotee Records)
maxi single for ProPain

Deepspace 5 website is deepspace5.com
Albums: Deepspace 5 EP and "The Night We Called It A Day"
"Unique, Just Like Everyone Else" May 10th 2005

The crew is:
BEAT RABBI (Circumcised Mind)
FREDDIE BRUNO (Phonetic Composition)
PLAYDOUGH (Phonetic Composition/Ill Harmonics)www.illharmonics.biz
LISTENER (Labklik) www.forthelistener.com/www.labklik.com
DJ MANNY (Grits)
SINTAXtheterrific (The Pride) www.sintaxtheterrific.com
SEV STATIK (All Bully/Tunnel Rats) www.sevstatik.com
also RECON and ILLTRIPP (semi-retired)

The Blacksoil Project website is: http://blacksoilproject.com/html/home.html
Albums: "Ulterior Motives" and "The Calm Before the Storm"
The crew is:
RYAN OFFICER (sometimes travels with Rahlo)

Binkis Recs
Squashy Nice & AD
Collective Efforts
Educated Consumers
Bigg Jus
MinaMina Goodsong
Bobby Bishop
The Remnant (Militia)
John Reuben
4th Ave Jones
LA Symphony
Pigeon John
Psyche Origami
The (other) Remnant
Canon (also known as Ward @ the Ward-O-Matic)
Dres the Beatnik
Vintage Imperial
and others...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hip Hip Hooray!

My brother-in-law over at The Ward-O-Matic was kind enough to set up my links for me! I am not very computer savvy, so it would have never been done but for his kindness. Let's pause for a minute and applaud his generosity which brought his sister-in-law into the modern age of blogging! (cheers/whistles/a few rounds of "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow/Ward climbs onto my shoulders and I carry him around the room chanting "WARD! WARD! WARD! WARD!" and the room errupts again in thunderous applause.)

Be sure to check the right hand column just below my archives to view the different links of sites I like to visit. And be sure to check out Hopscotch Honey, because links are now up there too! Next on Ward's "To Do" list for his favorite (and only) sister-in-law are the Mars ILL Insider links and teaching me how to put links in my text, because honestly, what else has the guy got to do? And then, if Im a really good wife to his wife's brother, I might learn how to post pictures. (fist pump "YES!)

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Some Robins have built a little nest right outside my kitchen window on top of the drain pipe. I cant make out little "chirps" yet, but they are definitely protecting the nest. It is so interesting to watch! I dont know if it is the same squirrel every time, or different squirrels, but each morning a squirrel makes his way up the tree in front of the window (the tree who's branches just happen to cross right over the top of the drain pipe) and contemplates jumping across. About that time a Robin jumps down to a branch of the tree as if to say, "One more step and it'll be your last." So of course the squirrel takes one more step, and then Momma Robin swoops out of the nest and both birds chase the squirrel across the yard nipping at it's tail the entire way.

The other day I heard some commotion outside our front window and a family was excitedly carrying on about something. I went outside to see if I could help, and it happened to be that a family of Geese were in my front yard! Two adults and three baby Geese, and they were not happy about this Human family following them around. They had been backed into our yard, and were trying to get across to the next yard, but the fence had stopped them. I had to call off the kids (who, as much as they were enjoying themselves, would have scared me into a corner too) and we allowed them to proceed around the fence and on their way. It was really an amazing experience though, to be so close to them!

Spring has arrived!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Take this quiz...#1

Ive developed a quiz to find out just how similar we really are. Or to find out what a weirdo I am. Either way I think it will be fun. They are all yes or no questions so it should be easy!

1. When considering a meal, macaroni and cheese is often first on the list.

2. Taking a shower once a day is an option, not a must.

3. You are awakened each evening by the sound of a monster engined Camero starting up.

4. "Use Your Illusion I & II" never left your stereo during your senior year of high school.

5. You use a wrench to turn on the cold water in your shower.

6. It's more fun spending $20 at the thrift store than at the department store.

7. You know who Jessica Fletcher is and the city she's from.

8. You told the other kids at pre-school that Mr. Rogers was your uncle.

9. Your idea of a good time is eating a plate of nachos.

10. In the same year you saw both New Kids On The Block in concert and Aerosmith. (shame!)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I love to go to sleep

I love crawling into bed at night and feeling the cool sheets as my head hits the pillow. I love lots of covers and love to feel nice and cozy all curled up in my bed. I love to lay on my stomach, although I used to be a back sleeper. Before having a child I always slept on my back, or at least fell asleep on my back. But my belly got so big that it was terribly uncomfortable, so I started sleeping on my side. Then I guess after my belly went back down and I had the freedom to choose again, I gave the stomach a try and I must say it is bliss!

Ive actually noticed that I sleep different on my stomach depending on which side my head is turned towards. If my head faces right I angle the pillow long-ways and curl my right arm under it with my right leg bent up a little. My left hand goes under the pillow by my head. If my head is turned left, my right arm extends straight under the pillow, which remains horizontal. But my left leg bends up a little and my left arm just bends up a little near the pillow. Interesting how we do these precise poses while we sleep at night. In fact in one position my hand is actually curled up all funny, but if I try to do it any different I dont feel comfortable!

I think sleep is from heaven! I know it has all these great benefits, and certainly rest is a gift from God, but just thinking about it gives me that cozy feeling. I love it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Top 10 favorite memories

Here we go:

1. Favorite movie memory (as a kid): definitely the scene in ET when they come to the house in the white suits ready to capture ET and do tests on him and the kids are crying and Elliott takes off with ET in his bike. That was heartstopping entertainment for a tweenage little girl.

2. Favorite food memory: It's a tie. Eating pepperoni pizza at Abby's pizza after jr. high dances in my hometown. Still the best pizza I have ever tasted. And, eating the Burrito Grande at Cheesecake Factory with my husband in Miami while on vacation. Anything from Cheesecake Factory is delicious....my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

3. Favorite "cute guy" memory: After hearing the real cute guy at school kinda liked me I decided to go back to my dorm room and cancel a date with a different boy and show up at the girls basketball game "cute guy" would be working at (because basketball players were required to work some of the girls games). I spent the whole game stealing looks back and forth with the cute guy, and got a call from him the very next day. Now we live together.

4. Favorite birthday memory: One year my husband picked me up from work a little early and we decided to get dinner and a movie at the mall (woo-hoo!) But what I didnt know is that he had withdrawn a decent amount of cash and decided to let me have a little shopping spree before the movie started! I didnt spend it all, but it sure was fun feeling like I could!

5. Favorite elementary school memory: 1st grade, chasing John Carpenter around the playground, catching the back of his shirt and watching it rip off of him. The thrill of catching him but the fear of having gone too far. More the thrill of catching him. (I've always been a little boy crazy. Ahemmm, for my husband that is!)

6. Favorite boardgame memory: Balderdash is a hit with our family, and before we had kids we used to stay up til the crack of dawn playing. One time we had some jazzy music playing in the background and while we were intently trying to write down our fake meanings to these words the saxophone solos began. I dont know what happened, but someone commented on how funny it would be if Stretch and Giles (my father-in-law's 2 Italian Greyhounds) were actually playing the intruments in the other room and we didnt know it. Each time the saxaphone solo got more and more elaborate, and with each solo we got to cracking up harder and harder just imagining those two dogs in there playing. It reached of level of hysteria, we were laughing so hard, and there wasnt a dry eye in the room. It may not make sense on paper, but that is a great memory!

7. Favorite dreaded memory: Is that even possible? Oh well. One of my favorite bad memories is of a former home owner who rented an apartment to us which was actually a part of her house. Without going into much detail (it would take me a day to type out the whole story) we asked if we could take up the pink carpet in one room to make my husband's studio. She agreed to let us remove the carpet and paint the floor a neutral color. The morning after she came knocking on our door at the crack of dawn asking what the horrible smell was. When I explained we had painted the night before she went ballistic on me. In fact, the one line that I will never forget her saying was, "I dont know if you two are naive or just plain stupid!" Ahhh, good times.

8. Favorite "now Im a grown up" memory: Buying a house. It was SUCH a tedious process, but the most glorious moment was realizing that we no longer answered to anyone about color, noise, "stuff", where to park, how long we had to stay, etc. And at the same time realizing that we had no one to answer us about plumbing problems, yard work, noisy neighbors, bugs, etc.

9. Favorite candy memory: The "lick-a-stik." Oh I loved those candies! You get two big white hard candy sticks and three separate pouches of powdery sugar to dip them in. Your tongue would get raw but you would power thru and finish the whole thing, spending the rest of the afternoon on a major sugar high only to come crashing down right around suppertime.

10. Favorite mom memory: Not too long ago I had one of those moments with my daughter that was too precious. It was a moment I wished I could snapshot and hold on to forever, but I knew that a photo wouldnt have come close to capturing the beauty of it. We were at the park and she was just tugging at my heart strings with every word. It was one of those days. And I thought she might like to swing with me. You know, the "spider swing"? When you sit normal and the other person sits on you lap facing you with their legs around your waist? It was a beautiful day outside and we were sitting there swinging and she had this look on her face, pure enjoyment, amazement, and innocence. I thought I could never love her more.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


The other day at the thrift store I saw a beautiful African American older man standing strong while searching thru a rack of clothes. He had on a jacket that said "(I cant remember the actual name of it) Ballet Academy" written on the back. Suddenly I stood up a little taller and found my center and remembered I too used to dance.

I wasnt training to perform professionally, and I probably wouldnt have been considered really great by the rest of the world's standards, but I loved to dance. Ive never been very learned in the history of the art, although there are some names every student should recognize, and Ive never taken a master class because I never reached that level of skill, but I loved to dance. There has always been something deep inside of me that found its fullfillment while dancing. Feeling my body learn to stretch and move in ways it couldnt before, feeling the subtle pain but emense satisfaction of going deeper, taller, higher, harder, more confidently than ever before. Moving to rhythms and beats, classical and modern, boom bap and jazz that force you to tell a story with strength and power or lithe, graceful subtlty. I loved to dance.

Ballet was beautiful and fulfilled the side of me that is orderly, perfectionistic, and controlled. I loved the barre work, the flexibility required, and the elegance of the dance. Jazz was like the flirty sister to ballet, incorporating similar skills with flair and pazzazz but allowing more freedom of movement. Modern was like a ballet of its own but didnt force the body to do impossible things. Instead it let the body reach its fullest potential with movements and shapes and rolls and flat backs and releases that required the same control but loved the body as it was. Hip-hop was my breath of fresh air, my sense of freedom and beauty. What I felt most at ease learning. African was hard, intense, rhythmic, and definitely a rewarding cultural experience. Tap was classic. A dance that does not get the credit it deserves. A precise yet free flowing, detailed yet whimsical art. And b-boying, or breakdancing as some still refer to it, an amazing combination of incredible strength, fascinating movement, and sheer skill. Of course there are many other styles of dance, and to be honest my favorites would have to be the Latin Dances, although Ive only had a tiny bit of experience with them.

The art of dance is a slow study, full of passion, grace, detail, love, sorrow, pain, and determination. It is a gathering of all peoples from all walks of life who desire to share their stories thru movement. I am privileged to have been a part of that art for a short time in my own life. I miss it. And hopefully I will someday dance again.