Lydster: what to write on her natal day

To the degree that I know anything…

Back in the day, I would have gushed about my daughter, especially on her natal day. I might have noted how cute she was, and how lovely she is now. Perhaps I would indicate how much I’ve learned from her almost every day.

Her sense of justice has always been finely tuned. At least a decade ago, when the change from my pants pocket fell onto the bed, my wife would collect it. But my daughter thought my wife was stealing from me and ratted her out to grandma. Now, she is savvy about issues of racism, sexism, and other inequities.

I’m much more aware of looking at food labels because of her allergies, especially dealing with peanuts. She and I react almost exactly the same to everything from ragweed to cigarette smoke, which is to say, badly.

To the degree that I know anything about 21st-century music, technology, changes in language, and a myriad of other things is because of her.


Here’s the thing, though. 1) She’s a teenager. 2) She sometimes reads my blog, especially on the 26th of the month. A bunch of platitudes would probably make her gag. She’s doesn’t think she was cute as a child. (N.b., she’s wrong.) If I say I love her, at best she’ll roll her eyes.

So frankly, I don’t know WHAT I’m going to write that doesn’t invade her privacy too much.

I can say this. She’s applied to about eight colleges. She got into most or all of them. Currently, she’s considering a couple of them and wants to make second visits to both before deciding.

Ah, heck. I’ll write what I want. It’s my blog, and if it wasn’t for her, there would likely not BE  a blog. Here’s a story I’ve told before. When I got one of those baby books where one records her first tooth or first steps, I was TERRIBLE at using it. To be fair to me, her  mother was no better than I.

So when I comtemplated starting a blog, I decided that I would write about my daughter at least once a month. And always on the 26th of the month, because. I might  write about her MORE often, but that was the floor.

Since May 2005, I have managed to write about her every 26th, 203 times in a row if my math is correct. I’ll try to keep this up, but it might be more difficult. We shall see.

(Don’t tell her that I wrote how much I love her. She’d REALLY will roll her eyes.)

My daughter’s musical tastes

The day before a momentous one

hamilton logoI’ve noted that my daughter’s musical tastes include 1990s soul, developed without much input from me, though I approve.

She’s been involved in a few musicals at church, so she knows The Lion King. Her parents have let her know about West Side Story and Fiddler On The Roof. She discovered Grease on her own.

Recently, she’s been playing the Studio Cast Recording to the musical Six, about the six wives of Henry VI. The first song, Ex-Wives, repeats the bromide to remember their fates: Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived. It could be useful in a history class.

Indeed, her affection for Hamilton, long before I was aware of it, has helped her in that manner. She knows who ran in the election of 1800, e.g. Likewise her knowledge of Assassins, the interesting Sondheim musical about people who killed Presidents, or tried to, has helped. Musicals aren’t history, of course, but they can be useful.

Her father, as noted, gave her Beatles #1s when she was five. So I was amused with one of those periodical articles, this showing up in the local paper, by a guy named Michael Gorelick. His commentary was titled “Fab Four music seriously flawed” The writer says nausea overwhelms him “three seconds after hearing a Beatles song.”

I would disagree, of course, as did at least four readers of the Times Union. But he did say one thing that was true of me. I used Beatles music to babysit my child, unapologetically. Compare Adam@Home.

More of the road trip songs

I’m continuing with songs she picked out on the road trip.

Take On Me -A-ha
No Scrubs – TLC
Stand Up – Cynthia Erivo. This is from the movie Harriet, which she did not see, but her parents did.

Jugaste y Sufri – Eslabon Armado ft. Danny Lux
Lover Is A Day – Cuco
Not Allowed – TV Girl
t r a n s p a re n t s o u l – Willow Smith ft. Travis Barker

Cupid’s Chokehold/Breakfast In America – Gym Class Heroes ft. Patrick Stump. I love that Supertramp album
Redbone – Childish Gambino
Moral Of The Story – Ashe. “You can think that you’re in love when you’re really just in pain.”
Daddy Issues – The Neighbourhood. Hmmm…

Lydster: music for the road

Ben E. King

Madds Buckley
..Madds Buckley, with whom I am totally unfamiliar

On a recent trip, we had a new process for music on the road. My daughter synced her phone’s playlist to the Bluetooth in our vehicle.

Usually, when we travel, my daughter is listening on her headphones while her mother listens to Public Radio. I play Hearts or Spades on my phone or tablet when I’m not navigating.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics. My wife and I saw Annie Lennox’s work at Mass MOCA pre-pandemic, but our daughter did not join us. I’m a big Eurythmics fan.
Just the Two of Us – Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers. Last song on Withers’ greatest hits album, which I own.
Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler. She came across this because it was used on a television crime show she was watching.                                     The Red Means I Love You – Madds Buckley. This is what I was expecting more of. Songs I’m unfamiliar with by artists I never heard of.
Careless Whisper – George Michael

Somebody’s Watching Me  – Rockwell* This features Michael Jackson.
Poison – Bell Viv DeVoe
I Hear A Symphony – Cody Fry, No, it’s not the Supremes song.
As The World Caves – Sarah Cothran
Bills, Bills, Bills – Destiny’s Child. She’s really into ’90s soul.

More tunes

Killing Me Softly With His Song – Fugees. I have this on an album.
American Boy – Estelle, featuring Kanye West (or whatever he’s calling himself)
I Love You So – The Walters
Little Dark Age – MGMT
Space Song – Beach House

Eleanor Rigby – Cody Fry. She had played this earlier in the month to see if I recognized it.
Washing Machine Heart – Mitski
Stand By Me – Ben E King. This was a Triple stumper on an episode of  JEOPARDY back in November
Put Your Head On My Shoulder – Paul Anka. This surprised me.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Of COURSE, I own this
You’re The One That I Want – John Travolta and· Olivia Newton-John. She actually saw the movie Grease before I did.
Line Without A Hook – Ricky Montgomery
American Pie – Don McLean* The penultimate song played by the DJ at my high school reunion in September.
Meet Me At Our Spot – Willow Smith and Tyler Cole. The former is the daughter of Will and Jada.

*She didn’t actually play this because she became impatient over the advertisements

Soft Spoken, But Not

Art show

Soft Spoken But Not
Soft Spoken, But Not c LPG

Here is a piece of art called Soft Spoken, But Not. It was created by my daughter, who weaved it. She showed me the process but I can’t really explain it to you.

The angle of the photo may not give you a good vantage point, but the object is a megaphone. In fact, it is a replica of one she owns. (What? You don’t own your own megaphone?) Oh, here’s another shot, by the artist.

She bought it in the summer of 2020 when she and some of her friends organized and participated in demonstrations following the death of George Floyd. Ultimately, it became about other unarmed black people who died violently at the hands of authorities.

The rallies were about a block from our house, so occasionally her mother or I would participate, but it was mostly much younger people. What was fascinating is the response of passersby. Not only were they overwhelmingly positive, but they brought items. Ice cream sandwiches and doughnuts. Quite a bit of water, including a case from Sam, the son of a late friend of mine. And one woman, a stranger, brought my daughter another megaphone.


From the Albany School District site: “Five pieces, created by four Albany High School student-artists, were chosen for display in the Art in Three Dimensions 2022 show.

“The juried exhibition, organized by the Capital Area Art Supervisors, runs Feb. 1-28 at the W.B. Haessig Art Gallery at Mohonason High School in Rotterdam.” This was cool.

In other daughter news

My daughter has been applying to college, eight of them, I believe. This involves, among other things, completing the convoluted FAFSA application for financial aid. She was accepted into four colleges and hasn’t heard from the others yet. As the above piece might suggest, she would like to combine art with some social justice and/or environmental angle. I will be extremely happy when this process is over.

Lydster: an art debut at church

Honor Society


My daughter had her art debut at our church on November 7. Actually, it was just outside the building, where we meet for coffee hour, weather permitting.

The church had acquired the piece of art, shown above. I was a tad confused when one of our pastors mentioned ME in the morning announcements. Oh, she saw the piece on my blog or my Facebook feed, which features my blog.

The pastor was so taken by it that my daughter was asked to make another one for the church. But the process was tedious, ripping up pieces of magazine pages – mostly Vanity Fair – and sorting the colors. She was disinclined to do it again. But she would consider parting with the original.

After it sat in our living room for well over a year, in no small part due to COVID, it finally got to church. After the unveiling, my daughter briefly talked about the meaning behind the work. She was trying to come up with a more representational Jesus while at the same time maintaining the beatific tradition. I annoyed her only slightly as I chatted with the church members about her fastidious process.

I’ve noted that my wife doesn’t often go to church in person these days. But both she and her mother, who’s moved to Albany in the past few months, attended.

One thing I had not noticed all the time the piece resided in our house. There are hymns, from a discarded hymnal in the background, but there are no titles or page numbers.

Also in November

There was an in-person ceremony for the new inductees for my daughter’s high school branch of the National Honor Society. The day before the event, she and her mother went shopping for a suitable dress. She and her friend since first grade, Kay, both were handing out the programs. When the school district newsletter came out a day or two later, both Kay and my daughter were featured.

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