“That’s Amore” by Dean Martin

Dean MartinThis is the fourth in my “With Music” series, where I capture moments in my life through a song. The others  so far included a song by Ben Folds Five (you can read it here), Sheryl Crow (here), and the third was about one of the best songs ever by Beth Orton (here). Check them out! (After reading this one, of course.)

I never really liked Dean Martin’s music.

When I think of classic crooners, I always lean towards Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nat “King” Cole. Bing had a nice jazz rhythm and friendliness in his voice, Frank was art (a unique and always beautiful combination of arrangement and voice), and Nat… Nat was the man. Smooth voice and a great jazz piano player. His album After Midnight might be my favorite album of all time. I can’t think of a week I had not listened to it all the way through at least once.

But Dean Martin?

Dean was silly, with his drink in his hand and a wink to the audience. You never got the feeling that the music really mattered to him, it was just another part of his performance, no more important than his suit and his cocktail.

And yet, Dean would begin to represent for my wife and me one of the happiest moments not only of our marriage, but our lives. Dean started each day of our best adventure, made us want to sing along. Dean equaled freedom and bliss. And if he was around today it would be hard not to give him a hug if I was to meet him (I’m assuming at a questionable and loud bar in Las Vegas).

See, Dean Martin and his ridiculous song about a moon and a pizza pie was the musical symbol for our two-week trip through Italy.

It’s all so freaking weird to consider, but it is true. Continue reading

The Importance of a Toe: A Love Story

A Foot, Not MineI know my wife will forever love me because of a toe.

My wife and my relationship was always a whirlwind, definitely something that some of our more conservative friends and family would wonder about, never daring really to say anything to our faces (and if they ever did, chances are, we probably would have laughed about it later). Of course, knowing both or our personalities, it was not surprising that we would be so serious, so quickly. And in a matter of months, my future wife was living with me in an apartment in Los Angeles.

My wife and I are both from Michigan, but didn’t meet until we were both far from that state. Through a mutual friend we immediately hit it off, our personalities perfectly in sync (with enough sarcasm included for the spice). The passion and drive I have for my writing and literature, she is mirrored with her own artform, dance.

I’m one of those lucky enough to be married to my best friend.

Our apartment, our first home, was located in Koreatown, off of Wilshire, nearby the old Ambassador Hotel, which at that time was still standing, but a shell of its former glory. I used to explore the history of it online and tell my future wife about the celebrities that once walked its halls, performed, and partied. I always liked to imagine it filled with partying ghosts in that legendary Coconut Grove while a jazz band played. Some claimed to hear the band while walking past the building, but I never did sadly. I just found the empty and lost history of it fascinating. It could have been such a massive tourist trap if presented right, but no one seemed to care (Los Angeles was moving too fast to ever consider looking back) and today the building is gone. Continue reading