Musings about music, writing, Portland, my new house, my travels, my family, politics, whatever.....

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Onward to Missoula and more writing

Finished Jennifer Lauck's writing workshop on Sunday, three days with a group of eight truly amazing women in a cozy room with a stunning view of the changing light through the trees, colors of October. What did I get from this (besides cheesecake and a beautiful new scarf and an aunt)? I got some great feedback about my writing. I got to see my writing make a whole room full of women laugh hysterically. I got the push to keep going with this writing thing, and finally decided it was time to start a writing group. I had always put it off, the weekly accountability it would require, the commitment to my writing... But now is the time, and other people are already onboard. It's time for this.

All this does make me wonder what voice I want ot have on this blog, what it's purpose is. So far it's been much less personal than a lot of blogs I read. Feels weird to put too much of myself out on the web for all to see. But I do want it to be real. Guess I'll just continue to explore what feels right with it.

But for now I want to say thank you to everyone in Jennifer's worksop this weekend, and also everyone in Ariel Gore's memoir classes that I took last spring and fall. Onward....

And onward to Missoula tomorrow. To see my friends, to help put on a show there for Myshkin and Raina, to drink some Tipu's chai and stock up on Lolo Peak cherry wine and yummy smelly things at Body Basics. To listen to KUFM, see the mountains and the river, and eat french toast with David. And back on Sunday in time for Shawn Colvin at the Aladdin. Thanks to Lisa for being talked into going on a road trip.... :)

Quote of the week from Willa, after watching the first half of The Sound of Music and being slightly fixated on sixteen-year-olds ("I am sixteen, going on seventeen..."). We talked about her being sixteen, how that would be in twelve years, how she could drive then. I told her I hoped we'd still be such good friends. Serious look of concern. "But Jess, will you still be alive then?"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Makaylah Grooving to Sesame Street, Writing Workshop

So, somone got a webcam for his birthday, thus this super cute video: .

This weekend I am really excited to be doing a writing workshop with memoir writer Jennifer Lauck, author of Blackbird and Still Waters. Tracy introduced me to her books... And sure enough I loved them, saw her read at Broadway Books last month, and signed up for this worskhop.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Bday Jonah.

I've noticed that a lot of people seem to post about their loved ones' birthdays on their blogs, so this seems a good time to do that. Today is my cousin Jonah's 33rd birthday. I don't think anyone will be offended (well, or anyone who reads this anyway) if I say that Jonah is my favorite cousin, up there in favorite relatives of all time (now people are getting offended....). I've known him since I was four and our grandparents got married. My earliest memory of him is at their wedding reception. There was candy on the bar, and we joined forces (being much shorter than the bar) to try to get that candy. Don't know how I remember this or know that it was him, but I do.

Me and Jonah in Cairo this January (I wish I had some earlier ones of us to put here, but my scanner died).

Jonah, our cousin Raechl, and Jessica at their wedding in Putney, VT, August 2002.

Being an only child, I guess my cousins have always been extra important to me, and there are a few other ones who I really like a lot and maybe don't know as well. Jonah and I haven't always been as close as we are now, but he's pretty much always been around on the periphary, at least. We took a cruise down the Rhine River in 1987 with our grandparents (he was 13, I was 11). We spent some time running around in the woods in Guilford, Vermont. He spent some time seducing my friends in high school (I was only a little jealous - that I wasn't seducing them, that is). But maybe in the last 5 years (?) or so we've been a lot closer. Maybe it helped, too, that he hooked up with one of the coolest women in the world (who emailed me to introduce herself when they first started dating because she heard that I was important to him and thought we might have a few things in common). I think I've seen them every summer since they've moved to Egypt, and been lucky enough to go visit there last winter for 6 weeks. And of course they were here in August, you can find that post if you haven't seen it.

Anyway, being someone short on close family, I'm pretty grateful for Jonah and his amazing little family. Its been pretty cool to see him become a husband and a dad (and have the cutest daughter in the world). We've talked about how great it would be to live in the same place and start a business together or do other crazy things, just to hang out, grow old maybe. I hope that happens someday (and for the record, I'm not moving to Egypt). In the meantime, I hope we continue to get to see each other once or twice a year, and have long instant messenger conversations in the meantime. And even real conversations sometimes, too.

Monday, October 09, 2006

only two things that money can't buy, that's true love and homegrown tomatoes

Reporting from the SE Division location of Stumptown Coffee, the best coffee in Portland....

So yesterday I had a major revelation. Those of you who know me well will understand the significance of this. I was picking cherry tomatoes in my garden, and just for the hell of it, I ate a few. I've eaten some before and didn't really like them. But this time I kept eating them and realized they were pretty good. Then I made some quesadillas for dinner and cut some up and put them in there with some good Vermont cheese, some organic sour cream, some lettuce, and my favorite hot sauce. And it was so good! It made me really happy (and made me finally get the song...). So this marks the first time in my entire life that I have ever enjoyed a raw tomato. We'll see if it lasts. I don't expect it will extend to full-size tomatoes. Anyway, here are a few pictures of my tomatoes and my crazy cat. Sweet version above and psychotic posessed version below. Those of you who know Emma Lou well will be familiar with both....

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Some new music

It's been a pretty great week for all kinds of reasons, but one is that I've gotten tons of new music since returning from the Americana conference. Nothing like a new radio show to get some new CDs in the mail. Unfortunately, the radio show won't be starting until January now, but it'll probably take that long to listen to all the new music, so it's OK.

Here are some thoughts on new music I've been listening to:

- Devon Sproule , who I saw last week in a tiny art gallery on Alberta, was great. Lots of personality, great guitar chops, unique energy and songwriting. Her CD sounded really good the one time I listened to it. Which was right before my car stereo got stolen, again, with that CD in it. I think I might manage to get a replacement copy though, and maybe even promote her the next time she comes to town.

- Northampton singer-songwriter Chris Pureka is coming on November 15th. See the Shining City web site for details. I just got an advance copy of her new album, Dryland. I like it a lot, it's full of her rich husky vocals that sound a little like Melissa Ferrick sometimes, only a hundred times better (I'm not so much into Melissa Ferrick). I'm partial to track 3, "So It Goes", probably because it features some great banjo as well as cool people like Goody Goodrich (guitar) and Merrill Garbus (vocals). That one has been on repeat.

- I got a free Luke Doucet CD in my swag bag at AMA. Not often to do find really good stuff in those bags, but I read an intriguing review of him in a magazine, so I listened to the CD and I loved it. It's just good solid angsty Canadian pop music. I'm looking into bringing him to Portland next month.

Another health care reform benefit is on the works for January. This time benefitting a great organization called The Archimedes Movement, started by John Kitzhaber, Oregon's popular former governor (see links at right).

And it looks like Raina is having a great time on her tour... She's in Boulder tonight.

So that's all for now. Other new music that I may or may not get around to writing about later includes: Kasey Chambers, Shawn Colvin, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Indigo Girls, Darrell Scott, and The Be Good Tanyas. Tell me about your new music?

Oh, and Ms. Jennie Lou has her own blog now, too: