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

Friday, June 29, 2007

Really, I never want to leave Jerri's house

This is the sweet face I woke up to this morning. Or more accurately, the sweet furry little body curled up next to me. I will miss Cassie. :)

This is my tea cup this morning (for you, Carrie), with some damn good Yunnan tea I bought at the tea shop I found yesterday. I had driven into Kansas City to have coffee with an old friend of my mother's from social work school, Carol. It was really very wonderful to talk to her. Carol was very involved in a campaign to make the Boston University School of Social Work wheelchair accessible during the time my mother was sick and struggling to get to class in a wheelchair. Their organization was called Right to Access Must Prevail. RAMP.

I don't so much like this picture of me, but I had to have a picture of me and Jerri, so here we are. Back at the tea shop (Jerri's friend Barb is a tea nut, too).

This is Jerri and her friend Barb Robinette Moss, writer and very funny woman. It was great to meet Barb and see the sisterhood she and Jerri have going. Very sweet.

So tomorrow I have to tear myself away from this place where I have been taken such amazing care of, fed well, pampered at the salon (they actually tried to remove a whitehead for me this morning, no kidding). Hours and hours of conversation overlooking the pond. I will definitely be back before too long.

Oh, and if you want to see my new pedicure (and another weird picture of me), go to Jerri's blog here.

Tomorrow off to Fairfield, Iowa to see my second cousin, Margo. A new adventure. Onward!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lawrence, KS: Days 2/3, and Jerri's house!

Spent another day and night in Lawrence with Elise's family. Gorgeous kids, had a great time with them. Got to go to Mesfen's baseball game on Tuesday evening, and just missed Grace's game by a day (but I hear she really kicks butt out there). Also missed goat milking (maybe August?). Did get a chance to see some of Angela's gymnastics tricks.

For a little background, Elise is Dave Carter's sister. I met her and a few of the kids at his memorial service in Portland in 2002. We kept in touch and I visited them when I was passing through Kansas in the summer of 2003. Had a wonderful time with the kids and goats then, fell in love with them all, and had been looking for an opportunity to return ever since. I can't say quite how this is related to the story I am seeking out, except that the loss of my mother and the loss of Dave Carter are the two losses I have felt most deeply in my life.

Sunset from Elise's backyard.

Mesfen at the game.

Mesfen and his teammates after the game.


Grace, me, Phoenix, and Angela.

Phoenix, Grace, Elise, Strong Muscles, Angela, and Baby.

It was hard to leave Lawrence, but not hard to drive an hour through Kansas City to my friend Jerri's house in Independence, Missouri. I'd been awaiting this visit for months. Jerri has a blog called Reflections on the Pond, and I have been dying to meet her pond since I met her last fall at the first of Jennifer's workshops I did (where I also met Holly and Prema). The pond is lovely, geese and all. So is Jerri's house and so, especially, is Jerri. I'll be here until Saturday, a lovely little respite from everything, a place to relax and hang out and write and drink wine (and go to Jerri's salon).

This morning I am enjoying my tea in Jerri's red love mug with fresh goat milk from Elise. Yuuuum. And the view is perfect.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lawrence, KS: Day 1

Arrived last night at Elise's house in Lawrence, Kansas. It was a pretty decent drive. I have found that doing yoga before long drives helps enormously. The only problem with driving across Kansas was that it was crawling with cops. I hadn't seen a single one all the way across the country until Kansas, and then tons. Speed limit 70 (not 75) and it seemed wise to keep close to it. I passed a few interesting landmarks and saw a great sunset.

Prayer flags in the rear view mirror, with a rose from Bindu's garden.

Elise and family have a goat dairy, where they make goat cheese, ice cream, soap and other stuff, all from goat milk. Yummy.

This is Angela, 7, with her goat, Ming.

Elise with Ranger.

Strong Muscles.

Baby the Yorkie.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Two hikes north of Nederland, CO

On Friday I went up to Nederland to hang out with Darryl. We drove up to Caribou (partly Holly's idea, she'd been to a wedding there) and walked around for a while, then went back to Darryl's house and hung out on his stunning new deck.
A view to the east of the remains of Caribou, and Nederland below.

Darryl and a tree I liked.

View through cracked windshield of the road up to Caribou.

Me in the hammock on Darryl's deck. Note the hot tub and trampoline in the background. :)

View from Darryl's deck.

Me and Jeanne this morning.

This afternoon, Bindu and I went up near Eldora for a really lovely hike. I will miss the west and the mountains when I drive east to Kansas tomorrow....

Bindu at this lovely old abandoned log cabin we passed on the trail.

Me by a gorgeous waterfall.

Sorry I am too exhausted for any stories right now, but Boulder has been wonderful, I wish I could stay here longer. Tomorrow I am off to Lawrence, Kansas! I am well-stocked with healthy food for the long drive.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

writing adventure across the country

on sunday i finished my third "writing life" workshop with jennifer lauck. this time it was in sisters, oregon. each workshop has been different and amazing and i feel so blessed to know all the amazing women who come together for these weekends (here's a picture i love of me and holly). i've only begun to process it all, but it was most definitely the perfect way to begin my summer-long writing adventure across the country. to talk to people, to find my story, to write. (and in august, i am indeed registered for the marge piercy workshop at omega.) i will try to post here fairly often, to keep you updated on my travels.

tonight i am in boulder at bindu and jeanne's house. in this room i stayed in last summer, only now they are all moved in and it's very lovely and cozy. apparently they even had a mountain lion in the backyard last week (maybe not quite such a cozy thing).

i drove from sisters to boise on monday, boise (via bliss) to rock springs, wyoming on tuesday. rock springs to here today. amazing to drive across this part of the country in june (i usually do it in august, when it's much browner). arrived here just in time for a yoga class with amy ippoliti, who had been recommended to me by a yoga teacher in portland (maureen clyne). a great class, though it kind of kicked my butt (i have a ways to go on the head stands and back bends). i guess it's pretty hard core in boulder. :)

i am dying to sit and write in boulder coffee (and tea) shops, visit the boulder bookstore and the pearl street mall, hike around the flat irons, see jane and jenna and darryl and deidre. and just generally soak up the good boulder vibes. while i love portland the most, it always makes me happy to come back here.

lori mckenna plays the rose garden

(this post was written on june 13, last week before i left town, took a little time to get posted)

tonight was the night that lori mckenna opened for faith hill and tim mcgraw's soul2soul tour at the rose garden arena in portland. i've known a lot of musicians, but this was the first time someone i know played an arena and put me (plus one) on the guest list. the other cool part is that lori's side guy for this tour is mark erelli, another artist i have known and promoted for years (a very sweet guy whose first baby is due next month).

lori is one of the artists who was managed by gabe unger the year i worked for him in boston, 1999-2000. that was where i first learned a few things about the music business. at the time, gabe managed lori, erin mckeown, jess klein, rose polenzani, meghan toohey, and voices on the verge. i helped out in the office and at shows, and sometimes did a little road management on the side. it was a very educational year, though i was dying to leave boston (and i did move to missoula at the end of it). now, gabe manages mark erelli, anais mitchell, and shannon mcnally.

anyway, i got to know lori a bit that year, and i always adored her music. she never toured much because she had three kids. now she has five (ages 3 to 18). when she was "discovered" by faith hill a few years ago, and faith recorded several of her songs, took her on the oprah show with her, and then lori got signed to warner brothers, i was so happy for lori. couldn't think of a more deserving person, though i was a little worried about what nashville and the country music scene would do to her music (which i don't think she or anyone else ever considered country before faith hill got hold of it).

i bring briel as my guest. she’s been a fan of lori since i loaned her a cd years ago when we both lived in missoula. we find our seats and there in the seats next to us are terry woodburn, his wife laurie, and their lovely daughter, emma. cool. :)

the last time i was at the rose garden was for the dixie chicks, but this time we have fourth row seats and can actually see the artists faces without a big screen. lori comes out in an adorable outfit, jeans, babydoll shirt and perfect layered hair. she is flanked by mark on acoustic guitar and another guy, michael davey, playing electric. they play six songs. mostly from her new album (“unglamorous”, out august 14th on warner brothers, produced by tim mcgraw), and one, stealing kisses, from her last album that was recorded by faith. before she plays it she tells the audience she wants to play a little game. "i'll play a few bars of the song, and then you pretend you know the song and cheer like crazy. ok? i know none of you know my songs, but just play along." seems to me she's got the audience in the palm of her hand. in the few stadium shows i've been to before in my life (melissa etheridge, U2, and the dixie chicks), i do not recall the crowd paying much attention the openers at all. but that is clearly not the case here. lori starts into her song, and the audience realizes they do know the song, and they go crazy. she grins at the 20,000 people cheering for her and belts out the song. i was stealing kisses from a boy / now i'm begging affection from a man / in my house dress don't you know who i am / standing in your kitchen. hard to tell for sure, but i think lori is well-received and will make new fans here. i hear a woman outside afterwards talking about how great she was.

when lori is done and a swat team of techies has rearranged the set, the lights go down and the crowd is insane with anticipation. faith rises from a small round platform in the floor. she's wearing tight jeans and a long black cape with all kinds of rhinestones on it. the crowd roars in appreciation. then tim rises from a platform at the opposite end of the stage, he's wearing tighter jeans, a shirt with the top buttons open, and a black cowboy hat. the loudest noise i have ever heard from an audience fills the air, some combination of screaming and swooning. tim and faith sing a duet and then tim disappears and faith does a long solo set (well, solo with her 10-piece band, which i note includes a woman drummer). she works the crowd like nothing i've ever seen, making sure they get to see her at all angles, pumping her fists in the air. they scream and reach out to touch her as she struts across the stage. i miss most of her set because i'm out in the lobby with terry & family, talking to mark (briel is transfixed by the spectacle, she stays) . so interesting to hear his take on this experience. all the buses, the great catering, lori's kids. hopefully mark will come back to portland sometime next year...

i go back in for some of tim's set, but its so loud i can't take it after a while. there's a guy in front of us in an oversized baseball jersey with “mcgraw” on the back, cheering with his hands in the air, one holding a beer. the girls in the other direction, all in cowboy hats and tight shirts, are singing along to every word. women closer to the stage are waving desperately at tim, hoping for an acknowledgment. holding out their hands to him. when he's done with his water bottle, he throws it into the crowd like he's performing the most selfless generous act. some lucky fan can cherish it forever. oh my god, tim mcgraw's saliva! later i see him throw other things, some kind of trash, with the same flourish. a little disturbing. what have we created with this celebrity machine?

i leave wondering what country music is. i never thought it was lori. i did think it was faith and tim, but then i didn't hear anything twangy from anyone all night. it was rock music with cowboy hats. maybe it's more about what you wear and who you hang out with. maybe that's true in a lot of genres.

whatever kind of music lori makes, call it folk, pop, country, i still love it. and i certainly appreciate the opportunity to see a bit outside my usual reality. though i‘ve had enough tight jeans and stadiums for a long while.

(all pictures by terry woodburn. thanks tdub!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Five Petal Design rocks

I want to make sure everyone is aware of my amazing web designer/photographer/graphic designer friend, Briel Johnson, of Five Petal Design.

She's launched a completely updated web site with a brand new photo blog.

If you ever need any of the above services, I highly recommend her for just about anything. If you need a head shot, wedding photos, pictures of your kids, web site, poster, invitation, letterhead or anything else you can think of, Briel is your woman. Not much I need to say though, her work really speaks for herself, and her own web site is so well done it's a pleasure to explore.

I might add that she's previously worked with Tracy Grammer, Dirty Martini, Raina Rose, Beth Amsel,, Mississippi Studios, and many other cool people/groups/businesses (those are just the ones I know personally, and OK maybe I had something to do with some of them...). And she's taken my picture once or twice. See above.

Friday, June 08, 2007

some adventures with willa

To mark the last weeks of time (before summer) with my favorite girls, here are some pictures of me and Willa from last week. We had a few adventures.

Practicing tree pose (photos by Brandan):

Riding the ferris wheel at the Rose Festival (photo by me).

"I'm so tall, and so sophisticated, that I can ride whatever ride I want and not bat an eye."

Fun rides.