Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Tribute

It's only been a few years since my dad plopped an old 33 on his turn table and we sipped coffees to the melodies of Peter, Paul and Mary.  I fell in love.  That same vinyl spun around and around and around for months.  When I was cleaning.  When I was reading.  Always.  I started treating myself to album after album - though I think my dad had their best from the start.  Last weekend we took my dad's old turntable to Hawthorne Stereo for a diagnosis.  Within the hour we were back at John's, the voice of Karen Carpenter streaming through the living room speakers.  The Carpenters were a feature in both of our childhoods - my parents played "We've Only Just Begun" at their wedding, us girls selected it for the renewal of their vows 25 years later.  John's family danced to their Christmas albums each December.  It seemed only fitting to be our first album on this record player that had now become "ours" - one of the many things we've taken from the lives of our parents.

But the second album?  It had to be Peter, Paul and Mary.  Because while I love the Carpenters, because it is "theirs" - well, Peter, Paul and Mary - they are mine.  And after Saturday, I think perhaps they could be "ours".  Grateful to have the man I do, one who'd fiddle for hours with wires and cords and nobs, just to make voices that have been singing worthwhile words for 50 years, a little clearer.  

The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll called Peter, Paul and Mary "the most popular acoustic folk music group of the 1960's." During that decade they produced 11 albums, 5 of which became million sellers. And they scored 12 hit singles, including the classic children's song, "Puff, the Magic Dragon" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane," a ballad written by John Denver. The group brought folk music to a new prominence in the post-McCarthy era, putting songs about politics and morality on the radio amid the syrupy boy-girl love songs that dominated when they began playing together in the early 1960s. 

 Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Travers made their debut in 1961 at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village. On the strength of this performance, they were signed to a recording contract with Warner Brothers. Released in May 1962, their first eponymously titled album included their rendition of Pete Seeger's song, "If I Had a Hammer," a hit that was the first record to bring protest music to a mainstream audience. Eighteen months later their version of "Blowin' in the Wind" became a hit, and the first commercially successful recording of a song written by Bob Dylan.

As their fame grew, Peter, Paul and Mary mixed music with political and social activism. In 1963 the trio marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., and Washington, D.C. The three participated in countless demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. And they sang at the 1969 March on Washington, which Mr. Yarrow helped to organize. 

Exhausted by nearly 10 years of nonstop touring and recording, Mr. Yarrow, Mr. Stookey and Ms. Travers disbanded in 1970. But it proved to be only an intermission. They reunited on a part-time basis in 1978, and continued to perform together for decades. They have five Grammy Awards and a handful of gold and platinum albums. Ms. Travers died on Sept. 16, 2009, at 72. 

The New York Times.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm trying to remember, but I believe this is the first night John and I ever met.  And it went a little something like this... 

A good mutual friend, one of the classiest and kindest ladies out there (who also happens to throw an excellent party and keep a skilled finger on the shudder trigger) decided to throw a little mad men themed party.  

It was all that a classy cocktail celebrating the mid-century should be.  With cocktails, live music, tons of strangers and new friends, unexpected dancing in the middle of the restaurant. 


When I said goodnight, my soon to be Beau was outside with the gentlemen, surrounded with pipes and cigar smoke.  I was parked down the street and it was Belltown past midnight, so a male friend walked me to my car.  Imagine what John assumed. ;) 

Oh, no, I just remembered.  We'd met before, on the turf.  But I don't have photos of that night, and this is a fun alternate.  It's still part of how our story began.  I love this man. 

You can see more of Mal's fun shot's from this night on her Facebook album here, or better yet, take a look at her website and see what her photography looks like when she's working.   

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

So fun heading out this morning with my backpack full of the necessities: pajamas, tooth brush,  chapstick, change of clothes, moleskine, one black sharpie pen, two books, water bottle and a can of chili. Even though it's a change of business casual clothes, and the can is really a mason jar full of vegetarian chili I'll be eating  at my white desk today, somehow I felt ready for an adventure.  Like I was running away, or heading out camping in these rainy skies.

Thankfully that's not the case, because I'm wearing my favorite new suede boots and I don't want to ruin them. ;)  Instead, I'm heading to another adventure - a sleepover with a friend.  And I'm as giddy as the 10 year old I'm sure I looked at the bus stop this morning.

Monday, February 17, 2014


1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp

READ:  Several friends had recommended this book to me because of Ann's style of writing.  They felt I'd enjoy her poetic flow.  I enjoyed the book, but I must say it wasn't her style that won me.  I found it sometimes too flowery and distracting.  It was hard to follow what she was even talking about at moments, or why she'd gone there.  Over the top almost.  [Funny, since I've heard the same complaint about my own style.] However, her content was all too timely.  Inside the pretty pastel cover that nearly scared me away, wrapped in all that flowery language, is a woman talking about the reality of death and loss, despair and depression, numbness and carrying on. She gave me some answers no one else seemed to be able to - or said what others weren't willing in a time I was desperate for that truth.  When death seems to be always in the back of my mind, if not the forefront, how do I keep living this life?  And why?  Why marry when I'll lose him anyways? How can I hold on to my parents? My sisters?  Why have children when I'll just be abandoning them one day?  I'm plagued.  And I don't want cheap answers or hugs or pats on the back. About 2/3rds in to the book, I think Ann finally started giving me an answer I could accept. I'm still not sure, but I'm willing to give it a try. 

I can't guarantee you'll pick this book up at exactly that right time in your life, nor know how it will affect you as you digest its pink pages. But because it hit me so right (though I admit I took it in doses), I have to mark this one a "read". 

Friday, February 14, 2014


The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

READ: I was supposed to be meeting a friend, but I had 35 pages left. Need I tell you I was late?  I finished the final pages and launched into the complete retelling of the tale to John.  Sophia and Luke add a level of suspense and "cuteness".  I can't help but imagine that Sparks needed to write in a couple young good looking parts for the screenplay.  But it's Ira and Ruth who will make me return my library book and buy a copy for my own shelf.  There's is a beautiful story that had me in tears and longing not for some other love, but to be better myself at loving. A sign of a great story.  My only real complaint, and it's really more the thought of an egotistical girl who has yet to write her own book but feels entitled to advise on the books of others:  The book could have ended a chapter or two earlier.  When it comes to fiction, I prefer a few loose ends. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Last night it became too much. I opened the closet in the backroom, gripped it's black handle and carried it out to the living room. I unlocked the buckle, unzipped the silver strip. My fingers raced toward it's neck and then drew back, gently tracing the iron strips, the old worn wood.

 I spent the better part of an hour between pitches - searching for a note. After all, it has been close to a year since I have held my violin. Last night, last night it became too much. It's for a dozen reasons I haven't. Too busy. Too noisy. Too terrible to torture my roommate and landlady with that kind of howling in the night. But mostly, I think it's a disspointment and a fear. The frustration that I will never be great. And there is this deep, intense longing inside of me to be great - not concert hall great - not great for any other being in the world - only great. To tuck my fiddle under my chin and rest my bow upon my thumb and play something beautiful, something that makes my soul unleash, unleash and flow and rage and dance as it does when I hear music like this:


[Thank you Samara for sharing this beautiful video]

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I can remember several movies we watched when I was young.  Some of my favorites included Ernest and Shirley Temple (and Charlie, Itchy, Milo, Otis and Hooch but we can talk about my life-long thing for dogs in another post).  I remember my parents going out for a date night and leaving Kim to babysit.  Oddly, this didn't happen that much.  I don't know why not as Kim was 9 years older than me, it was probably because I was such a terror.  But regardless, this time she was, and they'd rented us a special movie.  We had a 'girls night' with a new (note, new to me) Shirley Temple film.  And I was ecstatic!! It's odd that this one night remains so clearly in my memory, but it does.  I loved this little dimpled dancing gal.  Us girls loved when mom put the curlers in our hair over night to leave ringlets like hers.  I loved to dance around in our tap shoes.  I definitely dreamed of being like Shirley. She even made me love animal crackers more.  If that is possible.

She was lovely - long past her movie days. And she helped us all smile, long after the depression era.

I think she played a bigger role than I previously realized in the little girl I once was, and the woman I chose to become.

Her legacy according to Wikipedia:  

Shirley Temple Black (born Shirley Temple; April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014) was an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, and one-time U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She also served as Chief of Protocol of the United States, 1976–1977.
Temple began her film career in 1932 at the age of three and, in 1934, found international fame in Bright Eyes, a feature film designed specifically for her talents. She received a special Juvenile Academy Award in February 1935 for her outstanding contribution as a juvenile performer to motion pictures during 1934, and film hits such as Curly Top and Heidi followed year after year during the mid-to-late 1930s. Licensed merchandise that capitalized on her wholesome image included dolls, dishes, and clothing. Her box office popularity waned as she reached adolescence, and she left the film industry in her teens.[1] She appeared in a few films of varying quality in her mid-to-late teens, and retired completely from films in 1950 at the age of 22. She was the top box-office draw four years in a row (1935–38) in a Motion Picture Herald poll.[2][3]
Temple returned to show business in 1958 with a two-season television anthology series of fairy tale adaptations. She made guest appearances on television shows in the early 1960s and filmed a sitcom pilot that was never released. She sat on the boards of corporations and organizations including The Walt Disney CompanyDel Monte Foods, and the National Wildlife Federation. In 1988, she published her autobiography, Child Star. Temple was the recipient of awards and honors including Kennedy Center Honors and aScreen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

I have always had a strong suspicion that as I was sitting alone at a bar or restaurant (a table originally set for two) my favorite book in hand a great cocktail in front of me, I was actually irrevocably attractive. Don't mind that I tend to breathe with my mouth open, or that I find my face moves slowly into the book until my nose grazes the page and I have to sit back up straight and return the book to a good 8 inches reach.  If you overlook that minute detail, I was in fact a dramatic piece of solitary female art.  A woman, alone, happy to be reading in public.

However, my suspicion fell somewhere in the glances of what felt like pity or concern that spread from nearby tables toward my own, two-chaired, one napkined seat. The signals were confusing. Perhaps the pity was about the shame of my awkward lost-in-a-book posture?

But the Stranger set the story straight with their good old fashioned party, and story:

The Silent-Reading Party

On the Unexpected Sexiness of Many People Quietly Reading and Drinking in Public

#I'm reading a book ya'all I'm reading a book
#date a girl who reads
#girls who read

** I had to give those hashtag spaces since "girl who reads" could also be read "girl whore ads" and that's super uncomfortable. Right? **

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Monday, February 03, 2014

It sneaks up on you. It's a random playlist you find on Spotify that delivers a song you've only heard once in a place you'll never forget. It's a book you want to throw across the room, and you can't put down. Life sneaks up on you.


Forgot to post this last week.  
Insurgent by Veronica Roth.