Saturday, August 31, 2013

Do You Trust Your Brakes?

I was cleaning old text messages off of my phone this evening and I came to a thread between my sister and I when she was home from Korea in July.  I read through it before deleting it and was reminded of a silly scenario that we made into a metaphor one night when we popped into a friend's barn for an impromptu visit on the way to Weis market.  I almost forgot about it, accept she mentioned it in one of her last messages to me before she boarded her plane to return to Korea.  She asked me, "Do you trust your brakes?"

We were standing around bullshitting about this and that and then as the guys began to talk politics our right brain geared minds grew bored and started playing with thoughts and objects laying about. Luckily there were some matchbox cars sitting on something nearby.  My sister immediately started to drive them around and make noises.  It is this childlike side of her presence that I miss the most, the one that makes me laugh and jokes me out of sadness.  I miss that side of her that gets that side of me going until we are suddenly playing with matchbox cars like children while adults discuss the government around us.  Oblivious.  We've honed our skill well; my sister and I can block out the world with our childhood coping mechanisms anytime.  This isn't always the most polite of things to do and I am sure we can seem rude, but we sometimes have little control over where the moment takes us. 

This moment took us to high speeds in a pretend car, jumping over ramps and heading straight for a wall.  One of us did the fake squeaky brake noise as the car stopped suddenly.  I remember posing the question, "Yes, but do you trust your brakes?"  Heading at a wall at high speeds how can you be sure that your brakes are indeed going to work when the moment comes?  How do you know that they will stop you?  You need to have a certain amount of faith in your brakes, to trust them in a huge sense.  But should you have to trust them so much when so many variables are influenced by you?  Speed, for one, is always a factor and it can be controlled.

If you head straight into anything  balls to the wall, you risk coming to a sudden lethal stop if you don't control your speed or use your brakes.  Most of the time though, people take for granted that their brakes are there.  They take off out of the gate pedal to the floor, burnin' tire, hootin' and a hollerin', speeding into the world...and trust that this system will later be in place to stop them before they get into any danger.  On a dime, even.  This isn't always the case, though, is it?  Should we be so bold as to let the future of our lives up to a precaution we don't have COMPLETE control over? Some people underestimate their speed and forget that they are in control of the brakes.  They are essentially only a steering passenger, but their judgement is needed, they are still commanding the vehicle.  The timing is their decision...their choice.  Whenever and however your vehicle comes to a stop is [in most cases and figuratively] up to you.  You are the matchbox car.  You control the brakes. 

So, do you trust your brakes?  Do you trust that you will stop when the time comes, when it matters most?  When you want to?  When you need to?  Or will you hit that wall?  There's a chance that you could even survive hitting a wall, there's a smaller chance you could crash right on through it.  Your brakes may be immaculate and you may have steel strong willpower.  So then, if you trust your brakes, do you trust yourself to use them?  Now, a metaphor.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Purification of the Physical

Fire is an interesting object, thing, concept, illusion, tool. What the hell is it anyway?  Energy.  It's also somewhat of a mystery.  It can be a deadly force, a source of warmth, light, destruction...fusion.  Some traditions state great gods are created in pure fire.  Souls are said to be birthed there in the beginning of their existence.  It very well could be a beginning...but it also most assuredly can be the end.  Things burn away, but where is away?  Where do things go when they burn?  Back into the ether...changing form...converted back to pure energy. 

The phoenix is born again from its own ashes.  It is transformed and strengthened by the flames that consumed it.  Rebirth.  Renewal.  Fire IS real time...before your eyes.  Watch something slowly licked away by fire's devouring tongues.  It's magical.  There are so many possible emotions.  If it's your house or something else you are attached to, it can be heart wrenching.  Misery.  Turmoil.  Distress.  Fire can also help you to realize your true feelings.  It purifies.  It releases.

When faced with nonexistence, we panic.  When watching things burn, especially things we have created, enjoyed or loved...we are really faced with emotional symbolism.  It can be a great way to 'let things go' because after it's gone, there's no going back.  It's gone...dissipated into the ethos, burned away down to its basic meaning.'s nothing.'s everything.  

Symbolism is very meaningful to me as it is, but on the road to recovery it can be a very powerful tool.  Fire releases us from the physical; it purifies.  It represents death, healing, love, birth, destruction, creation.  Being pure energy, what can it not symbolize?  I have been working on purging myself of unwanted and unneeded objects, concepts, habits, and feelings.  It can be frightening, but is also immensely empowering.

We made a giant fire from items I wanted rid of;  I went from room to room, gathering and selecting.  This can be hard if you have hoarder tendencies and trouble with attachment.  I have much to let go.  I only have so much space in my home and's time to burn the dead in favor of life.  Creation and destruction, in front of my eyes.  Used energy transformed into new energy.  It's time to let the old give way to the new.  New energy....will be created by the symbolic destruction of old trappings.  Burn, baby, burn.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Michael's Morals

Earlier this year I packed away my canvas and oil paints as a necessity but also as a symbol of the sacrifices of motherhood.  There is no way I could oil paint with my Indigo child present;  I can barely shower and shit as it is.  Too much mess and involvement in that hobby to do around a monkey.  It was sad, but I didn't paint all that often anyway, so I could wait a few years to do it again.  Right?  There was still that creative itch.  I'm realizing there really is a hands on artist in me that loves and wants to draw, paint, mix, blend, shade, sketch...wants to create images with her hands.  I just put her away somewhere and stopped letting her hone the skill.  I thought I could vent this into my other activities, but that's apples and oranges.  I can't scratch my drawing/painting itch with music.  Writing doesn't and can't replace my desire to make colorful art with my fingers.  Texture.  I need to feel something being created, blend with my fingertips again.  I needed some watercolor pencils, pastels or charcoal and such.  I took it upon myself to decide it was time to repay myself the karma I made this past December.  Sometimes, you have to take the bull by the horns with the Universe.  I jest, but let me explain.

Last December at Christmas season I was presented with a moral dilemma.  It was hard.  Not so much to decide what to do, that I knew, but it was so hard to give up the prize.  The booty.  The loot.  The goods.  It was like it was meant for me?!?! It was like the Universe was fucking with me...or was it presenting me with a gift?? Which one was it?? Ah!!  Anyway...

We were late Christmas shopping and my husband was waiting in the car as I ran into Petco, I believe.  When I got back into the car I saw a Michael's bag and was intrigued (along with Staples, the book store, and Lowe's, that is one place I can get lost in for hours.)  My husband explained a woman had came out of Michael's and tossed the bag in the back hatch of her vehicle, but it didn't shut and the bag ended up falling out onto the ground.  He tried to flag her down but she just drove off.  Was it a gift?  WHAT WAS IN THE BAG??  Oh, it was magnificent, like it was meant for me.  It was a brand spanking new set of 24 Staedtler watercolor pencils and a big old watercolor tablet to go with it.  I have been wanting a set for so long!!  I used to have a set but it was only a set of 12....and was cheap.  It was nowhere near as magnificent as this Staedtler set!  The receipt was in the bag, the person paid with a credit card, and I didn't have to look at the total to tell you it was a find (but the actual total was over 80 dollars, yo!)

I sat there with that precious gift on my lap wondering what to do with it for a little bit.  Would the lady ever come back?  If she doesn't, can they find her somehow from the receipt?  If she didn't come back for them and they don't do that, I may as well have not done it?! WHAT!?!  Dilemma.  "What are you gonna do?" my husband asked.  It was down to me and my morals.  I handled the beautiful art set, a decent one like I'd never had and have always wanted, and I knew what I had to do.  I knew my real value of what was in that bag, and if the owner or gift receiver was like me, they would be pretty damn bummed about its loss. 

I stepped up to the counter at Michael's.  "Can I help you?"  "Um, yeah...I have a moral dilemma" I told the lady.  I explained what had happened and asked if there was any way they could locate the woman from the receipt.  She said they weren't allowed to do that, and that most times people will come back.  Most times.  Geez, lady.  So, I left the goods at the counter hoping to hell that bag wasn't meant for me...and that this mystery woman would realize her items missing and think to check with the store. 

So, I feel I earned some good karma.  I did what I thought to be the right thing despite my selfish wants.  It was time to reward myself.  I have been itching to use watercolor pencils again, having loved them before, because I figured it would be a little easier to use around the kiddo.  I was right.  Tonight, while Celie sat beside me on the couch as we watched Yellow Submarine, I played around with my new toys getting myself reacquainted with the feel.  It has been quite awhile but it was still just as sensational.  I colored a simple picture to paint in, and Celie even helped me a little with the pencils and the brush.  Goal!!  I scratched the drawing itch and painting itch simultaneously!  That's like killing two itches with one scratch!  I successfully created art tonight with my toddler sitting beside me!  Take that, motherhood!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rising Reflections on Fear and Faith

This morning while still sitting in bed I heard Celie, while she was playing pretend beside me, telling her Snoopy “It’s okay, honey, s’nothing be ‘fraid of.”  It is in the tiny moments like these that I feel proud as a mother, like she actually IS absorbing some of the things I struggle to teach her, the things I desperately try to push into the chaotic ADHD toddler sponge that is my daughter.  Usually it’s something deeper that I then realize she actually DOES understand, and that is so touching and refreshing to me, because sometimes in the bowels of the battle of wills and ye olde discipline game, it’s hard to know if you are being heard, let alone listened to.  I love that Celie has started into the imaginary play stage.  It’s fascinating to watch when she really gets into it and forgets that I’m watching.  When she plays, she’s in essence “passing it on”---playing telephone with my words.  Those stuffed animals are in theory my future grandchildren, and I take comfort in the fact that she is already soothing them and assuring them that there is “nothing to be afraid of”. 

Celie has been “scared” since early on in her existence, a year or two ago she started verbalizing being scared.  She’s an odd kid.  She sees “Ameet” and Shadows and is scared a lot.  Not in a debilitating kind of way, she is still mighty curious and brave, but she has always been a little funny.  A couple of months ago around 2:30 in the morning she woke up freaking out and screaming about “shadows” and them “touching her stomach”.  She wasn’t entirely awake but pointing and it actually got me freaked out thinking like “HOLY SHIT WHAT’S THERE?”  I assume she has some sort of night terrors, which would explain her hatred of sleep and the process of falling into it, although she still mentions these things randomly throughout her waking day.  Randomly.  No rhyme or reason sometimes.  “Oh, there go a shadows...”  I’m dumbfounded.  “Okay.”  What do you say to that?  So needless to say with seeing “Ameet” everywhere and shadows and stuff she is “scared” a lot.  I stewed over how to deal with this for awhile.  I didn’t want her to be afraid, but I didn’t want to tell her nothing is there?  What if there WAS something there?  How the hell am I supposed to know what she sees?  So I don’t want to negate any sensitivity she may have to such things because I force her into seeing things in my reality.  It’s possible.  Anything is possible.  So how was I supposed to deal with her fear without simply dismissing it or neglecting her need for some true comfort?  In the end, I chose to comfort her to the best of my abilities, but instruct her to not be afraid of anything she sees.  “There is nothing to be afraid of.”  I know, right?  Why am I blatantly lying to my child like this at such a young age?  In the darkness of a crazy world like the one in which we live, I perhaps would receive criticism because I chose to tell her that there is nothing to be afraid of.  There is plenty to be afraid of, but is there really?  We should be cautious of many things and be careful, but being fearful, I have found in my life experience, isn’t too beneficial.  I don’t want my daughter to be afraid.  I want her to feel her fear and recognize it, but not feel guilty for being afraid.  I want my child to understand that fear is not a desired emotion or state of mind; it’s a bridge to faith. 

I remembered a conversation I had with my Grandmother at her house, just before she was going in for one of her many surgeries, this time to amputate part of the leg that she had previously had several surgeries on trying to save.  I was sick with fear and worry, but struggled with not letting it show to this woman, this incredibly strong and faithful woman.  “I’ve never been afraid,” she told me that day.  I marveled over that.  “You’ve never been afraid going into any of your surgeries?”  “No,” she replied, lowering her eyes and shaking her head, slightly nodding at the same time. "It's God's will," she said.  The corners of her mouth rose into the small, humble grin of self pride and she beamed; to me that was more beautiful than Mona Lisa’s smile.  Gram's self-pride didn't come from the fact that she wasn't afraid or was so brave, herself.  You could tell it was REALLY in the fact that she knew she was teaching by example...every second of her life.  She was teaching you not to be not being afraid.  I couldn’t prevent a teary-eyed good-bye, even after her reassurance; I was still unnerved by the whole ordeal and the fear of a surgery of such gravity on a woman of her age.  I just remember how brave she was in the face of it, batting not an eye, eternal smile still on her face.  Who knows if my Grandmother was putting on her straight face like I was trying to do, for the benefit of those around her, but honestly, you got the impression from Leona Cecelia that she walked her walk.  She practiced what she preached, and she believed in her heart of hearts that whatever happened---it was God’s will.  To a woman of high faith, such as Leona, this removed all fear from her.  Whatever is to be, will be.  Life will unfold.  What is there to possibly fear when you know that it will all work out, regardless---regardless of ANYTHING? This is what faith is, folks; believing in something, no matter what the consequences.  Believing that there is NOTHING to be afraid of.  We can feel our fear, learn from it, use it to grow, use it as a warning, etc. but when it comes down to it, if you believe it is all in the hands of the Universe---then there is NOTHING to be afraid of.  That’s where my Grandmother lived, sitting safe and snug with that everlasting smile in the palm of God. 

You can’t teach faith.  I will never be able to exactly convey or pass on to Celie my reverence for religion, value of positive thinking or faith, because I learned it first hand from having this woman in my life...through example.  I could never set such a strong and positive example.  Maybe that is why I feel like such a failure at times.  I struggle with wanting Celie to truly understand my beliefs and get my good parts.  This is the only way I know how.  In little lessons that I hope my daughter is paying attention to.  Some seeds don’t sprout for years, but it’s important to have faith that they are planted.  I’ll never forget what my grandmother said that day, and it came to mind this morning as I watched my daughter comfort her “friends”, assuring them that there’s nothing to be afraid of.  She was practicing the example she will someday set.  Grandma has successfully, in essence, “passed it on” down to her great-great-grand animals.  A lesson in faith and fear that she taught me is in turn teaching my children and will someday, God willing, be passed on to my children’s children.  That’s one mighty legacy.  That would definitely make her smile. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ode to Tuesday

Today we made a pyre,
And we chose to build it higher.
So we gathered up the dead,
And all the things we never said,
And we threw them on the fire.
In time all shall expire.

Today we stoked our ashes,
And we moved like the ocean crashes,
But once the wind started blowing,
Our skeletons were showing,
And we lived in hot flashes,
When itches turned to scratches.

Today we burned a broken dream,
And we watched it as it screamed.
Then we listened to its death,
As it took one final breath,
And exhaled a plume of steam.
Splitting our soul at the seam.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dissection of Self

I am transparent;
my glass skin spread open,
flaps of sliced flesh pinned to the ground
for the dissection.
Each organ exposed;
each system, identified and labeled.
The aggressive scent of suspended death
seeps from my shell.
My body, like a raincoat,
strewn across a puddle of blood
and formaldehyde,
Dry rots in the relentless sun of consciousness. 
My eyelids, translucent and futile,
hide nothing from my empty, milky eyes.  
The whole of the world pass by me,
And learn from my body,
Like an information kiosk,
On a city sidewalk.
I feel them pointing; feel the observations.
Each gasp, an icy wind on my bare bones.
Each needle stick, a shining nail in my coffin.

10AM, August 19, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ode to Flame

It consumes the past, smoldering yesteryear.
Bordering death, it's transformation.
Its fiery breath will purify tears,
Bringing with it, devastation. 

It lights the night, like midday sky,
Illuminating circumstances.
It warms the room before we die,
Casting shadows on our moon dances.

Into the flesh, it sinks, it melts,
Liquid skin, evaporating.
Each licking tongue of fire felt.
The pain will kill you while you're waiting.

August 17, 2013

Ode to Rust

Among the briar, I could rest,
My eyes held tightly shut.
So close against your sinking breast,
My heart starts to erupt. 

High above my head, your crown,
With gnarled branching thorns,
Weaves itself into my brow,
To feast on dreams unborn. 

Inhale my breath, exhale your fire.
The cave of ice slowly defrosts.
We throw our bodies on the pyre,
And find ourselves before we're lost. 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Morning Scrawl

Somewhere in the dead of night,
You steal away my time.
You suck the essence from my soul,
And flee the scenic crime.

I awake, drained and shaken;
The empty shell of a seed.
My core has been invaded,
And raped by nocturnal deeds.

I’m left without a memory,
No grains of sand to hold.
You blanket me in ecstasy,
Divine fabrics unfold. 

Red thread between us like a leash,
You pull until it’s taut. 
Taking my love just like a thief,
My protests, all for naught. 

11:47AM 8/15/13

Following the Gypsy Highway: Stevie Nicks at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre

Friday, June 29, 2012
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Wantagh, NY

I have been a Stevie Nicks fan since my early adolescence; I can’t exactly remember when I fell for her, but it was many moons ago, when her warm spiced drink of a voice first vibrated the bones and cartilage of my ears into submission.  I really got into Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks in my early teen years.  I was at a peak in my Fleetwood Mac craze in 1997 when their live album The Dance was released.  If that CD were a record, I would have worn through the vinyl; I listened to it so many times.  I greatly love Fleetwood Mac, but was also drawn into Stevie’s solo career, having always found a sort of solace in her voice and poetic imagery as well as her enigmatic and witchy iconography.  I remember listening to her Timespace album over and over in my room during high school, it was the first way I introduced myself to the majority of her work.  Luckily around that time her music was featured in Practical Magic and she was having a bit of a comeback of sorts.  I found Bella Donna, and so on and so forth until she was tied to my heart in a tight hormonal knot.  So for all of these reasons Stevie (Fleetwood Mac) was on my Bucket List.  I had to see her before I died!  Or she died!  I had to see her!  So in early 2012 when I heard that she was touring, I freaked.  I saw that she was touring with Rod Stewart for the Heart and Soul Tour, but I wanted to see Stevie alone.  I didn’t want to share her with anyone.  If she was sharing her stage time with anybody, I wanted it to be with Fleetwood Mac!  So I panicked, looking at the tour dates, and I found a couple of shows before she joined him where she was alone.  None all too close; I think I found three that were doable.  The beginning of the tour started in New York.  The Nikon at Jones Beach.  I could do that!  I franticly purchased tickets for my best friend, Hilary, and I for an epic drive and concert.  I realized it was 6 hours away...and right on the beach...and in LONG ISLAND!  At least, I THINK I realized these things at the time?  I purchased the tickets months beforehand and sat on the idea of having to drive that far and through the traffic I would have to in order to see Stevie.  I tried my best to remain Zen.    “Oh, I’m doing it.”  Finally, the day came.  It would be a journey of decently sized proportions to finally witness the live performance and essence of the woman whose music has been an emotional salve for me throughout much of my life.  In June of this year I traveled to see Stevie Nicks at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater with my best good friend and it was “Bucket List Epic” in SO many ways! 

The drive to Long Island was basically insane and great, in a road-schooled, fight-or-flight, nervous-cool kind of way.  I had never driven through traffic like that in my life; I had never been on a 6 lane expressway as the driver in a vehicle before.  This entire trip was very symbolic of my growth and personal ability.  We were just a pair of best girls on an epic adventure, like Thelma and Louise, only hopefully not even remotely like Thelma and Louise, other than the car ride, and an added concert.  Maybe more like Gypsy 84?  Yeah, probably NOTHING like Gypsy 84, other than we were heading to see Stevie Nicks.  (Crazy movie; watch it if you haven’t.)  Best good pals...on a road trip to the big city beach venue to see a female rock and roll icon and put our feet in the water.  Instead of driving off of a cliff we were going to stand head to head with the ocean and look Stevie Nicks straight in the eyes.  Well, at least into her large sized eyes on the teleprompter.  This wasn’t just a concert; this was a journey of a lifetime.  No big deal. 

There really is no telling what can happen on a road trip adventure, so I kissed my child goodbye that morning and hoped to face this travel demon bravely and wisely.  I had a copy of printed directions and a Tom Tom, as well as a copilot; this would be fine!  It was only Hilary and I on this trip, the fate of the evening rested in our hands.  We were 6 hours away from the Nikon.  Would we see Stevie Nicks that night, or would our car plummet off of the George Washington Bridge?  There was no doubt in my mind that we would roll onto the beach, stand in the surf, and then view a momentous performance by Ms. Stevie Nicks as the sun sank into the sand.  Let’s went! 

Behind the wheel, I was on fire.  When faced with wild traffic and the expressways, I immediately went into the survival mode needed in order to traverse the roads with the city folk.  I had ridden into New York City and large cities before, although I had never driven into such an area myself until this point.  I wasn’t going INTO the city, but I was driving through the Bronx and heading at NYC and through it, on to the historical Long Island shore.  I made myself proud, real proud.  There were moments during this trip where I looked out at what I was driving through or past and I was taken back by the fact that I was commanding the vehicle.  “I’ll ride anywhere with you,” Hilary said upon our return.  We had survived tolls, city merges, The Bronx Expressway, a loop dee loop designed on acid.  I gained a lot of driving knowledge and experience on this trip.  It has prepared me for great things.  We arrived at Jones Beach on schedule.  We pulled into the Nikon elated with “GOAL” practically beaming out of my pupils and asked about gas, forgetting there were no service stations in the park.  We drove back into Long Island and got some gas for our home trip and bought lunch at an authentic Long Island deli before heading into Jones Beach for the evening of evenings.  I even made myself proud there, and we even talked to an authentic Long Islander that gave us directions to an excellent deli to eat at.  A sandwich and a drink and it’s back to the beach.

The beach was centering; it was the calm before the storm, or afterwards, or the eye?  I’m not sure, it was something.  It seemingly took us forever to trudge through the sand, our shoes in hand, my camera dangling from my neck snapping pictures along the way.  It was a real in-the-moment moment.  The drive was the first leg of our journey, the first “battle”, our second was the ocean.  We were on a mission.  We had to get to that water.  It was the symbolic end of the drive.  GOAL!  Hilary had never touched the ocean before; she had seen it and been in the sand, although she had never submerged her feet into its lapping surf.  Its vastness is somewhat unnerving to her.  Understandably so, it’s as deep as the void, the metaphor is strong, but that’s another story and battle all together.  The prize was to sink our feet into that sand and let the tide pull away, burying our feet slowly; one of the best sensations in life.  I remember doing this as a child during our trips to the beach.  How could I describe to her how momentous this feeling was?  She simply had to experience it for herself.

Jones Beach was really neat.  You could see the Nikon across the Ocean Parkway in the distance while standing on the beach.  The sand felt amazing and we stood for what seemed like hours watching people swim and play, watching the waves come in and roll out, listening to the birds in the moment.  A part of the goal was accomplished.  We had made it there, at least!  We stood recharging ourselves in the wind of the waves for awhile.  Let’s roll on. 

The Nikon is an impressive venue, a circus of sorts behind the gates.  There were booths and venders everywhere.  We purchased Zippo lighters from the Zippo booth; ironic, we travel all the way to New York and we buy Pennsylvania made Zippo lighters as souvenirs.  I also later got a Stevie Nicks t-shirt and magnet as swag.  The Nikon is an amphitheatre alongside the bay, open to the heavens.  The nosebleed section surely would have a bird’s eye view of the ocean, in this way I wondered if they could charge more for worse seats?  Ha!  We got yummy fruity drinks and then got settled in our seats and awaited Stevie.  We missed the opening act completely, but the timing was ultimately perfect, so who cares.  We were there for Stevie Nicks.   

Stevie is some kind of a musical goddess.  Ms. Nicks is truly everything she seems to be.  Not that I am biased but seriously if any one of you talks bad about Ms. Nicks I will backhand you with a vinyl copy of Bella Donna and choke you with a flowing scarf.  She was so very intimate with the audience and so emotional during her performance.  She had nice personal chats in between songs, talking to us like we were old friends.  She even started crying at the end during her “goodbye”.  She was conveying how important this night was to her, being the first night on her newly starting stretch of tour after weeks of battling voice problems.  The unconditional love and acceptance from her fans touched her in a way that we were able to experience first hand that night.  She honestly loves us.  

I was prepared for the setlist somewhat because I had familiarized myself with her 2011 setlist.  This was still the same tour, basically, promoting In Your Dreams, so I was so glad that I had done so because I was basically aware of every song that she would play for us that night, aside from their order and a few surprise covers.  I think she opened with Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll, followed by Enchanted, I believe.  We heard everything from Dreams, Gold Dust Woman, Landslide, Leather and Lace, Stand Back, Edge of Seventeen.  From her In Your Dreams album she played For What It’s Worth, which brought me to tears.  I had been waiting to hear that song and in a weird way, that's what this trip was all about, and I had a moment during its play under the moon light at the Nikon, 6+ hours from home...just me and my best good pal.  She also played from In Your Dreams: Soldier’s Angel, Secret Love, and Annabel Lee.  So many new songs, so many classics; so many songs that were so incredibly moving to experience live were performed beneath a gorgeous moon in a gentle wind.  This concert was the most emotional one I have ever been to in my life.  It was a triumphant, I-am-woman-hear-me-roar kind of feeling!  I cried and my heart pumped and I smiled and bounced.  Gold Dust Woman literally made my nipples hard.  Stevie Nicks totally gave me hard nips! Bless her darling heart!

It was a clear evening with crisp air and was slightly windy along the waterside.  The night air from the bay kept blowing up across the crowd, blowing up across Stevie Nicks.  Her hair and scarves and black flowing dress danced in its gusts like magic.  No hat for her on this night, for she surely would have lost it.  The wind blew her golden hair into her face continuously throughout the show, a shimmering air-made pyrotechnics show, making her all the more glorious and captivating.  The moon was ghostly and blanketed under a shroud of clouds.  We floated back to the car on a high that could never be relived, refelt, or recreated. 


Her voice was like literal butter, melting down my ear canals and over my ear drum and inner bits like they were freshly popped corn kernels.  I couldn’t believe that I was hearing her voice in real time and not on a recording or on television.  I reflected on that fact and immediately my eyes welled up.  I had been listening to Stevie Nicks for so long.  It was a real life goal seeing her perform live, and she lived up to everything I made her out to be. It was amazing that she was having such problems with her voice because other than a few places, you couldn’t even detect flaw.  You wouldn’t even be able to tell she had no voice a few weeks prior.  She was obviously a little worried about it but carried on and she was marvelous.  I commend her for being so open and frank about her plight with the crowd and her love for everyone just seems so genuine and heartfelt.  She sounds just like herself, she sounds just like Stevie Nicks.  This, unfortunately, can not be said about everyone that you see live.  

She dressed like a night gypsy, in her traditional flowing black shawls and scarves, with corsets and boots.  Toward the end of the performance she changed into a beautiful white ensemble.  During her performance of Stand Back she did the traditional spin, somehow managing not to fall in her huge platform boots.  She later said that the shawl was the original “Stand Back Shawl” from the video, I believe she meant.  I had been listening to this song hardcore for a week or more at the time and had hoped I would be able to hear it.  Later on the drive home it would be playing as I was speeding along the Bronx Expressway flowing with the night traffic. I was empowered in that moment.  Smiling to myself, I knew we would get home fine.  There were no worries in that moment.  I was driving home on the high of a major goal accomplished with my artistic vein pumping.  I was high on experience.

She carried on a conversation with the crowd like we were old friends, talking of things from years ago or preparing for this tour.  She was very emotional because of the height of the night; this was the first night of her new tour and her voice had given out a few weeks earlier.  She discussed her obstacles and her accomplishments, all in a tone that let you believe you could really be her pal.  She seemed like such an honestly cool woman, and she even commented on how she is remarkably like how she used to be before she became famous.  Her guitarist knew her back in the day before these days, and he plays with her now.  She said he can verify it.  Imagine, being friends with someone and then touring with them after they are a famous music icon. 

Her backup singers are made up of her sister-in-law and other women she has known for years.  Her guitarist she has known since before she was famous.  They all have a really good stage relationship.  The guitar is really great and the drummer was very enthusiastic.  They did an excellent job recreating her songs, especially considering the Fleetwood Mac ones were done without Lindsay Buckingham and her solo stuff was heavy on the synthesizer.  Stand Back was a good version and very fun, it sounded good, though obviously not like the original.  She spoke of how Prince came into the studio while they were recording it on her AXS Concert and laid down the synthesizer track and then disappeared.  Now two keyboardists can’t recreate what Prince did on that record.  But it was still a great attempt at recreation of the classics, and a wonderful show of the new stuff. 

She was incredibly gracious with the audience, exiting the stage after the encore and the bow, but then coming back out to shake hands and greet all of the audience members in the front rows which is something that I had never seen before in a performance.  She was touching children and taking flowers.  There was a man by her side with his arm around her waste, lest she be swept away by a fan or the wind or fragility.  (Perhaps insurance against those boots?)  She was wonderful.  She was a lady and a true entertainer. 

The drive home was rough, being that I left New York around 11PM and didn't get into native terrain until heading on 5:30.  After my copilot fell asleep I blasted Old Crow Medicine Show and sang to myself to keep myself awake.  There were some blurry eyed moments on the interstate but we rolled into town just as the sun was coming up.  I dropped off Hilary and went the long way home, stopping at the crossroads view to watch the freshly risen sun over the rolling hills of home.  I gathered myself and let what just transpired settle a little, and then headed on down the grove to put myself to sleep, a new woman.  This ride and concert brought out my inner feminine strength and was just what I needed at that moment in 2012!  "See, we don't need the guys.  We can go ANYWHERE!" Hilary stated.  True that!  It gave me an energetic burst that got me through more days of that year, and released a lot of emotion while giving some areas in my life a crystalline piece of closure.  It was kismet.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bob Seger and the Sweatin' Bullets Head Band

May 3, 2013
Bryce Jordan Center
State College, PA

This experience was on the list of those that I refer to as bucket list epic, being such an honor to see a revered artist this up close and personal.  It was somewhat reminiscent of my Neil Young experience, although NOWHERE near as phenomenal (I mean, come on, we're talking about eye contact with Neil Young!)  They certainly proved that they can still put on one hell of a show, and are, in essence, still the same!

There was an opening act that were locals from Pennsylvania called the Badlees.  They were a 6 member piece with 2 guitars, a mandolin, etc.  There was a guy that was amazing on the electric fiddle and had a great solo.  There was a playful pissing contest between the two guitarists.  Overall, they were quite good.

Soon out came the timpani and saxes as the Silver Bullet stage was set up.  We had incredibly good seats for this show, floor level, on the right side of the stage.  There were SO many horns!  I was seated next to a gentleman I ended up talking to throughout the show.  He had seen Bob Seger around 15 times or so at this point, the first time being in 1977, so it was interesting to hear his reflections on past and present performances.  He said that in the 70's it seemed you were either into Bruce Springsteen or Bob Seger, and he was always on the Seger side.  He loves how he 'paints a picture with his words'.  I had just seen Fleetwood Mac in Pittsburgh a week or so prior to the Seger concert and we discovered he was there as well!  Small world!  He had seen them about a dozen times before and we both agreed that seeing them leaves no doubt to be had about Buckingham's prowess on the guitar and his sheer talent.  He said out of all of the shows, it was the BEST!  I was obviously glad to have experienced it even more if that were possible.  It was good to know that it wasn't just my biased opinion, also, because I had nothing to compare them to other than Stevie Nicks, but I thought they were absolutely magnificent!  I digress...

The Silver Bullet Band brought it like nobody's business.  It was everything you'd want in a show.  They played a decent set list, leaving out Still the Same, which I had hoped for, but still you couldn't even be upset about it.  Fire Down Below, Main Street, Old Time Rock and Roll dedicated to the college boys, Her Strut, Come To Papa, with Alto on timpani, etc etc!  The man next to me said it was a bit shorter than other shows, but was great considering he also threw in Come to Papa, which he doesn't do as often.  I maintained my composure until he started into Like a Rock, and the vapors came and I teared up.  It wasn't the one that I thought would 'break the seal', but it's just SUCH a damn good song!  By the time he sat at the piano for some songs and started into We've Got Tonight, I was almost sobbing and by the end I believe I briefly bawled.  Beautiful.  I was eventually moved beyond tears, to an inner realm of nostalgia, deep in the vein of experience.  Bucket...list...epic!  

On playing Turn the Page he told the story of how he wrote it in 1970 and then when Alto joined he added the moody intro to it.  Sunspot Baby was too much fun!  During Hollywood Nights he threw one of his sweat drenched head bands, splashing audience members with droplets of his sweat.  It was very energetic.

The band was impeccable.  They had the drummer from Grand Funk Railroad.  The Motor City Horns were SO much fun to watch.  Craig Frost on keys, Chris Campball on bass, Alto Reed, of course.  The back up singers brought some serious percussion to the mix and added so many nuances; they were wonderful.  Alto was so incredible on the saxes, etc.  He really does embody 'cool' naturally.  This man is awesome and chalk full of energy.  At one point he was playing 6 or so maracas IN EACH HAND!!  He got the crowd going and still can kick a pretty high leg while playing some mean sax!  The horn section was great, along with the female backup singers who were also working some stellar percussion in; I can't recall that I have witnessed a woman work a tambourine and shakers as well as I did that night, not even Stevie Nicks.  It was seriously impressive.

Seger's voice, to me, was impeccable.  I was told he'd been a little rough there for awhile but has been taking care of himself better the past couple of years.  It showed!  I was impressed with how his voice still sounded so much like the recorded versions, certainly the same cannot be said about all performers.  He remains true.  He told us things like "There's only one place to go, and that's higher!" when going into Katmandu.  In the heat of the moment, I believed the man!

Bob Seger was obviously sweating profusely throughout the show, and had head bands to help sop up his musical juices.  He tossed them into the crowd throughout the night, at one point smiling at my mother's friend who accompanied us and was seated nearest the side of the stage to our right.  He tossed one her way, but it curved off in front of us.  It's pretty awesome having icons ten feet away from you tossing their bodily fluid filled head gear at you.  

They did a number of encores.  Against the Wind was performed majestically and we were instructed to walk into the makes us stronger...face it!  The man and band put on one hell of a show that night.  It's funny how I had wanted to hear Still the Same but in life things are often not still the same, but as Mr. BOB SEGER told me that night, "It always remains and it never forgets!"  He ended the show with Rock and Roll Never Forgets guessed it, another sweaty head band toss!!  Splash those musical juices, Mr. Seger!  You've worked for it, sir!  Turn the page...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Writer's Block and Compelling Tells

I have been meaning to finish up so many writing 'projects' for the longest time but I just haven't been feeling it.  Scrawled words emerge from time to time on random substrates, but I have been distanced from my writer's mind for some time.  Well, not the mind, just the motion.  Lines pop into my head as usual, but I don't grab a pen.  I let them fall to the bottom of my mind, and figure if the words were that good...they would come back to me.  Some do, some don't. That's the funny thing about words.

I like to have my trusty Moleskine with me, and it is usually in my purse, but I've been using it only for concert noting on the go, as of late.  I've been lost in thought instead of words.  The truth is I have dozens of journals and notebooks...aching for words.  Blank pages scream at me from every corner of my space, but I have not felt compelled to touch them.  I've been lost in instruments more so, but have been lax with that as well, until last week when I was compelled to pick up my Alvarez for three days straight.  Being compelled is another funny thing.  It's almost like a program in your brain you have to follow; you are driven to carry out the mission.  I just didn't seem to want to do anything else, so I just went with it...and let the housework back up.  My bathroom paid, but I was rewarded.  It lasted three straight days and then waned.  It felt good.  Sometimes, I am just compelled to do things and it feels best to just go with it.

So, today while I was in the store for a few things, I was compelled to buy a notebook and pens.  Stationery.  It should be known that I have a thing for stationery; I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  I wander away from my husband at the site of the paper aisle in a store.  I am ridiculous in Staples.  It's borderline fetish.  Okay, I don't feverishly rub composition books on my genitals, or anything, (although if it was a leather bound journal, now...) there is just nothing like a fresh tablet and brand new pens! So, even though I know I have plenty of notebooks of every size and color, I for some reason felt I needed to purchase a small 3 subject Mead notebook and a pack of pens that claimed they were 'The smoothest in the world!'  The Bic Velocity. Good pen.  Smooth.

I felt compelled and went with it and got the tablet and pens.  If my Self says she wants a tablet on a whim, then what does that say?  What deeper tells does my spirit show?  Perhaps that she is ready to write again.  Perhaps that she wants new paper...for her new words.  Or...perhaps she is just a fetishist after all.  Let's see what she is compelled to do with it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Get Back to Beatlemania!!!

We went to the yearly Beatlemania again this year on the Old Main lawn in State College this evening.  They have been doing this for ten to twelve years now, but this has been the second time we've made it.  It may seem a little weird if you think about it, but don't think about, just go!  It really is a reasonable facsimile, you won't be too disappointed.

Now, given, they aren't exactly clones or anything,but The Cast [of Beatlemania], as they are called, dress the part, even change outfits for the Beatles' different stages, and sound pretty close to the fab four!  Their music director on keys in the back helps a lot with their ability to get the sound so authentic and even pull off Strawberry Fields, but the guys are all really decent musicians also.  They don wigs of different lengths and faux Sgt. Peppers suits (which are my favorite) and even sound like them when they talk.  Pseudo John is super, pulling off the voice the best out of them all, and looking incredibly authentic in his white suit and long hair piece.  He seems to carry the show to an extent, which makes sense because he is also the band's manager.

Hey Jude was exciting; Celie recognized that one the most, singing 'Na na na...' and yelling out 'I want John!'  She is her mother's daughter indeed!  It was so cute.  'Ders anover Beatle!'  If she would have only pissed her pants, it would have been like the real thing.

Overall, it is an exciting experience to hear the music of the Beatles being performed live during Beatlemania because there is no way you would ever be able to otherwise.  Go ahead and try to not dance at a fake Beatles concert...I dare ya!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Seoul Sisters

I'm on my way back from New York City.  It was an awesome day outing, but not exactly for the happiest of reasons.  My sister has been living in Korea for the past year and a half teaching and came home for an almost month long visit over her summer break.  It was a great visit, the time went so incredibly fast.  It's sad that it is over, but at least we had an enjoyable road trip to the big apple. My friend and I drove her out to JFK International for her 2PM flight.  She is in the air as I write this now.  As per her wishes, we chose to have a little city fun before returning home. 

I spotted fedoras for sale on the street as we were driving up 5th Avenue, so we parked the Caliber on 39th Street and hoofed it.  Coincidentally we went past the NYC Public Library!  I've explored the cement jungle several times before, but I had NEVER visited the library.  I was super excited to climb the steps and pass through the threshold!  And what a threshold it was; I stepped through the largest, most ornate door I ever had in my life.  The beautiful textured details and giant gold lion head knocker were just foreplay.  It was like a giant marble orgasm inside!  They had a shop and we bought some books and trinkets. I got Where the Wild Things Are and Oh, The Places You'll Go for Celie; two classics that she doesn't yet have and it will be neat to know they came from the NYC Library. 

It was an excellent day.  We had a nice trip out with my sister, and after dropping her off we were able to make a day of it instead of just a delivery.  I'm sure she'd love that we visited the library.  I took this picture on one of the huge globes they had in the Mapping room where we stuck a pin in central Pennsylvania on a map of visitors.  Pennsylvania girls in the big apple jungle!  Seoul, Korea is like New York City...only bigger...and foreign...and on the other side of that globe.  My sister walks the streets of that concrete jungle on her own, with ovaries [balls] of solid rock.  She will  return to her foreign job and her foreign apartment and reunite with her foreign coworkers and foreign friends.  I remain native...and I won't be reunited with her for another year.  I wish her well.