June ’10 was…

June was a month of reconnection. By far, my favorite musical moment was the lovely Rebecca Correia at the Iron Horse. It is awful to say but every single artist that follows her on stage can’t compare. Not that they are NailsOnaChalkboard bad, but they have nothing on Rebecca. On the professional side of things June was a very frustrating month. On the personal sides I got one of the best hugs of my life (thanks, Gracie). For books, it was this:

  • Happenstance by Carol Shields ~ this should be a movie
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen ~ this also should be a movie
  • The Confession of Nat Turner by William Styron ~ this was a hard one to read
  • Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World by Carol Brightman ~ a very thorough biography that helped with my insomnia
  • I Don’t Know Why I Swallowed the Fly by Jessica Maxwell ~ first year fly fishing story
  • Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym ~ a sociology experiment in a land of anthropologists
  • Master & Commander by Patrick O’Brien ~ this took some time to get into…so much so that I didn’t finish it.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ~ I needed to lick my wounds with something enjoyable!

For LibraryThing’s Early Review program:

  • The House on Oyster Creek by Heidi Jo Schmidt ~ once I got beyond the first chapter I loved it. Beautiful writing.

For the fun of it:

  • Winning By Losing by Jillian Michaels ~ I’m most interested by the subtitle on the cover of her book, “Change You Life.” I’m up for that. Really.

July ’09 Was…

July ’09 was yesterday, but it was also a really fun month (despite the pool letting go). First there was meeting a friend for dinner and asking her to come work for me! Then there was Rebecca Correia’s Iron Horse show. Of course I rallied the troups (all 12 of us!) and we had a great time. I really need to blog about the three-way Kisa had with the girls and who can forget the Wicked Wally?
How could I forget Boston? The trip into the city was amazing because the company couldn’t have been more perfect. They caught the mandarin fish! I have a few pictures from the day of my way, but I’m dying to see theirs!
July was also the return to running. I am proud to say I logged 35.21 miles in July.

  • The Skull Mantra by Eliott Pattison ~ this one stayed with me for awhile. I think it should be a movie.
  • The Stillmeadow Raod by Gladys Taber ~ cute.
  • Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx ~ ugly.
  • The Enemy by Lee Child ~ fascinating. Can’t wait to read the others!
  • Morningside Heights by cheryl Mendelson ~ middle class society in Manhattan.
  • The Light That Failed by Rudyard Kipling ~ a little tough to get into at first.
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne ~ back to a classic!

For the fun of it:

  • Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman

I was supposed to read a couple of Early Review books but only one arrived in July. I will have to review it in August (I’m reading it now).

July ’09 is….

I am feeling better about July. Much better. It’s like the sun has come out (literally and metaphorically). I think I am finding my way out of the darkness. July is social. Dinner with good friends. July is a Rebecca show at the Iron Horse with a whole host of people. July is more attention paid to Hilltop. Reconnecting with Germany. Maybe Norway and Lebanon. Wouldn’t that be cool?
For books, here is the endeavor:

  • Skull Mantra by Eliott Pattison ~ in honor of the best time (supposedly) to visit Tibet (in my dreams)
  • Stillmeadow Road by Gladys Taber ~ okay, this is a stretch: Nancy Pearl calls this book a “cozy.” I translated that to mean “happy” and July is National Ice Cream Month. Ice cream makes me happy and happy is cozy…told you it was a stretch!
  • Close Range by Annie Proulx~ on honor of Wyoming becoming a state in July
  • The Light That Failed by Lee Child~ here’s another stretch: Lee Child lives in New York. July is the month NY became a state. If anyone knows what month Lee Child was born in please let me know!
  • Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne ~ to celebrate Hawthorne’s birth month
  • Morningside Heights by Cherilyn Mendelson ~ in honor of New York becoming a state.

If there is time I would like to add The Light That Failed by Rudyard Kipling or The Making of the Atom Bomb by Richard Rhodes. Also, I’m supposed to have an Early Review book from LibraryThing – something about getting along with you mother-in-law (or something like that), but I haven’t seen it. Janice Schofield Eaton’s Beyond Road’s End: Living Free in Alaska was a bonus book.

Soul of Me

  • RebeccaBreathe
  • Home
  • Tell Kyle
  • Bring on the Rain
  • Erina Rose
  • Miss You
  • Yours
  • Oh Nashville
  • On Your Way Down
  • Goodbye For the Last Time
  • No Such Fairytale
  • Hold Me
  • Sonnet #30

There is something about outdoor music, especially when the weather is perfect and the bugs are held at bay. People pull out snacks, snap open lawn chairs and spread out blankets, complete with coolers and cameras. Laughter bounces off conversations and excitement mingles with anticipation. We are ready for music. The Soul of Me cd release party was like this – a combination of family and friends getting together like a gigantic gourmet picnic in the park and the thrill of new music. Hugging and catching up between sips of wine and bites of food. A backyard oasis of tiny white lights and chocolate covered strawberries. And That Voice.

The above setlist is not from the cd release party. I wasn’t willing to spend my time writing each song down… in the dying light and approaching dark. Instead, this is the track list for Rebecca’s new cd, Soul of Me. Rebecca sang all the songs except “No Such Fairytale” “Goodbye for the Last Time” and “Hold Me.” I was relieved she didn’t sing “Hold Me” because I was ripe for a good cry and I didn’t need to be turning on the waterworks at that particular time! She did throw in some extras like a cover mix, an oldie from Memories of Their Love and a little something about Gene Simmons in her grocery store…

Side story: When Rebecca introduced Chris from ‘The Everyday Visuals’ there was a moment of deja vu. How do I know you? Where do I know you from? Do I know you or is my mind playing tricks on me? As Chris began to sing and tell stories the nagging thought I had seen him before simply would not leave my mind. Turns out ‘The Everyday Visuals’ played in the Boston Pop’s cafe the same night Natalie played at Edgefest (the ticket to Natalie got you in to see ‘The Everyday Visuals’ as well). TEVs were the band I could have seen had my family been interested in a little more music after Natalie…

All in all it was a great night and I wish I could have stayed to see Rebecca’s after-show antics! Maybe next time.




Iron Determination

Rebecca Iron Horse

Truth be told, the dying days of December have been drying up my peace and goodwill. This has been a month full of disappointment, fear, sadness and anger. This weekend I was bound and determined to practice a little generosity, a little grace. It started with keeping the library open for 5 1/2 extra hours. We were supposed to close due to the pending storm but I refused to be pansy about the precipitation. If the students had be stuck I was determined to be stuck with them. It was worth every suspicious look, every odd comment.

Rebecca’s show couldn’t have come at a worse time. We had barely cleaned up from one storm when we were slapped with another. All day I watched the snow come down, relentless in his drive to cover every sidewalk, every street and every vehicle. I shoveled my in-laws walkway, our sidewalk, and most of our driveways twice before giving up, giving in to the cold, wet exhaustion. I couldn’t keep up. In a way it was a good thing. I caught my mother’s phone call. She wanted to talk out her nervousness. Her father’s surgery is mere weeks away. She’s a little more blunt, “did you tell them he’s getting his leg cut off?” I winced at her harshness. I know it’s her way of coping but it still bites. To change the subject we talked of cancer and motherless children. I still can’t make sense of dying 10 days before Christmas. That iron determination just couldn’t hold on. I tell mom about the obituary taped to my computer. It smiles at me every morning. A reminder that life is sweet and oh so short.

Finally it was time to head to Rebecca’s show. My mother-in-law drove. No one else came yet strangers packed the Iron Horse. I watched my phone and worried about the roads. An unused ticket sat waiting at the counter. I only relaxed when I got word no one else would be coming. Safe and sound was all I cared about until Rebecca started to sing. Here’s the short but sweet setlist:

  • On Your Way Down
  • Miss You
  • Bring on the Rain (with comments about not needing any more precipitation)
  • Tell Kyle (“a true story about mixing business with pleasure. I don’t recommend it.”)
  • Home (a song about being on the rebound. I still call this Cowboy Christmas.)
  • Hold Me (I love the way Rebecca introduces this song. It’s beautiful.)

What made this show so special was this was the first time Rebecca didn’t have to sell a certain number of tickets in advance. For the first time ever the Iron Horse was able to comp her tickets, too. She tried to give me one but, but! But, I had already bought two in advance. Woops. I assured her I would never, ever accept a free ticket unless she was the headlining act. We made a deal. On the day that she becomes the big show, she could comp me a ticket – until then, I pay my own way.

When it Snows

The past week has been a little on the hellish side, without the heat – if you know what I mean. Two major storms; one with weather and one in my personal life. I’ve managed to dig out from both.

Thank you to the students who were so appreciative of the extra library hours. Staying open an extra 5.5 hours for you was my pleasure. I had nowhere to go and, apparently, neither did you.

Thank you to my mother-in-law for braving the weather to see Miss Rebecca sing last night. I couldn’t have asked for a better pilot. Now that we know how parking works we should do it again.

Thank you to Rebecca for making the four hour trek to Northampton. You and your funnier than all get out father are amazing. Thank you for singing your heart out. I must insist that you stop saving ‘Hold Me’ as your last song. I couldn’t hold my camera steady thanks to the tears. I’m sure the video is going to reflect that grief. Don’t worry, I will blog about the entire thing…maybe even post a snippet of the video (depending on how shaky it is).

Thank you to my friend. I understand your absence. I missed you just the same.


rebecI have been meaning to blog this. I have needed to blog this. I miss you and you and you and you and you and you. To Germany: I have been trying and trying to get a Sunday – something worthwhile and lengthy. So much to catch on from so far away. Thanks for the video email. I can’t stop watching it. You know me and a good cause. It brings tears to my eyes everytime. To Ms Delusion Dr: got your holiday email tonight and I have to say I loved the sax but missed you more. Hope all is well, my friend. To Ruby: we keep trying for a meal. We keep trying for a royal bitch session (I think that’ll be my part) and nothing has worked out. You are graceful and reassuring. This is my sanity saying thank you for listening, even if it isn’t the way I want to be communicating. I love you. To Gnasher: Maybe you think I have been avoiding you. Silence on my end means nothing more than a bad day multiplied by seven to make a whole week of hell. Make that two. I miss you. Dear, dear Smiley: I need a laugh. I need something funny to keep me one step ahead of my black cloud. Cookies don’t cut it. Really. Belise: I’m intimidated by the running force you have become, yet..and yet…You might be proud of me. I’ve put in 27 miles last month and 15.6 miles so far this month. You inspire me. I’m still scared of the hurt I could inflict on myself- the shadow of pain is always there like a dark shadow I can’t escape…but I’m trying. Really trying.

And for Rebecca:

You know me and live music. You know me and this voice. You know me and this friend. Just have to promote everything about her. Rebecca Correia will be at the Iron Horse on 12/21 (Sunday) @ 7pm. She’s opening for Brian O’Connor. Have to admit, I’ve never heard of Brian, but I’m game.

Speaking of games, Kisa is going to a football game that night – a mercy outing with a friend who couldn’t get rid of his extra ticket. Probably will be the last game of the year so how could I say no? I’m no Kill Joy wife. No matter what.

Rebecca, I have missed your songs and your weird sense of humor. Can’t wait to see you!

December is…

img_00281December is one of the longest months in my opinion. But, it is also one of the most festive, thanks in part to the 25th & 31st. December is also the return of the Hot Chocolate Run, the return of the awesomely awesome Rebecca Correia (to the Iron Horse) and for reading books it is:

  • Anatomy of Murder  by Robert Traver in honor of John Jay becoming the first Chief Justice in this month (I’ll explain at review time).
  • Quiet American by Graham Greene in honor of Ward Just’s birthday (I’ll explain that in a second).
  • Dangerous Friend by Ward Just in honor of Ward Just’s birthday. I had always been told to read Quiet American with Dangerous Friend so that’s what I’m doing.
  • Family Affair  by Rex Stout in honor of his birthday.

And if there is time…

  • I’m a Stranger Here Myself  by Bill Bryson in honor of his birthday.

So, I’m celebrating author birthdays more than real life birthdays. What’s up with that? Not really sure I know myself….

Because I’m Insane

I’ll make this quick: I have been absolutely positively missing my voice Mr. Sean Rowe, so so so I am planning on a road trip with kisa.
Saturday after Thanksgiving 11/29 – Show starts at 8pm.
Bread and Jam Cafe in Cohoes, NY

I’m leaving the info about Miss Rebecca Correia’s show here, too:
When: 12-21-09 (7pm)
Where: Iron Horse, opening for Brian O’Connor
Tix: $18 (in advance)

Christmas Comes Early

I got an email yesterday that made me smile. It wasn’t the email from my realtor preparing me for a showing of 11 houses today. It wasn’t the sweet comments from my friends. It wasn’t the approval to bring in volunteers (read: replacements) at work. It wasn’t my insurance agent’s new claim request. It was the announcement that my friend Rebecca will be bringing her amazing voice back to Northampton next month! She had even more good news – she doesn’t need to sell tickets in advance!

Here’s what I know: Iron Horse 12/21. More details to come.

Now I’m off to see (gulp) 11 houses.

September Was…

September started with a heat wave and the ache of leaving home. School is back in session and I feel like I am trying to rein in wild horses. Here’s what I managed to read in this crazy, crazy month.

  • World’s Fair by E.L. Doctorow ~ yeah, yeah. Not on the original September list. So sue me.
  • The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh ~ really wild book. I discovered tow movies I want to see thanks to this book.
  • A Good Enough Parent by Bruno Bettelheim ~ indepth psychobabble (good for all those parents who realllly want to analyze their kids).
  • Far Side of Paradise: a Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald by Arthur Mizner ~ fascinating and funny.
  • The Diaries of Jane Somers by Doris Lessing ~ this one tricked me because when I first picked it up I thought it was going to be biographical nonfiction!
  • The Nowhere City by Alison Lurie ~ this should be a movie!
  • Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell ~ technically I didn’t finish this one in time so it will be on the list again!

For LibraryThing’s Early Review program:

  • Emily Post by Laura Claridge ~ I have to admit, I wasn’t into this as much as I thought I would be.
  • Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland ~ I’m still struggling with the review for this one!
  • The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories by Pagan Kennedy ~ Having forgot my last September challenge book, I tore through this one. My original plan was to save it for October but I couldn’t…it was that good.

For the hell of it:

  •  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: a memoir by Haruki Murakami ~ totally off my Challenge radar, but I had to read it. It came highly, highly recommended so I jumped off the Challenge train and read about running. Totally worth it.
  • Under the Neon ~ a crazy book about the homeless who live in the storm drains underneath Vegas.
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch ~ another book that came highly recommended. Sad, though!

Other than the books, it was a month for seeing good, good friends. Two friends from Colorado (haven’t seen them in four years!), a Rebecca Correia show (and 4.8 mi run with her!), the Big E with Jypsie and traffic, a good long conversation with one of my oldest and bestest friends in the whole wide world, and, and, and, a visit from my elusive, always on the go, friend SPB. I even got to have dinner with him! How lucky am I?
**personal note: thanks to everyone who helped me through this month. I’m out of the woods.

Rebecca’s Iron Horse Night

Raining in Georgia
Raining in Georgia

I never remember to write a setlist while Rebecca is singing. I never try to write a review while in the midst of her music. It is hard enough to acknowledge the friends and family around me let alone pay attention to pen and paper.
Yet. And yet trying to review after the fact is always a daunting task. The mind is a funny thing. I might remember something out of order. I may remember something that may or may not have ever happened. Who really knows?
But, here is how I think it went:

  • Breathe
  • Tell Kyle
  • Miss You
  • Nashville (? new song)
  • Hold Me
  • Home*
  • Raining in Georgia**

* Encore encouraged by Vance Gilbert
** Performed with Vance Gilbert

After a small confusion with the tickets we all finally got seated and situated in a darker than dark corner. We sat at a high, wobbly table on stools too high for me. I remained half standing, turned away from my party in order to enjoy the show.
Rebecca looked great. Summer has agreed with her (love the haircut – somehow it looks different from the last time we saw her). She opened at the keyboard with Breathe, the song she wrote when she was just 16 years old. I always picture something different every time I hear this song. She didn’t go back to the keyboard again, but played guitar for the rest of the set. I’m not sure of the order of the rest of the show except the last two songs.
I’m sure Nashville isn’t the name of the new song but Rebecca told a funny story about how when she moved there she missed Massachusetts…but as soon as she came home she wrote a song about coming home…to Nashville. I know exactly how she feels. I have that same pull to Colorado.
Hold Me is always going to devastate me. I can remember the day after I finished running 13.1 miles for LLS I found out someone I had been running in honor of had since passed, my friend’s cancer was back with a vengeance and Rebecca’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It made me feel like everything I had been fighting for failed in some twisted, horrific way. Rebecca’s mom was at the show and I’m sure she had tears of pride in her eyes as she heard Hold Me.
I am greatful to Vance for getting Rebecca back on the stage to sing Home, the Cowboy Christmas song. It’s definitely one of my favorites from the Turks album (it ends the album). I love the fiestiness of it.

As a special treat Vance Gilbert asked Rebecca to join him for a song. No other headliner does that (least not while I’m there). They sang Raining in Georgia together. At first it was simply amazing. Then it turned funny as they tried to outdo each other (last time they did this Rebecca ended up doing a handstand on stage because she couldn’t compete with Vance’s scat abilities). Rebecca’s voice has a richness to it. It takes you places. As Vance said, Rebecca has the voice of a broken angel. So, so true.

Thanks for the tears, girl. They needed to be shed.

You Must Remember

Notes to myself.
You must remember the coffee is terrible. You must remember the chairs are dreadful. You must remember to buy merchandise directly through the performer’s website and not at the venue. These are things you should already know about the Iron Horse. Here are some new ones: You also must remember not to order the fries. They do not resemble potatoes in the slightest; the waitstaff definitely will not remember to bring you vinegar and above all else, you will let these so-called potato things grow cold while Rebecca sings.
Here are other things you could do well to remember: For starters, do not be afraid to get up and move around in order to take better pictures of Rebecca’s performance. You really should know by now that any more than ten feet away is going to render your little elf useless.
Second of all, and this is something you definitely should know by now: remember to bring tissues. Face facts. Some of Rebecca’s music hits home and hurts to the bone. You are going to cry whether you want to or not. At some time or another it’s going to happen. It’s a sure thing if ‘Hold Me’ is on the imaginary set list so suck it up and bring tissues.

To be continued…

Tonight Tonight Tonight

Miss You cds
Miss You cds

 Could I be anymore freakin’ excited about tonight? Probably not. I can’t remember the last time I saw Rebecca perform. Wait. I think it’s coming back to me…she had just sat next to Aaron Neville on a plane and had been to the CMAs. We hung out for a little bit to hear about her jetset life in Musical Capital Nashville, TN. Okay, so even though I can remember the time I still can say it has been way too long. Waaay too long. As you all know, Rebecca Correia is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world and, and, and she just happens to have one of my favorite voices, too. Her Miss You cd is amazing, lyrically and instrumentally. I think it goes without saying she puts more heart into her music than 75% of what’s on the radio today. Seriously.

So – tonight. Tonight! Tonight we will sit in incredibly uncomfortable wooden chairs that creak, we’ll be incredibly squooshed together, we’ll be enjoying incredibly BadForYou food like pulled pork sandwiches and nachos laden with cheese. We’ll indulge in wickedly evil Wicked Wally desserts dripping with chocolate slime. We’ll laugh at each other and enjoy Rebecca’s goofy stage presence while her voice fills a void. At least, that’s what will happen for me anyway!