#DearJerry

Ran into some old friends...

I didn’t go to the Dear Jerry show at Merriweather expecting to see The Dead. Those of us who enjoyed those shows, back in the day, know they can’t be replicated. No, I went to this show because I do really like the songs and I like so many of the artists who were performing.

Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann’s Billy & The Kids, Bob Weir, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Miller, David Grisman, Eric Church, Grace Potter, Greensky Bluegrass, Jimmy Cliff, Jorma Kaukonen, Los Lobos, Moe., O.A.R., Peter Frampton Railroad Earth, The Disco Biscuits, Trampled By Turtles, Widespread Panic, Yonder Mountain String Band And Communion Featuring Phil Lesh, Stu Allen, Grahame Lesh, Ross James, Alex Koford, And Jason Crosby

And I also went – maybe most of all went – because Andrew wanted me to.

Here’s my review in bullet points. I’d elaborate, but I’m very tired (it was way past my bedtime) and I have work to do. But, if I don’t do this now, I won’t do it. So here goes:

  • Beautiful weather and I always love Merriweather. It’s pretty and they have enough bathrooms. And the food doesn’t suck too badly.
  • Our seats were great. I almost got crabby about the guy infringing on my right, but he backed off with the infringing.
  • At one point, I wanted to sit down and needed to nudge him. I said something like, “Feeling old, need to sit a minute. Can you excuse me?” And he replied “Well, for tonight, you’re not old.” and made way for me to sit. I had two thoughts: 1) I walked straight into that ugh and 2) Who says that? I assume he meant get in the flow and feel the youth and energy but what came out was, you can pretend you’re young for a night but, you actually are pretty old.
  • At about the beginning of hour 3, I started to become aggravated with my pavilion neighbors singing badly over the bands.
  • Not everyone sitting near us smelled fresh.
  • O.A.R. was amazing – probably my favorite.
  • Seeing Jimmy Cliff was incredible.
  • Loved Grace Potter on Friend of the Devil.
  • Someone said “Far Out” to me. I had no idea that anyone still said that.
  • If you drop your water bottle on the floor, it’s over. Because there are so many water bottles on the ground, choosing one is like Water Bottle Roulette. I chose to stay parched.
  • It’s fun to get out and do something different – especially smack-dab in the middle of the week. Shakes things up.
  • We saw so many old and new friends. Love those girls in the photo above; some I see semi-regularly. Some? It’s been years.

Setlist

Set One:

Communion with Phil Lesh: The Wheel > Uncle John’s Band, Standing On The Moon, Liberty
Allen Toussaint with House Band: Get Out Of My Life Woman
David Grisman with House Band & Sam Bush: Shady Grove
Peter Frampton with House Band & Bill Kreutzmann: (I’m A) Roadrunner
Buddy Miller with House Band: Deal
Jorma Kaukonen with House Band: Sugaree
Jimmy Cliff with House Band: The Harder They Come
Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Dave Schools, Bill Kreutzmann & Jimmy Cliff with House Band: Attics Of My Life intro > Fire On The Mountain

Set Two

Billy & The Kids: Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower
Disco Biscuits with Bill Kreutzmann & Tom Hamilton: Scarlet Begonias > I Know You Rider > Scarlet Begonias
moe.: Loser
O.A.R.: St. Stephen

Set Three

Los Lobos with Bob Weir: Not Fade Away > Bertha
Trampled By Turtles: Brown-Eyed Women
Yonder Mountain String Band: Shakedown Street
Bob Weir with House Band: Days Between
Grace Potter, Bob Weir, Matt Burr & House Band: Friend Of The Devil
Eric Church with House Band: Tennessee Jed
Widespread Panic: Morning Dew
Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann & Mickey Hart: Touch Of Grey
Most Of The Evening’s Performers: Ripple

And when the smoke clears, I’m just a mom.

photo credit scx johnnyberg
photo credit scx johnnyberg

The other night, Andrew and I went to see some music with some old friends. (I”m not saying my friends are old, but rather I’ve known her since high school and known her husband for 13+ years.)

So we went to see one of my favorite bands – though they were just the openers – Shovels and Rope. Did I realize we were going to a standing up (rather than seated) venue? Um, no. Shame on me for not realizing.

First we met for dinner. And yum. Great dinner, super happy. Right next door.

Then we got to Rams Head Live. And, since I’m wimpy about standing all night, we got seats at the bar. We were early enough that it was a choice. Yay. But once the music started, I kind of lost myself and there I was walking with my friend into the crowd in front of the stage. I wanted to be in the music. In the beat. And lose myself in it.

[Side note: if you didn’t stop to listen to their music yet – please do. Especially if you like country or if you are open-minded about that sort of thing. Michael Trent & Cary Ann Hearst have this thing -this electricity. Just listen, okay?)

I’m really getting off track here. So (deep breath), I’ll back up. Or jump ahead.

We’re standing there watching the duo and soaking in the music. I felt like I was 20-something. The music was running through me and I’d almost forgotten how much I appreciate that feeling. It was peace. And joy. You know?

And then, an actual 20-something boy pushed himself past me and into the front of the crowd. Okay, this happens. Whatever. I’m chill.

And then, a couple girls push their way to join him. And not subtly.

One of the girls kind of drifted and melted into the crowd. But the other girl. The other girl.

She was beautiful with long, blond hair. Maybe she was 22. Or maybe she had a fake ID.

She was swaying withe music – right in front of me.

Peace. Love. Music.

Right. All that. Except that that girl kept tossing her long, blond hair into me. And I was starting to get aggravated. And then more. And then more.

And then, I made a space around me and guarded it. And then, I was annoyed that I was at this great show and having to worry about guarding space so this girl wouldn’t toss her hair in my face. And then, she left.

If you know me, you know what happened next. ‘

I had to go to the bathroom.

And I walked in, and there she was – looking befuddled.

After I (ahem) did my business, I came out to wash my hands. (Folks, this is good practice. I’m here to tell you it does not happen as often as it should.)

So, I’m washing my hands and here is this blond. She’s even younger than I thought. She’s wearing concealer to cover her blemishes. She’s a little girl. Right, maybe she’s 21. Maybe she’s not.

And I looked her straight in the eyes and asked her, “Are you ok?”

And she quickly said yes and told me she liked my top. But I’m not sure she was really okay. I don’t know what she was on or who broke her heart or whether she’d had one too many but I know.

And more than anything, I know she was somebody’s daughter. And my heart ached for the mom who didn’t know or would’ve been there had she known.

Progress. One stroke at a time.

photo credit orah - sxc
photo credit orah – sxc

Sometimes you set out to do something with a specific goal in mind. And sometimes, the actual results are surprising.

Several years ago, I was in the best shape of my life. I was strong. Thin, but not too thin. I went to the gym at least 5 times a week. And I felt great.

And then, I started having some weakness and pain in my left arm and shoulder. But I was busy and in denial and I did nothing. Well, nothing except exactly what I’d been doing. And then, one day it was worse. I’m sure it was getting worse all along, but it seemed that all of a sudden, it was a real problem. A real problem – as in I couldn’t fold sheets anymore. I couldn’t pass a dish at the table. I couldn’t do a lot of things.

And so, I finally went to my primary care doc. And she was alarmed by the muscle atrophy in my shoulder. My doc never is alarmed. And I found this alarming. After a myriad of tests and specialists, it was clear that I had some major cervical disc damage. So I started going to physical therapy and I worked and wished. And yes, I wished that it would get better, but I also wished I could go back and deal with this earlier. But too late for that.

And then, in 2011, I had the surgery.

Basically, it sucked. It was harder than I expected. I was depressed. And I was never going to be the same. But, life got back to normal. Kind of.

I got back to the gym as soon as I was allowed. Twice a week.

And I did my stretches (still do). But my life was markedly less active. I was just less comfortable than I wanted to be and couldn’t find my way to just push it. I wouldn’t say I became a potato, but I would say that I became a homebody. I guess that’s a nice way of saying I became a potato.

Time goes so fast. It’s not as if I realized I’d been doing so little for so long. I thought about all the active things I wanted to do. But I just didn’t do them. (And meantime, I wondered why my neck still was stiff and I was still uncomfortable. Hmmmmm.)

I looked at all the class schedules for the village and for the community college. I thought about yoga and thought about biking (I even got my bike tuned up) and thought about all sorts of things. And then, one day I saw there was a summer swimming class for stroke improvement and endurance at the community college.

I’m sure I wouldn’t have really signed up, except I said it out loud. In front of my teens. And at that point, I was sort of committed. Know what I mean? And so, I actually did sign up.

I was petrified. I hadn’t done any real swimming since my mid-twenties. And that is a heck of a long time ago. Like half my life ago. But I sucked it up. And I went.

I’m on week 3. Class is twice a week. And a couple of things have happened so far. First of all, my swimming has improved a ton. I’ve gone nearly 3 miles since I started (combined, not each class) and my stroke is so much better. Every class, I’ve gone farther than the time before. And I’ve gone to swim on my own outside of class, too. I know, crazy. But the other thing that has happened is that I’ve met these amazing women. It’s not a big class. There are maybe 8 of us. And we all came in at different skill levels and with different motivations, I’m sure. But I look forward to seeing everyone. And I quietly cheer on the classmates who have really pushed it and are doing great (you know who you are!) and I’m excited for the young woman who’d doing her first tri in 2 weeks and I’m worried about the woman who’s dad is in hospice and you know what? It is so much easier to drag my butt there because I feel like we’re all in this together.

I expected to be on this journey alone. But I’m not alone.

And you know what else is unexpected? I feel good. I feel energized. I want to do more. I’m walking more and getting out more and walking away from my computer more and I finally feel like I’m getting better – as in back to me.

And I’m really proud of myself.

Who know’s what’s next? If you could see my search data (and we all know that someone does!) you’d know that I did a search for beginner triathlons today. Is that my goal? Probably not, unless I plan to walk the run. But, I feel like my options are opening up.

And it’s incredible.

Roberto’s 4

Last night, we went to Roberto’s 4 to celebrate Liz and Andrew’s birthdays. What an experience! Since you couldn’t be there with us, I thought I’d share some photos from the evening. I missed a few photos (or they were just lousy), so I’ll fill in between the pix.

If you’re in the area, I strongly recommend this – if it’s your kind of thing. Plan ahead though – there are only 4 seats so reservations must be made a while in advance. And if you just prefer a more typical restaurant experience, the food at Al Dente, is terrific.

13361.132f30e1f1a7ac6c48cf8b415cb43dc0
Liz and Andrew – belated birthday celebration!

So this is how we started…

Pizzetta - Robiola Cheese - Black Truffles - Quail Egg
Pizzetta – Robiola Cheese – Black Truffles – Quail Egg

And the pizzetta came in this!
And the pizzetta came in this!
San Daniele Proscuitto - Gnocco Fritto -Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale - Refosco Wine
San Daniele Proscuitto – Gnocco Fritto -Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale – Refosco Wine

Then we had Asparagus with Olive Oil and Shallots. Yum.

Eggplant – Bufalo Mozzarella – Tomato – Smoke – Sweety Drops
Eggplant – Bufalo Mozzarella – Tomato – Smoke – Sweety Drops

So fun! When they took off the glass top, the smoke escaped.

Pea Soup – Zucchini Flower
Pea Soup – Zucchini Flower
Shrimp - Saffron
Shrimp – Saffron
Eggs - Pioppini Mushrooms - Stracciatella Cheese
Eggs – Pioppini Mushrooms – Stracciatella Cheese
Olive Oil – Raviola Cream – Parmigiano Reggiano
Olive Oil – Raviola Cream – Parmigiano Reggiano
Chitarra Spaghetti – Clams – Saffron – Onions – Zucchini
Chitarra Spaghetti – Clams – Saffron – Onions – Zucchini
Frascatelli – Lobster
Frascatelli – Lobster
Risotto – Morel Mushrooms – Duck Sausage
Risotto – Morel Mushrooms – Duck Sausage

Next was Squab with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Duck Liver and Vin Santo. While I’m not a huge squab fan, I have to admit it was delicious.

Venison – Sour Cherries – Cream – Potato
Venison – Sour Cherries – Cream – Potato
Gorgonzola – Moutarda (ewww. Two of my least favorite things. Liz and Andrew liked it a lot.)
Gorgonzola – Moutarda (ewww. Two of my least favorite things. Liz and Andrew liked it a lot.)
Prickly Pear Granita
Prickly Pear Granita

Next was Panna Cotta with Caramel. Then Apricot, Almond and Pineapple with Honey Ice Cream. And then, Bicerin.

Bombolini
Bombolini

Did I mention the wine pairings? Um, yeah. Truly a wonderful night. And today? Today, I swam it off 🙂

Jumping for joy.

wendyjumping This is me at Blissdom last year. Alli took the pic. And I love it.

In 3 days, I’m jumping on a plane and headed to Dallas. Yes, to Blissdom! I’m having a tough time deciding what I’m most excited about:

  1. Seeing old friends
  2. Making new friends
  3. Teaching/speaking about Using Data for Creative and Impactful Marketing
  4. Hearing Chris Mann sing
  5. Seeing C.C. Chapman speak about Living An Amazing Life
  6. Sleeping in my own room (Sorry, Andrew. But, it’s just 2 nights!)
  7. Offline time with some of my Cabot colleagues

If you see me there, please say hello!

The quiet girl.

curlersShe was a tall, skinny girl. And she was very, very quiet.

For years, she’d been in my class – first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade.

I don’t know if you remember those years for yourself, but I do. The girls paired into inseparable best friends. And the pairs of best friends glommed together into sets. We played in these sets on the playground, with skip-it contests, jump rope, Chinese jump rope games. We chanted, jumped, and giggled.

Lots of giggling.

And one day, the quiet girl wanted to join in.

Now, I’m not saying my friends – my set – weren’t nice girls. They were. But I felt that some of them may not have always been inclusive. These girls did not want the quiet girl to play with us. But Sarah did. And I did.

That was that. She began jumping and singing with us, though she always seemed a little vacant, a bit distant.

Let me back up a little and tell you that we lived a nice middle class life. Our house was warm and happy. I shared a bedroom with my sister and my brother had his own room. And we had 2-1/2 baths. I’m not going to say we didn’t struggle at times. There were years of going to the outlet stores for clothes and years of casseroles that stretched the protein like tuna noodle casserole and an egg and noodle dish. And I still make the spaghetti and meat sauce and the meatballs with the Lipton onion soup mix gravy that I loved as a kid. I say this much to Andrew’s chagrin.

My closest friends had houses similar to mine, though I’ve learned over the years that they weren’t all happy homes. But that’s a story for another time.

My mom always welcomed my friends at the house and was ready with homemade cookies or another treat. I loved having friends over. They’d come after school sometimes and sometimes for a weekend sleepover.

I don’t know what year it started, but it started. The birthday sleepover parties. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate the effort it took on my mother’s part, in hindsight. Now that I’m a mother, I can safely say that I didn’t fully appreciate the effort on my parents’ part in so many ways. Oh, I’m not suggesting I was ungrateful. I’m simply saying I didn’t realize and my parents always made it seem like a pleasure. I am sure now that it was not always a pleasure. But I digress.

Every weekend, it seemed, there was a sleepover somewhere. It was an unspoken exclusive club; we’d rotate between houses where we’d giggle and eat and, sometimes, sleep.

And then it was the quiet girl’s birthday.

She brought handwritten invitations to school. Eyes down, she asked tentatively if I’d come.

And I said yes. Not all the other girls said yes, though.

For the days leading up to the party, she’d shyly remind me not to forget to come.

The day came. The day of the party.

We didn’t recognize the street name. Now, mind you, it wasn’t that big of a school. And pretty much everyone lived in walking distance. I don’t remember if I asked for directions or if my dad just figured it out. (He always found his way, long before GPS devices. In fact, it was a huge source of pride. My dad knew his way around in more cities and more detail than anyone. I thought it was remarkable and it became a skill that I’d work diligently on for years. I’m still great with a map but, alas, I admit that I’ve become a little dependent on Waze in recent years.)

The house, as it turned out, was down an unpaved road tucked away and almost impossible to see from the main. We drove up to the house. It was small and in very serious disrepair. I’d never seen a house like this before. Not in real life.

And now I was nervous.

I’d never seen poor.

My mother walked me to the door and the girl’s mother answered. I wouldn’t say she was smiling, but neither was she frowning. She just was. She was wearing a light, cotton housedress like my grandmother did. Her hair was in curlers. Not those plastic curlers but the pink, wiry squishy ones. Lots of them.

The quiet girl was also nervous. I imagined she was worried that we’d have a good time. That we’d want to be her friend. That she could fit in.

There was nothing different about that slumber party than any other. We had the same snacks. The same giggles.

Today, I wonder if it was a hardship for her mother to provide those snacks. If it was difficult to have us over. And now, as a mother all these years later, I wonder how much she worried for her daughter. How much she wanted her to be happy. And, yes, to fit in.

While I know that I was nice to the girl – because I was nice to most everyone – I honestly have no recollection of seeing her socially again.

None.

But I was thinking about her the other day.

PS: When I searched for her name, I find lawyers, real estate agents, volunteers, a deputy, and a criminal. Of course, her name could be different 40 years later. But whatever she’s doing, I hope she’s happy and that she found her voice.

Drifting.

credit: Billyruth03
credit: Billyruth03
Sometimes we drift apart. Or at least we used to.

I’m not talking about friend breakups. Nothing momentous. But sometimes, there just isn’t as much to talk about. There isn’t enough in common to choose to spend time together.

It’s not dislike. It’s just not priority.

And back in a time before Facebook, there’d be a natural, easy shift. And while it was sometimes a little sad to wistfully think about old times, the reality was that the connection was just not that strong.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t unfriend people unless there’s a real dislike or reason to. It just feels hurtful to me.

Maybe it doesn’t to you. But to me, it does.

And drifting is different from severing.

So in our times, what happens? There are loose ties and awkward peeks into casual or even more – lost – friends’ lives.

What does this say about us? That our communities keeps getting bigger as no one ever leaves the circles but rather move to more peripheral circles as relationships shift and priorities change?

Scams, power & friends.


It sure has been an eventful week. I can’t possibly tell you everything. So I’ll boil it down to the highlights.

Scams.
Some douchebag (I can’t think of a better way to describe the dude) called my parents’ house and told my 80 year old father that his grandson – my son – was in a Haitian prison and needed money to get out. To make it more realistic, he even had some kid cry on the phone. To my 75% deaf father. I’m grateful that my dad called me and I could tell him that it was absolutely untrue and that he shouldn’t worry. But you know what? It made me very, very angry. I hate predators. I hate that some asshole stressed my dad out. Of course he suspected that it wasn’t quite right. But it seemed possible enough that it was worrisome. Enough that he couldn’t quite ignore it and hang up on the bastard.

I called the police. Not helpful, but I felt better.

Power.
If you haven’t heard about the derecho, you haven’t been paying attention.

It was a crazy storm.

We went to sleep on Friday during the storm. Should I have insisted we all sleep in the basement? Probably. But I didn’t. Fortunately, we were fine. No trees through the windows. No house damage at all. Phew. However, we lost power. Us and our 2 million closest friends.

Ehhh. No big deal. We had candles. Flashlights. Games. Saturday, we chopped the trees that were blocking our driveway and headed out for the daytrip that we had planned to the eastern shore. No worries!

And when we got home, all was well. Well, all except that the house was QUITE WARM. Quite. But we set up the boys in the basement where it was cooler and Andrew and I dealt with the warm temps. No worries!

Except the food was all spoiled. Oh well, it’s not as if we just stocked up on everything at Costco. Oh wait, we did. Crap.

Sunday morning. Somehow, it just keep getting hotter. By later that day, we decided we couldn’t sleep here another night. And that leads me to….

Friends.
So the house was hot. Very hot. And while it wasn’t easy for me, I picked up the phone and called our wonderful friends. “Can we crash at your house?” And of course (and no surprise) they said, “yes.” And added, “we’re glad you asked.”

And I think they meant it. Even though their kids are away and they had the house to themselves. (wink, wink) And even though it was the eve of their 17 year anniversary. And even though we were going to create a tremendous amount of laundry including sheets and towels. And by the time we gotten there, they’d set up air mattresses for the boys and turned the guest room into an oasis for Andrew and me.

It was perfect. And then, the next morning we got our computers and our notebooks and we set up shop in the dining room (me) and the office (Andrew). Basically> We took over the house.

And we were so grateful.

When the power at our house came back on Monday late in the day, we transfered all our technology back home. And now, just over 24 hours later, I can barely say how much we appreciate that we could have this continuity. And I can barely describe how grateful we are to our friends. Everyone should have friends this wonderful. We are truly blessed.

Now, our house is back to normal. The well is working, so we can flush the toilet (woo hoo) and take showers. The temperature is perfect. The lights are on. Basically, it’s like it always was but now we appreciate it more.

So that’s my week. How was yours?

A lifetime of friendship

Today, I went to one of my oldest friends’ son’s Bar Mitzvah.

She and I have been friends since 4th grade. She came half way through the year. From Wisconsin, of all places. She even had a Wisconsin license plate on her wall in her bedroom.

Wisconsin is very far away when you are 9 years old.

We became fast friends. We often dressed alike, as little girls do. And, in my mind, we looked exactly the same. Twins. Nevermind that she had long blond hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and long legs.

We looked exactly the same.

Life is funny. People move, change, marry. And move some more. Babies are born. Time goes by. There are tragedies and joys.

And it all comes rushing back as I watch her son become a bar mitzvah. He’s a handsome kid. He looks so confident today. So ready.

I remember when she and I were his age. So curious and ready to grow up. I remember going to Great Falls with her family and taking pix of her little brother acting silly. I remember her long gray wool coat. I loved that coat. I remember a ketchup squeeze container that her family had that looked like a pig. (Why a pig?) I called it Jeff. (Sorry, Jeff.)

In the powder room at her house, all this cool Westinghouse stuff hung on the walls. It fascinated me.

And then there’s the time she spent at my house. Lots of time.

And then we grew up. She moved away. I got married. She came back and bought a condo. I got divorced. She became a nurse. I started my career in advertising. She met a guy and moved away (but not so far) and I met a guy and moved far away.

So of course there are a thousand details in between, but what strikes me is that I can’t imagine not seeing her son become a bar mitzvah, just as she saw my sons reach the milestone.

Old friends. There’s just nothing like ’em.