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.


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

Dresses. Boots.

This post was sponsored by the nice folks at Country Outfitters. Compensation covered the amazing Frye boots in these photos. If you know me at all or have ever read this blog, you know my love for boots did not start here and you know that my opinions are, and have always been, my own. This is also a great time to tell you that the photos were taken, edited and arranged by the fabulous Megan Evans, to whom I am very grateful for this and lots of other things. Love you, Megan!

I don’t consider myself particularly beautiful.

Nor do I consider myself particularly trendy.

I’m not saying this so you’ll comment that I’m beautiful and always look great. Seriously. Don’t. I love how I look and dress. Because, you know what? I look like me and no one else. wendy boots blue


When I was a teen, my brother (who was a year ahead of me in school) told my mother that I created trends. It may have been the most flattering thing I’d ever heard about myself. I did put things together a little differently. I did wear feather earrings before they were cool. (Were they ever cool?) I did make choices based on what made me feel good rather than what everyone was wearing.

And I wore boots.

Always boots.

If you want to see my 2006 boot collection, here you go. Just saying that my love of boots is not new. Not new, at all.

Last year, for Valentines’ Day, Andrew bought me the vintage red boots I’d been dreaming about. And I’ve worn them with jeans, skirts, slacks, and yes, with dresses. This is my favorite match-up.

red boots wendy And because I love this so darn much, here’s a little more of that goodness: 2014-07-10_0033

Let me talk about confidence and bare my soul. I was not a confident teen. I was scared and insecure. Maybe all girls feel that way. I don’t know. How would I know? But I remember like it was yesterday walking down the hallway and feeling conspicuous. And I remember my mom telling me I was special and that what I had was different and I should embrace it. And I tried. I tried to


special and different and stand out. Because it isn’t something anyone can give you.

And my brother (the one who said I started trends) told me way back then some of the wisest words I ever heard: act like it’s true and it will be true. (Years later, I’ve always attributed “fake it ’til you make it” to my bro.)

Boots. They made me stand out. They were different. I wore them with jeans. And with dresses. It was a little radical. At least where I lived in the suburbs.

I was the one who reached for the boots even in summer. Even if I’d never seen them worn quite like that.

Since and still, there is nothing that makes me feel as confident and as special as a fabulous pair of boots with a dress. A short dress. A long dress. A frilly dress.




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.

The Wheel.

(just listen in the background, there’s nothing to see here folks…but a beautiful version circa 1977)

The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down,
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on,
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still,
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.

The wheel is turning. Oh my, the wheels are turning.

Andrew is making dinner. Soft shell crab and shrimp Po’ Boys, if you’re curious. I know, right? Don’t even tell me how lucky I am. I know.

So Andrew is making dinner. We were chatting. Our son took the car and left for the high school senior awards night.

I’m trying to let that sink in.

He took the car.

He’s graduating from high school. Next week.

I could post a picture of him when he was little here, but I’ll save that for a nice juxtaposition with his graduation photo. Hehe.

So the wheel is turning. So fast. So fast. I’m happy. I’m a wreck. I’m happy and a wreck. Reminds me of one of my favorite jokes:

Guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Help me! I’m a wigwam, I’m a teepee, I’m a wigwam, I’m a teepee.” And the shrink says, “Relax. You’re two tents.”

I know you already knew that one but I couldn’t resist.

I can’t really explain what it feels like to watch your child drive away. Those of you with older kids? I bet you know. It’s just the first domino. I’m so full of emotion. So full of emotion.

Is the kid ready for this? Ready to be so independent? Ready to move away? To be self-reliant? You bet he his. I’m bursting with pride. But that doesn’t make the tears stop.

source: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/mbylow source: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/mbylow%5B/caption%5D

To whom it may concern:

To my friends – and my mom – who told me how frightening it was when their child started driving on his own, I’m sorry I thought you worried too much. To those who cried when they sat still and realized their child was graduating high school and shortly leaving for college, I didn’t know. I just didn’t know.

There are so many things I didn’t know. Like how much it hurts when your child works hard for something and it doesn’t work out. Or how hard it is to actually follow through on consequences when the kid doesn’t make the best decision.
I also didn’t know what it would feel like when the son who barely spoke out of the house as a child stands up in front of a couple hundred people in the community and speaks like a man and shows his heart. Nor did I know how exciting it was to see a kid develop his talent and his dream and have others believe.

I didn’t know how fast the time would go. How having a partner to make decisions with and share a life with would be so amazing and so challenging at the same time.

I didn’t know when I held that first baby with his chunky cheeks what the next 18 years would be. And I still don’t know what the next 18 will be.

But I’m bursting with pride and fear and worry and happiness and love.


Sewing kit
Sometimes, my mind is just too full from the news and the schedules and the looking ahead at what needs to be figured out, handled, tackled.

Sometimes, I can’t sit still or concentrate to read a book. Just too many thoughts.

And sometimes, even baking a nice, crusty loaf isn’t even the remedy.

It’s times like this that I think about the pile of repair projects. Like Andrew’s sweatpants which are 3″ too long and drag in the mud. So I’m pinning with the pins and measuring with the measuring tape that I’ve had since home-ec. Concentration.

I’ll pull out my Singer Featherweight that my parents bought me for my 10th birthday. I’ll wind a bobbin with gray thread and thread the machine with the same gray thread. I’ll set up the seam guide. And as I guide the fabric, I’ll listen to the hum of the machine while the needle goes up and down and I’ll admire the perfectly spaced stitches.

Bulb envy.

I’ve never had a Christmas tree. And I’ve never decorated my house with lights.

Growing up, there was only one house that decorated on our block. It was just how it was in 21208 those days.

I did get to see lights every year, though. We’d all load up in the car and my dad would drive us to Towson or Timonium or someplace out that way so we could drive through the beautifully lit neighborhoods. It took my breath away. The cold air and the sparkly lights. It was so peaceful. So pretty.

I know that there’s more to Christmas than shopping and commercials and incessant emails trying to get everyone to buy more stuff. I know that the holiday has deep meaning for so many. I just feel lucky that I get to enjoy the sparkly bits. Thanks for sharing. Really, I mean it.

And though Christmas is not my holiday, I do have two Christmas memories to share.

In college, a friend invited me to his parents’ house for dinner and to decorate the tree. I could barely wait. He and his parents were shocked that it was my first time. (They evidently didn’t know a lot of Jews.) I’ll never forget how they gingerly laid out the ornaments and chose the placement of each one so carefully. It was really sweet. It was clearly a special family time and though it was lovely to be included, I felt like an intruder. An outsider. Interloper. But here I am, more than 30 years later and I can picture the generations-old red and white painted santa on a sled that I was honored to put as the finishing touch on the tree. I can remember exactly how that made me feel.

And I remember that when my friend’s father died a few weeks later that I couldn’t shake the fact that they’d never have Christmas together again.

A few years later, I worked in a big advertising agency and had a wonderful friend and co-worker there. I was young and single. She was a couple years older and married. She and her husband had been through a terrible time; they’d had an overwhelming loss. The stress it had put on the relationship was more than they could handle and he’d moved out. But before he did, he’d smashed their Christmas ornaments in spite. The ornaments that they’d bought for each other every year they’d been together – each precious one carefully and meaningfully selected. Smashed.

And if that isn’t sad enough (and I’m tearing up remembering her face as she recounted the story), when they got back together, all that lovely history was gone. I wondered if she’d ever forgive him for that part. I’m not sure if she ever did.

Symbols are just symbols, right? Traditions are just traditions. But we attach so much to the traditions and symbols in our lives that it’s hard to separate the things from the people from the memories.

And that’s why I love seeing the shiny Christmas lights. The sparkle of it all brings back the time in the back of my parents’ car and the adventure and the cold and the wonder.

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.

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.

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….

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?