Category: Music


Listen here at the Daily Beast.

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Quote of the month

“No, Wolfy, that’s not Harry Potter…  It’s John Lennon.”

From the man who resurrected Amedeus, comes Equus.

It was a strange afternoon.  We drove down to visit Erick’s aunt and uncle in Columbia and enjoyed some time in the country talking about the future of energy and transportation in America.  The countryside was quiet without a single train passing until the very last moment, when we were about to leave and we heard the loud, long horn off in the distance.  I jumped off the porch, leading the pack of train-happy folk, down the narrow gravel road where Celli leapt ahead of me, tongue a flyin’ and hell-bent on scaring off whatever it was we were all chasing and woo-hooing about.  Suddenly, I became aware of a more immediate and urgent chase as my beagle was heading full-speed in the direction of a blind corner where the 200-ton engine was approaching at full speed.  

I called after her, but the engine roared and its horn blared and I could only see Celli’s mouth moving as she barked in cadence with her every step.  As the train emerged out of the woods she crossed one set of tracks and met it full on coming within in a few inches of the massive steel wheels.  I stopped and turned away; a sob caught in my throat.  I thought she was gone.  When I looked again, she was running away from the tracks and over to the road where I stood.  I scooped up her frame and sat down forgetting the enormous freight passing.  

Erick and his uncle informed me that as Celli reached the train, where the low oil tankers were passing, the larger box cars following emerged from the shadows and startled her in time to stop her from biting the wheel.  I’ve never been so grateful for boxcars in my life.  I love this beagle.

We had only been driving a few minutes on the interstate when I felt something akin to a bee-sting along my spine – right in the middle of my back where my reach was clumsy.  “Erick I think there’s a bee in my dress,” I said calmly; assuming it wouldn’t get any worse.  I was wrong.  A few minutes later, the lone and very pissy hornet was making cross-stitch patterns all the way down my back and my butt.  Erick pulled over and I jumped out of the truck doing a little dance as I tried frantically to find the angry little hornet.  I found him as he stung me one last time and flew off into the cab, where Erick smacked him off Celli’s head and smushed him under his shoe.  

The pain has subsided for the most part, but the image still stuck in my head is of that scene from Nothing to Lose where Tim Robbins leaps out of the car with the gigantic spider on his back and does that dance.  You know the dance.

We made it to Michigan (and through Michigan taking a more scenic, albeit much longer route winding our way through forests, farmland and little towns).  Total duration: 18 hours.

I forgot to mention a previous adventure which subsequently made for a lot of fun had on the longer trip north.  Friday morning, Erick woke the whole family and hurried us out the door and down to the Apple Store to wait in line for the new iPhone.  I thought he was insane – the line was hundreds of people long (five-hundred during our six hours) and the wait was boring, but the reward well worth it.  I’ve never before been so enthralled with technology (you know, the word that means magic). 

At first glance, the unassuming little device appears to be little more than an iPod, but spend some time surfing the internet and email photos while driving through a mountain tunnel and you’ll know the little iPod-GPS-camera-phone has super-powers.  Rather than using satellites to locate your position on the map, it triangulates your position by bouncing signals off nearby towers.  Maybe not as cool as satellites, but someone had to come up with the idea and I’m impressed.  I’m also impressed that Erick needed only stand near his computer while his personal data was uploaded “magically” to his iPhone.  And that during our trip, I snapped a photo of the “Welcome to Michigan” sign, attached it in an email and sent it to Erick’s family awaiting our arrival up north with the message, “We’re here.”  Me, a simple human being, capable of wielding such power!  Bwah-ha-ha!

Anyway, wow.  Again, wow.  Cooler even than the personal computer.

 

Eight years ago this afternoon, I got married to this man in a beautiful ceremony on the shoreline of East Grand Traverse Bay on a narrow strip of sandy peninsula uncovered by low water levels that year.  Grandma Maxine (Marker) had commented to me one afternoon, as we swayed on the old porch swing overlooking the bay, that this peninsula only appears once every 75 years.  I thought it would make a beautiful spot for a ceremony!  One that would reminisce on its own long after we were dead and gone from this earth.

Josh walked me down the isle and doted on me the whole afternoon, having never fully approved of any of my male counterparts – he was reluctant to let enter into the confines of matrimony.  We walked barefoot down the beach as we had done many times before, only this time Josh wore a tux and I lifted my satin skirts above my ankles to protect the dress lovingly made for me by my close friend Kate.  Kate made all of the dresses in our wedding by hand and I love to this day that she so resembles Audrey Hepburn in all the photographs. 

Later, I would run into acquaintances from school who had heard I had finally married that Joshua Marker boy because people had seen us walking together across the street at our wedding.  Close, I would say, but not quite.

 

I think for both Erick and myself one of the most beautiful things about our ceremony was the love poured into every detail.  We had only $1200 to spend on the big event and asked for help in every aspect of preparation.  Kate’s mom made us a delightfully tasty cake (carrot – Erick’s favorite), Kate made the beautiful dresses and subsequently made them priceless, Uncle Doug made his famous ribs, everyone brought a dish to pass, the Markers outdid themselves offering their home for the reception – and decorating it splendidly, Erick’s father serenaded us down the isle and my step-father brought down the table he had crafted by hand to hold our cake.  It was such a fun occasion and I will always remember the people who made our day special. 

And it is the people still we remember more than anything.  So many have gone.  My uncle, who in the photos looks vibrantly healthy, died of cancer that winter.  My grandmother and Grandma Maxine, who called me (and everyone who joined her on the porch swing) “Darlin'”, Sandy Bottoms, Uncle Jack, Anne and others – it seemed this gathering for our family was one of the last to include so many of our elders.  And in such, we have some wonderful photos that we will always cherish.  

One of my favorite memories of that evening was Erick sitting down with my Uncle Craig to play some music.  They played together well into the night.  Erick’s father later joined in and the music transported us into the same nostalgic state I feel whenever I see the photos.   

Here, we’ve just uncovered the beautiful table made by my step-father.  A cottonwood slab balanced over the base of a large cedar stump.  Wow, we say, wow!

 

We didn’t get fancy with the guys.  Just black and white with attitude.  Behind John and Andy, you can see the sandy peninsula where the ceremony took place.  We were married unintentionally on Friday, the 7th in the seventh month (July) at seven o’clock.  Lucky us.  We were embarking upon the adventure of becoming a family.  Today we can look back and see how the fabric was carefully woven to include not only our children and immediate family, but also our friends and people who entered our lives after this date who will always be a part of the journey. 

*Please note, these are some of the few digital photos I have of our wedding.  The majority of photos are still packed away in boxes up north, but whenever we land somewhere, I’ll scan and share some of them here.

Flight of the Conchords released their latest CD yesterday with classics like “Inner City Pressure,” “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room,” and  “Robots.”  Erick and I speak in Conchord at this point – way more fun than normal human-speak.  Best band/comedy duo on the planet.

Affirmative.

And if you disagree, FOLK you!  Seriously, if ever music has brought more enjoyment and laughter in one byte, here ’tis.

Binary solo.

Celli and I bundled up against anticipated cold. Friday was near 90-degrees, then temperatures dropped into the 40s for the rest of the weekend. When we stepped outside into a thick fog, the air felt warm and wonderful and I decided then that springtime in the Carolinas is noncommittal. We go through the seasons during this time, as if to reflect on each. As though we needed reminding of our gratitude for the warmer months by showering us with a cold autumn rain or a sudden severe winter wind. It definitely helps. I’m loving these days when the air is gentle and the birds seem to be singing out joyfully in a backdrop of blossoming shrubs and trees.

Erick and I ventured out to the music store with the girls yesterday. I met some really neat people in the woodwind/string section while Erick was playing the bass across the store with the girls. I’d really like to make some friends down here sooner than later. I miss that connection we had up north. It will likely get easier when we know we’re settled somewhere, but I’m still going to try. I know there are a lot of people feeling much the same in this great expanse of city and I think the same thought frightens us all away from committing to a friendship. I think it’s the choices – the sheer numbers. There are so many new people we meet each day only never to see them again, you feel sort of awkward asking one of them out to coffee without looking like you’re trying to pick them up. Even the store seems to rotate through employees so fast I have trouble keeping track of faces, let alone names.

There was that guy who wanted to know all about Michigan. He was Greek, but had lived here most of his life. I told him about the Mackinac Bridge. He had never heard of the Mackinac Bridge and he was so intrigued! I could have easily gotten along with him, but I’ve never seen him since. And there was the woman from Russia at the train stop with two small children. We hit it off instantly, but I hesitated to give her my number for the same reasons I mentioned above. Would I ever see her again even though she lives only one street down? I have not yet.

The nice thing about all this variety is that I’m feeling more comfortable around strangers. I’m able to be direct, communicate and laugh with them. I love them for their potential to be great friends. And there are just so many beautiful people in this city, at times, you just want to observe them. The diversity of culture is incredible, welcome. The languages sifting through the great halls that connect Wachovia One with Wachovia Two remind me of the songbirds lining the electric cables powering the light rail. Their songs mingle to form one flavorful medley. When the train passes Celli and I in the morning, though the engineer and I have never met face-to-face, we wave and smile. We connect and that connection lasts long after the rails have quieted in my contemplation of what could be, what will be given a little patience and time.

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Gerald Ford International (plane in background) Photo by Christy Baum

Our bird landed the night before last through a thin veil of fog blanketing the city of Charlotte, NC after a long day of travel and excitement. The Markers housed us for the evening before, my parents fed us a wholesome breakfast and Christy drove us down to Grand Rapids and was our saving grace at GRR. Without her, we’d still be checking in luggage!

As our plane flew over the Appalachians, we saw the ground for the first time. Lights trailed through the contours of sharp angles; our only indication we were in the air (Ava asked often, “Mama, when are we going to leave?”). I looked down and saw a pattern of lights. I drew in a sharp breath as I identified the object, “It’s so beautiful! And it’s only a parking-lot.”

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The girls before take-off out of Grand Rapids on our way to Detroit, MI. Kennedy takes a nap yesterday afternoon, catching up on some much needed rest following a very intense week of packing, moving, travel.

The snow was so heavy, we never saw the ground. Even at landing. In fact, we hit the ground quite forcefully. The weather in Detroit was worse, with an anticipated 16″ falling rapidly. We were met with some delays, but for the most part, the trip went smoothly. After an hour and a half searching for our beagle, who was mistakenly shipped to cargo, we drove home to Erick’s apartment (our new home) and looked out at the massive buildings rising up invisible into the fog.

In the morning, I took Celli out for a walk and met some very nice people out and about. In the South, were people are not isolated by frigid temperatures and snow, they are friendlier. They make eye-contact and ask about your mother. This is what they mean by Southern Hospitality. It’s welcome at a time when I feel so far away from anything familiar.

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View from our apartment of Uptown at sunset. It’s a beautiful city.

Though I was certain I would lose it once we made it “home,” the city felt so welcoming; the weather warm; and our family whole again, I felt relief, happiness and my sense of adventure was quickly aroused by the city lights and sounds. I’m not going to worry about when we’ll move back to Michigan. I’m going to see what I can learn from this beautiful city and how I might apply this new education in my life.

And yesterday, as I walked with my children and dog along the tracks of the light rail, the engineer waved and tooted the horn, “Veronica” sang out from hidden speakers of a restaurant, and Beth at the Canine Cafe’, stamped my frequent shopper card with a paw print, I knew I was home at least temporarily. Home really is wherever you are.

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Our Street after dark

And for those of you (Mom) who worry about my health, I’m right next door to a Hematology Oncology office!  How strange and convenient.  We’re also near amazing food, music and shows.  (And wonderfully warm weather).