The B side

I recently had a day. It was a first world sort of day, but still it was …a day. The kind of day that makes you say, laawwd. You have had those days I am sure, the kind where communications go south, plans take unexpected turns and the need for a nap is the only thing that feels like it would remedy the snarkiness that has brewing in the heart .
I had a gig that night. I am always happy to go and make music with my friends, but that day it felt like a chore. I got on the road and my hour and forty minute commute turned into 3 hour test of patience, courtesy of I-5.

Needless to say, by the time I got to my venue, very late, I was too through.
After a moment of collecting myself, and profuse apologies to my band mates, we began to make music together.
The venue was a senior center; the occasion was an open house /gala. Vendor tables lined the concrete white walls. My favorite food group: things that you can eat with a toothpick and place on a cocktail napkin was plentiful and the chocolate fountain was a flowin. I was definitely on side B of my day.

One of the lessons that music continually teaches me is stay in the moment and be present. Whenever that happens, a “meh” moment turns magical. So many moments unfolded before us as we played. A gentlemen who looked like Santa Claus came up and asked if we knew Bette Midler’s song, The Rose. Without much prompting he proceeded to sing with such great emotion that even the most cynical heart would soften.

Another woman requested the folk song, Shenandoah. It ain’t a jazz standard, but the moment asked for a folk song. She sang it unaccompanied with a opera trained voice and the whole room applauded when she was done.
At the close of the evening before the last song we played Sweet Georgia Brown and a woman began dancing by herself arms flailing, a big smile on her face. My lousy day was a memory and it was worth the slog through the unresolved and untangled to get to this sweet shore.
May your side B’s be better than your side A, and may you always reach the sweet unexpected shore. Enjoy your fall!

 

 

 

 

If you are a regular subscriber to this blog, you know that I often try to write a little somethin’ somethin’, but I most admit that the summer months have messed a little with my productivity. So know that I love ya and I think about you often and come September I will have tales to tell, words to weave and a poem in my pocket. Until then, I’m afraid I have “Gone Fishin”.
I hope you are having a fabulous summer and I will check in with you again in the fall flip side.
Be well, be fabulous!

Happy Fourth to All!

Hello there friends!
I hope the summertime is agreeing with you and making you feel ridiculously sun-shiney! Today is the Fourth of July and as I write, the bims, bams, and booms have subsided and finally all the dogs and cats can finally come out from under the furniture and resume their peaceful lives. Happy Fourth all! Celebrate the America you want to see and let freedom sing.

June and Poets

Brian Doyle is dead.

My heart aches to hear such news.

Probably not as much as the hearts of his immediate family and those closest to him. Condolences and love to those he has left behind.

Portland author Brian Doyle left the planet recently at age 60.

I did not know him personally but I have read a few of his words in such beautiful books as Mink River, The Plover, The Thorny Grace of It. To open one his books was to be bathed, tickled and sung to with words. Words set up as complicated traps for the mind and heart, the lure: humor, the human condition observed-words bending like a gymnast.

I was first introduced to Brian Doyle in his book Mink River, it was not an instant love affair. His long descriptive sentences demanded me to get on board and breathe deep the world that he created and ride the waves of lush wordsmithery.  This required attention. I was lazy. His words made me want to stop being lazy. I wanted to see how he would describe moving water or birds circling or a woman looking at a tree. His writing made me hungry.
Until next time, be well and write poetry in the medium of your choice for the living and the dead.
Poem for Brian Doyle

When poets die

Ellipses grieve

dashes moan

italics slump with the heaviness of loss

while the empty page weights

until the empty page waits

for the pounce of a printer

for the scratch of a pencil

for the caress of pen

backs of business cards cry out

napkins weep

notebooks and notepads rock back and forth reciting prayers

When poets die

my heart craves their yarn

my tongue thirst for their cadence on my lips

my heart seeks that simple line that took 5 years

to tell the truth

When poets die, I cling to their arms and legs:

their books

Crying.

April Musical Showers

My mother has been retired for several years and enjoys her retired status immensely. She fills her days finding treasures to repair, refurbish, and re-sell. She loves it! Often, I will get a picture of some cabinet that she shabby chic’d or a Coach handbag (or some pricey equivalent) that she has refreshed into new sale-ability.

She loves the hunt, the boss-less hours, and the  element of surprise in her new profession. Recently, my dad (who has been my mothers amiable ex-husband for years) called to say that he had tried to call my her but she didn’t answer. “I heard rustling and her voice but she couldn’t hear me.”  That was the moment I explained the concept of “butt calls” to my father. It was a clunky conversation and after a moment of silence, I realized that he was not convinced that it was real thing and was concerned. I told him not to worry and I would give mom a call.

Saying that I would call my mother and doing it was not as straight forward as I thought it would be. Unanswered cell and home calls are usual nothing to worry about but those of you with parents who are getting on in years will understand the concern.

Finally, I resorted to calling one of  the consignment shops that she frequents to see if I could locate her. The owner, who I had met at a recent visit, knew my mother and was added to Operation Find Mom.

Well, a couple of hours later, I got a call from the owner saying that my mother was happily at home ensconced in her treasures surprised at the personal visit. She explained that her cell phone had died and she had not listened to the many messages on her land line.When I finally spoke to her she joked about the search party and  seemed to delight a little in all of the attention. She laughed, “I need to not answer my phone more often, look at all the love!” I rolled my eyes and had to laugh with her, but it did remind me to be sure to show the love. Feeling love is something that folks don’t tire of; its effects are rejuvenation and it can be shared in many digestible servings based on the recipient. So show some extraordinary love today if you can, I can guarantee an interesting story or at least a smile.

Lots going on musically this month. I hope to see you!

Finding purpose with porpoise

Recently, I read a news story about a type of porpoise that makes its home in the Gulf of California and is fast approaching extinction. Pictures of these guys can induce an audible or mental “awww.”’ A healthy dose of anthropomorphism as well as dark markings around their eyes and snouts give them the illusion of a Mona Lisa like smile.

In 1997 there were an estimated 500+ porpoises living in their small gulf home; Currently there are less than 40. Have human palates become accustomed to tasty fillets of vaquita? Fortunately no, unfortunately though, vaquitas are simply the underwater collateral  of an insatiable Chinese demand for the totoaba, a marine fish whose swim bladder (an organ that regulates buoyancy) is considered to be a delicacy as well as a traditional Chinese wonder drug.

The vaquita’s demise is due to a wall-like gill net dropped in the ocean by fishermen, trapping not only the intended prey but any other unfortunate marine passer-by.  So thus begins that economic cycle that can mow down a species:

    hungry wealthy buyers
+  hungry profit seeking fishermen
+ inconsistent lack of attention or regulation
=the demise of a fish.
Or the short form of that equation is:
Greed+Entitlement=someone or something is going get hurt.

In response to  a porpoise’s possible extinction, one may answer (although incorrectly) that there are much bigger fish to fry in the world. True, the problems of the world  are aggressively jostling for our attention and care, however the problem of the porpoise (which is us!)  is begging us to collectively be and do the thing that we are currently finding extremely difficult: care for that which is small and without a voice.


Smallness is not a quality that is deemed important in a culture that will do anything to feed the hunger for greatness.  As the gill net of the desire for greatness is dropped into our society, let us not destroy that  which is voiceless small and beautiful.

More Info about the vaquita can be found at these sites:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/science/vaquitas-dolphins-mexico-extinction.html?_r=0

https://swfsc.noaa.gov/textblock.aspx?Division=PRD&ParentMenuId=676&id=21081

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/160111-vaquita-totoaba-poaching-swim-bladders/

https://qz.com/468358/how-chinas-fish-bladder-investment-craze-is-wiping-out-species-on-the-other-side-of-the-planet/

As of 2017 Mexican government officials are working with conservationist and fishermen to address this problem.

Sweet Beans and Peace in February

My husband and I recently watched a patient Japanese movie called Sweet Bean directed by Naomi Kawase. It follows the story of Sentaro who, in a small unassuming shop, cooks a snack called dorayaki, a sweet-bean-filled pancake sandwich. He meets a bubbly elder, Tokue, who has mastered the art of making sweet bean paste. Tokue’s charms win the heart of the solitary Sentaro and she immediately  improves his dorayaki with her well loved beans. The film is a meditation on friendship, food, and the unraveling of secrets. Lovely movie.

 

 

 

While the intimate characters and beautifully filmed food touched my heart and stomach, I was also impressed with the concept of a single-product, one-person shop. Sentaro made dorayaki, that is all he made—he poured batter and expertly flipped beautiful cakes. As a nation we thrive on offering as much as possible. Such simplicity might be seen as “a little po'”.

In a culture that celebrates multi-tasking, this kind of simplicity is often viewed as an abyss of dullness and perhaps it is…but how often do we say with a tone of embarrassment, “I can only play guitar,” or “I only know how to make (fill in the blank)” with the expectation that the listener will respond, “Is that all?” What a radical idea to know that that is enough.

The world has expanded its complexity by pi and  much needs to be done and thought to prevent the downward spiral that is trying to assert itself as our new reality. Moments of simplicity may be  the good medicine stones to throw into the pool of life, and allow the ripples to reshape and reorder the coming year.

P. S You  may notice on the calendar, there is a non musical event! I will be one of the readers at Town Hall Seattle Stories of the New Yorker Feb 12th. I will be reading a story by Jamaica Kincaid called Poor Visitor. I’m quite tickled.

Happy New Year 2017!

What a year it has been! On  a personal level it has been a year of great music making! I have met new musicians who inspire me and have sung at some new venues in Seattle and Tacoma and Bellingham. The hubby and I visited New Orleans  and felt like  we touched the original  heartbeat of jazz. We also had the opportunity to go to Japan and experience Kobe Jazz as well as Kobe cuisine. What an amazing year!  I continue to hone the craft of singing and commit myself further to the singing arts. There is so much to learn.
I am filled with gratitude and excitement for the new year to come. What adventures await you in 2017?

Thank you!

Dear Friends,
Thank you so much to coming out and supporting me personally and supporting live music this year. I so appreciate you! You keep me off the streets!
Happiest Holiday Wishes to you and yours!

So Grateful

Today as All Hallows eve is upon us, I am remembering friends, benefactors, and those who have gone before. Those who have passed beyond the veil. There is an African proverb that we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors. I believe this phrase includes our familial line as well as those who are a part of of our creative family line. There are musicians and other creatives who have left the planet who have influenced me through their example, their love, and their brilliance.
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So today I think about:
my mom-in-law, who loaned me money for my first CD and attended every performance
my guitarist friend Pat, who schooled me in audio equipment and who gave me my first “good mic”
my fiddle-playing poet friend Barbara, whose sass and style and creativity inspired me
There are others of course, but I write this to invite you to take a minute to remember those who have gone before.  Who introduced you to yourself, who opened doors to new ways of being for you? Celebrate their love and gifts.

On another note, Cuban jazz pianist Jorge Luis Panchecho will be at  jorge-luis-pacheco
Ben Moore’s next November 9th!  I enjoyed performing with my friend
Tyrone Hashimoto a couple of weeks ago at Ben Moore’s and I am looking forward to enjoying  another great evening of music. It will be a real treat! Here is a taste of what you will hear: CLICK HERE
It’s a early show 6:30!

Hope to see you this month!

Be Fabulous!