Thursday, February 17, 2011

Frisbees, Hello Kitty and Addiction

Today while I was riding my bike I noticed two guys playing Frisbee Golf (there’s a course in the park by our house.) One of them somehow tossed his to where it landed on its side, rolling across the terrain and then across the street. He had to walk toward me to get it, so I stopped. I thought that since I promised to notice something on every bike ride, this was my chance. As Scott got closer to me I decided to talk to him (which is how I found out his name.) Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Hey, I’ve always wanted to see inside one of those Frisbee Golf bags. Can I take a picture of it?

Scott: Disc. DISC Golf. But sure – go ahead.

He opened up the bag and I snapped a picture.

Me: Oh yeah. Disc.

Scott (holding up Hello Kitty): I always find interesting things here. I’m going to take this home and put it on Ariel.

Me: Who’s Ariel?

Scott: My car.

Me: Your car’s name is Ariel? (I figured maybe he likes The Little Mermaid.)

Scott: AriAL. As in antenna.

Me: Ohhhh…

We exchanged good wishes for a great evening, and went our separate ways.

Without further ado here’s today’s playlist. I never cease to be amazed at how many experiences and memories music evokes.

1. Barricades of Heaven – Jackson Browne (I love the live album this is on: Solo Acoustic Vol. 1)

2. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant – Billy Joel (Just so you know, I don’t like much of anything he released after about the early 80’s. Anything before then, however, I typically love.)

3. Breakfast in America – Supertramp (The rhythm on this one always reminds me of a soldier marching with arms and legs in sync.)

4. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye – David Gray

5. Gravity – Sara Bareilles (The first time I heard this song, our son Brandon played it in the car when he picked us up from the airport. I liked it okay, but when I saw a dance about addiction that was choreographed to the song, I fell in love with it. The dance is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. The choreographer, Mia Michaels, made the guy the addiction and the girl the addicted. If you happen to have walked down that dark road – either as the one who has a chemical dependency or the one who loves someone who has one – this will blow you away. Every time I watch it I marvel at how tragically beautiful it is. You can see it here. Be sure and pay attention to their faces.)

6. Dream On – Glee Cast (I wouldn’t call myself a full-fledged Gleek, but I watch the show. And I LIKE it. Of course I like Aerosmith's version better, but I'm not in charge of the shuffle, now, am I?)

7. Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band

8. Drunkard’s Prayer – Over The Rhine (Such a great love song. First lines: “You’re my water/you’re my wine/you’re my whiskey from time to time/You’re the aching/on my bones/all the nights I sleep alone.”)

9. One of Us – Joan Osborne (I’ve always liked this song; it’s got a raw edge.)

10. Paradise Hotel – Eliza Gilkyson (Beautiful. Just beautiful.)

11. Blue Mind – Alexi Murdoch

12. Because I Told You So – Jonatha Brooke (The one and only time I was in Portland, a friend and I went downtown to get coffee before driving back to her house in Corvallis. We stopped at a big Starbucks that had an amphitheater behind it. While I was paying for my coffee I noticed a sign that had the names of musicians scribbled on it; it was a list of who was playing that day. I did a double-take when I saw Jonatha’s name. “Jonatha Brooke is playing here?” I asked. "Yes," the barista replied. “Today?” I said in disbelief. "Yes," she said again. Jonatha Brooke plays at Starbucks?? Still blows me away. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stay for the show because we would’ve had to wait about 4 hours, and we had to get on the road. Anyway, this song is on Ten Cent Wings, which is an older album but one of my faves.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bike Shuffle 2/16/11

I've decided to try and describe one thing I see each time I ride my bike. Today it was the sky: If there were a trumpet for the eyes (as opposed to the ears) it would be sunlight that shoots through the clouds. This photo doesn't do it justice (it was much more pronounced in person) but all I had to take a picture with was my iPhone. I opted to stop so I could show you.

I think this may be good for me in more ways than one: I wanted to ride again today just to see what would come up on my iPod. In other words, it was a big motivator! I figure I have some stories to tell about music, and if that's what gets me writing, then so be it.

Today's playlist is definitely more representative of my current musical taste.

1. Awake My Soul – Mumford and Sons

2. Be My Thrill – The Weepies (saw them earlier this year at Momo's and they were fantastic.)

3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – The Beatles

4. Everybody’s Doin’ It – Bob Schneider (For those who don't know Bob Schneider, he's an Austin guy who can't seem to shake the title "Sandra Bullock's Ex-Boyfriend." Another thing locals know is that you'd better find out who he's playing with before taking people to see him. He does excellent acoustic folk/pop, but he also plays with a band called The Scabs. And when he plays with them the lyrics are uber-raunchy. It takes quite a bit to make me squirm, but some of their stuff will melt your eyelashes! However, he's an incredible musician and some of his music is so beautiful it could make you cry. Here's a video if you want to get acquainted.)

5. Down in Flames – Mindy Smith

6. Comes and Goes – Greg Laswell (Greg Laswell was one of my favorite finds of early 2010. Okay, I didn't find him. My husband turned me on to his music. I wore Laswell's album "Three Flights From Alto Nedo" completely out. And just so you know, my music IQ went up substantially when I married Craig.)

7. Sleeping – Glen Hansard (One of my first dates with my husband was to see the movie "Once." I think we saw it the weekend it came out and I really latched on to the album, before it hit the charts. Later that year we saw The Swell Season at Stubbs and they were *$%#@ amazing! However, once they were all the rage I was over it. I still love Hansard's music, but I'm not on the bandwagon. I hate bandwagons.)

8. Meg White – Ray Lamontagne

9. Get Back – The Beatles (Yes, I'm a big Beatles fan. But I became a super-fan when I saw Cirque du Soliel's "Beatles Love" in Las Vegas. It's on my bucket list to take my girls to see it. If you like The Beatles and haven't heard the Love album, you're missing out. You can read the story behind it here.)

10. The Chain – Ingrid Michaelson

11. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy – Queen

12. Bad Dreams – Joni Mitchell (I love Joni because I love my husband a lot, and he's the biggest Joni fan I know. No, really. Anyway, any song of hers makes me think of him.)

13. Dream Lover – Eliza Gilkyson (This song was inspired by her husband, Robert Jensen, who is a journalism prof at UT Austin. He wrote a book called Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Both he and Eliza are liberal activists and see this as a feminist issue." Dream Lover" isn't one of my favorite songs, but it definitely showcases her songwriting abilities – esp. lyrically. Here's a link to a recording of it. I have no idea what the site is, but the audio is decent quality!)

14. Looking Out - Brandi Carlile (Favorite lyric in the song: “Some people get religion/some people get the truth/I never get the truth")

15. Make You Feel My Love – Adele (This song was written by none other than Bob Dylan. His version and Adele's version couldn't be on more opposite poles!)

16. Bigger Than My Body – John Mayer

I only rode about seven miles; had an adorable little two year-old waiting for me and I couldn't wait to get to her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Signs of Life

Late this afternoon I took an 8-mile bike ride. Sometimes people get all impressed with that, but really it’s not that far at all. I think it took me about 45-50 minutes but it seemed like 10. Why? Probably because it was a gorgeous pre-spring day (what else do you call 73 degrees in February? The air is warm but all the trees are still completely naked and perched on dead grass, spindly limbs reaching for a brilliant blue sky.) I put my iPod on shuffle and for the first time in a long time just lost myself in living. I rode through a very large park near our house and took in the sights as I listened to whatever came through the headphones. Some of the songs made me think of fond memories, though I enjoyed the variety of all the others too. Yes, I skipped a few, but for the most part I let it be.

I. Love. Music.


I rode mostly on trails and sidewalks (more like a boardwalk) and at one point just thought about swinging my arms around in the wind, so I did. And I sang at the top of my lungs.

I passed a field full of little kids playing T-Ball, none of them probably over the age of six. There was so much life in that wide-open space, children screaming and laughing and looking for their parents on the sidelines. It felt good to be racing down a hill and letting go of all the shoulds and have-to’s of the day, bouncing to the beat as I steered my bike in S’s on the sidewalk. The sun was beginning to set and I realized I needed to go home. But I didn’t want to. I was enjoying being alive, being here, on planet earth. I’m grateful that I can hear music, that my legs work, and that I’m able to lose myself in life again – even if it’s only for a moment here and there.

Grief is a weird thing. Even though I’ve not cried lately or dwelt on the death of my mother, I know it has clogged up my soul somehow. I haven’t been able to write. To read. To pray or meditate much. To create. On my way home I thought about starting to chronicle here what comes up on my iPod when I ride my bike, and suddenly I got excited at the thought. For the last six months I haven’t been able to blog to save my life, possibly because I don’t really know what to say. I feel stuck. So perhaps if I write about my bike rides and the music that fuels them, eventually I will get un-stuck.

I am tempted, sorely tempted, to edit this list because I’m afraid you’ll judge me prematurely. So don’t think you know my musical taste by reading this list.

And don’t be a hater.

Honky Cat – Elton John (Honky Chateau was one of my favorite high-school albums)
Sweet Lorraine – Patty Griffin
Close to You – Carpenters (Yes, THE CARPENTERS! They were the first concert I ever went to. And they remind me of my mother in a big way.)
Way to You – Brandi Carlile (She’s my current singer/songwriter crush.)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles
Dreamboat Annie – Heart (The Wilson sisters have no equals.)
Wrapped Up in You – Wayne Kirkpatrick (One of the most syrupy pop songs on the planet. And it always makes me want to dance.)
Cuckoo’s Nest – Nickel Creek
Cowboy Take Me Away – Dixie Chicks (This makes me think of my daughter Anna, who sang this song in her middle school talent show. I smiled all the way through the song, thinking of her all those years ago.)
Angelina – Dave Berkley
Silver Lining – David Gray
Evil Woman – ELO
One Way or Another – Blondie
English Trees – Crowded House
Winter Birds – Ray Lamontagne
Holy, Holy, Holy – Ashley Cleveland (Over the last few years I haven’t been able to listen to much gospel music. It carries too much baggage from religious circles I’ve been a part of in the past. But Ashley transcends all of that; people who don't even believe in God at all love her. She’s actually in town doing a concert tonight, but I didn’t really have any desire to go. Instead I just put my bike in the garage and stood in the driveway, listening while I took in the nearly-full moon. Here's a link to the recording if you're interested in checking my opinion.)