April 26, 2013

When Things Go Right

Took a few hours last night to go see Robin Lane at Whole Foods Glastonbury.

Now, I last got to see Robin Lane perform around 1981. I was a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) which had a pretty decent rotation of musicians and performers in my four years there. Robin Lane and the Chartbusters was a regionally hot, on the verge of breaking through kind of group, along the lines of Blondie or The Pretenders. I picked up their self titled debut album on vinyl, which followed me around for many years, until one final vinyl purge (everything went except for Springsteen and the Roches - strange bedfellows to be sure). But a few years back I picked this album up on CD.

Thinking back, I spent many hours with this album cued up on the turntable, figuring out the chords and the riffs. I must have worn that record out because to this day I still remember the lyrics and I bet if I spent a moment, the chords and riffs are still in my fingers. It was perhaps my first experience of connecting to a local musician / band that is perhaps not on the national scene, a habit that has lasted throughout my life.

Here's Robin Lane and the Chartbusters  at the Rathskeller (aka "The Rat") in Boston, a venue far cooler than the WPI gymnasium.



So, Robin Lane came to Whole Foods. She's been off the grid for many years, but has a new project called  Song Bird Sings, subtitled "Healing Trauma One Song at a Time". Their mission:
It is Songbird Sings mission to transform those silenced by domestic violence enabling them to give voice to their experiences and emotions through songwriting and creative collaboration in a safe, enjoyable, and structured environment. To help participants to learn inner strength and resilience as they come to trust themselves, and others, while building support systems between those with a shared history of trauma.
It was such a pleasure seeing and hearing Robin. She lives in Western MA and plays house concerts and small gigs, and I hope I'm able to attend (or perhaps even held to arrange) one in the future. She did a mixture of old rockers and newer, folkier numbers, as well as some songs from the A Woman's Voice album. (which I picked up at Whole Foods but the CD was not in there.....grumble). Abetted by bass player John Pfister, a couple of Whole Foods percussionists (Callem and......?) and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Chen from Them Damn Hamiltons (on keyboard), she was...in a word, delightful.

Here's Robin in the 21st century:


It was a wonderful look back into my past, fondly remembering my misspent youth. Robin and I - we are aging well. As a bonus, my fellow Guinea Pigs Sandy and Dan dropped in for a listen - it was sweet of them to come share the music and my passion for this particular artist.

April 16, 2013

Patriot's Day

I recall a moment watching the world trade center towers falling and thinking "50,000 dead". That was my mental calculation of the number of lost souls on that horrible day based on a quick web search of the occupancy of the buildings and the timing of the attacks and subsequent collapses. And so when the lost and missing were finally tallied, and the number was well below 10% of that, there was a part of me that was kind of relieved. 

I feel a little bit that way about Boston right now. It could have been worse, much worse. Not to say that the deaths are not tragic, that the injuries, so like those experienced by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not horrific. But the scent of a greater tragedy averted are in the air. A person of interest was reportedly stopped at a security checkpoint, perhaps attempting to get a bomb into a more densely packed and damaging area. A Penske rental truck was turned away at a checkpoint - part of the plot or not, the security was doing its job. And the choice of targets was about as densely packed with first responders, with police and EMS waiting for the finishing runners armed with supplies, wheelchairs, and stretchers, as one could image.

I've never lived in Boston, but it is my "home town" as much as anyplace - I did the morning Red Sox game / marathon thing once in high school, I've gone to games, gone clubbing, done the tourism thing, visited yoga studios in the neighborhood of the bombing. I've worked right downtown doing freelance work, I've got friends who live in the city.

It's time to sit back and wait. The crime scene folks will find stuff - surveillance video, spectator photos and videos, pieces of the bombs exploded or no. The threads of a narrative will come together in this social media and security conscious age, and we'll know the story soon enough.

I am most disturbed by the "you messed with the wrong city" meme, knowing how easily such righteous anger can translate into jingoism, bullying, racism, xenophobia.

Remember that time we went to war with a country that had nothing to do with the terrorism attacks on our country, based on anger, stupidity and manipulation? Remember how much that war has cost us in lives, in treasure, in reputation?

Yeah, me too. Today, especially.

April 14, 2013

Productive Weekend

After a full week of being down for the count (flu / head cold / chest cold / laryngitis), I ended up getting a burst of spring cleaning / home renewal this weekend. I'm a list maker, and the chore list got worked over pretty well, with a lot of added items as the spirit moved me.

Living room completely cleaned including carpet stains, carpet edges and corners, tore apart the leather couch with the vacuum and then treated the leather, and move, dusted and cleaned all the electronics (tv, stereo, cable box, DVD, etc.)

Kitchen cleaned, floor swept and mopped, and a new pendant lamp fixture and dimmer installed, replacing a never-used ceiling fan.

Bedroom and yoga room completely cleaned, including the dreaded flat surfaces atop dressers and bookshelves. Assembled a wire shelf for the bedroom, reorganized a linen cabinet.

A myriad of small projects - planted four pots of Pansies for the front stairs, bought a new doormat, moved a few pictures, organized CDs, bills, installed a digital thermostat in the bathroom.

Still a good sized list remains, which I will continue to pick off. But spring cleaning, yeah, I've got that covered.

April 01, 2013

I Can Do Anything Good!

For whatever reason, this has been the winter of my discontent. I've been sluggish, malaise-filled, depressed, down, dour, cranky,  stuck - you name it, that's been me. There's a lot in there - financial stress, aging, feeling the loss of being childless in a community that is spilling over with infants and toddlers, feeling the lack of relationship amongst so many coupled friends, feeling the lack of a queer community.

And suddenly, April 1, for no good reason, I've felt my load lighten. Maybe the trickster spirit of April Fools has come along to give me a boost. Maybe the warmer weather, and promises of more to come, have freed up some space.

I've decided to make April a month of change and commitment - committing to tweeting 30 days of gratitude (and using that in my practice and meditation throughout the day), committing to 30 days of practice at the studio (starting with Barbara's power class this evening at 6:00 pm). I've opted out of directly and specifically changing my food / eating, because, frankly, I've done that, over and over. I think I'm too resistant, and too savvy to buy in to any sort of eating change - I've done weight watchers (multiple times), 21 day detox, fasting, mindfulness based eating awareness (an eight week series), a week retreat at Kripalu, six months of teacher training with a heavy whole food component. Nothing changes. So.....maybe it's time to distract myself, to look elsewhere for change, and hope the food / eating component comes along.

It's hard to say if things will stick, but it's been a good day. I've cleared up a few financial messes (having misplaced or lost a few key credit / debit cards, now replaced. I've got my April 1 billing out promptly. I've cleared out a whole laundry list of little website issues that have plagued my big web client:  a drop down menu that was not touch / ipad friendly, a pile of little encoding issues, some CSS that was wonky across platforms, a couple of page features that clients wanted but I had not figured out until now.

So....looking ahead to a good month. I feel a lot like little Jessica!