Ok, so it’s been awhile. And I’ve got to say a lot has changed in my life. Last I checked in it was right after the SXSW music festival (which also happened to be about the same time I found out I am pregnant).
It’s been an exciting (yet, at times boring) five months. The hot summer, on top of preggo fatigue has kept me indoors for the most part. And I have to say, staying home has its virtues. I’ve cleaned things that never knew needed cleaning and I’ve cooked a lot more.
Anywho, the main purpose of this post was just to jot down some thoughts about yesterday. I went to dr. to have my 20-week ultrasound and found out that the baby is a BOY! Pretty exciting stuff. It’s truly amazing that a tiny boy is living inside me (wacky)! My dear husband could not attend the ultrasound (working away in Greenland) but I filled him in on the news over Sat phone. I think he is pleased.
All is going well. I haven’t even been very sick. I feel pretty normal considering my body is incubating a tiny human being.
What a wonderful adventure.
When you catch yourself singing in the shower or humming on the bus to some song most people have never heard, then you know it’s love.
My latest musical obsession is with Sarah Jaffe, a Texas singer/songwriter with a beautiful voice and brilliant songs that have transfixed me so much that I think I’ve worn out my repeat button.
I’m not even sure how I found out about Sarah, I’m just glad I did. Recently, I caught Sarah performing during sxsw in Austin. And the key here was to hunt her down at her church show at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary. I couldn’t think of a more perfect setting. Despite inital troubles finding the door to the church (what? you can’t enter through the front??) I finally made my way inside the darkened sanctuary and settled onto a hard wooden pew.
Sarah was supported by a band of multi-instrumentalists on viola, electric guitar, bass, drums, and accordion. The band sounded wonderful and they complemented Sarah without ever overpowering her. Because really it’s Sarah’s voice that is special. It is vulnerable and strong all at the same time. At times she practically whispers, gently plucking the strings of her guitar. She draws you in, builds things up, and reaches a driving crescendo that soars to the rafters.
Her soulful melodies and lyrics were given new meaning at the sxsw church show. I’ve listened to Sarah’s music over and over again, but at the church her EP title track “Even Born Again” really gave me goosebumps.
We’re all orphans
I think our hearts just feed
and when death (dies to us?)
it becomes this deed
and I would gladly die for you
selfishly but willingly
I’m even born again
I know I’m gushing here, but I really am smitten and I expect big things from Sarah Jaffe. She spent the beginning of 2010 touring around the US and UK with Midlake. Most recently she has been opening for Norah Jones.
Her first full-length album, “Suburban Nature” is due out on Dallas’ Kirtland Records this spring (in stores May 18).
About this time of year I get a little antsy. The rush of the city and the daily grind of work start to really get to me. I start searching for places to escape to. Somewhere away from the mundane, planned, hurried pace of life.
The moment I stumbled across El Cosmico on the Web, I knew, that was the place for my next escape. You see, when you are looking to get lost, West Texas is the place to do it, and El Cosmico takes you even a step farther into your planned drop off the map.
The newly opened compound filled with refurbished vintage travel trailers is situated in the middle of the splendid nothingness that is Marfa, Texas. I’ve visited the tiny town filled with zany locals and artistic transplants before and knew I’d be back. El Cosmico is down the road from the courthouse, next door to the Border Patrol, and way far out from any hotel/motel/b&b experience you’ve ever had.
Upon arrival my husband and I were greeted at the main house and then given a little tour of the El Cosmico grounds, which is situated on several acres of pure West Texas desert (cactus and all, watch out!). There is a little walking path out to the half-dozen or so trailers and a full-sized teepee. The property manager showed us around our home for the weekend (the 1951 Royal Mansion) and we were handed over the keys and let loose. You can’t drive up to the trailers, but instead you tote your bags, coolers, etc. from the parking lot with the help of bright yellow wagons.
After making a quick trip to haul our stuff out we began exploring our surroundings. The cozy 35′ trailer was nicely redone, but not overly kitschy. There was a small kitchen with a brand new stainless steel, drawer-style fridge and stove/oven. There also was a nice sitting area with leather couch and small table.
It was half swank boutique, half roughing it. The toilet was inside, but here comes the roughing it part…..there was a outdoor shower just outside the backdoor of the trailer. This was a fun adventure to try out on the brisk February mornings. And as we found out, the small water heater in the trailer really was enough to last for one quick shower, so we had to stagger. But really it just added to the fun.
There was just something about hanging out in an old travel trailer in the middle of the desert that was just freeing. In the evenings we wound up sitting out side sipping on Lone Star beers and eating chips and salsa watching the sunset. At night we would chill on the couch and venture out to peer at the beautiful stars.
It was truly a unique experience. We stayed warm with help from a few space heaters. But, just a word of caution….there are is no Air Conditioning (at least not in the trailer we stayed in). We didn’t need it in February, but I’m not sure what people will do in the warmer months. Also don’t go expecting Wi-fi, a TV, a clock radio, or a microwave. But you do get a couple of bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap, a bag of Big Bend Coffee, and some nice candles for mood lighting. Remember, people you’re roughing it…..sort of.
El Cosmico isn’t for everyone. It’s probably better that way.
Bus, dripping, Determination
He dreaded this time of day.
The final bell rang. He liked to think of it another screaming reminder of how pitiful and lonely his life really was.
Climbing aboard yellow school buses was a daily ritual that all the dorks did. The jocks, cool kids, or those otherwise gifted with some sort of wheeled transportation got home in other ways. But Harold wasn’t cool, or gifted, or anything.
He slid across the green vinyl seat, his faded jeans swishing to the corner, where he crammed himself as close to the window as possible.
“Just maybe I’ll disappear.”
He cracked open a cold Big Red and took a big swig.
The whole place smelled sour with dried puke and sweat and hot plastic.
Harold shut his eyes. Maybe the red darkness would somehow make it all go away.
Three minutes passed. Maybe 20. Sweat had slid from his scalp, down his cheeks, under his chin and was dripping down to his favorite blue T-shirt, making a little round wet spot on his chest.
It was only April, but summer in Texas was determined to show up early.
The lurch of the bus awoke him and jostled the Big Red can out of his hand. Its foaming pink contents erupted on to his jeans.
“Smooth move, retard,” someone said with a giggle.
He wanted to die and take all of the rest of them with him.
I’m a writer, right? Right.
So, in an effort to start exercising my writing muscles, I’ve decided to actually post a bit of creative scribbling. This is Writing in Circles after all. To start, I kinda stole (or, drew inspiration from) an idea from a fellow blog, Troika Moonshine 300. I’ll choose three random nouns from the Random Word Generator and write a little something up utilizing those words. The only rules: The three words must be used and there must be 300 words or fewer in the story.
Simple enough? Well, maybe. Stay tuned.
So I wrote about my affection for depressing television shows and/or movies awhile back. And, needless to say I’m still drawn to downright dreary programing. I’m not alone in my obsession with the bleak so here is my newest list of the heartbreaking, tear jerking, sap that’s been on my screen lately.
Ah, A&E, you are my fave purveyor of depressing TV. You hooked me on Intervention, now you’ve doubled up with Hoaders. This show gets into the lives of those who “collect things” … they just don’t know when to stop. We’ve met Paul, the sad old man who has been charged with criminal littering around his house. His junkyard of a front lawn includes a rusted out school bus, among other prized possessions. You’ve also introduced us to Kerrylea, who has managed to fill not one, but two houses with piles and piles of crap. The beauty of this show is when the “experts” come in to clean up and haul off the mountains of mess that these folks have managed to hoard. Kerrylea (and just about all of our beloved Hoarders) flip their lids when it comes to this point in the show. “How could you ask me to part with this receipt from McDonalds dated 1993? NO way am I going to toss out this refrigerator full of year-old yogurt!”
Added bonus: I always feel the urge to clean after watching this show.
The often overlooked master of the morose — PBS offered up this little documentary that (and I quote) “an intimate look at senior citizens as they confront the universal losses that come with aging and rediscover their reason for living.”
Not only does this doc include old people (one of the key elements of depressing TV), we also have soldiers, veterans, and cancer! This show follows around a group of greeters at a Maine airport. It’s their jobs to welcome home US troops who have returned from (or are headed off to) war in the MIddle East. Sheesh, I was barely into this gem before the tears started flowing.
Added bonus: It aired on Veteran’s Day
A good child death movie is exactly what I should not have watched on a trans-Atlantic flight home from a nice, long European vacation. But, ya know when you have seven hours on a plane .. your mind gets a little loopy.
Abigail Breslin plays a kid who was genetically engineered by her parents who also have an older daughter (not genetically engineered) with leukemia. Abigail was “made” so she could donate bone marrow for her big sis. But, come to find out, she’s sick of being poked and prodded and tries to earn medical emancipation from her parents.
Cameron Diaz is the mom in the movie by the way. Really? are we getting old enough for There’s Something About Mary to start playing dramatic old women with dying kids? I guess so.
Anywho, this movie is super sad. Leukemia girl meets a boyfriend (also sick) and tries to live life to the fullest before (you know what’s going to happen here) she dies.
I was sobbing like a little baby during this in-flight pity party.
Added Bonus: Alec Baldwin plays an epileptic lawyer with a service dog.
I ran across this lovely stop motion video for Victoria Noll’s Take Me With You. Not only is the song really beautiful, but the video is inventive and pure eye candy for anyone who loves Austin. The video, which includes the LA-based singer/songwriter sitting in colorful metal folding chairs, was shot by Austin photographer Jose Lozano at more than 100 locations around the Capital of Texas. If you know Austin it’s fun to count how many local landmarks you can spot. Not so familiar with our little city, use my list below as a jumping off spot for things to do our places to go while in town for a visit. The video is like a very cool little tour around town. I think I know most of the spots featured in the video, but there also are a lot that I have no clue about.
Here’s a list of a few locations that I can spot. Let me know if you can figure out any more.
Lone Star bus out front of the Broken Spoke
The University of Texas Tower
Zilker Zephyr mini train
Chuy’s mexican food restaurant
Pots and Plants (aka the Pink Flamingo Place)
Dreyfus Antiques (Eiffel Tower replica)
Guitar Town Austin sculpture
Whole Foods Market headquarters