A housewarming

On Labor Day weekend we hosted a Housewarming Party for ourselves. The point wasn’t to get gifts but to get krunk with a random assortment of people who we love and/or think are nifty. Clayton knows half of Oklahoma City and I know the other half. With that in mind, we were really stingy with the guest list and figured that we might have to have a few more parties to eventually circulate all of our friends through this new house of ours. I think the guest list happened like this…

“You get 30 and I get 30. That’s it. This house can only hold 60 drunk people.”

According to the clock, around 10:15 my drunk self had a sudden recollection that I was supposed to be shooting party pics.

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Did you know that if you tilt the camera to the side then it means the shot is arty? I love this pic because Audrey is looking at her husband with lots of affection. I also love that Clayton is looking at me like, “Why are you taking my picture?” The answer, my love? Because you are smoking hot. Now I have additional photographic evidence of that fact.

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Hey James! Leaning to the side didn’t get you out of the pic. Hee hee. See the two women talking to each other? Yeah…later on this new friendship would fill my camera drive with photos that’ll never make it to this blog.

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That’s Mike looking at Christine like RAWR. I love those two together!

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More love birds. Twenty-five years as of this year!

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Clayton makes a really, really boozy sangria. Two pitchers were created for the party.

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After we killed pitcher #1, I dumped the boozy berries into a bowl for snacking. Those strawberry slices actually burned. They burned GOOD.

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Meanwhile in the living room, Alex and nice-stranger-whose-name-maybe-starts-with-a-J-or-B, found some of our many musical instruments and began jamming a bit. I even grabbed my banjo and held it whilst wishing I could play a single chord.

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This is what happens when you think you’ve shot enough photos and you set your camera down and leave the room.

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Jenny has one of the brightest smiles (and souls) I’ve ever seen. Kristy is similar. It’s no wonder they buddied up so quickly. This photo is severely edited to protect reputations and corneas. Most of those photos are so….um….candid…that I can’t in good conscience post them here. But they involve drums, butts, fruits and nuts. 🙂

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I found the fruit like this the next morning and giggled like crazy. Later in the morning I scrolled through the camera contents and things made more sense. Also, I had to burn that camera.

I’m a little irritated with myself that I didn’t get pics earlier because there was a whole different slate of people who were here then. And a big, beautiful table full of beautiful food. More people came later and we all tested the strength of the back porch. Until 1:30am.

We had a party from 6pm to 1:30am. We rule.

One of my beautiful friends, K.C., brought us this:

Best gift.

And we were gifted three orchids, who are ALL still alive for the time being.

OH! Let’s have a moment that K.C. gifted us her song lyrics (view the song in iTunes here) and three friends brought orchids. When I first got to know K.C. she had just released her album, Orchid. I’m sure there’s a message from the Universe in there somewhere.

Phil Collins

Judge me if you will, but in the last week I have been positively obsessed by everything Phil Collins. I was reading a blog post about divorce and breakups and it led me to this episode of This American Life, which I highly recommend you hear. In the episode, there’s a section that involves Phil Collins and it got me all intertwined with this song.

I am currently so consumed with this song that I need to lie down every time I hear it. When I am roaming through my day, I am singing it. The video is pretty incredible. It is absolutely terrible in one way. Cliched to bits with his 80s Nightclub Suit. Painfully literal interpretations of the lyrics illustrated with clips from the movie for which the song was written. But…but… around :40 Phil looks at the camera and talks about the vulnerability of “…and all I can do is watch you leave.” It’s touching and believable, but in the way that you think…”Wow…he’s a decent actor.” But then at about :50 he clumsily tries to look and not look at the camera to sing the lyrics “….we’ve even shared the tears” and I’m all Holy fuck…how can you be that real for the whole world to see?!

Clayton played this for me and it’s pretty awesome, too:

Duke by Genesis

It’s a break up album for the most part (a topic that positively fascinates me) and is extra lovely because it’s more of a break-up concept album. There’s a story being told through the songs and a rarity that it was Genesis’ only (or one of the only) concept albums. Also one of their first big commercial successes** due to the fresh songwriting and vocals of Phil Collins. (Which is a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask.)

Phil went through a heartbreak and divorce around 1980 and it fueled a massive amount of songwriting for years. Some for Genesis, some for solo albums but all were stories of Feelings and Truth and experiences most of us have had, either as givers or receivers. Or both.

Anyway….I don’t remember where I was going with this. Just go listen to more Phil Collins because he is a brilliant pop songwriter and generally rad. The End.

Fun Fact: There are many Phil Collins Tumblr site. Enjoy.

**I won’t slide into whether or not Phil Collins ruined the Prog Rock foundation Genesis built in the 70s, but I am glad we got all those hits.

Narrow Stairs

Funny story: Clayton’s son was all lit up the other day as he told me an interesting piece of trivia about his Dad’s iTunes. Narrow Stairs by Death Cab for Cutie was wrong.

Wrong!

Turns out….the…um…source….from where he imported the album several years ago was adulterated and 3 or 4 of the songs were a copycat band performing their originals. Clayton investigated the claims today and, it turns out, they were true. For years, he was sort of “meh” on some DCFC songs that I cuddled and petted and held close to my heart.

Marek and Lindsay….are you hearing this? He had never really heard Cath until today!

It turns out that the missing/fraudulent tracks on his Narrow Stairs album were Cath, You Can Do Better Than Me, Talking Bird and Your New Twin Sized Bed. ::face palm:: How he’s lived on earth this long without hearing Your New Twin Sized Bed is beyond me.

Narrow Stairs and Plans are the two DCFC albums that I tended to go to when I was in emotional crisis, especially when the crises were of a Relationship Nature. (See all the painstaking, past tense in that statement?) One certainly doesn’t have to be in a crisis to enjoy Death Cab but they do have a way of articulating sadness and desperation in an engaging and grown-up way. Not that I don’t love me some Adele on occasion.

If you don’t own this album, please go own it. That is all.

Captain lame-o

There are a gazillion things I want/need to attend this week that become more and more fleeting as the deadline for being totally packed nears. If you’re in Oklahoma City, please consider attending one or more events on my wish list:

Rose Party at The Wedge on Western
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Delicious pizza and antipasto, best patio in OKC (I call it OKC’s backyard) and loads of lovely pink wine to sample. Drink pink and enjoy the summertime pastime that the French have bogarted for hundreds of years.
**Update: I caved and went to this. Was fun and the kids had a blast. There were other kids running around the “backyard” and I had to drag my sweaty-headed son out of there. You should join us next year!

Rotary Conference for District 5750 – Thursday through Saturday

Okay, this may not be for the masses, but if you’re a Rotarian in Central Oklahoma you need to pick one of the many events of this year’s district conference. Thursday night is my favorite as it is held the former OKC Museum of Art, which is now a private residence. If I can AT ALL finagle my schedule, I’m stopping by this with my kids for a quick dinner and a walk around the mansion.

K.C. Clifford’s CD Release Concerts – Friday & Saturday Night @ The Blue Door

She’s an Oklahoma treasure and a very lovely friend. These are the last shows she’s playing in Oklahoma City before Baby Broyles makes her arrival. Her new CD called The Tag Hollow Sessions is my new favorite of hers. I’ll write more on the CD later but one special thing I noticed was I think the banjo(y) was added in my honor. As KC often quips, “I’m the most exciting person I know.” 😉 Rewatching that video has convinced me I must be at one of the shows. ::sigh::

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Yes, another specialty event. I’m usually all, “Pshaw. Like I need to go hang out with people from high school on non-anniversary years,” but over the last year or two Facebook has allowed me to better know those people. Some of those people are a lot like me and I’m interested in hanging out with them over a few beers on Saturday afternoon. We may not have been besties 17 years ago, but now almost all of us are 36 and married/divorced/parents and that’s a lot to have in common. Two (possibly more) are in from out-of-state and I’m bummed to miss it. But I probably will miss it because my new house will be stacked to the ceiling with boxes, there’s a luncheon at my Rotary conference that I want to attend, my daughter will be at a late-morning laser tag birthday party, I need to go to KC’s show that night and DAMMIT, I am only one woman.

The brown bird made me fly

Because we aren’t people who let two unused hours lie idly on a Monday evening, we headed to El Reno a few weeks ago to check out a band that our friend Geoff brought to town for a Rotary fundraiser.

Brown Bird!

Brown Bird!

Here’s a general idea of what they sound like but, really, the song doesn’t do justice to what you hear when sitting before the giant, giant sound of these two people.

Here’s a snip of a review of their latest album, Salt For Salt: “Recorded live to tape in Pawtucket, RI, “Salt For Salt” is the first album by Brown Bird to capture the intense energy of the duo’s live show, surging in waves that often swell into high-spirited, foot-stomping madness. David Lamb’s lyrics are as well-written as they are emotionally intelligent, thankfully avoiding the pitfalls of the wish-wash known as “modern-folk” or “singer-songwriting”. Lamb and his partner MorganEve Swain write simply, and the record is eerily sparse at times – a tambourine, a bass drum and the cello often the sole accompaniement to Lamb’s (what a name) cracked, wood-smoke voice.”

Yeah, I’d agree with that. They are folksy with an Eastern European thread weaving through a rootsy sound that is American more than anything. By the end of the performance David Lamb’s voice seized my attention in a way that had me whooping and hollaring like I was at a stadium show — and at a stadium show we were not. Apparently  Monday nights in downtown El Reno are not the hotbed attraction and it was poorly attended. I wasn’t sad that I didn’t have to share Brown Bird with a couple hundred people, though it would have been awesome for Rotary and Brown Bird to have been better compensated for their efforts. Because both efforts were outstanding.

Here’s a bit they did with MorganEve’s brother that was perhaps the most exciting thing I’ve seen this year. Wow! At the end of the video you can hear someone in the background say, “That was amazing.” That voice is my boyfriend, Clayton. The enthusiastic videographer is our friend Blake who we met through Turntable.fm and who was the person who introduced Clayton to Brown Bird.

One more for the road that Blake filmed through some geeky, swanky app on his iPhone…

Electric Blue

I woke up with a song in my head for the silliest of reasons and it isn’t worth sharing. But this is:

This is a classic, addictive 80s song. I nearly assumed it was written by Dianne Warren or some massive song catalog writer like her. Upon googling for song details, though, I’m surprised. Clayton will laugh out loud when he learns it’s co-author is John Oats.

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Which is now all I’m hearing as I listen to it for the 5th time. It’s like Hall & Oats, but without the soul/jazz element. Almost sounds like something a Journey spin off band like Bad English would have produced.

I loved Electric Blue fervently back then and I love it now. But because I was a poor kid in small town Oklahoma, I didn’t have MTV and only now am seeing the video.

EPIC.

Ida Davies, the lead singer, is rocking a mullet with super tight business in front and a beautiful flowing curly party in back. He’s wearing a nearly ankle-length black leather trench coat and a flat passion in his eyes that screams, “I am so uncomfortable filming this video.” His band mates share a similar sentiment that is far less hidden as they sort of tease each other, giggle uncomfortably and make fun of certain parts of the song. I’m impressed that the video’s director let that all stay in. My favorite piece of 80s stereotype — the saxophone solo — is in the song and prominent in the video. No 80s video would be complete without the skinny vixen wearing too much makeup, too much hair height and a spandex dress. Toward the end of the video we are treated to her back lit silhouette thrashing and twirling along a brick wall meant to look like an alley.

What’s your favorite bad 80s video?

The Head and The Heart

The week before SxSW 2011, Clayton and I visited The Opolis in Norman to catch a new band on their way to Austin. Their first album was about to be released or had just been release and he’d heard some great buzz about them. And the tickets were cheap. And we weren’t doing anything that night anyway.

The band was The Head and The Heart and they were phenomenal. I don’t mean they were good or fun or cute or Not Boring. I mean they were a rare phenomenon in our music seeking experience. The songs were beautiful and interesting. Pop-py, folky, catchy. They were passionate give-it-your-all performers. If you could only see the stage you’d think you were seeing them play for 5,000 people.

I looked around that night and couldn’t believe I was watching them with about 24 other people.

We downloaded the music and synced to our phones. Over the next couple of weeks I synced it to my heart. I hate being trite, but that’s my truth. I fell in love with an album not much longer after I had fallen in love with a boy. I had shared that experience with him, too, which made it all the more special.

We missed The Head and The Heart at SxSW but were thrilled to discover they’d be playing the Telluride Bluegrass Festival a couple of months later as we made our summer vacation plans. They played early in the week, early in the day which is code for: no one knows who they are. They were booked for a Nightgrass show. In fact, they were booked for the only Nightgrass show that wasn’t yet sold out. Before their set finished, Clayton scooted over to the box office before we missed our chance.

That Nightgrass show a couple of weeks later was a musical luxury that I rarely experience. It was held in a high school auditorium and maaaaybe held 300 people and they were all there, voraciously, at midnight, to see The Head and The Heart. We all knew the words to every song. Clayton and I, ever the indie dorks, rushed the stage and were treated to a night of joy.

Imagine the thrill of learning that The Head and The Heart would be playing Austin City Limits Music Festival. We would now be seeing them FOUR times this year!

We should have quit while we were ahead.

Sunday we were running late for the festival. We were almost jogging the mile and a half into Zilker Park and missed the first 20 minutes of their 1 hour set. 3,000 people (literally) had beat us to the stage and as we were chatting and weaving our way through the crowd we lost each other. He said something and I responded to him. I turned to say something else to him and he was g o n e.

Author’s note: I started this post (everything before this note) on or around September 30 and promptly abandoned my blog for several months for no apparent reason. Thus is the life of the fledgling blogger.

What I do remember about that performance: I tried to be real, real cool and just enjoy the concert. Enjoy the concert already, Freak! But mostly what I did was listen to these perfect perfect songs and cry behind my sweaty sunglasses because the love of my life wasn’t right there with me to hear all these perfect songs. Neither of us knew why we got separated in the crowd that day other than that stage and its position in the festival makes for difficult maneuvering. I went on living and breathing.

About 2 weeks ago we watched the Austin City Limits performance they recorded the night before the above mentioned show. Guess who gripped her lover’s hand and cried through the viewing? The Head & The Heart was the soundtrack to one of best years of my life and the very best year of my heart. Worth every embarrassing tear.

Austin City Limits Music Festival

You didn't get to Heaven but you made it close

We arrived for this Life List item on Thursday and have been putting in 16 hour days ever since. I’ve overloaded my iPhone’s battery for two days in a row attempting to tweet, Instagram and FB all my experiences and thoughts. Austin City Limits Music Festival is an overwhelming experience, as most music festivals probably are. 70,000 people a day, about 7 stages rotating from 11 am to 10 pm, mostly half simultaneously at any given moment. I’ve never seen what 70,000 people look like and I’m not convinced I ever want to again… There. Are. People. Everywhere. But I’m glad I’m here.

I’ve discovered some excellent music and gotten to hear some old favorites live and in person.

Highlights from Friday were:

Brandi Carlile! #aclcase @CaseMate Ray.

 

 

 

 

 

(Brandi Carlile and Ray LaMontagne)

And after my phone died: The Cave Singers, Santigold, Bright Eyes and Coldplay.

Highlights from Saturday will have to wait. Sleep becons.

Jam Night #1

I have this friend. His name is Jacob.

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He is one of my best friends. Through the years we’ve discovered that each other is awesome in a unique but very complimentary sort of way and it’s been lovely. The other day I got a Facebook invite that simply told us recipients, “Bring your instruments. Let’s have some beverages and play some music.” A few days later his wall post asked, “Can anyone play the harmonica?” Then shortly after he updated the event wall with, “We have a confirmed cellist.”

This was getting exciting for a Friday night in my world.

Young Jacob (his very unnickname from me) was the only soul I knew at the jam. But I packed up my horribly out of tune guitar and my camera. There were several hiccups in my planning. The largest was I hadn’t played my guitar in a year. Also, my flash’s batteries were dead, dead, dead.

Oh well. I remind you again, The Video.

I met some interesting people.

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I met some interesting dogs.

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Indeed there was a cellist. And a singer/songwriter/science teacher. And many other musicians, wannabe musicians and just people who came for a good time. Beers were drank, cajons were thumped and songs were sang. Dreams came true. It was beautiful.

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I totally meant for this pic to look like that. Way, way on purpose.