Friday, August 30, 2013

8/29/13 The Sara Bareilles Concert at Red Rocks

I am destined to misspell and correct Sara's last name in perpetuity. 

"I before E, except after C, and sometimes Y." But not in Bareilles. (Or Kaleidescope.)

This was Sara's first time at Red Rocks. She was sharing the venue with One Republic with opener Serena Ryder, which I'll happily pay for if it means I get to listen to her voice float across the Rocks. We were pretty sure she'd lead off, which meant we could get home and let the One-R fans fight the traffic without us. 

I'd put on a 3/4 sleeve shirt and vest and wondered if I wasn't going to be a bit uncomfortable before the sun went down. Sam was in a t-shirt but grabbed her mid-weight jacket, reasoning she could use it to sit on. Both of us were not prepared for the gale force winds that were awaiting us, but we could have been much less prepared than we were.

We got to Upper North around 5:45 and were in the last row before they closed it off. Gates opened right at 6:00 and we were through the top gates/bag check by 6:40. Since there were conflicting times on when Serena would be kicking things off (tickets said 7:00, Ticketmaster page said 8:00) we really weren't sure how busy things would be at that point.  

It turned out to be pretty quiet, with almost entirely empty upper general admission rows. But the wind was fierce. As I'd gotten out of the car and my hair had basically stood straight up and done the wild Medusa dance, I'd grabbed my omnipresent hat from the dashboard and plopped it on my head. Now I was holding that hat down on my head as we made our way across the top row (69) to get to dead center (66). Luckily, sitting down with our backs to the small wall that elevates handicapped row 70 above us, we were able to get out of the worst of it, which cut way down on the wind shear so I could put my hand down from my head. 

When I stepped back up to the top to grab us the Sara sweatshirt (to share), it was hand-on-the-head routine again the entire time. There was one guy in the merchandise tent tasked with just sitting on the table and holding the cross bar to keep the tent from blowing away. We'd decided on the sweatshirt because 1) it's Colorado, so much more upcoming wearability, 2) the two t-shirts Sara had for sale had were either an 80s throwback crop version (um, no.) and a gray one with her name and a cuss word emblazoned across it (um, no.) and 3) My shirt and vest was not warm enough this evening. 

I pulled the sweatshirt over the shirt, which wasn't the greatest look on earth but it did warm me up. Between that and the wall breaking much of the wind, it was comfortable. We'd spread out a blanket across our two seats and tried taking a couple of pictures. After I leaned over next to Sammi for the first one, she yelled, "Ow!!! And grabbed her arm." Apparently a bee or wasp decided to get smushed between us at the moment and stung her. So our first attempt at a picture was this:

Luckily, she is not allergic (to anything) and other than a sore arm and a pretty welt around the puncture, she was okay.

Re-attempt on the photo together... by this time Sam has pulled on her heavy jacket.

As they were setting up the stage for Sara's set with her baby grand, we had some beautiful colors in the sky. She took the stage at 8:00 and played for an hour.

The light as she took the stage to open with "Once Upon Another Time" off her EP from last year.

Once upon another time
Before I knew which life was mine
Before I left the child behind me
I saw myself in summer nights
And stars lit up like candle light

She followed that with "Eden" off her newest album from this summer. (Eden is a thinly veiled reference to Los Angeles, which she recently left to move to Manhattan) 
before addressing the crowd, which included taking a picture from the stage. So cute.

If you squint, maybe you can see us ;)

Next up, "Cassiopeia", also off the new album. and I must still be old-school because I think of it as another song "off the B-side" since it's track 6.  (Eden is track 8). I'm not sure too much of the Greek myth plays into her lyrics here. It is a interesting little tune and, for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, ridiculously fun to harmonize to. 

So she sighs and she burns with desperation
Learns to cry over love of constellations

After two new songs, she followed up with "Many the Miles" off of Little Voice and then "Love Song" from the same album and her first big breakout hit, which explains why the largely One Republic crowd didn't start to completely warm up and and belt it out with her until this point. 

She got back to the new album with "Little Black Dress", which is an empowerment song, of sorts, about getting pretty and dancing despite a broken heart, and then headed into what is doubtless going to be the Sara B Wedding track choice, "I Choose You" for those that aren't needing their little black dress (at the moment.)

I had wrestled with trying to go see Sara in May when she came through the smaller venues doing a solo/acoustic show, so it was a delight to hear her stick with that sound on "Uncharted", which is another of her beautifully lyrical songs stripped down.

She went back to the current stuff with the saddest song of the album, "Manhattan" 

You can have Manhattan,
The one we used to share,
The one where we were laughing,
And drunk on just being there.
Hang on to the reverie
Could you do that for me?
Cause I’m just too sad to.
You can have Manhattan
Cause I can’t have you.

To keep things on the slow side, she broke out"Gravity" to our delight. Fabulous song that I was not expecting to hear live -- first song from her debut album, almost a decade ago. That one note alone can break your heart. 

To liven things the end of the set, she launched into her current radio hit, "Brave" which is both Sam and my second-favorite song off the album. 
It's kind of our Mother-Daughter song. 

She closed out the set with the impossible-not-to-sing-along-with "King of Anything"  that got everybody on their feet. I didn't hit record fast enough to catch her saying, "This is for all of you with a douche-bag in your life."

After they exited and then returned for Sam and my favorite song off the album as the encore (see previous post for that one) we hightailed it out for the night. 

Clearly, I am an unabashed fan-girl of Sara, so if I were to create my perfect concert playlist, it would have also included another dozen or so, because, ya know, the girl can sing, surely, for another 90 minutes straight, just to make me happy? 

"Red" (a line from which is my blog's subtitle)

"Not Alone" (sampling Hitchcock? brilliant.)

"Fairytale" Go and tell your white knight that he's Hansel in hindsight

"Gonna Get Over You"  I'm not the girl that I intend to be, But I dare you, darlin', just you wait and see

"Hold My Heart"  I see the end sneaking in behind your eyes, Saying things no words could ever do

"Responsible" I can't blame you for the strength you lack, Scared to give me what you may not get back 

"Send Me the Moon" I can live with your ghost, If you say that's the most that I'll get 

"Breathe Again" what kind of heart doesn't look back?

"Between the Lines" So I've learned to listen through silence

"Let the Rain" And I always felt it before, that the world was filled with much more than the drowning soul I've learned to be, I just need the rain to remind me...

On the way through the parking lot, we were the only people around and a deer suddenly appeared in front of us. She must have been sauntering across the parking lot from the hills that surrounded it and literally seemed to materialize out of thin air. We were startled. She was startled. We just kind of took each other in, not two feet between us, before she darted around, jumped the fence, and high tailed it up the other hill. In the dark, with the music still floating on the air, it was magical. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

8/29/13 starting at the encore

Amazing evening, despite gale force winds. Much more to come tomorrow once I can sort through all the video, but for tonight, I have to start with the ending.

We have our official "best seats in the house" now pinned down: top row 69, seat 66 for me and 67 for Sam. 

Gorgeous, gorgeous view and sound from here. And I'm not deaf afterwards. 

As Sara finished up her set and stepped off stage, and Sam and I were clapping and waiting to see if the house lights came up to get One Republic's gear going,  I leaned over to Sam and said, "I think we may get an encore."

She asked, "What do you think it will be?"

I shrugged. "The only thing I'm missing is Chasing the Sun."

And, just for us, like a private request, that just happened.

You said, remember that life is
Not meant to be wasted
We can always be chasing the sun

They aren't untranslatable, really, but a reminder that language is so rarely liquid enough. (No idea why #5 isn't an equal translation to inquisitive, though.)

My favorite three:

#4. There should also be a specific word for sunlight that filters through aspen leaves. It's a completely different type of light.



8/29/13 The RRSSS night

T-10 hours:
Red Rocks and Sara and Sunset and Sam = perfection
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8/28/13 50 Years Gone

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. 

Fifty years ago today, before I was born, when my dad was starting his senior year of high school, the historic March on Washington took place. 

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. 

There was not a single woman who spoke that day. The only women at the microphone were singing. As MLK said, "1963 is not an end, but a beginning."

Two months prior, Medgar Evers had been shot in the back in his own driveway. 

In two more weeks, white supremacists will bomb a black church building on Sunday morning and kill four little girls. Somehow, white America will be shocked. The killers will walk free, even though they were known on the day of the crime. Only one will ever be convicted of the crime, some 38 years later. 

In a few more months, the President will be gunned down in his motorcade.

But the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 sprang from it all, although the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Supreme Court just this summer.

When he delivered his stirring speech about meeting evil with good, King could not know he would be assassinated in less than five years.The violent silencing of this most eloquent broker of peaceful change may have had a greater impact on the coming generations than we can ever know. 

Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. 

and again and again.

You know my soul looks back and wonder
How I got over

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.

― Hafiz
Monday, August 26, 2013

look around, look around, and the world will find you
please make sure to schedule a llama visitation for me if I'm ever in a long term care facility.
Sunday, August 25, 2013

8/24/13 Land ho

my morning puppy love before we set out for Victor

We trucked it up to check out the land Mom and Dad have a pending contract on. On the way out, the balloons over the city were rising up into the morning air. I think we counted about 8 in view. It was a beautiful day for a drive to the mountains.

Victor is about an hour's drive from the Springs, and stands at about 10,000 feet above sea level, so the winds stay much cooler than in the city. 

When we arrived at the gate, I chuckled at the posted sign, although I was informed this was mainly for elk hunters who entered private property illegally. Definitely different crimes around these parts. 

The flattest spot on the almost 40 acres currently has a fifth wheel parked on it, as well as a cistern and a portapotty. This would work well during the building of a house, although the land deal is separate from whether the fifth wheel stays. They hadn't been able to locate the key the last time and we were on a mission to see if we could get inside and get a feel for the options and its Kelly Blue Book worth.

There are also some great rock formations, perfect for climbing, that peek up above the trees.

Sam and I climbed up on top of the fifth wheel and sat and stared for a good while. At that elevation, with that white top, we managed to get ourselves sunburned in less than 15 minutes.

The tee-pee formation of the logs down by the firepit, also allows for a hummingbird feeder.

There are also some great sitting logs.

The property is well forested, lots of bristlecone pines and stands of aspen. You can also find some glory holes still around, which means you can't go wandering through the trees after dark without some danger. These were excavated by miners 100 years ago, looking for gold veins.

The meadow in the center of the property is filled with wildflowers and tons of quartz.

Dad and I climbed up the rock formation from the picture above. This is looking down through the trees to the small spring below, right at the property line (just left of center in the picture). That road has yet to be pinned down as another possible access to the land. The maps aren't the most well-marked things in the world when you're dealing with the middle of nowhere.

Looking toward the fifth wheel and Battle Mountain, you can also make out the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in the distance.

Turn the other way, and through the trees is the "backside" of Pike's Peak, currently entirely bald without his handsome snowcap.

Looking down at the edge of the property to the south is the fence line that is one of the biggest questions still to be answered.

By the Teller County Map, where you see Dad standing is actually the property boundary. We don't know if the map is wrong, or the guy who grazes his cattle through the property (reducing the tax to about $5 a year) set up the fence wrong, or whether a neighbor has incorrectly constructed the fence line 30 yards too far out.

While Dad and I were checking out fencelines, Bob, using all of his prison guard experience, located the key to the fifth wheel.

The thing is sorely in need of a super deep cleaning and interior decorating (everything screams mid-90s) but since I've always loved tiny spaces, it was mighty cute.

By then, we'd worked up plenty of appetite for lunch, so we headed back down to Victor to check out the local cuisine (blog to follow).

8/24/13 Victor CO and the Fortune Club

Through the trees, on the way back down from the property, sits Victor, CO. 

That's pretty much the whole town in the picture. 

It's backdrop is Battle Mountain, home to some of the most prosperous mines in Colorado. 

Victor was the blue collar town to the swankier Cripple Creek population. If you did the hard work, you lived in Victor. If you were an owner or investor, you lived five miles off in Cripple Creek. 

Incorporated in 1894, more than 8000 people already lived in the township, but the subsequent gold veins exploded its population to 18000 by 1900. The mines there produced more than $10 billion dollars (in today's $) during its boom. 

In 1899, a fire that started in the Jenny Club (one of many "gentlemen's establishments of the city), took five hours to destroy everything. Within six months, the town had been completely rebuilt, this time in brick. 

The population as of the last census is 397 souls.

A combined junior high / high school serves both Victor and Cripple Creek, and those five grades combine to around 200 students. 

And the town soldiers on. 

I have an affinity for Victor, apart from sharing the feminine version of its name. I like its hard scrabble history, and the fact that it hasn't turned into a soul-sucking casino town like its white collar neighbor. 

I would so love to see the downtown revitalization take off and somehow become a little artists' haven, a tiny Taos, perhaps. 

We spent a few hours here Saturday, enjoying the slower pace and the locals that filed in for lunch at the Fortune Club.

Sue, the proprietor, had left the building to go home and find a raspberry pie recipe, but she returned in time to chat with us about the place. 

The Fortune Club was another of the multiple gentlemen's spots, with gambling on the first floor, and the brothel on the second. They still offer rooms for rent.

Immediately inside the door a painter had set up his easel and was working on an interior oil painting of the bar. He'd taken a break and I was able to get a shot of the Wing and Son piano behind him. "Wing & Son pianos were generally equipped with an optional 5 pedal mechanism that mimicked the tones of various string instruments like the mandolin, guitar, zither, harp, and banjo. The 5 pedals were labeled from left to right: Mandolin, Orchestra, Expression, Soft, and Forte." (from the Antique Piano Shop)

The place still has its original tintype ceilings and walls, which is incredible. Surely, this was chosen as a way to minimize the fire hazard as the town was rebuilt from ashes. The marble back bar is also beautiful. Next time we're up there, I'll have to ask Sue if she knows the history behind it.

We all, except for Sam, opted for the Sloppers, which were made with the most yummy homemade green chilis. We were licking the plates clean.

Of course, with my luck, I went to the bathroom during the exact two minutes that a couple of local guys herded half a dozen cattle with a few calves and a border collie in tow down the middle of the street in front of the club's windows. They came in and had lunch once the cows were safely stowed. 

Down the street is the Victor Hotel, which is also on my "next time" list. The original (1899) bird cage elevator is still in operation. (But they also have wi-fi.) If you're a ghost hunter, be sure to ask to stay in Eddie's room, #301. Eddie, a miner, was also not terribly aware of his surroundings. He pressed the elevator button and, when the doors opened, stepped on through, not noticing he was stepping into the blackness of the elevator shaft.  Because at 9700 feet, winters are pretty fierce and the ground pretty frozen, the fourth floor of the hotel was once used as a winter morgue until bodies could be properly buried. So Eddie's reportedly not the only one still hanging around the halls here. 

The old mining carts have been repurposed into floral containers for the summer and they spill out everywhere. Seriously, why hasn't this little place gotten more exposure for the potential of an artists colony?

With the contract pending on the land, I am really hopeful that I get to spend some more Saturdays exploring this place and meeting its people. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

8/23/13 Bat-NO

Let me begin by saying, I am a typical Facebook user. I have over 500 "friends" and check FB about as often as email during the day, since it is a primary source of information from people I tend to believe that I care about. 

I also hide/block/unfriend people, depending on the severity of the clash of mindsets, pretty regularly. I use Facebook as a tool that fits my interests and my energies. My newsfeed is not a free-for-all democracy. It's my space. (Heh.) 

It's not as though you'll receive a notification that I am avoiding your particular rant on a given day/week/month (at which point when your friend count goes down by one, you'll have to figure out it was me who bailed.) 

My parents are on Facebook and not among my "friends" out of some lovely unspoken mutual affection for one another that precludes the need. Maybe it's because of the blog...

You want to post something on my wall? How about some fantastic space discovery, or the moon, or mountains, or sunrise, or sunset, or sunflowers, or flowers in general, or even cats if they're cute enough, and always border collies, and lions and tigers, and hiking, and photography, and historical photos, and music that I like (Billy Joel, Sara Bareilles, Richard Marx, Adele, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Finn, Billie Holiday, Ray Lamontagne, Suzanne Vega, you know, the good stuff), or writing, or books we both love, or body acceptance, or women's empowerment, or just sweet fluffy clouds, then awesome.  I like all of those things. Share them with me. 


It's with some building aggravation that I find myself getting postings of Batman-related things put on my wall, quite often, by many disparate people, some of whom only vaguely remember that they see Batman things show up in their newsfeed posted under my name so I must, although entirely out of character, be a Batman fan. 

Let me set the record straight:

I am not a Batman fan. 

I don't read comic books. 

I don't wear Batman clothing.

I don't wear Batman jewelry.

I don't have a Batman tattoo.

I don't have Batman things stuck on my car or dangling from the rearview mirror. 

I don't dress up as Batman.

That'd be Bob.

I do admit to driving my husband crazy asking questions and howling at plot inconsistencies and snorting at stultifying dialogue during most of his action movies, the Batman ones included. (And, he now mostly watches these when I'm not around or busy focused on other things now. We all cope in our own ways.)

Here is my entire "opinion" of the various big screen Batman actors: I thought Michael Keaton was short; I ached for the Real Genius days of Val Kilmer; I winced at George Clooney who just looked utterly lost; and I couldn't stop trying to figure out Christian Bale's teeth makeover since The Prestige, or, additionally, wonder how he didn't need throat surgery after doing that ridiculous voice.

And now: the news of Ben Affleck cast as the next Batman.

I've accepted some friend requests from some of Bob's friends who've sent them to me over the past few years, so today I have added "Batman" to the list of words I want blocked out of my newsfeed,  as this has become the news du jour in the comic community. On the upside, I'm seeing a lot of border collie pictures in their place. 

Seemed like irritation averted.

And then?

Bob goes and TAGS me in a status update about all of the discussion of the Batman/Ben Affleck drama, so all afternoon every notification I get has nothing to do with me -- every comment (2o and counting), every "like" (40 and counting), ding! To be fair, the post was about how people really need to get a life and stop doing insane things like petition the White House to re-cast the movie. (Quite horribly, not a joke.) But I did NOT need to be tagged in it. 

my go-to photo these days

So, in the interest of brevity and my complete lack of interest in anything Bat-related, let's keep this short and sweet:

P.S. This also includes football.

8/23/13 Some Friday Morning Perspective

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Last night's post from Nick, after some long phone conversations.

I'm sure the lump in my throat is a combination of unspeakable pride in my son's attitude and my heart breaking for him and the end of a dream. 

He didn't think to change his "About" last night, but when your identity is ripped away in the space of one unexpected, shocking moment, it takes a little time to adjust. 

He is rarely on Facebook, but really wasn't sure how to get the word out so he didn't have to repeat the same thing endless times, hence the post.  It's the most expedient way to announce a relationship change, and this most certainly qualifies. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

8/20/13 RSS and the Mother Chromosome 7

When Sam was diagnosed with Russell Silver syndrome, way back in 1997, there was only a fledgling internet, enough to look it up and read some vague descriptions of groups of symptoms that made up RSS.

What I could discover was that the most difficult symptom of RSS babies had let us off with only slight appetite issues. She never had to have a GI button surgically implanted to feed her calories overnight. She didn't gain much weight (she had gone from 4 pounds at full term birth to 12 pounds at a year old) but since they didn't actually pin down a diagnosis until she was two, and we had soldiered on, filling bottle with chocolate milk her second year to keep weight on her, we'd weathered that storm without even knowing it. Granted, it required her front teeth to be capped at age 3, but looking back, I really think that kept her from wasting away while we waited between specialist appointments and tests and blood draws.

Now there are conferences and groups and studies that push along what we know and still need to discover about RSS. 

I was telling Sam about a small group of RSS patients who show a chromosomal abnormality called  "maternal uniparental disomy" on Chromosome 7.  Since only about 1 in 100,000 births are affected by RSS, and less than 10% of those have been linked to the maternal gene, it might be reaching, but we both shared a laugh over it.

You see, maternal uniparental disomy occurs when a copy of my genetic material on chromosome 7 is duplicated instead of getting the matching one from the paternal unit. In other words, there are about 159 million base pairs that are twice me and no Bob imprinted on Sam. 

She said, "oh, that would explain so much..." and we looked at each other in that mirror image way we have and just cracked up. 

At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. You can love completely without complete understanding. ~ 
 Norman Maclean

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

8/20/2013 Blue Moon

No luck this morning when the timing was right, barely visible through the clouds tonight, and setting tomorrow long after sunrise. This blue moon is not cooperating. And the next time she comes around? 2015.