I dreamed I was drowning
In the river Thames
I dreamed I had nothing at all
Nothing but my own skin
Slipped away from your open hands
Into the river
Saw your face looking back at me
I saw my past and I saw my future
You take the pieces of the dreams that you have
Cause you don't like the way they seem to be going
You cut them up and spread them out on the floor
You're full of hope as you begin rearranging
Put it all back together
I promised some pictures from the pilgrimage to Athens, Georgia, right? Having stayed close to home the last few weeks, dealing with life, I'm missing the time on the road. It's a good time to revisit the journey. Southern charms, tin roofs, soul food, kudzu, music history, catching up with our former selves.
After driving through South Carolina on the expressway, Georgia allowed some much needed time on two-lane highways. What would a road trip be without two-lane highways through small towns?
I love tin roofs. I think I said so half a dozen times while we were there.
Oh, good, we're almost there. It's way past time for a decent meal.
After cleaning ourselves up a little from the car ride, we didn't waste any time planning our tour of REM sites around town. We thought with Athfest going on that weekend, and lots of music fans in town, that there would be others trailing us to the sites associated with the town's most famous band. But, no. Just us. And one other dude.
Directionally challenged, we meant to head over to Walter's BBQ, but ended up at Weaver D's on the other side of town. Good thing. Weaver D knew how to serve up the soul food. "You want chicken? You want fish? You want BBQ? I got collards. I got beans. I got cornbread." Um, yes please.
It added to the quirky Southern charm that Weaver D was campaigning hard to re-elect the coroner.
This was actually Stephanie's lunch, not mine. I got BBQ'd pork. But, I want to go back for that catfish. I'd smother it in hot sauce. Neither of us like potato salad all that much, but this potato salad?
A special thank you to the ladies cutting the potatoes at the table behind us.
Weaver D was proud that he was the one who coined the phrase Automatic for the People. His walls look a little like the walls of my bedroom in 8th grade. That poster on the right was also once mine.
Now that we were really full, it was back to the map. First stop, the church where all the band members once lived and rehearsed in the early days. Now only the steeple remains.
Next, the famous Murmur trestle. We pulled over and parked by the side of the road on some almost country road on the edge of town. A fully loaded car drove by and the driver asked us if we needed help. Um, no, no. We're just stopping to take a few dozen pictures of that abandoned train track in the woods over there.
Time stopped for a bit. We were chasing ghosts. Next stop, another former residence of the band members.
This street housed several famous musicians, as they were becoming famous. Which led someone to write "Hello Hollywood" in wet cement down the street sometime in the mid-80s.
Nearby proof that the cement was wet in the 80s.
We were soaking up the green.
Some music video was filmed here... our tour was starting to wind down. I was getting tired. I'm sure you are too. But, there's more.
"Oddfellows Local 151 behind the firehouse...why do the heathens rage behind the firehouse?"
Finally, downtown. I do remember that parts of the Shiny Happy People video were filmed in the Georgia Theater.
Downtown Athens was a nice cozy place to hang out.
"Hello, I saw you, I know you, I knew you
I think I can remember your name...name
Hello I'm sorry, I lost myself
I think I thought you were someone else"
As if visiting this place wasn't reason enough for the journey, the next night we were in Atlanta visiting the ghosts in person.
1991 was a pretty good year to be 13 years old. Stephanie and I had been friends since sixth grade, and have been ever since, but eighth grade was definitely our year. While the other girls were in puffy dresses and Z cavariccis, we were rocking the black, the Chucks, the vintage, and discovering Urban Outfitters back when it was way cooler. We were reading Spin and Rolling Stone and Sassy.
Eighth grade would not have been eighth grade without the REM obsession. It is the defining feature of our 13th year. The only fan letter I ever wrote was penned with Stephanie to the band, and it was 10 pages long. We had every album, and knew all the lyrics even though they didn't publish linear notes and we didn't have access to the internet, that I can remember.long planned pilgrimage to Athens, Georgia. REM is playing in Atlanta and we're going to be there. For the first time ever, we will be seeing the remaining three band members play live, instead of watching them on VHS over and over and over again.
I'm still a little annoyed at them for not breaking up at the millennium like they promised, because they didn't want to be one of those aging hipster bands. But, now that I'm almost 30, aging hipster doesn't seem like such a bad thing.
So wish us luck on our 13 going on 30 pilgrimage. I'm leaving tomorrow.
And just curious, if you could take a pilgrimage of a similar sort, where would you go and who would you see?
We left Massachusetts at the crack of dawn Friday. I finished my final term paper on the way, making a longer than expected layover at Panera in Schenectady, NY, to finish up the final edits and to take advantage of the free wi-fi. Turns out there was wi-fi at every service station for the next 200 miles. Still, by the time we left Schenectady, I was free! As far was I'm concerned, summer arrived!
When we finally crossed over the Bluewater Bridge from Ontario to Michigan, at 2:30am, we sang along to Sufjan Stevens' "Say Yes! To Michigan".
"If I ever meant to go away, I was raised, I was raised
In the place, in the place. Still I often think of going back
To the farms, to the farms, golden arms, golden arms
start to remind me.
If the lakes took the place of the sea.
If the cars drove themselves, way to be!
Opposite to the trains moving in
Rivers run, interstate, Michigan!
Still I never meant to go away
I was raised, I was raised, in the place, in the place.
Still I often think of going back
To the farms, to the farms, golden arms, golden arms.
Tried to change the Made in Michigan
I was raised, I was raised, in the place, in the place,
part to remind me"
The song's been in my head all week, as I've been savoring the freedom from school and work. This is what freedom looks like to me...
Lots of celebrating the lives of our moms and grandmoms.
Spending time in the sun and the grass. Especially introducing the new pupsky to her extended family.
Playing around with our nieces in the springtime.
Going on scouting adventures together.
Writing down everything we see along the way.
Kaia, along for the adventure, did just fine with three little girls clamoring over her, taking her toys, and poking her in the face.
Her favorite part of this week was going to Auntie Stephanie's to play with her new pals Heidi and George.
She also has been very fond of running the basement obstacle course (stairwell, ping pong table, water softener) at my parent's house, going for walks in the woods, trying to chase birds, and playing with a whole box of new dog toys at Matt's parent's house.
And our favorite part has been seeing more family and friends than we generally see at Christmas. And meeting two new members of our family, baby Evan and baby Ruthie.
Coming home is always a wonderful thing. Especially lovely in the springtime, after a long winter and a very long stretch of busting my brain to the limit. Freedom is a wonderful thing!
Matt's off to the midwest for work, and I'm heading to New Hampshire tomorrow afternoon for a weekend of winter hiking. He's been in this traveling job for almost four years, and my heart still twists a bit every time he's going to be gone for a weekend. Weekends are hard. Especially two in a row. So, I am shurking my school responsibilities and going up north to play in the snow while he's away working. Luckily, this is a fun trip for him. So we'll both be just fine.
Sara (nice name) was really cute. If you've turned on the TV or the radio lately, you've probably heard her..."I'm not gonna to write you a love song, cause you asked for it, cause you need one" song.
And then the main event, James Blunt. We bought his new album last week, but I hadn't listened to it until yesterday during my commute. After one listen, I wasn't sold, and I'll be honest, I wasn't 100% psyched to go see him. I like his last album, but I wasn't sure I was in the mood for sensitive boy music. We've seen a lot of sensitive boy rockers over the years - Maroon 5 (wasn't that impressed), John Mayer (he was good), The Fray (nice guys, good music, but very mellow show), and Keene (best ever). So there was a lot of room for comparison.
But, I'm glad we went because the concert was exceptionally enertaining.
James Blunt apparently has a gift for bringing out the sensitivity in men. His most esctatic fans were all men.
To our left, in the balcony was a guy doing a little love dance. He had a techincolor scarf that he was using for his interpretive dance moves, and occasionally he'd turn around and shake his booty at the audience/stage. He was a killer air guitarist too. So intense in his love for James Blunt that security came to pull him away from the edge of the balcony. Directly in front of us was the cutest man I've ever seen. He was 60-ish, with an army buzz cut, and on a date with his wife (I presume). He fell into fits of applause every time James Blunt came to the front of the stage and after every song. He and his wife nudged each other throughout the whole "goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend, you have been the one for me" song. It was sweet.
To our right, during one song, James Blunt suddenly leapt off the stage into the crowd and ran down the aisle. When he turned around to run back towards the stage, a man carrying a two year old girl (yeah, a toddler!), RAN down the aisle behind him and reached out to touch him before he returned to the stage. I've never seen anything like it.
I'm all for sensitive men, so it was fun stuff.
The music was good too. The drummer, Karl Brazil, has a great feel, as Matt would say. Always amazes me how key the drummer is to a good live show.
At the end, a huge gong lowered to the stage for James Blunt to hit. I guess he does it every show. :)
And for once, a real aftershow.
We've gone backstage a few times, and I hate to burst your bubble, but it's usually not overly exciting. It involves a lot of sitting around and waiting. Usually with the bass player's cousins' best friend and a few people who won a radio contest.
The best part of going backstage is how it makes the glossiness of fame fade. When they're not under the stage lights, band members are just joe schmoos with longer hair and fancier outfits. No matter how many models they've date. But, still, they're usually pretty nice. Especially drummers.
While we were back there, someone asked to take a picture with James Blunt. He said, "I'd rather have a conversation than a picture, if that's okay with you." See, sensitive guy. He should use that line in one of his songs.
What made the night a little more fun was that we got to go down the street to a bar and party with the band afterwards. And by "party", I mean drink a free beer, eat chicken fingers and watch the backstage groupies do their flirting thing. Again, highly entertaining. To round out the evening, we got to do a toast to bad teeth with a few of the Brits.
And then we rode the bus home, since it was late and the T stopped running to our stop. ;)
Last week I noticed not one, but a few, new "tags" spray painted down the street from us. When Matt and I drove by, I showed him and said, "See, I can't figure out if that is viral marketing for Johnny Cupcakes or if there is a new cupcake gang in town."
Matt said, "No. The muffin man came to town."
He's right. It does say "Muff". Muffins, cupcakes, either way, that graffiti makes me hungry. And there are 4 of them on my way to the expressway.
That's honestly about all I've got to report. I'm on break this week and for once I stayed put. I wanted to go to Texas to see my brother and Liz, but the tickets were pricey so I decided to stay home for once. Not easy. I'm used to taking off to see family or go on a trip whenever I get a chance. As a result, I'm a little heart sick for family or home. Luckily I decided to stay put though, since Matt and I both got so sick. My fever went away this past weekend, after 5 long days, but I'm still fighting off the last of the congestion. My energy has been low, and I've felt like I've been in slow motion. As a result, I've been in a serious funk the past few days. The February funk. But today I've been making a concerted effort to improve my mood.
It helped that I got a message this afternoon that my good friends Lori and Greg had their baby last night - a girl. So happy for them. It's such a dream come true. So the thought of them with their little one today has been making me feel happier inside.
I also went to Borders to pick up a book to go with that frog below, and I got a couple new CDs. Am I the only one out there still buying CDs? I'm so behind on the whole mp3 thing. The new Jack Johnson is called Sleep Through the Static, which suits me this week. It's very chill, which is perfect.
It's been a little uncomfortable for me to slow down, but needed. I had a million things I thought I really needed to do this week, and I've done a handful of them. I've worked a bit for my two very part-time jobs. But mostly I'm taking a break. Remembering what slow feels like. There will be plenty of time soon for fast. There's a lot of good stuff on the horizon. A lot of work, but good stuff too.
Speaking of good stuff, I was inspired to write a list of big and little things I got to do last year. I was a little taken back by how much I came up with. Most of it unexpected. I like keeping in mind that a lot of unexpected things will happen again this year. Like this year, who knew I'd see muffin graffiti! That's the little stuff I want to pay more attention to this year.
Click for my list...
After a night of statistics and little sleep, I needed an art fix in a bad way. My right brain has been feeling neglected. As you can tell by the poor quality of photos on this blog lately, I stepped away from our good camera for a month. Matt even took it on a trip and I didn't notice it was gone.
But, this week I've been having withdrawl pains. So while I was eating my lunch, before dozing off for an afternoon nap, I took note of all the circles around me.
There's no good reason to step away from the camera for a whole month. I need my instant changes in perspective.
But I've got reason to believe
We all will be received
Greetings From Memphis, Tennessee!
Hmmmmmmm Velvet Elvis.
Here is a programmatic tour of Graceland.
Every 1960's super rich guy's dream. 3 fancy TV's, just like President Johnson. WOW.
If you don't know what this means... sad case.
Gas was only 13 cents a gallon.
We filled up.
I made that up.
No. He doesn't.
Uh huh. Thank you very much. (Sneer).