Archives for category: Music

I make a lot of excuses for everything. I know this. I’ve always known this. I’m actually a lot of talk and no action, contrary to what y’all think.

These ideas have been brought to my attention recently. On a deeper level. Don’t ask. Just go with it.

I woke up this morning with the uncomfortable feeling, like, yeah, get off your duff and actually do something. You ARE all talk and no action. I’ve been bitching for years about things I REALLY want to do and have I done them?

NO, because I am the QUEEN OF EXCUSES. Look at my past relations and jobs and extracurricular activities – why I can’t/don’t/shouldn’t get out of it, change it, do it.

F that.

I sat down with breakfast and a scrap piece of paper and a pen and scrawled across the top:

What makes me feel alive?

Answers:

(Speaking of, at this moment, a Florence and the Machines song just came on KEXP. It’s not the song that reminds me of my trip to Australia in 2011, but this band had a song that came out around that time that was totally the theme of that trip. And that trip made me feeling so fucking alive.)

Answers:

Running

hiking/skiing uphill

dogs

good home cooked food

my favorite people

sunshine

busy work

helping people

cleaning/organizing

creating things with my hands

music

traveling and exploring

gardening

……

NOW, this list is all fine and good but HOW or WHAT am I going to do about each one.

Next to each item, I started writing out ideas:

Running – sign up for a trail run once a month. it costs money but whatever. Sign up early enough, it’s not as expensive. Every time I got off a trail run in 2014, it was the best feeling ever. Better than climbing, hiking, biking, swimming, whatever other sport i’ve tried.

hiking/skiing uphill – it’s winter, so it’s snow season, so I need to get my knee brace fitted which I’m doing next friday. YAY! Then I can cross country ski this year!

dogs – Don called me out last night on every excuse for not having a dog, as I’ve been moaning for years that I’ve wanted one. I essentially live in the equivalent of a big apartment (big indoor space, no fenced yard). Start researching good types of dogs for me – one who enjoys exercise and being worked but also knows how to chill.

good home cooked food – CHECK. ALL THE TIME.

my favorite people – who in my life makes me feel happy and real and myself. mentors and people i respect and look up to.

sunshine – continue to take 3,000 IUs of Vitamin D, go to the tanning beds or just fucking move.

busy work – i’m trying hard at work to do this while we’re in a slow season, as most my people are at their computers doing reports and data crunching, so field season is slow. time to plan long-term projects?

helping people – mountain rescue allows for this, but not enough. my job allows for this, but not enough. my career counseling last year shed light on working in a non-traditional teaching environment. Both my job and mountain rescue allow plenty of opportunities to do this. I need to sit down with a calendar and resources and do some research on how to incorporate this.

cleaning/organizing – i’m really good at this, no matter what it is. it just comes as required.

creating things with my hands – woodworking is the first thing that comes to mind. I just signed up for a free online four-day creative class. I would like to sit down and go through it, but see, I’m not creating an action plan here to make sure I follow through with it. I guess a bigger priority is the pile of fabric in my living room for two sets of pajama pants, three quilts, a dress and lots of mending …

music – most of the time, KEXP. Also, I have a ukelele and a guitar in my living room. In their cases. Someone told me to buy music stands so they’ll sit out and I’ll pick them up more. I need to buy two music stands. Cheap.

traveling and exploring – this takes planning. I see on Facebook (yes, the Facebook syndrome) all the trips and ideas and think, man, I need to plan some trips. Yes, I know I just went to Ireland (which was amazing) but wanderlust is getting to me again. I WILL BLOCK OUT THAT LAST WEEK OF MARCH FOR MY WEEKLONG ROAD TRIP FROM CALIFORNIA TO WASHINGTON DAMNIT. I’VE BEEN WANTING TO DO THAT TRIP FOR SIX YEARS NOW.

Gardening – that pink binder on the table? the one you keep meaning to organize by month so you know what to do for each plant, as well as layout where each plant is in your gardens? that needs to be done. again though where’s the action plan to make sure it gets done?

(Irony? KEXP is now playing ALIVE by Empire of the Sun)

it feels good to get all this out, but it also means planning and budgeting. that’s where i get blocked. when do i have time to sit down and plan and budget? that’s my problem.

the other question – in a year, after i do all these things, will i finally be happy? i constantly feel like there is something else there, something else that i need to satisfy me, because apparently my charmed life right now (i’m not going to lie, i know i have it good, on paper, my life looks fantastic) isn’t enough.

there you go.

No one ever said i didn’t wear my heart on my sleeve.

 

 

 

 

 

I discovered Doe Bay Fest a few years ago after I saw videos of the sweet acoustic sets of what seemed to be spontaneous jams on the beach at Doe Bay. The one I remember was The Head and The Heart.

Through that video, you could feel that intimacy of a private acoustic session, something that most people don’t get to experience often. So the idea of experiencing it in an environment not unlike a friend’s backyard drew interest in possibly making the trek to three-day Doe Bay Fest.

But  – it’s in the San Juans Islands, which takes a good half day to get to, plus the cost and prep and who can you rally to go with you? And tickets to this very tiny but popular festival are impossible to get (until the last year or two where you now have to physically visit the resort throughout the year and stay the night, then put your name on a list for the festival when you check out, thus your ticket. Pretty clever, actually.).

And I’d given up on music festivals. Sasquatch, Bumbershoot, massive amphitheaters with thousands and thousands and thousands of people. Acoustics are good but you’re typically a 1/4 mile away from the stage, lest you want to stand in a crowd while trying to get as close as possible to the stage, with the chance of not seeing anything but the tall drunk dude in front of you (a big risk I take, being not even 5′ tall).

I’d gotten old the past few years, preferring to lay out a picnic blanket on the grassy banks and enjoy the afternoon sets, where I’d discovered some amazing music  and taken in some of the evening sets (such as a rare live performance of The Postal Service). But I’m not crazy about the massive parking lot camping and wondering if and what the dude next door is going to blare at 7 a.m. (no joke, this happened, Sasquatch 2005? I think he was playing Metallica or Linkin Park or something really loud. I’m surprised he made it out of the lot alive.).

When Beth suggested going to Doe Bay this year for my birthday in March so we could get tickets, I thought why not. One of those bucket list items to tick off and I didn’t have any plans for No. 35 anyway.

My initial impression of Doe Bay (mind you, in March and pouring rain) was not mind blowing. Quiet cabins, couples, small groups of friends, spa – all very quiet and relaxing things but I didn’t get the “magical feeling” that people talk about when they talk about Doe Bay and get all sparkly-eyed.

So when August approached with Doe Bay Fest around the corner, I wasn’t as excited as I wanted to be. However, making plans for an all-woman’s camping trip, with a mix of my close Seattle friends and Kitsap friends and a camping menu of homemade pizzas, veggie burritos, BBQ, a massive breakfast, sangria, bloody marys, salads and marshmallow/Nutella/peanut butter cookie s’mores, I was looking forward to the overall experience. And if I walked away with some new music to check out, cool.

Oh, but how the universe, once again, kicked my ass.

My first “Doe Bay Moment” was on the way to the bathroom to get ready for bed Thursday night around 10:30 p.m., after a long day of traveling. I kept hearing a banjo though, so I followed the sound to The Busking Station, where whomever could set up on a wooden platform tucked away in a little alcove of bushes, just off the main trail that connected the stages, the cafe, beach, spa and camp sites. I came upon a group of about 30 people standing around Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners, a Portland band of young guys plucking out swing/ragtime/dixieland music on a banjo, an upright bass, a washboard and a guitar.

Seriously? Seriously. And who’s standing over there watching them? Friday night’s headliner Cody ChestnuTT tapping his toes. Oh and Don Slack (a favorite KEXP DJ of mine) was there hanging out. I found out later I had several friends from Seattle who were also standing around watching this. Oh and that big guy with the beard and backpack standing next to me with the radio who looks like a college sophomore? That’s one of the organizers of this entire weekend. I swear, every time I turned around during the festival, he was sitting near us.

But in Doe Bay – none of that matters. And that’s what so sweet about the festival. It’s not a place to hobnob with musicians. You’re just going to stand next to them like your friends and take in those Doe Bay Moments. And then the next day, you’re going watch those musicians and make more Moments with other folks, whether it be:

dancing at the front of the main stage with least one foot of space between you and everyone else (blissful)

or see small kids with oversized ear protection squeeze in at the edge of the stage, intently studying the musicians and tapping their toes

or watch a three-year-old drum out on his dad’s back, keeping to the beat of the music

or danced like you haven’t danced in years to that DJ who rocked the Yoga Studio that night with all your favorite songs from college

or pass those pre-teen kids who opened the festival with their unbelievable guitar work and folk songs and you’ll call out as you pass by them in the crowds the next day, “hey, great job guys” and the youngest one will turn around and say, “hey, thanks!”

or you’ll share The Stranger newspaper with that guy sitting next to your blanket and get into a discussion about The Book of Mormon while waiting for the next band to start

or you’ll develop an intense crush on that experimental jazz band’s drummer and go up to him after and ask where he’s playing next, then watch him drum in the reggae band later in the day and then read about him in The Stranger and see how he’s deservedly up and coming in Seattle

or you’ll wander around the property after the headliner has finished and follow your ear, only to find that one band you heard this morning, which you weren’t impressed with on stage, is spectacular around the campfire and bring on happy tears

or you’ll wander down the the beach in hopes of finding something and are immediately handed a sparkler and the guy playing the guitar is leading the group of 30 or so in old gospel sing-alongs

or you’ll make your way up to The Apple Tree, where one night you’ll find a slightly inebriated guitarist whose music is too soft for your liking but his banter is hilarious, and his two buddies, one of which is piano player playing a uke, are belting out John Prine tunes.

or the next night under the Apple Tree, between the two oil lamp torches, you’ll find the lead singers from four bands who played this year and last year, taking turns to share songs from their own format (alt-rock, ragtime, spoken word and folk), but the upright bassist from the experimental jazz band is backing up each of them on the spot (I’m waiting for these sessions to be recorded and then posted online as “The Apple Tree Sessions” but that takes away the mystique of the late night sessions, so I hope no one does).

or you’ll develop girl crushes on every female musician who takes to the stage

or you’ll sit on the beach, waiting for your very, very late water taxi to take you back to The Real World and a guy with a guitar will walk down to the beach and entertain the very tired but relaxed crowd, then a clarinetist will join him, adding a rich undertone to the sound and after a few songs, you’ll hear the two musicians finally introduce themselves to each other.

or you’ll be dancing next to the head organizer of the festival Joe, who created this event for this reason alone: to share amazing music with 1,000 of his friends.

So, yeah… Doe Bay is like that.

 

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the music. It’s tried, true and traditional. It always lifts the spirits and usually we all know the words. OK, maybe just the first verse.

This was the case recently, coming back from The Snowshoe Adventure and I’d just realized, after a long 12-hour day and in the middle of the 3-hour drive home, I’d lost my wallet. I knew exactly where it was too. Back toward the mountains another hour or so. Read the rest of this entry »