And She Was….

“The world was moving

she was right there with it

and she was…”

– Talking Heads


I have many photographs that capture a distinctive moment in time…the day, the feelings, what was going on around me.  But this is that only photo I have that has a specific theme song.  From the moment I saw this picture, all I could think of was a Talking Heads song.

I was eight months pregnant and Amelia & I were doing a Mother-Daughter/Maternity photo shoot at a park in Hiram, GA.  Near the end of the shoot Pam (who left CNN to create Paris Mountain Photography) suggested that Amelia hop on the Merry-go-Round.  Amelia held on and I (with my giant belly) pushed the merry-go-round around as fast as I could run while Pam sat in the center snapping pictures.  We all laughed at the silliness of the scene (and laughed even harder at the looks we were getting from onlookers).  At the same time, I was was thinking “Wow, this is going to be a great picture.”

I love that she’s there, practically glowing, as the world spins behind her.  If I wanted to get really deep, I’d get into how this is a commentary on the modern world- how society rushes around and it’s only children who are innocent enough to slow down and enjoy life.  Or maybe I’d talk about how it’s a representation of my daughter’s life at that time-  the world was spinning around her, chaos was about to come with the arrival of her baby brother, yet she continued to just hold on and smile. 

But in the end, it’s just a great picture that reminds me of a great song.


*While writing this I learned that David Byrne wrote this song about a girl he knew in high school who would take LSD and lie in a field beside a Yoo Hoo factory.  Maybe not the most appropriate song to represent  a 3 year old….but catchy nonetheless.


The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

The Zac Brown Band tore it up at the CMA’s tonight.  I generally don’t approve of people covering this song, but this was amazing.  I saw Charlie Daniels sing this once and by the end of the song his bow was completely torn up.  I remember thinking “Wow, nobody is ever going to come close to this.”  My mind has been changed.  I LOVE to see talented, young, musicians just kicking ass.  I didn’t even mind that the singing the fiddle playing were done by different people…..

You know you’ve done a good job at the CMA’s when you get a standing ovation and in the pan of the crowd you see Kris Kristofferson beaming.* 

Year’s ago, Jason used to see Zac Brown play at a bar he frequented.  I remember him coming home all the time  saying “Wow, that guy is going to make it big someday.”  At the end of this performance, Jason looked at me and said “Wow, I’m sort of bursting with pride right now.”

*How weird is it that I’ve mentioned Kris Kristofferson twice in the last week??

My Birthday Buddy

While I still have 10 more minutes of my birthday, I wanted to mention my birthday buddy.  You know what I’m talking about…the celebrity that you share a birthday with.  Don’t pretend you don’t keep track.  I just learned today that I share my birthday with *drumroll please*  the incomparable Buddy Guy.  I can’t believe that I didn’t know this until today (because I AM one of those dorks who knows which celebs I share a birthday with – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Delta Burke, Hilary Swank, Jaime Pressly). 

Ladies & gentlemen….

Buddy Guy is 73 years old today and he can kick your ass.

By the way, I was at this show in June (although it’s not my video).  If you ever have the chance to go to the Wanee Music Festival….GO!!!

Music Makes Me Happy

The other day I was feeling really, really down.  It doesn’t matter why, I was just feeling upset and pissed off and angry at the world.  By the time I had to leave for work, I was feeling like the day had no hope.  I’d dropped Z off with the babysitter crying and screaming because he has molars erupting through his gums, I couldn’t find my phone which I had JUST used & my keys were nowhere to be found.  I was running around my house, slamming doors and screaming profanity and acting like a crazy person.  When I found my keys, on the floor of my unlocked car, I was running 30 minutes late.  If it wasn’t a huge news week (or couple weeks) because the King of Pop had died, I probably would have just called in sick….or mental.

So, I drove to work, feeling a little bit crazy, listening to XM Radio.  I’d left it on The Coffee House, which is strange because I usually stick to more up-tempo music when I’m driving home from work in the middle of the night, and I was about the change the station to something a little angrier when a new song started and it was called “The Cape”.  I’d never heard the song before, probably because it was originally written and performed by Guy Clark, who I get the impression is more old-school country and I know little about old-school country.  If he’s not old-school country, or my classification offends you, I apologize.  I just keep finding articles about him on 

You know when a song just grabs you?  Yeah, that’s what happened.  It was simple and brilliant and it made me want to jump off the roof of my garage and fight crime.

The Cape
(Guy Clark/Susanna Clark/Jim Janosky)
Eight years old with a floursack cape
Tied all around his neck
He climbed up on the garage
He’s figurin’ what the heck
Well, he screwed up his courage up so tight
That the whole thing come unwound
He got a runnin’ start and bless his heart
He’s headed for the ground

Well (yes) he’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold your breath
And always trust your cape

Now he’s all grown up with a floursack cape
Tied all around his dreams
And he’s full of spit and vinegar
And he’s bustin’ at the seams
Well, he licked his finger and he checked the wind
It’s gonna be do or die
He wasn’t scared of nothin’ boys
He was pretty sure he could fly

Well (yes) he’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold your breath
And always trust your cape

Now he’s old and gray with a floursack cape
Tied all around his head
He’s still jumpin’ off the garage
And will be till he’s dead
All these years the people said
He was actin’ like a kid
He did not know he could not fly
So he did

Well (yes) he’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold your breath
And always trust your cape
Well (yes) he’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold your breath
And always trust your cape

 If, for some bizarre reason, reading the lyrics didn’t make you giddy, this video surely will…

The version that I heard on XM actually wasn’t Guy Clark, although his version is very good and reminds me of visiting with someone’s grandpa, it was Eric Bibb.   If you haven’t heard Eric Bibb before, go check him out…he’s a great bluesman with some cool European influences.  I got to work and looked him up, wondering why I hadn’t known about him before.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that this mystery musician is actually the guy who sings one of my favorite songs on one of Amelia’s favorite CDs.  

I bought Putumayo’s World Playground when Amelia was 1 and in the last three years it has had a 99% success rate in getting her to stop crying.  It also has the benefit of not being full of freakishly annoying “Kids Music”.  The album features traditional and contemporary songs from around the world…various genres, various languages.  I originally bought it because I noticed that it had a version of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds” performed by Cedella Marley (Bob’s daughter).  It’s a great album.  The kids love it.  Eric Bibb’s ‘Just Keep Going On’ is the “United States” song.   It’s funny, I always pictured a weathered old man singing.  Not so much.

(I couldn’t find video of ‘Just Keep Going On’, but this seemed pretty similar)


I wonder what I’ll find tomorrow……




Summer Vacation

I figure that since I’ve been posting about my Best 100 Novels audiobook journey here, I should explain why I haven’t updated lately. 

I was on a roll.  I got through some Hemingway.  I finally educated myself on ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’….and, yes, I see why people are so obsessed.  I had gotten through a chunk of ‘Moby Dick’ and was really enjoying it.

And then we went on vacation.

I was so naive.  I was thinking that, with at least 14 hours of driving (Atl>Charleston>Asheville>Atl), I’d get through the rest of ‘Moby Dick’ and perhaps move on to ‘The Kite Runner’.  I even got the audio version of ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ out of the library just in case Jason wasn’t in the mood to listen to a Classic. 

It actually turns out that Jason wasn’t in the mood to listen to ANY book.  And, once I really thought about it, neither was I.  I’ve given months to my quest to get through the 100 Best Novels in audio form.  It’s been fun and interesting and educational, but I needed a break.  Once I got in the car and headed for the coast, all I wanted to do was listen to music.  It had been months since I’d listened to music in the car….and I LOVE listening to music in the car.  I felt like I was rediscovering the music that had been absent for so long.  It was fun.

I thought that I’d pick up with the audiobooks when I got back home.  But somehow my fingers just never make it to hit the ‘CD Changer’ button on my stereo.  It’s summer.  It’s bright and sunny and hot….and all I really want to listen to in the car is dancehall reggae or jam bands or cheesy pop. 

So, I’m declaring it summer vacation.  At some point, the weather cools or maybe on a rainy day, I’ll get back to the books.  I’ll eventually finish my list. 

But right now I’m blasting tunes with the windows down.


This past weekend I went down to Florida, dropped the kids with Jason’s family & headed over to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park for the Wanee Music Festival.   It’s funny, we pass the park every time we drive to Jason’s parents’ house, but we’d just never stopped.  I had NO IDEA how amazing the park was and how incredible it was to see live music there.  If you’re ever in the area, I insist that you stop in and look around.

I heard about the music festival when I was checking out the tour dates for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (awesome band….check them out).  I was skimming the dates, looking for something near Atlanta when I saw “Live Oak, FL”.  I recognized the name from our trips to visit in-laws and I couldn’t figure out WHY Grace would ever play there.  I clicked the link and saw the most insane lineup….Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks, Little Feat, etc….are you kidding me???  I thought about going for a while, but couldn’t think of anyone that I thought would be able to go (I knew Jason wouldn’t be able to go).  For a minute I gave up and thought “oh well…it was a nice thought”.  Then I started thinking about how doing something alone has never stopped me before and should never stop me in the future.  I’m young and strong and smart and I can’t let a little loneliness stop me from finding joy.  Then I thought about how my younger sister regularly makes cross-country trips alone.  What did I have to worry about???

So, I bought my ticket.

I still held out hope that I’d be able to find someone to go, but as the date got closer all of my potential festival buddies had other things come up.  I didn’t care, I was still going to go.  Occasionally I’d tell people about my plans and they’d look at me with concern and ask “do you think that’s safe?”  One friend literally told me “I don’t think it’s safe.  Please don’t go.”  I smiled and nodded and told them I’d be fine.

By this time I’d found an online forum for people going to the festival.  I figured that if I couldn’t find somebody I knew who was going, I’d find someone who was going and get to know them.  Over the next couple months I got to virtually know many people on the board and found that, although we were all from very different backgrounds, we all had the love of great music in common.  Leading up to the festival, I emailed a couple of the women on the board and asked if any of them minded me tagging along and camping with them.  This was at the urging of another (awesome awesome awesome) member of the board, although it had crossed my mind already.  It was funny, when Jason first heard that a “random guy” had private messaged me through the board, he was uncomfortable with it.  He hadn’t been on the board and knew nothing about these people, even though I was starting to think of them as friends.  Once I explained the intention of the message and read the exact wording, all he could say was “Wow, that’s really cool of him.”  Yeah, it really was. 

So, in the early morning hours of June 5, I packed up the kids and my camping equipment and headed to Florida.  I met my mother-in-law at the gate and handed over my kids and my dog and headed into my adventure. 

Although I’d seen a map, studied the map, memorized the map, once I got into the park I had no idea where I was or which way to go.  There were people EVERYWHERE, most had been there since the day before.  I drove around aimlessly for a while until I saw the SOS/BOS Banner that marked the unofficial meeting place for board members.  IMG_0814

There was a group standing near-by, so I pulled over, jumped out and brightly said “Hey!  Is this you guys????”.  They all looked at me, looked at the banner & said “Oh, no, they just left”.  My group wasn’t there and I had no idea where to go.  It was so packed that I worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere to even park my car, let alone set up a tent.  By some amazing stroke of luck, I was able to get my friend Ashley (my camping buddy) on the phone, my cell signal was lousy all weekend, and she gave my directions to her site.

For all the activity planning & brainstorming we’d done of the board, once the initial meet & greet was done (the day before, I couldn’t make it), everyone had sort of scattered and done their own thing.  When I got to the site, it was Ashley and her friend Allen.  I worried for a second because the smaller the group the more conspicuous the “extra wheel”, but that passed quickly because they were pretty awesome.  Ashley & Allen met in college and have spent the last 20 years going to concerts and festivals together.  They were the perfect camping buddies- happy, laid-back & incredibly welcoming.  By the end of the weekend, I couldn’t believe that I had JUST met them.


I don’t want to just skip over the good stuff and leave it at “everything was awesome”, but…well….everything was awesome and as much as I write, I’ll never be able to quite capture the essence of being there.  Everything was calm and happy.  Everybody was existing together.  Music fans, frat boys, hippies & off-duty carnies (maybe?) were all hanging out enjoying the same things.  It was just a really happy place.  Wanee is not Bonnaroo or Rothbury.  It’s smaller, more intimate & geared more toward people who just love the music.  It was cool.

There are two stages at the park.   The Peach stage is your typical “main stage” with a field in front.  The other smaller stage, the Mushroom Stage, is more intimate with trees surrounding and dabbled among the audience.  People hang hammocks between the trees and it’s understood that they’re free for the taking until the owner comes back.  There are lights strung between the trees and huge ribbon mobiles hung on either side of the stage.  It’s truly magical. 


One bad thing happened during the weekend….and I’m afraid I have nobody to blame but myself.  After driving to FL on very little sleep and hitting the ground running, during the Gov’t Mule show my body completely revolted.  I realized later that I hadn’t consumed nearly enough water.  That added to my lack of sleep just made me feel like hell.  I lounged on a hill through Mule and then trudged over to the other stage to see Grace Potter (you know, the entire reason I went).  After two songs I realized that I just wasn’t enjoying it and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything else until I went back to my site and slept.  It killed me.  I’m surprised I didn’t cry.  I walked back and collapsed in the back of my SUV.  I’d sacrificed Grace and I decided to sacrifice the Allman Bros (because they were playing both nights) in order to get some sleep and be able to see Derek Trucks Band at midnight.  After a couple hours sleeps with one bout of dehydration-induced vomiting in the middle, I woke up feeling fine just in time to walk over to the stage and see Derek.  I went over, drank some water and enjoyed an amazing show (with Susan AND Warren sitting in!).

Saturday morning was a little more laid back for everyone (there were some nasty hangovers going on).  I woke feeling a little more relaxed and feeling like I wanted to be able to really enjoy the music with out rushing from place to place.  Allen, Ashley & I got up and ate breakfast and napped a little in lawn chairs until around noon (when the music started).  At 12:30, Allen had gone to take a shower and I figured that I’d head over to the stages. 

On my way, I passed the SOS/BOS gathering site and there were several people hanging out.  Until then, I’d only met a few people from the Wanee forum.  It was great to meet so many more and actually be able to talk instead of shouting over music.  I can’t stress enough how cool these people are.  It’s rare that you’ll have such a diverse group of people who meet on the internet and ALL of them will be kind and friendly and caring.  It’s like we were old friends who had been waiting up until that point to come into each other’s lives.  When I met the group at the site, I felt like I was finally THERE….my Wanee experience was whole.

The rest of the after noon was a lot of fun.  Some concerts I took in alone (Drive-by Truckers), others I took in with Ashley & Allen (Ivan Neville & Dumpstaphunk).  It poured until I was numb and didn’t even realize it was raining (and didn’t realize when it had stopped).  The sun came out.  I visited the vendors and bought a necklace & a scarf.

Saturday evening I was standing alone watching the Doobie Brothers waiting to see if Ashley & Allen would walk out of the VIP tent.  They had VIP tickets which entitled them to free food and $1 beer in the VIP tent, so when I lost track of them I could usual bet on finding them back there at some point.  I was getting mildly irritated because a group of guys wearing denim shorts, tank tops & high top sneakers were standing right next to me talking constantly.  As I was wondering where I could move to, I saw my new Waneeboard friend Doug (who was the one who had originally emailed me urging me to find a woman on the board to camp with) and his wife Christine walk by heading toward the stage.  I hate feeling like I’m just tagging along with people, but I figured that I’d go stand with them for the rest of the concert anyway.  I’d already seen how friendly and kind they were, so I wasn’t surprised when they welcomed me with open arms.  I hung out with Doug & Christine for the rest of the night, through the rest of the Doobie Brothers, the Allman Brothers (yes, I made it that time) & the Wailers.  It was a great time full of laughs, dancing & vodka-spiked lemonade.  They’re just good, solid, caring people and I can’t help but feel like I was meant to meet them.

As we were leaving the last show of the night, we happened to see Ashley & Allen and I walked back to camp with them.  By the time we got back to our site, we were all so exhausted that we barely had energy to eat one hot dog each and crawl into our tents.  I slept so well that night.  I only had one thin blanket as padding and the 20 year olds at the site next to us were laughing & yelling, but I was dead to the world within 5 minutes.

When I woke up Sunday morning, the sun was shining and the mood was blissfully subdued.  By the time I crawled out of my tent, the site next to us was broken down and packed up.  I didn’t have that much to disassemble, so I was packed up and in my car by 10:30a.  It took me another 30 minutes to get out of the park (traffic was backed up).  As I was sitting in my car I soaked up the last bit of Wanee love.  I watched people helping each other pack up their supplies, one woman was offering her left over food to the people in the next site.  Music was playing and people were all around. 


When I hit the park’s front gate I took a breath, looked in the rear-view mirror and smiled.  I thought about how much Jason will love it when he comes with me next year.  Then I made a right turn and headed toward my in-laws to pick up the kids.

“It’s impossible to maintain, impossible to sustain. You can’t stay like this forever. Blissed out. Bugged out. High, but not stoned. I’m in this moment. This second. Nowhere else. The work is done.” -Anderson Cooper