Where Everybody Knows Your Name…and They’re Always Glad You Came

There is a couple in our friend circle that everyone wants to be like: Sean and Kalli. They live in a communal house with a few other roommates. Kalli is an artist, and Sean is in a band. When you arrive, everyone hugs you. When you leave, everyone tells you they love you, just in case you A) didn’t know or B) die on the way home. There are big dogs to jump and kiss you when you walk in the back door, which is always unlocked in case anyone they know needs anything. Kalli’s artwork hangs in the hallway, and Sean has a music room with concert posters and carpet tiles arranged creatively on the walls.

They have turned a potentially awful back yard right beside the interstate into a weekend oasis for friends, drinks, and grilling, complete with twinkle lights, hammocks, and a water feature they made from an old trombone. Sean’s special secret recipe mojitos line the fridge in Sprite bottles, and you are to help yourself to that, as well as the honey mustard chicken he’s been grilling for two hours with his brother-in-law. Kalli will be wearing a piece of jewelry she has made, probably involving an owl and feathers, and telling an incredible story about ghosts in one of their childhood homes, or about Sean’s mom yelling at them through the door about condoms while they had sex in his room in high school.

There is much drinking and smoking, eating and talking, and laughing. Sean’s mom or brother-in-law or sister or some of Kalli’s brothers may be present. There is an iPod on the table playing the product of Sean’s band’s latest recording session of reggae. Someone with a generic name shows up, and you realize you know them, but you didn’t know Sean and Kalli knew them. Then you remember that Sean and Kalli know everyone. And maybe you keep randomly meeting people they know because it’s a sign that you both know good people.You may meet their friends from high school, because the group never really split up, even though they live in various places. Or you may meet someone who can eat a corn cob in 22 seconds, or someone who owns the local independent bookstore slash coffee shop. You will “know” them all, already.

I always say, “They’re good people” about those I really respect, admire, or connect with. But I think it’s just as much about being “real” as it is being “good.” So maybe I should say “They’re real good people.” Sean and Kalli are good people. They would be reliable emergency contacts in the event of a dead battery or your one phone call for bail. But they’re also real people. What you see is what you get. Take it or leave it. (But they love you anyway.)

We all talk about how we would someday like to have the Sean and Kalli house, where there is always something going on, everyone is always welcome, food and drink abound, love and kindness permeate, there is always music and laughter, and you are accepted — no, welcomed —  just as you are. We know they won’t be around forever — once Kalli finishes her program this fall, they may move away. And we want to continue their tradition of real hospitality on our own. I feel so fortunate to know people like this, who make you feel like you do when you listen to your favorite song.

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Phish 2010!

Just got back from two amazing nights of Phish in Raleigh and Charlotte with Swampman. Our summer tradition continues! I have to say I think set list-wise these shows were way better than the ones we saw last summer. The weather was awesome — lately it’s been in the 90s here, but we ended up with breezy high 70s both nights, which was so pleasant and made my happy place that much happier. And the crowds both nights were wonderful — a great representation of the Phamily. Smiles everywhere, kindness everywhere. I love being surrounded by good people who think like me, live like me, dress like me, dance like me, and are made happy by what makes me happy!

This tour made me really appreciate living in Winston, because it really is a good central location. Two hours to Raleigh, and an hour-and-a-half to Charlotte. Actually, it took us longer to get to Charlotte than Raleigh because of Fourth of July beach traffic, which sucked. But Swamp let me sleep in the car a lot instead of doing my normal stereo duty, and he even bought some new CDs for the drive that he knew I would like so I didn’t have to focus on changing them out after my recent weeks of working overtime. Very considerate. We listened to a lot of the new Robert Randolph album, some Sound Tribe Sector 9, and of course, Phish.

The lot scene in Raleigh was cooler than Charlotte in some ways. We got there early enough to cruise Shakedown before heading in and check out all the cool glass work and jewelry. These days it’s all about feather earrings and druzy crystal pendants made from the inside of geodes (awesome), in addition to the standard blown glass. I could have spent a lot of money there if I had had it. Got complimented on my necklace by someone from Asheville — she thought is was amber but I corrected her. Actually carnelian. And got to tell my story about the history of carnelian from ancient Roman times. Tons and tons of good kind veggie vendors that made me SO HUNGRY and good beers for cheap. Got a couple of dollar waters on the way in and breezed through the bag check thanks to my skirt’s secret pocket, which has a broken zipper, but that was fixed easily by Swamp’s random safety pin on the tag of his shirt. Eagle Scouts rule!

The lawn at Walnut Creek is Raleigh is very steep, and I could actually see well, which is abnormal because I’m short and usually have a view of the backs of tall guys’ heads. We had a perfect spot right in the middle.

Raleigh Set List:

Set 1: Llama, Roses Are Free, Kill Devil Falls, Time Loves a Hero, Alaska, Water in the Sky, Runaway Jim > The Moma Dance > The Divided Sky, Cavern

Set 2: Backwards Down the Number Line > Halley’s Comet -> Light > Fluffhead > Have Mercy, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone -> Free > Wading in the Velvet Sea, The Squirming Coil > Suzy Greenberg

Encore: Boogie On Reggae Woman

I thought that was pretty much the best show I’ve ever seen. Already have it downloaded if you want a copy. (Just leave me a comment.)  I think (although y’all know my memory is not the best) it was my first live Roses Are Free. Runaway Jim is my second to least favorite Phish song (besides Maze…I just can’t get into the coked out songs because I am a mellow person, yo), so I took that opportunity to go get a beer, which Swamp anticipated on the first chord, naturally, and was already fishing out my money that he was holding by the time I said, “I think I’m gonna go….” LOVED getting to hear all my favorites from the newest album — Alaska, Kill Devil Falls, and Backwards Down the Number Line. Backwards is a me-and-Swamp song because of the whole calling your best friend on their birthday thing. I think the only times I stopped dancing were Runaway Jim and Velvet Sea, which is also not one of my favorites to see live, although it is a great song for chilling at home. I just prefer dancing music live. Upon hearing this statement, one of my friends said, “I thought you didn’t dance!” Because the last time we went to a club together I said that. But I am a hippie dancer, not a dance club dancer. Unless I’m really drunk, which doesn’t happen that often.

Halley’s Comet was the best I’ve ever heard with great sing-along power. Also, Fluffhead. WOW! And then Free! YES! The Have Mercy cover was better than the original Mighty Diamonds version…I love it when they reggae it out, man. Swamp was really proud to have called Squirming Coil, and I actually was really happy to hear Suzy Greenberg, which is not usually my favorite. And the Boogie On encore ROCKED MY FACE!

Lot scene in Charlotte was a bit more mellow, which is not a bad thing necessarily. Had to bum some cups off some neighbors. Met a guy from Maine who had been to all the festivals up there, so we shared IT stories, and I talked jewelry with one of the girls they were with who was wearing an awesome handmade silver pendant with inset stones made by one of her friends.

One of my personal highlights was seeing a family pass by the car — two parents with a middle-school aged daughter. The daughter was walking with her head down and arms crossed, and the mom was saying to her, “Honey, this is so exciting! Your first Phish show!” I felt really old in that moment. That could so be me. Would be me if I had a kid that age. Awesome that they are introducing her to coolness. Reminded me of my first concert experience that my parents took me to in Charlotte to see U2 and Pixies. Hell yeah! Looking back I guess that was not the coolest I’ve ever felt, but I sure do appreciate that now. I hope that girl had a good time and that she’ll be blogging about that experience (or telling her college friends or something) in the future so people know how cool her parents are. Some of Swamp’s students have started getting into Phish because he plays it for them during homeroom, and we were paranoid we might see some of them there. But I guess their parents don’t condone it because it’s evil hippie drug music. Much in the same way they don’t like the fact that their kids are all about their cool, young teacher.

Charlotte was way more packed, which made for excellent socializing and dancing on the lawn. You make a whole lot more new friends that way. 🙂 We also remembered the patchwork quilt that night, which is a huge conversation piece and friend-maker. Everyone wants a piece of that action at set break after grinding toes into grass and dirt.

Charlotte’s set list:

Set 1: Buried Alive > AC/DC Bag, Vultures, Wolfman’s Brother, Back on the Train, The Wedge, Mexican Cousin, Stash, Sparkle, Chalk Dust Torture

Set 2: Drowned, 46 Days, Twenty Years Later, The Lizards, Carini, Fuck Your Face, Also Sprach Zarathustra, You Enjoy Myself -> Proud Mary[1]

Encore: A Day in the Life

Wolfman’s Brother is Swamp’s all-time favorite, so it was cool to get that. For the first time ever, I called a song before he did (Wedge), and I was very disappointed Spar wasn’t there to high-five me and commemorate the 0ccasion. Since Swamp has been a fan for much longer than I have, it’s pretty much impossible to trump him, and I FINALLY DID IT! I was ecstatic. AC/DC Bag was a good sing-along. Mexican Cousin is one of mine and Swamp’s songs because of this lyric: “I’m awful sorry you got pissed! Just have to cross you off the list of my true friends. And tequila’s where it starts and where it ends!” Because we’re always getting in stupid fights and then making up and realizing our friendship is more important.

Highlights for me were Chalk Dust, YEM, and the a capella Proud Mary jam, which everyone was singing along to and jamming out and dancing hard. Made lots of friends on the lawn, from a cool kid with a YEM shirt I wanted and who gave lots of hugs and shared nugs (and stole my lighter, but that’s okay), to a guy behind us with a new Phish motif tattoo that honored his group of friends…a Penny Lane lookalike from Almost Famous and a  happy guy who COULD NOT STOP smiling. I felt the same way!

At one point, I went to get a beer, and there was all this cash on the ground in front of the beer stand. I picked it up and gave it to someone behind the counter, saying, “Can you hold this back here in case someone comes back for it?” Her response? “You guys are awesome. Out of all the concerts I’ve worked here, this is by far the coolest crowd. You’re just really good people!” I said, “I hope you’re also enjoying the music, because this is an awesome show so far!” And she said, “Yeah, I like this better than most of what I hear. Great night! Great crowd!”

And that pretty much sums up the Phish show experience for me. Random people being turned on by goodness and positivity and awesome music.

All I felt all night was love and happiness and joy and positivity and bliss. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that? I love my Phamily!

Good Lyrics: Here Comes the Sun

Possibly my all time favorite song.

Here Comes the Sun (click to listen)
by the Beatles

Here comes the sun
here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Little darling
it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling
it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right
It’s all right

Random Happiness

beatles1

We were lying on the floor of his basement apartment, snuggling under a wool blanket, watching snowflakes land through the half-buried window. His hand stroked the arm I had slung across his stomach. The ferrets were nipping my ankles. Candle wax dripped onto the carpet. Incense swirled around my head. We were listening to the White Album, and I was singing along softly with the music.

Who knows how long I’ve loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to, I will

He turned to look at my face. Suddenly self-conscious, I said, “What?”

“Nothing.” he said. “Just listening to you sing.”