Saturday, October 28, 2006


I love Daylight Savings Time. I wish it was the default time of the world. Tonight, changing the clock to "fall behind," I am a little bit sad. Despite the knowlege that we'll return to DST in a few short months, I always resist the hour-earlier darkness that this time of year signifies. Tomorrow, when the sun blares in my window even earlier, I will feel so alive! Alas, the feeling will fade at 6pm, when darkness descends and kills the buzz of early daylight. Granted, the end of DST is never as bad in Cali as it was in Virginia. I'm not sure if it was the increasing cold of this time of year, or the bleakness that generally is my hometown in winter, but November always heralded in several months of depression in my childhood. As much as I love (LOVE!) the snow, several months of oppressingly cold temperatures, of ice on sidewalks, of 5:00 darkness always took their toll on my psyche. In San Fran, winter means months of damp, tons of rain, and occasional weeks of sudden, shocking summertime. I love living in California. While I miss the change of seasons, and the feeling of anticipation that they bring with them, I love the surprising bursts of summer-like weather that occur at random.

Goodbye, summer! We'll see you in a few months, and we welcome you back for your short visits through the November-March season of rain. My white white white skin and I will be awaiting your return in April. Until then, have fun in the Southern hemisphere. Drink a few umbrella drinks for me!

Friday, October 27, 2006

A sign of the times

I must be growing up. I just willingly submitted to a shot. I feel an embarrassing amount of pride in myself at this moment!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The long haul

Tomorrow night is the Chairman's Council Dinner for SFB. I've been working late every night in preparation. There's really not much else to do, just remember everything I need for the event. As Jill said tonight, the past three days I've truly felt as though I'm "working for the man." Granted, in my case "the man" happens to be a non-profit arts organization, making my corporate slavery something of a noble cause. Despite the "good cause" part of all of this, my spirit today feels drained. I miss playing. I miss the feeling of sitting in an orchestra. I miss doing something at which I feel not only competent, but nearly-exceptional. I miss falling in love with my profession every day. Sitting in my office, I feel isolated from real life, from the heartbeats of real people. Although teaching elementary school last year felt a bit like my energy was being sucked out of me, I miss the interaction with my kids and their parents. I miss hugs every day from six-year-olds.

Realistically, I know this is the Existential Life Crisis talking. I know that no one is who they want to be in their mid-twenties. How can we be? We are torn by the sudden juxtaposition of who we dream of becoming and who we have to be to pay the rent. For the first times in our lives, we are forced to face the possibility that our identities are not tied to our jobs. For my entire life, if asked who I was, I would reply "I am a flutist." Today, I don't know the answer to that question. Who am I? I am a generally happy person. I am a loving person. I hope that when I die, people will say I was a good person. I hope that when I am old, I can look back and say I loved as fully as possible. I hope I can say I made someone's life better.

I'm not intending to be depressing today. I'm not sad, simply contemplative. Part of it is working late for the past three days. Part of it might possibly be the two glasses of wine I drank after I got home tonight. Most of it, I'm convinced, is the fact that I'm turning 26 in a few weeks, and I'm feeling farther from knowing who I am than ever. When does this end? When will I wake up and feel secure in my own skin? When will I believe that I'm enough as I am? And does this happen to everyone?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Things I love

I feel like I've been kind of a downer for the past few posts. Not that I've had a bad few days (they've been fantastic, truth be told), I just haven't said anything without the somewhat unfamiliar tinge of sarcasm. Chalk it up to tiredness and me feeling a little bit like "Billy Badass." In light of that, however, I am taking a moment to rhapsodize on the first 25 things that pop into my head that I absolutely, without question ADORE.

1. When I'm in good playing shape and in performance, when everything seems to work and I lose the world around me.
2. Perfect kisses.
3. The first burst of sunshine after days of gray.
4. Fires in the fireplace.
5. Laughing so hard that my stomach hurts for a solid hour afterwards.
6. The feeling of pride after baking a cake from scratch.
7. Waking up with the warmth of a cat on my feet.
8. Tangible people-smells. I'm not talking gross smells here, folks. I just mean distinct scents that people have, the kinds that will always remind me of someone particular.
9. The feeling I get when someone tells me I made their day be being nice to them.
10. Soft T-shirts. Sweet jebus, I can't get enough!
11. And cheese. Any kind of cheese, in any circumstance.
12. The dream of my own home.
13. Really, really cold chocolate ice cream. None of this halfway melting shit. I want to have to chew it!
14. Seeing my friends become parents. It's scary and astonishing and beautiful, all at the same time.
15. Feeling inspired by people I love. How is it that you are all doing such amazing things with your lives? I feel so far behind, but I'm so proud to know you!
16. Lavendar.
17. Mmmmm, backrubs. Sigh.
18. Mix CDs are definitely one of my favorite things in the whole world. Don't be fooled by the fact that they are number 18. I love love LOVE them.
19. Lying underneath the Christmas tree and staring up at the lights when the room is dark. I don't think I'll ever get tired of this.
20. Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, by Ralph Vaughn Williams.
21. Great big bear hugs, the kind that wrap you up and make you feel like you're protected from everything bad in the world.
22. Memories of my high school UU youth group. I don't think I've ever felt that safe.
23. Spaghetti. I swear, I've eaten spaghetti at least once a week for my entire life, and I NEVER get sick of it.
24. Fresh flowers in my apartment. I miss having a garden at home, and flowers make me feel like I'll have a garden again someday.
25. The message that my Grandmom and Granddad left on our answering machine this weekend. I will save it forever. It's just the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I feel like I could sleep for the rest of my life. My brain is like mashed potatoes in my head right now. Too much partying this weekend? Yeah, you could say that. I have started and deleted this post at least ten times, and I still have no idea what to write about. So, here's some stream-of-consciousness dribble that's been swirling around inside my gray matter.

I hope Barak Obama runs for President. Every time I hear him speak, I find myself nodding in agreement. I also like the idea of having a President who can express him/herself intelligently. Imagine the possibilities. By the same token, I hope to god that John Kerry does not run again.

Apparently John Cougar Mellencamp's Jack and Diane is following me around.

Why is it that certain days I can't seem to find enough to write about, and some days I want to post six or seven times? And why, on the days that yield several good ideas, do I never remember to write down the "extras?"

I can't get the image of Sely in Renaissance garb out of my head. I love it!

I wish it would snow. I miss the smell of the air before a snowstorm. The fog rolled in today, and somehow simulated the feeling of that anticipation before the sky opens and the snow falls. I am absolutely dreaming if I think I'll see snow any time soon.

This post is abysmal. I do not know if I'm going to be able to complete this. Maybe I should just hit the hay. This is ridiculous!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


This has to be the most disturbing thing I've ever seen.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A love letter to all y'all

Yesterday I made a new friend. The kind of new friend that I can just tell is going to be a friend for a long time. I'm not sure what it is that lets us know, without a doubt, that someone is supposed to be a part of our lives, but I love that feeling. Maybe I put too much stock in the instinct of friendship, but it has yet to lead me astray. It's almost instantaneous, this knowlege, and it always takes my breath away a little bit. Those of you reading my blog (the ones who know me, at any rate) might be interested in knowing that I've felt some degree of that for each of you. I have distinct memories of each time it happens, this stunning realization that I am seeing a piece of myself reflected back from your eyes. In my post from a few days ago, I made some self-righteous comment about not needing a "soul mate." The preposterous thing about this claim is that I feel so complete when I think of my friends. You are all companions for different bits of my soul. I feel like I can rely on you for advice, that I could call you at any crisis and trust your wisdom to pull me out. I don't reflect often enough upon how completely lucky I am to have so many of you who are precious to me. You may be spread all across the country (and around the world), but you are the kind of friends that I can see once in three years and pick up from where we left off. So, last night, meeting someone who may join your ranks, I could only feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you to each and every one of you for making my life better every single day.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Somebody's In-between Girl

First order of business for the day:

Congratulations to Will for the job offer! I am SO proud of you, and I am really excited to hear about your new pet insurance. Watch out, world!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The Existential Life Crisis has been roaring in full force for the past few days. I have never been an indecisive person. True, I don't trust my gut as much as I should, but I've generally run into my mistakes at full speed, realizing only months later the sheer stupidity of my actions. Recently, however, I feel paralyzed by the simplest of choices. Should I cancel my gym membership or keep it? Should I move into a cheaper apartment when my sister moves out? What do I want out of the wonderful world of dating? Am I doing the right thing by keeping a "day job," rather than playing full-time? Has the last year-plus of my life been one gigantic mistake? What color should I paint my toenails? Okay, so not so much on the last one, but the others are true. I feel like most of us are going through this right now. What is it about age 25 that seems to prompt this identity crisis? And why does it seem unique to our generation?

When my father turned 30, he had a major ELC. He quit his job as a high school band director, went home, and told my mom over plates of spaghetti that he was going to become an insurance salesman. He could work from home and make way more money in way less time. The only problem was this: My dad hates selling stuff. He'd sit in the basement for hours every day, staring at the phone. One day my mom got him to 'fess up that he hadn't made a single phone call. They moved to Blacksburg and entered graduate school a few months later. That decision led directly to my dad getting his current job (as, yes, a band director again), so I suppose the ELC had eventual positive ramifications. At least, I hope that's the lesson to be learned here.

The mid-twenties are, by their nature, an age of instability for most of us. Getting out of the fishbowl of school forces us out of every comfort zone we've ever known. We suddenly have to find ways of making friends without the convenience of sharing a major interest with everyone we see daily. Rather than being surrounded be people within a five-year age range, suddenly we're stuck with the label "adult." It's a word I tiptoe around like a colicky baby that's finally asleep; if I disturb it, I'll suddenly be forced to face reality and deal with my own discomfort. While the hurricane that has been plowing down my personal life for the past year seems to be subsiding (Please, not the eye of the storm. I've had enough.), I still feel my boat rocking, threatening to capsize at any minute.

I definitely used waaaaaay too many metaphors in that last paragraph, didn't I?

When I was a kid, I hated shopping. I still refuse to go clothing shopping with my mom. Why? Because, according to her, I am permanently "in between sizes." Clearly, we are all overly sensitive to our mothers' criticism of our bodies, but her analysis always makes me feel that there is something fundamentally wrong with me. And right now, I feel like my life is in between sizes. I'm not sure if this is just some kind of adolescent stage, where my life needs to grow into its feet (if that makes any sense), or if I just have to learn how to alter the world around me the way I alter my clothes.

I feel like this is my most convoluted post ever. I'm not really expecting any responses from the greater world, but does anyone else feel this way? Are there any good answers out there?

Monday, October 16, 2006

If I were in that place

I seem to be surrounded by people planning their lives with The One. I am thrilled for all of you in that position, and I offer you my most heartfelt congratulations. Recently, someone asked me what I was looking for in a relationship. My answer, that I merely want to enjoy being a girl again, surprised even myself. I am, admittedly, not in any kind of place right now where I'm looking to "fall in love." Not that I'd be opposed to being swept off my feet, but I don't currently feel that anxiety over whether or not I'll meet The One. It's odd to realize that about myself. I've been a hopeless romantic since I was a kid. I've read all the Jane Austen novels about 20 times apiece. But right now I am content to enjoy the company of a new friend, and to observe the world as a whole soul, rather than half of a unit. The notion of a soul mate appeals to me only in the way that trading lives with a celebrity appeals; Sure, there's a degree of novelty there, but nothing I'm pining after. Perhaps the nonstop drama of the past year-plus has gotten to me, but I'm suddenly feeling like there's a calm approaching, and I long for it. While many of my peers seem to be opening the chapter of creating a home and a family, I am content to cease the seemingly endless transition that hit me shortly after my 24th birthday.

That being said, have you heard Sting's new version of Fields of Gold? Because seriously, even in my less-than-romantic state of mind, that song could knock me back on my Jane Austen ass.

Yeah, that's all I have to say tonight. Deep thoughts.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Note to self

I should never


ever drink more than three alcoholic beverages in one evening.

Especially with people from work.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hmmm, sounds subversive

I love San Francisco. The city is beautiful and the weather is right up my alley. In fact, there are so many things I love about San Fran that I could spend three years just writing about that. But not today. Today I am going to describe why I love San Francisco despite some of the people here.

I know that sounds really harsh, and maybe I'm just being "uptight," as J has frequently accused me of being. But here's the thing: This is a city that prides itself on being openminded. Yet, the very people who tout themselves for being so accepting seem to live by the motto "I'm more openminded that you'll ever be. And my opinion is definitely more important than yours." It's a very high-school attitude, this idea that one is rebelling against the restraint of older generations, not to make the world better, but to prove a point.

When I moved to South Carolina from my ultra-liberal college town, I went into major culture shock. Even now, I'm not sure I could ever move back. I love so much about the South, but there are also many things about southern culture that make me feel like I'm losing my mind. Living in Columbia, SC for four years did, however, teach me several important lessons. The most critical, I think, being that "openmindedness swings both ways." To be truly openminded, we have to be tolerant not only of the things more "liberal" than we tend to be, but also of things more "conservative." I hate using those two words, because they tend to imply a political agenda, and that's not my point at all. What I'm saying is that I firmly feel that we should think about our own beliefs and lifestyles, not just blindly follow a trend or a stereotype. On the flip side of the coin, we should be able to accept that others are allowed to make these same choices. I think being judgemental of anyone else's beliefs, regardless of where they are on the spectrum of social convention, makes us judgemental people.

Granted, if I do something that hurts another person, that's an entirely different story. But we really don't need to go there right now. I'm already wildly off-topic, and way too serious for what I was intending to write about. Ahem. So, back to what I was talking about before:

A bumper sticker.

Walking down the street today to board my beloved MUNI, a bumper sticker on the back of a car caught my eye. The sticker was shiny and new, not scuffed or covered with dirt, meaning that it had been applied within a day or two. The sticker read, solely:

Hail to the Thief

Alrighty, folks, I hate W. It boils my blood that that moron is the leader of anything! But come on. The "Thief" of what? What did he steal? I don't get it. Here is a classic case of someone saying to him/herself "Hey, that sounds subersive! That'll prove to everyone exactly how liberal and badassed I am by putting it on my car!" I mean, really. Let's at least think about what we believe in, rather than just slapping up a sticker! A sticker that, frankly, doesn't even make sense!

The last thing I have to say on the topic is this:

Oh yeah, you're a badass for putting your anti-Bush sticker on your car in San Francisco, where everyone and their grandmother agrees with you. Let's see you do that in Columbia, SC. Then you'll be brave.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I think we should each come with a manual. I believe a booklet of helpful hints would seriously reduce awkward situations, embarrassment, and sometimes even major trauma. So, in an effort to encourage this habit, I am submitting phase one of the Abbersnail Model 2006 Manual:

1. I am nice. I am not thinking mean things about you and simply pretending to be nice. I am just nice. End of story.
2. Along those lines, I am having a good time. I really do enjoy casual conversation with strangers. My dad and my granddad passed that "gift" on to me.
3. I laugh a lot. Loudly. If you can't handle that, we might as well stop right now.
4. I am a relatively niave person. I frequently don't pick up on sexual jokes on the first try. Many of my friends find it endearing, but you may not. That's fine with me, because it annoys me that I miss them, too.
5. If you suggest an athletic activity for an early-on get-together, I will not be excited. I am a truly horrifying athlete, and I don't really want you to like me less just because I suck at sports. And games. All games and sports, really. After we've established that we really are friends, then you can ask me to mortify myself in the name of sports.
6. I'm a good friend. I'll make you soup when you're sick, I'll call you and tell you a funny story the moment it occurs. If you've had a terrible day, I'll do something completely ridiculous to attempt to brighten it.
7. I like to notice details about the world. I don't rush through things. I also don't rush into things.
8. Despite many, many years of dance training, I fall down a lot. Please see number five.
9. Whatever I say, please take it at face value. I don't play the game of hidden meanings.
10. I detest lying. I love good storytelling.
11. I am truly, seriously, genuinely low-maintenance. Unless there's a really good reason, I will not get upset if you don't call/email/show up in a timely fashion. I appreciate punctual people, but I don't demand them.
12. I almost NEVER get mad.
13. Gifts make me feel awkward. I'd have to be incredibly comfortable with you to feel okay about receiving a gift. Unless it is a mix CD, in which case I'd be completely gobsmacked. In a good way.
14. My main source of humor is me. Your main source of humor should not be me. I can deal with teasing, but...(See 15)
15. I am sensitive. Please be nice. Please reflect on numbers one, four, six, and nine.
16. If we are walking anywhere and there is a dog, I will have to "say hello." It's a compulsion, I can't control it. Sorry.
17. PLEASE do not make fun of my walk. It is the thing about which I am the most self-conscious. I know it's unique, I've tried to change it, and it makes me feel like I'm in high school when you make fun of it.
18. I will celebrate your birthday every year. I will bake you a cake from scratch and make your favorite dinner.
19. I will not continue as your friend (or otherwise) if you are mean to the waiter. A nice person is not mean to the waiter.
20. I love it when boys open the door for me. This does not make me anti-feminist, it makes me Southern.
21. Soft t-shirts are something of an obsession. Soft anything, to be perfectly honest. If ever we end up in a clothing store, I will touch everything. As such, I will do my utmost to never make you go shopping with me.
22. I know I'm short. Starting a conversation with, "Wow, you're short," is not a way to impress me with your powers of observation.
23. I feel out-of-place in trendy bars. I'm very happy to grab a beer, sit at a picnic table, and talk about whatever. Or, frankly, sit in silence and just enjoy the sun/stars/music/whatever.
24. I'm a big fan of privacy. Occasionally, I like to unplug from the world and go into hiding. Please don't take it personally. It's a major flaw of my character, and I'm working on it. Feel free to call me on it, but please, be kind.
25. I do not like horror movies. They scare the ever loving crap out of me. I will dream about them until the end of my life. Do yourself a favor and accept that RIGHT NOW.
26. I have a really crazy imagination. I'll frequently imagine a scenario that I wished had gone differently, and set about correcting it in my mind. Sometimes I start carrying on conversations out loud, when they should just be happening in my head. Whoops.
27. I love cooking for others. Everyone says that, but any of my college/grad school friends will tell you that it's really true.
28. I have a southern accent sometimes. It comes and goes, but if you think it makes me sound dumb, we should move on right now.
29. By the same token, I don't like being treated like I'm dumb. I do stupid crap sometimes. I'll be the first to laugh about it when I do stupid crap. But please don't treat me like I'm a moron.
30. Most of my friends are guys. I have been told frequently that I'm a "guy's girl." I really feel like many items on this list are a direct result of most of my friends being guys.
31. Once we're friends, I'll go to the end of the earth to make your life better.
32. I know this list makes me sound like I have an over-inflated sense of self-importance. But really, what's a blog for?
33. Um, hi. That was a joke.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

J'adore MUNI

Watch out, y'all, I'm defying my semi-longstanding tradition of posting once a week and writing twice in one day. Oooooh! And what, may you ask, is inspiring this bold move? Only my seemingly favorite topic: MUNI.

So tonight I boarded the N line, my train, at the end of the line, as far away from my apartment as possible. Did I read the sign on the train? Naturally, no. I'm a wild woman. I laugh in the face of signage. Or something. Ahem.


So, anyway. I boarded my train, selected a seat, and watched in shock and horror as my train pulled away from the station in the wrong direction. People, it's the end of the line! Where does the train go? My pulse was racing, my mind aflutter with the possibility of a hapless end on a runaway streetcar. Moments later, we pulled into the train yard. Surrounded by nothing but sleeping MUNI cars, I made an dash for the exit, only to discover that there was no platform. Five feet (the same size as yours truly) separated me from the ground. As I stood there staring helplessly at the scenario before me, a lone MUNI driver approached.

"Ma'am, didn't you read the sign on the train?"
"No," I meekly replied. "I just climbed aboard, assuming that we'd be going towards my home. I'm really sorry."

He eyed me suspiciously, which I completely understood, knowing the frequency with which small, blonde women hijack empty streetcars. Then, he began laughing.

"Lady, I'll tell you what, I'll drive you home."

He climbed into the streetcar, and invited me into the conductor's booth of the train. I spent the next 45 minutes handing out transfers, giving directions, and learning how to drive a streetcar. In the meantime, he told me stories of moving to San Francisco from Nicaragua in the 60s and driving the MUNI since the 70s. When we arrived at my stop, he sent me off with a smile, a wave, and a personalized honk of the train horn.

Sometimes, I love my life!

Page 153

The other night I received a phone call from my two best friends of all time, Nick and Matt. We grew up a few blocks away from each other, and have been friends for over a decade. Until recently, both of them still lived in our hometown, so I see them pretty frequently. A few months ago, however, Matt accepted a job working in D.C. This has obviously prompted months of moving, sorting through boxes, and finding all kinds of shit that probably never needed to see the light of day.

Case in point: Our high school freshman yearbook.

The phone rings, the caller ID says "Matt," and I pick it up by saying something witty, like "Hey asshole." They don't call me eloquent for nothing! Surprisingly, Nick's voice comes booming over the phone with "You are such a NERD," followed by hysterical laughter. Matt follows with, "We're looking at yearbooks." I immediately quip, "Hey, I remember two guys who had bowl haircuts with center parts!" Well, now I've done it. They bring up my high school boyfriend (shudder), I bring up the girl they both made out with junior year on separate band trips. Finally, all possible insults exhausted (and all of us laughing harder than I've laughed in a loooong time), Nick says, "So, would you like to know why you're a nerd?"

Now, dear reader, I have never denied being a nerd. But here's the thing: these two have seen almost every embarrassing moment in my life, including the most humiliating thing I've ever done. More on that another day. These two also profess to be nerds. So clearly this is something beyond normal nerdiness, and I am, frankly, a little nervous. But hey, you only live once, right?

"Sure," I say, "Tell me why I'm a nerd."
"So we're looking at the comments in Matt's yearbook, and we found you. And you wrote, 'Matt, have a great summer, something about band camp, blah blah blah, love, abbersnail's full name with middle initial, page 153.'"
Matt chimes, "Abs, what do you think is on page 153?"
I am already laughing. "I don't know. Hopefully not something like me in my marching band uniform?"
Nick is beside himself. He can barely form words, but he manages to say, "Your CLASS PICTURE."

Okay, so now I'm laughing my ass off. And, might I add, I'm driving home from San Carlos in the dark. My car is swerving all over traffic. I'm usually a pretty good driver/talker, but all bets are off when Matt and Nick are involved. (Actually, there are about fifteen great stories about that, too. I really could just write this blog about my childhood and take up years of your lives.)

Even now, days later, I still laugh when I think of the two of them reading that note. The thing is, I remember myself at that age, and I'm sure my thought process was this: Just in case you forget who I am, just in case I think we're better friends than you think we are, now you have to remember. It's a little sad, and so typical of girls that age. It also reminds me how lucky I really am, to have these two people in my life to this day. Really, how many of us stay so close with people who knew us before puberty? (Maybe this is fortunate? Remembering some of the stories I'd like to share, I realize that perhaps it would be better if no one else remembered them, too!)

Regardless of all of that, I think back to page 153, and my response to the "class picture" comment:

"Yeah, well, in that class picture I seem to remember wearing a plaid vest and Lion King earrings."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Home away from home

I spent all day yesterday at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park. San Francisco seems to be the capital of free concerts, and this one takes the cake, in my book. Three days of the biggest names in bluegrass, five concert stages, all free. Sadly, I managed to miss Elvis Costello, Gillian Welsh, and Steve Earle. Yesterday, however, was basically the most perfect day in San Francisco history. We're talking a cloudless sky, folks. This does not happen often! So the sis and I packed up a blanket, copious amounts of sunscreen (SPF 8 million), and a few bottles of water, and walked the five blocks to the Park.

There were thousands of people on the lawn in front of each stage. San Franciscans are not accustomed to sunshine, and immediately don their skimpiest attire for any outdoor event that involves sun. This is a city in which public nudity is legal, folks. Be forewarned. There were rows and rows of shacks selling fair food. Sis and I immediately acquired a corn dog apiece. (Ready to be floored? It was the first corn dog EVER for both of us. Um, yeah.) Then we scoped out a spot on the ground, between a big group of very drunk 40-somethings and a dad and two tiny kids. The kids spent the better part of the day "wrestling" with the dad, which seemed to involve a lot of jumping on his back and kicking him. And people wonder why I don't think I want children of my own. They seem to be such a joy!

Bluegrass is the music I grew up with. An Appalachian girl from a very young age, I had the added advantage of two parents who really found folk music fascinating. I remember all of us piling into the van and driving an hour or so to Cochran's General Store. Honestly, I couldn't tell you in what township this was located, but Cochran's was an institution. You could buy anything there, from five kinds of honey on the comb to overalls and boots to burlap sacks of flour to the reddest, most disgusting hot dogs I've ever seen or hope to see. Cochran's was also the home of a nightly bluegrass jam. Local musicians would show up, and the store employees would push all the shelving units out of the way. We'd sit on top of barrels and watch people flat-footing as the musicians played. It sounds like Andy Griffith, I know, but things move slower in the mountains.

As we sat in the sun yesterday, listening to the accents of home and the sounds of my childhood, I completely forgot that I was in San Francisco. (Okay, with the notable exception of when the fighter planes flew over from the Fleet Week expo by the Bay.) Despite my inch-thick layer of sunscreen, I still have a wide swath of red blooming on my back. Most notably, I can't seem to shake my own accent. My vowels are longer than they've been in months, and the cadence of my speech has slowed to the approximate speed of "molasses in January." Oh yeah, I went there. For at least one day, the dull homesickness I've been feeling evaporated. It was a good day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Top Ten

For some unknown reason, I have recently been contemplating what I would do if I could only own ten albums. (Apparently all my real problems have ceased to exist.) I can only assume that this is on my mind because approximately one year ago I was driving alone across the country on my way to San Francisco. So, as far as today is concerned, here is the definitive October 2006 edition of "Ten Albums I Can't Live Without."

1. El Corazon, Steve Earle - I don't know why I love this CD so much. I just do.
2. OK Computer, Radiohead - The first CD I bought in college.
3. Afterglow, Sarah McLachlan - Shoot me, I'm a girl. I've been to Lilith Fair, and I love this woman's voice.
4. The complete Bach Flute Sonatas, Michala Petri and Keith Jarrett - I'm a music nerd, and this is the absolute best Bach out there.
5. Jagged Little Pill, Acoustic, Alanis Morrisette - This still makes me feel like I'm sixteen years old. I don't know why that's a good thing, because I hated being sixteen. I guess I just mean it reminds me what it was like to be full of possibility.
6. Hush, Bobby McFerrin and Yo Yo Ma. If you have not heard this, get thee to the library... or
7. World Without Tears, Lucinda Williams. So raw and wonderful.
8. Grace, Jeff Buckley. Dude, how can this not be on your list???
9. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Neko Case. When did I realize that I really do like "country" music? When I met Neko Case.
10. My box-set of Beethoven symphonies, the Berlin Philharmonic and Claudio Abbado. You aren't required to agree with me, but if you happen to be looking for an amazing recording of these, try these. And I know, technically it's a five-disc set, but whatever...

So I'll probably realize tomorrow that there's something major I left off the list. And I'm sure I'll be embarrassed in one week that at least one of these was included. If you have a moment, I'd love to hear your lists. Imagine yourself in the car for six days and you only have ten albums. What would you choose?