I Saw Him Live

May 15, 2015 at 9:28 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , , )

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I got to see B.B. King live in concert once.  I realize that millions of people have, that he toured relentlessly until now when he will never tour again.  But, despite not being unique in this trait, I consider myself special for having experienced it.

It was 2004, and my friend (who had recently broken up with me) had already purchased tickets.  “It’s ok if you take Tim,” I told him.  His room mate at the time is just a big of a music geek as any of us, and quite a guitar player.  Tim would have loved it.  “No,” my ex said, a No I will forever appreciate, “No, I bought them for us to go, we’ll go together.  It’ll be fun.”

To be fair, we’re not the awkward exes of dramatic literature and over played movie cliches.  We’re friends, always were, and hopefully always will be.  I respect him as a human, he is part of what grew me into an adult.  Also, to be fair, even if he had been the ex from hell – I wasn’t going to argue too adamantly about whether or not I got to go to the Eric Clapton Crossroads Concert.  It was Eric Clapton.  It was B.B. King.  It was… everyone who made guitar history ever…

It was beautiful.

I drove up from Houston to Dallas to attend.  In June, in a car with no AC.  I stayed the weekend in dorm rooms that were closed for the summer.  It was worth it just to hear that man play.

It was a hot, sunny day – until the end when it wasn’t and ZZ Top got rained out – sweltering even, but it was good.  It was several generations of men in the most relaxing and amazing jam session on stage that I’d ever heard.  It was Texas in a stadium of fans born and bred in Texas – I’m not great with crowds, but good old country boys listening to the blues is a crowd I can manage.  I was laying in the grass while an old hippie with boobs down to her waistline swayed, clapped, and danced, depending on what was most appropriate for whatever song was playing.

I wish I could record my journal entry from that weekend here for you, but that journal is in storage, and I doubt I was very articulate anyway… I imagine it was a lot of: Oh My God, that was AMAZING.  I do know that I lamented the fact that my now husband hadn’t been able to get tickets and go himself.  It was something I knew he would have enjoyed.  My ex is my friend, but my husband has always been my very best friend – especially then.  Now, I lament that he missed it completely.  Seeing B.B. King together was something I thought we’d get around to eventually.  I should have known better, the man was old.  But he seemed so epically immortal.  Even though he sat through the whole concert, I didn’t see it then as a sign of an older man – I saw it as a sign of a King on his throne.

I remember John Mayer coming out.  I remember being so proud of how respectful he was to all the men who had come before him – especially B.B. King.  I didn’t like John Mayer until that moment, until I saw him bow with such grace to a man that I adored and would come to adore more and more as I aged, as I married, as I had a baby who would live the first year of her life listening to jazz and R&B in our living room while my husband smoked a cigar on the porch after work with the door open so the music and the smoke could play a wafting dance on the threshold.  B.B. King, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald… my child knows these voices well.

B.B. King, you have shaped so many lives with your talent, you beautiful, beautiful man.  Thank you for gracing the world with your presence.  Thank you for all the concerts, all the performances, and all the love for music that has always seemed to radiate from your entire being and existence.  Bless you.  Thank you, and bless you.

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Fall Festival Fun

September 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , )

Yesterday was the 2nd Annual Fall Festival at Good Books in the Woods.  A picture paints a thousand words, so here ye be:

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#DidntMakeItToTheFestival raffles happening today (and possibly later this week) on twitter.

If you’re interested in being a vendor next year, contact Good Books in the Woods on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GoodBooksintheWoods

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HPB Humble Turns 12

September 19, 2014 at 3:03 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

One of the coolest things I get to do as a part time Event Coordinator, is host parties! And not the sit in someone’s living room and sell products parties – but the kind that involve books, exciting authors, food, live music, and art.

As of September 2014, Half Price Books has had an Humble location for 12 years.  This is the third birthday/anniversary celebration I’ve organized for them.

P1000371Literary Agent Lorrie Patel and Author Edward Castro

P1000378Edward draws a crowd while reading his book Hanna’s Magic Light and passing out goodie bags and cookies.

P1000381Art by Shaka

P1000397Author Kaiya Walker and fan.

P1000423George Poe jammin’ on the piano with some curious kids.

We had a blast!

This next Saturday, I’ll be at the 2nd Annual Good Books in the Woods Fall Festival (September 20th), it should be equally awesome.  I love bookstore events, they are my favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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Saturday, September 13th 2014

September 4, 2014 at 8:01 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , )

September 13th 2014

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Music You Can Read To

June 9, 2012 at 4:25 am (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Best Gift Ever

When starting my day, I almost always flick on the switch to the radio and set my mood.  There’s cooking breakfast music, dancing music, workout music, sex music… there’s music you write to, music you relax to, music you mow the lawn or party to, there’s I’m working on the car music, there’s its raining outside music… and of course, every book lover has their favorite reading music.

Lately, my favorite reading music has been Andreas Vollenweider‘s Cosmopoly album.  As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I still listen to most my music on cassette and cd, and some all time favorites are still on vinyl.  So, even though I love making playlists on my computer, I’m a big fan of purchasing cd’s and have yet to invest in an ipod or whatever is the new greatest way to listen to stuff.  This particular purchase was a fabulous $3.00 item from a clearance sidewalk sale at my favorite Half Price Books store about a year ago.

While listening to the calm, but not sleepy, tunes of Vollenweider’s many instruments, his work suits both jazz and classical moods, and I’ve found it to be a perfect companion to Ayla’s school time.  School time is quite short, as she’s only a year and a half.  But while she masters holding a writing utensil and hanging out at the kitchen table while snacking on cheerios, I’ve been reading segments of Susan Wise Bauer‘s History of the Ancient World to her each morning.  I know, its silly, but I feel so much more cultured when listening to World Music while reading World History.  (We also throw in a story from the children’s bible if she’s being extra focused that day, its got more interesting pictures for a toddler.)  When she’s had enough of sitting still, we put her work away for later, I hang out on the couch and continue my reading and she has a dance marathon in the living room.  Its kind of our thing, and Vollenweider manages to be both soothing enough for me to read and peppy enough for Ayla to go all Flashdance and Footloose with the dogs.

from Eric Carle’s The Very Quiet Cricket, features great reading noise for baby at the end of the book

After Ayla goes to bed at night, I usually read while my husband watches TedTalks on Netflix.  After he falls asleep, though, the music I read to is a little bit different.  Its the music of a quiet house.  My tea pot steaming on the stove, my beagle jingling around the house as he nestles into a cozy place to sleep for the evening.  Through open windows comes the singing of crickets, frogs, and cicadas.  Sometimes I can hear Solovino, our stray cat, pad by the front patio windo.  You would think cats would be quiet and stealthy, he can be, but mostly he likes to taunt my dogs.  Solovino was born under our deck, the other kittens from the litter found homes via neighbor friends and moved away, but Solovino now stalks our street and kills our mice population.  There are about four houses that ‘share’ him.  My next door neighbor gave him his name, she says it means he is “an univited guest that doesn’t want to leave,” but if we were all true to ourselves we would admit that we would hate to see him go.  He is the loudest meower that has ever lived, you can hear that cat all the way across the neighborhood and some days I spend my reading time blocking out his competitive high pitched sing song MEOW while also intermittently egging him on with a cat call of my own.  Now, while I type, the gentle hum of a fan is buzzing and I can just barely hear the hubby breathing in his sleep.  As soon as this post is done, its back to the books, because the sound right now is in that happy soothing place (teetering on the virge of annoying, but too calming to quite get there).

Do you listen to music while you read? What is your favorite music to read to? If you don’t, what is your reading environment like… indoors, outdoors, do you start the kettle to hear the whistle blow, do you wait until night to hear the cicadas chirp?

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The House at Riverton – A Review

March 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

ImageTitle: The House at Riverton

Author: Kate Morton

Publisher: Washington Square Press

Genre: Fiction

Length: 468 pages

Buy The House at Riverton

I fell in love with Kate Morton’s writing when I first read The Forgotten Garden, Morton’s ode to her love for Frances Hodgson Burnett.  How appropriate then that I fall in love with her work all over again while reading The House at Riverton, Morton’s ode to all things F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ian McEwan’s Atonement – appropriate because I recently wept and swooned over Tanya Egan Gibson’s own ode to her love of The Great Gatsby (How To Buy a Love of Reading) and felt compelled to re-read the work myself.  Apparently it is to be a year of the jazz age.  I’m even on a mission to read the entire Agatha Christie Crime Collection.  In honor of it all, I may be a flapper again for Halloween this year, but what I really want is that green dress Keira Knightly wears in Atonement and for my husband to take me to a play while I wear it.  Of course, I no longer have the boyish figure of the jazz age, emaciated with Kate Hudson sized breasts, I haven’t had that since college.  Now I have the soft roundness of motherhood.

But of course, I’m not talking about me, I’m supposed to be writing a review.  That’s the thing about Kate Morton though, her work is beautiful and intricate and secretive and it feels so real.  Although I get completely engrossed in her story (because she is an amazing story teller), by the end all I can think about is my own story, my own secrets.  Obviously, nothing so dark and grand as love-babies out of wedlock and murder and suicide, but still she makes you think about all the things in your life left unsaid that will remain unsaid even after you die.

Morton wrote the elderly Grace beautifully.  I imagine that is exactly how it must feel to be old.  I loved her so much, and she reminded me so well of people I have met in nursing homes when I used to sing there.  She left so many little hints of other pieces of Grace’s life outside of Riverton, I was left longing for more of Grace even after Hannah and Emmeline’s story was over.  I wanted to dive into a spin off story of Grace on her archeological adventures and reconnection to Alfred.  I know it wouldn’t be a best seller, wouldn’t hold the same magic with Grace’s deep dark secret already revealed and the last thoughts at her death already documented, but I wanted to have a little more of Grace nonetheless.  That’s what makes Morton’s writing so great though, you don’t get tired of the story.  She wraps everything up so nicely for you, but still leaves an inkling of longing in your heart for what is now done.

One thing that I must say to the masses about this book… if you are one of those that reads the last page first – DON’T.  You will ruin the charm and the magic.  I can’t imagine reading the last page first without the whole book losing its adventure.

Check out this blog to read a more detailed and descriptive review: http://gigilovesparis.blogspot.com/2009/12/house-at-riverton-by-kate-morton-review.html

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