Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A NaBloPoMo Virgin No More

How was your holiday weekend? Full of patriotic pomp and flag waving, maybe a marching band and a firework or two? A quiet moment spent in appreciation, reflecting on our hard won freedom and those who gave up their lives for us to secure that freedom? Or maybe an onslaught of graduation parties, teenagers and potato salad? Mine was lacking in the pomp and marching bands, but full up with the last few.  And knitting and frozen yogurt and babies. But that's another blog post. Now we are home and ready for another busy week to begin before we head out for a little summer travel. In the meantime, I have another project I'm committing to for June because the timing just seemed perfect or completely nuts.  

I've thought about signing up for this project in the past, but this month I just felt compelled to sign up to participate in NaBloPoMo.  No, I'm not writing another novel in less than a month. (No, I still have to continue editing that beast, July will be editing month.) But NaBloPoMo, is National Blog Posting Month, where bloggers commit to writing one post a day for the entire month. It keeps our writing skills loose, it forces us to not over think and get trapped in our own over-editing perfectionism, and it hones that ability to sit down in front of the blank screen no matter how chaotic the day has been and write. While there are helpful prompts available, and a theme (It's Fan, this month) if you get stuck and need a topic, they are by no means required. Unlike the Reverb Project that I did in December, which while fun was also a bit too controlling and new-agey for my taste, NaBloPoMo is all about writing. Writing on any topic you want but doing it every day. I think I can handle that. Some posts will be short, particularly when I'm out of town, but some posts will just be my regular goofy blog posts, and maybe that will also help me jump start crossing some items off of my Bravely Obey in Action Life List too. That little list has been a bit ignored lately.

Daily blogging shall commence tomorrow. So stay tuned! Hope you feel like sticking around and reading a few. I promise to not default to what I ate for breakfast or what outfit I'm wearing today. I promise to mix it up and not be too heavy on the book reviews or cooking only. I promise to not creep into top ten lists too often. I promise to try and keep it quirky, because daily blogging could get a bit stale, and stale is just sad. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Girliest Most Delicate Post Ever Written


I have all these little posts that I wanted to pull together into something. None of them were strong enough to make up a full post, but when I sat down and thought about them together I realized they all fall into the stereotypically girly, feminine, lady type things category. Now if you've ever read anything else on this blog you know I don't buy into those gendered stereotypes. There are no limitations to what women can do, should be interested in, or follow as a career path. But I myself am often drawn to passions and activities that fall into the female centered category. I like make up. I enjoy a good twirl around in a full skirt. I love cooking. I've recently taken up knitting. I have a fairly traditional lady-like look about me. I like a novel with a strong female protagonist. I wear pink with frivolous abandon. I never leave the house without a bra or some lip gloss. But this is just me. I don't speak for all women. I speak for one. Though I never dotted my i's with hearts, I promise.

So in no particular order, here are the girly things I've been up to lately. Tonight I might mow the lawn and change the oil in my car and then watch Sports Center. But who knows?

I spent $45 on yarn last week. This will be priciest scarf I have ever owned. Who knew yarn, beautiful modern yarn, was so expensive? Also I learned something quite valuable after spending almost an hour untangling an enormous pile of yarn that had somehow turned into a pile of knots and loops bent on my destruction. 1. For the first 30 minutes, unraveling yarn tangles is very meditative and peaceful. 2. For the second 30 minutes, it is a right irritating pain in the ass. 3. And most valuable, when the friendly yarn store offers to do this yarn balling for you, always say yes, especially if it is free. That's right, I will say yes to balling. 4. Videos on YouTube of older knitting maestros doing their own yarn balling are hilarious and involve matronly ladies and their cats. Seriously.

I am about five inches in on a scarf. The yarn is lovely, the scarf will be too, I'm hoping, but goddamn am I slow. I think the scarf will be done by October, just in time for fall weather. But I'm plugging away. If I'm sitting down at home I'm either writing, knitting or reading lately. If the TV is on, then I'm knitting. I now am looking forward to three hour drives to Omaha just to have three straight hours to knit. I might get that scarf done by September at this rate.



Secondly: MAKEUP!!
Being a part of the Blogher network, see those pretty little ads on the side, has been a truly beneficial experience for me since I joined last year. I've gotten more readers based on links to my blog that run alongside or under their ads on other blogger's sites. I've become part of a group of like-minded writers interested in sharing their lives and opinions and insights in a very public way. I've gotten to review four books so far, the latest on A Discovery of Witches should be out soon, as a part of the Blogher Book Club and then just last week I received a mysterious box in the mail. Most of the packages that come to our house, I'd guess 85%, are for Joe, so this was a real treat. I came home, Joe had kindly already opened the box since us delicate ladies don't handle knives well and I might have broken a nail. I shoved aside the gallon of packing peanuts and tucked inside was a small, glossy pink gift bag filled with a shiny black compact and sparkly pots of color, a special delivery from Mary Kay Cosmetics. This is not a paid review or advertisement, let me clarify. Other than I received some free make up and if I wanted to write about it, Blogher said go for it.

The compact was very nice, with space for a blush and three small eyeshadows, it had a full mirror and room for tiny brushes underneath. I'll admit, I use the blush everyday now. Sadly though I have a debilitating complex about eyeshadow. I just don't apply it often or well. Other than a bright white dusting of eyeshadow under my eyebrow and in the corner of my eye, I tend to apply eyeliner, smudge it into a soft line, throw on some mascara and stop there. So the bright blue, and subtle shades of brown that came in my gift bag have only been used once. I need to experiment or have someone with actual eye makeup skill show me how to apply. I am eyeshadow deficient. But that blush. It lasts all day, it's light pink and has a hint of gold shimmer. I would buy it myself it's that good. See, I'm practically glowing. Or just happy it's Friday.

Third: COOKING!!
It's been muggy lately. I haven't felt like turning on the stove or pulling out the Crockpot, so on the nights when we don't default to eating out, or meet friends, or work late, we've made some salads. This Strawberry Avocado Salad recipe that Joe stumbled across was delicious, fresh, light and summery. We stuck to the recipe pretty closely, since it was so easy, but did add in some chicken for protein. Though did we even cook our own chicken? Nope, rotisserie chicken saved the day. I liked the way the potent blue cheese complemented the super sweet strawberries and the fatty creaminess of the avocado combined nicely with the balsamic vinaigrette. I might have a smaller version of this for lunch today. Mmmm, blue cheese.

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Chicken
Finally: BRAS!!
No pictures here, I promise. Sorry, dudes. But I think the ladies can agree with me, there is nothing better than a new, properly fitted bra. I hit a buy-one get-one free sale the other day and I couldn't feel happier. A good bra is like armor. Lacy, supportive armor. It makes me stand taller, throw my shoulders back and kind of miss the quadra-boob I had going on yesterday. You know, ladies, when a little bit sneaks out the top of an old bra and you look like you've got two normal breasts with two tiny breasts sitting on top of them. Kind of like chesty muffin top? I hope that doesn't become my new nickname.

Well, this ends my lady themed post. I avoided talk of tampons and nail polish, but otherwise it was like a little issue of Cosmo up in here. Cosmo for old nerds. Happy Friday, everyone! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2 Birthdays, 14 Lobsters, and 5 Curse Words


Two weekends ago we headed up to what I will now refer to our as our vacation retreat, the welcoming log home of my in-laws up in Omaha. I've written and raved about how wonderful these people are, how visiting is a vacation and staring off at the beautiful view of the small lake from their deck on a quiet Saturday is just about as peaceful as it can get. This particular weekend wasn't exactly peaceful, it was more jam packed, filled with friends and family and activity, ok pretty much like every other weekend we have in Omaha, but this time with more sea crustaceans, out-of-town friends and wild animals, and I'm not talking about the kids here.


Joe's youngest brother, Chicago Jonny, turned 30 that weekend and in order to celebrate this milestone properly, in our family it must involve copious amounts of seafood, drawn butter and cake. And did we do it right or what? Joe's parents procured about 14 lobsters and several pounds of steamers for the feast. Salad, fresh rolls, and steamers for appetizers. Then the sluggish lobsters were gently placed in the boiling pots of water so we could feast on their delicious flesh. Yes, we are unabashed non-vegetarians. Lobsters are the best.


Joe and I left work a little early and hit Omaha by 6pm, started to help prepare for the festivities, the table was set complete with adorable lobster platters at each place setting, lobster tools, dishes decorated with lobsters to hold the melted butter, big bowls in the center of the table for shells, bibs, and plenty of napkins. The seafood place that the lobsters were ordered from even threw in a couple of bottles of lobster wine, really just a light white wine with a Cape Cod inspired label and a lobster themed name. It was pretty tasty with the seafood. Clearly, I'm not a wine connoisseur.

Joe's grandparents, aunt, parents and obviously the birthday boy and us, all sat down and dug in. Lots of trips back and forth to the kitchen to check on the next batch of lobsters. We had extras leftover for lobster rolls on Sunday (lobster salad on a toasted buttered roll for you, my Midwestern readers.) So we each ate a lobster, Jon dove into a more than 2 pound bad boy, and the rest of us picked apart another lobster for Sunday's actual birthday lunch. The feast was a delight.


The sounds of cracking and crunching, drippy buttery chins, the smells and tastes of the ocean, the occasional sandy clam shell, wet fingers and the salty, sweet goodness that is fresh seafood. It was a special treat and a pretty great night.  Then of course the birthday cake course.


This would be poor Sherry's broken foot, she tripped on one stair and broke the side of her left foot and her big toe on her right foot. She's gimpy for at least another few weeks. But she's festively casted, isn't she? Her foot did not touch the cake or ice cream I might add. At least I don't think it did.


Jon requested carrot cake, and after the lobster feast one would suspect that we would all be stuffed and unable to eat any cake or ice cream. We persevered. He blew the candles out, we ate too much cream cheese frosting and then collapsed for the night. Thanks for being born, Jon Sands.


Jon's birthday was not the only celebration that weekend. After Friday night's celebratory feast, we headed out to the Henry Doorley Zoo on Saturday morning to celebrate Bethany and Troy's daughter's 7th birthday. Zoo birthday parties are pretty awesome, and I'm a long way away from 7 years old. Good choice, Annalie! It was a surprisingly fun kids' party, even for the adults.


The zoo special event staff did a great job managing the kids, and keeping everyone amused and fed and following the rules. All the traditional birthday party stuff: cake and ice cream, presents, goody bags, custom made CD's with Annalie's musical choices, and then throw in a full size lion skin that the kids could touch and hold and stick their heads under, (I restrained myself and only pet the lion skin, I promise,) a tour of the aquarium right at penguin feeding time and then some craft time for the kids.


I'd never seen penguins being fed before so that was quite fun. It looked rather like our seafood feast from the night before, though more sushi than lobster. Lots and lots of excited penguins, buckets of fish, and zoo keepers with clipboards quickly writing down feeding details. There was one stand out gentleman penguin. He stood alone at the edge of the ice, staring out at all of the zoo patrons. I almost expected him to whip out a camera and start taking pictures of all of us.


The kids had a chance to touch a penguin egg. That's our group decked out in orange safety vests above, in an attempt to keep everyone together. In theory, our group was receiving a private tour, but the tour lady was a bit meek and quiet, so it was less tour and more follow the lady around and ignore her whispered commentary.


Here I am, happily ignoring the quiet non-commentary from the tour guide and instead watching the family in front of me who were all wearing fanny packs, seriously, the whole family of four, fanny packed. All of their Chapstick and money and ID, right there, conveniently located at their waists.


Josh and Zach, two of Katrina's triplet boys, enjoying the aquarium and rocking their orange safety vests.


Joe's beautiful photos of the ethereal jelly fish. Joe was pretty much in photography heaven this weekend. Lots of kids, lots of animals and sea creatures, and then coming up: the Strategic Air and Space Museum, and more kids.


Annalie's baby sister, Elliora, relaxing at the party and making a brief wardrobe change. All done while rocking the classic Paul Frank daredevil onesie.


All the kids, post tour, pre-overly sugar loaded cake and ice cream melt downs. And the lion skin, of a lion that passed away of old age. The party hostess promised, "He died of natural causes."


I have no recollection about why we are laughing. That happens a lot.


Annalie opening some presents, and fully embracing the Dr. Who swag. As a Dr. Who viewing novice, I had an informative conversation with Bethany during the party about where to start when diving into the Dr. Who viewing universe. So many seasons makes the whole thing kind of overwhelming. She reassured me that I don't have to start at the beginning.



Joe is not viciously attacking the Venn boys. They were just being wrangled. Joe's hair is so wavy. I want to touch it. And then the party wrapped up. But the day with Bethany and Katrina and family was only just beginning.

We all headed our separate ways for a quick lunch and regroup.  Then the men and women were appropriately and stereotypically separated for gendered afternoon activities. I exaggerate, but Joe and Bethany's husband Troy, along with the birthday girl, headed over to spend a few hours at the Strategic Air and Space Museum.  Bethany, Katrina and I headed out for our traditional dottery and coffee afternoon with another couple of Bethany's friends, Carly and Rachel.

Dottery May 2011 Omaha

Pottery painting was a little bit more fun than normal, at least for me. I had somehow wrangled Bethany into painting one of her pretty, signature dottery mugs, but customized. Um, customized in a way that is profane and immature and entirely amusing to me. And probably entirely rude to have requested, oh , but I did. I had seen another mug that Bethany had painted for a friend (and bad language warning to all the kids reading here!) and inside the mug was a quote that included the word "fuck." Bethany is lovely, but a less vulgar and more conservative woman than anyone would ever say that I am. 

Dottery May 2011 Omaha

Somehow this only made me want to ask her to paint nasty curse words mixed in among the colorful, dainty dots. Because she loves me, she agreed and was sincerely amused by my request. Half of the fun was the idea of my kind, religious friend painting dirty words, but it was even better than that, because I was there in person when she did it! The best quote was when she asked me "Where should I put douchebag? Right here?" I laughed like a twelve year old boy off and on all afternoon. I was probably irritating. But they forgave me. What five curse words are captured forever in glossy glaze? Cover your eyes, grandma. My five favorite: motherfucker, douchebag, sonofabitch, asshat and cocksucker. Maybe not totally original, but classics. Oh, I painted a bowl by the way. A utterly inoffensive bowl. Kind of boring.


After the ladies finished being all creative and talking for two and a half hours straight, we all headed over to Katrina and Matt's house for dinner. The kids played inside and outside. We ordered take out Chinese and talked and caught up with the husbands and gossiped about the neighbors. And after dinner, Katrina's husband Matt lit the fire pit on their patio and it was smores time.


You'd think after spending most of the day together we might be tired of each other, but that's the thing about old friends.


It's just easy to hang out together.


We burned marshmallows and got our fingers all gooey and sticky.


We passed around baby Elliora. We listened to acapella covers of Journey songs on someone's iPod.


And we took photographs. Lots and lots of photographs.


The night ended once it got too dark and too chilly outside. The kids exhausted. The adults smelling of smoke and melted chocolate.


We went home and slept hard that night, dreaming of campfires and catching fireflies and summers spent running around in the backyard, anxiously waiting for the next time we are all together again.

All photos by Joe Sands, except the ones at pottery and the ones of him!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bravely Obey Cribs: Exterior Edition

And we're back! The Bravely Obey Cribs house tour continues! (Want to see the other rooms in the tour? Click here for the kitchen, master bedroom, my office.) This time, instead of wandering around a room in my house and trying to peek in my medicine cabinet, you little nosy nellies, why don't you take a stroll down our block and check out the outside of our little 1960's ranch house?

We've lived in our lovely little suburban neighborhood for almost 8 years, in fact 8 years ago next month we closed on our house, I had a minor mortgage panic attack and there began the month long interior deconstruction, wallpaper removal, carpet tear out, painting and general modernizing before we moved in in July 2003.Oh, so much wallpaper removal, so many layers.

Our House - Move In Day - 8 Years Ago
Our house - June 2003
We tackled the interior first and just kept working over the months, but the exterior didn't change much in those first couple of years. We took down two ugly evergreen trees that someone had idiotically planted on either side of the front door, right next to the house. They had grown so straggly and tall that they began to obscure the doorway. Bad. We cut back the wild bushes, put in some edging, some fresh mulch, weeded and then started to add some plants and flowers. But we didn't paint the house. It needed it. In part because our house was a rather drab pale green with slightly darker green shutters that was just boring and verging on ugly. And because we suspect that it hadn't been painted since 1978.

Our House - 5 Years Ago
Our house - Summer 2005
But getting a house painted, even a modestly sized house like ours is expensive. And spending all summer painting it ourselves was not an idea either one of us wanted to commit to. Oh, we discussed it but just couldn't do it. Scaffolding and days of manual labor in the humid Missouri sun, yeah, I can deal with peeling paint instead.  If the house from the front looks like it would be easy to paint, you are probably right. But because it's a raised ranch, the back of the house and sides are not one story, but two story and covered in shingles. Shingles that love to absorb paint, lots of thirsty shingles. So we waited and ignored the growing paint flakes and general disarray around the garage doors and the overhang. And finally this year, we hired a great team to paint it and it was the best decision we've made in ages. For us it looks like a brand new house, lovely and crisp and fresh.  Ta da!

The Sands Castle
We went with a light gray, black shutters and a bright red door. I love it. I love this little house. It's the first home I've ever owned. It holds so many wonderful memories, so much of our effort and labor and money. But most importantly it's ours. Finally the outside matches the personality and charm of the inside, if I do say so myself.

Iris Explosion

Our irises exploded this year too. Joe's parents gave us a lot of irises bulbs from their garden two summers ago and they came up last year but with very few flowers. I was kind of worried they weren't going to come back. And then this spring they exploded with color and blooms. They are just stunning. This long swath of bright green thick leaves and delicate bold yellow and purples perfectly lined along our stone wall. I think this is the best our house has looked probably since it was built in 1963.

Baby Yellow Irises

Iris along the wall

All Painted and Pretty

We are working on the rest of the planting and gardening in little bits and pieces this year. I've added some new perennials, the hosta along the side of the house and the front are thriving, and this weekend Joe's bringing home some black eyed susans and some other perennials from his parent's garden. So I'll have some planting to do on Monday night. There's still work to do, constant improvement. Isn't there always with home ownership? We need to repaint the railings and the front door frame. The masonry on the chimney needs some touch ups. We probably need to buy some sod and fill in some blank spots in the lawn. But when I step out to get the mail or take the dog for a walk around the block to smell stuff and pee on everything vertical, (Mac, not me,) as we walk back across the street to come back home, I just see our charming little ranch. The place we've spent the last eight happy years of our life. It's not huge. It's not fancy, but for the two of us, it's practically perfect. It's home.

Spring Annuals

Next room on the tour: the humid ladies' bathroom!
Enormous Hosta

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'll Dig a Tunnel From My Window to Yours

The blogging has been light lately, hasn't it? Life kind of takes over sometimes. I'll be doing something like traveling, or planting flowers, or holding someone's baby or hanging out with friends and think, I really should write a blog about this, it's wonderful, I should share. And then I turn on another episode of The Killing, or I get obsessed with a new hobby like knitting, or I finish reading a book and writing my third book review or I just open the windows and let the spring breeze in and all of my motivation to write disappears, or work keeps me running all day and when I finally get home at night I don't want to think so hard, hard enough to remember how to use punctuation or frankly how to spell the word punctuation. But I'm back on it this week. I have a slew of fabulous trips and concerts and friend gatherings with an additional stack of delightful photos to share. And something for everyone, instead of just my book nerd following. So let's get started!

Ah, Arcade Fire. And The National. Two indie powerhouses brought together to rock my April.

Yeah, I think that'll be close enough... #national/arcadefire

Back at the end of April, now exactly a month ago, Joe and I attended The National and Arcade Fire show at Starlight Theatre. Starlight is my favorite venue. It is perfection. Anchored by a beautiful outdoor stage with two large turrets on each side, making it look like a big faux medieval castle, then a sweeping slope of green seats with excellent unobstructed views of the sky and the stage, it's not too big, not too small. It's the best venue in Kansas City. Joe went straight to Starlight right after work and got in line, since seating is first come, first serve, and somehow, even though I wasn't there yet and they weren't doing it for anyone else, he was able to secure two wristbands for the orchestra seating area that you had to be present to receive. I suspect he flirted with the ticket agent, and I'm fine with that since it earned us fourth row center seats. Nicely done, dear, flirt away.

Concert night was brisk, but one of those clear comfortable spring evenings that make me long for April to stick around longer than it ever does.  Yes, it's already more than half way through May, so you might be thinking, more than a month ago, "How are you going to remember anything interesting about the show?" But that's the beauty of being a nerd. After the concert and a little bit during, I jotted down some memorable moments and people, the set list, and generally amusing tidbits that I wanted to remember. Plus Joe took some excellent photos and that always helps jog the memory. So let me cobble together the general mayhem, merriment and musical joy of that evening.


The National opened the show. And as Win Butler, the lead singer of Arcade Fire would remind us later, we were damn lucky to have this caliber of opening act. The National are one of my favorite bands. A heady mix of powerful poetic lyrics paired with strong guitar, bass and drums, the signature sound that drew me in from the beginning was the deep, mournful baritone of lead singer Matt Berninger. His voice is mesmerizing. Sad and sexy, sometimes swinging from furious self righteous anger to regretful longing, it fits the lyrics that he writes and melds perfectly with the music provided by the two pairs of brothers who make up the rest of the band.


He's easy on the eyes too, I might add. All lanky strawberry blond scruff in head to toe rumpled black, with a fitted blazer and eyes closed in thought, he is the indie front man personified. And the sixteen year old teenager sitting in front of me, wearing a leopard print fleece and enormous sunglasses (she's in the first photo and arms raised in the last,) agreed with me. She was shrieking and panting and falling all over herself like it was the 1950's and Elvis was shaking his pelvis at her. But instead of a gyrating pelvis, Berninger's style was more befuddled shy, slightly drunk lead singer.  He apparently had some kind of foot injury, joked that he had shot himself on the tour bus the day before, and was self medicating by chugging large red plastic party cups of white wine on stage, stopping between songs to refill, spilling on his shoes, and going through one bottle by himself in three short songs. It didn't effect his performance or voice at all, except to add a hurkey-jerkey dance move by where he didn't put weight on his injured foot and continually leaned in on the microphone for support. Sexy gimpy.


The band played a mix of old and new songs, pulling heavily from the latest album High Violet but throwing in some of my favorites from older albums, including Fake Empire and Mistaken for Strangers. With a vibrant horns section, and guest appearance for a couple of songs from Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, The National were the best opening act I've ever seen. I would have been perfectly happy if the show had ended right there. But it didn't. The National were good enough on their own, but somehow Arcade Fire came on stage and pushed all memories of The National aside at that moment.


I liked Arcade Fire before this concert. I enjoyed their music and was thrilled when they won the Grammy this year. But I was never a truly devoted fan until this night. I knew vaguely that they were a large 8 person band and that all the members could play multiple instruments kind of like 8 Canadian versions of Prince, but I had no idea of the power and stage presence that they could bring. Their music is transformed when played live. Music that seems quiet and more slowly paced somehow pulsates with energy on stage. While their latest album The Suburbs is a bit more subdued. How did I forget the raw exuberance of Funeral or Neon Bible?


That 8 member band flocks out on stage and commands your attention. Video clips run together on the enormous marquee behind them, The Warriors coming out to play, I mean that literally, a clip from the cult classic The Warriors cut into their video. They are constantly moving, constantly trading instruments between songs, all such talented musicians that at any moment the guitarist might switch to the drums and the drummer to the keyboards, the accordion player to the hurdy-gurdy, seamlessly. Regine Chassagne, wife of lead singer Win Butler, is like a twee 33 year old prom queen up there. When it is her turn to take center stage she hardly needs a spotlight. With her black, fringed finger-less gloves and her sparkly full skirted pale yellow dress, she glides in and engages the audience in a way that no one else on that stage can, even outshining her husband at times. Her lofty, slightly nasal voice is beautiful and eerie, and on songs like Haiti, unstoppable.


Winn Butler leapt into the audience several times during the show, just feet from our seats. He was nearly crushed by the onslaught of giddy teenagers, anxious to touch him, grab his wooly jacket, look him in the eye. He was a gracious good sport through out the night and kept the pacing and energy up for the band as any leader does. At the end of the night for the encore he called everyone in the audience down to the foot of the stage, security stepped aside and the crowd surged towards him. He body surfed briefly through the heaving throng, and when they gently placed him back on the stage, he thanked them with a vibrating rendition of Neighborhood #3, saved for the end, just for us. The energy, the admirable musicality, the variety, the song choices, the evident care and thought put into the stage design, song choices and artistry of the videos, made this easily one of the best shows I've ever seen.


I don't know quite what else to say. Frankly, I just want to sit here and listen to their music. It sweeps me off, off to the angsty suburbs of my childhood, off to cars filled with teenagers looking for escape and salvation, off to empty cathedrals and the hot tumultuous streets of Haiti, off to recollect that hot faced feeling of betrayal, off to a place where music goes beyond the truth of an experience and captures the essence of it instead. Arcade Fire is transporting. The layers of instruments, vocals and near cacophony of melded sound, and often ambiguous lyrics, makes me want to stand outside for hours, swaying and dancing and bouncing with the smiling crowd. We are all in our own heads standing there, in each other's heads, in our pasts and somehow far away at the same time.


All photos by Joe Sands, husband and fabulous seat securer.