Friends

 

 

 

I am incredibly grateful to call the 4 amazing women in “Raining Jane” my friends.

 

I first met Mai at Song School in Lyons, Colorado. Because I adored her, I started following her career. While reading one of her updates, I learned of Rock Camp for Girls Los Angeles. When I began volunteering there, I met Chaska, Mona and Becky. To say I now adore all of them is a serious understatement.

 

My friends in “Raining Jane” will be performing – along with Jason Mraz – on Wednesday night’s American Idol finale with contestant Alex Preston. This is a Big Deal, folks. When I got the email letting me know it would be happening, I got chills. Honest to goodness. And before I knew it, my eyes teared up and I had to walk out of the Italian deli for a few minutes, just to gather myself. I wasn’t happy about that either, as I had left some imported prosciutto and a freshly made cappuccino on the counter. (Once I’d regained my so-called composure, I returned to the deli and got that pig-meat and coffee. I may be emotional, but I’m not stupid.)

 

I wouldn’t say I live vicariously through my friends. And I certainly don’t confuse their accomplishments as my own. But I do cheer them on and I absolutely enjoy watching them succeed in life. There’s enough brass rings for all of us, y’all. We just have to find the ones that fit.

 

Please watch Wednesday night’s American Idol finale. Even if Idol isn’t your thing, I honestly believe you’ll enjoy the performance by “Raining Jane” and Jason Mraz. I can hardly wait to cheer them on. Let the happy tears flow…

Day Drinking

 

 

My friend Chaska Potter is the one who introduced me to the term “Day Drinking.” The second she said it, I knew it would become a permanent part of my lexicon. And I was right.

 

What I didn’t know was that it would become a permanent part of my behavior. As it happens, Day Drinking is my favorite way to get my drink on. Having some brews at lunch just sets the tone for a grand rest-of-the-day.

 

I probably only Day Drink once a week. And that’s plenty. I prefer beer during the day, as liquor knocks me out. I always have a designated driver (or walk), so safety is assured. And let’s face it – one can only Day Drink when work and other commitments aren’t involved.

 

But when a gal can swing it, Day Drinking is the best! I am definitely a fan.

Standing on the Corner, Suitcase in My Hand…

 

 

Yesterday morning, after posting about the passing of Hal Needham, I had no idea I would be facing news of the loss of Mr. Lou Reed.

 

I was on my way to a Rock Camp brunch. Baker Jen was driving and one of the riders in our car had just read the news. As she climbed into her seat she told us, “Lou Reed died today. He was only 71.” We were going to a goodbye party for one of our brilliant volunteers, as she’s moving to Austin, Texas. The weight of saying goodbye to one of our own was already heavy enough. The news of Lou Reed’s death was an unexpected stun.

 

Many of us talked about Reed’s passing and more than once we spoke of how happy we were that he’d had love in his life over the last few years. (Reed was married to musician and performing artist Laurie Anderson.) Again and again, we said how young he was. Over and over, we expressed our sadness at the loss.

 

Speaking for myself, I am still trying to process my feelings. I won’t lie and claim to know every song or every detail of Lou Reed’s or Velvet Underground’s career. What I do know, what I can sing to myself in my sadness, is enough to fill my heart. And for that, I’m grateful.

 

While at brunch, I spoke to my dear Rock Camp buddy, Chaska. During this past summer’s session, she loaned the movie 20 Feet From Stardom to me and we shared heartfelt discussions about it. As we talked yesterday, I told her how I’d been thinking about the part of the movie when one of the back-up singers tells how Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” features the line “…and the colored girls go…” The back-up singer said how empowering that line was, as it truly expressed the strength and truth of just how important back-up singers’ contributions were. I was fighting back tears, and Chaska held on to my hand. I didn’t have to cry. Chaska knew and understood what I was saying. She, too, was terribly moved by that movie. I daresay she, too, has been moved by Reed’s music.

 

I understand that as I progress along life’s timeline I am going to face more and more loss. Someday, that last proverbial breath will be my own. But the intellectual acceptance of this does absolutely nothing to blunt the shock of these losses. And while I know that I will eventually process the death of Lou Reed, today I have not. I am still stunned. I am still sad. I am still hearing the opening lines to “Sweet Jane.” And I am picturing Mr. Reed standing on the corner, suitcase in his hand…

Rock Camp – Day 5

 

 

Day 5. The last day. It takes so long to get here, and yet it gets here so fast. It’s the same every year, but I still seem to forget how it goes.

 

After morning greeting duties in the arrival area, I headed up to teach Vocals. I don’t think I’ve shared nearly enough about the other Vocals Instructors. This year I was honored to share duties with Chaska Potter and Nina Storey. The 3 of us brought a happy mixture to the class and I think it worked. Their strengths and support enabled me to confidently share those qualities myself. In fact, this year saw me invent an entirely new vocal exercise. For reals! And it totally made the girls sing out loud. Wow! That’s so Rock Camp, y’all.

 

 

After Vocals Instruction, it was lunchtime. Today’s entertainment was our very own House Band. We (I was part of a backing vocals “choir”) performed a couple of songs that were made up a few nights ago, and then an entirely new song was made up on the fly. It was an awesome exercise, and it showed the girls how to just go with the flow and not get in their own way when being creative. And I have to admit, it was also fun.

 

Then it got real, y’all. Seriously. It was time for Stage Run-Through, in preparation for the Big Showcase. I have to tell you – I was so surprised at how well the girls did. Each band brought a completely unique song and sound to the stage, and I was so proud.

 

 

This would be a good time to tell you a bit about the band I’ve been coaching this week. They named themselves “When Pigs Fly” and they wrote a song about bullying. My cohort in guiding them through the week has been Anita. She and I were on the same page when it came to the girls’ song: we didn’t help a lick. It was up to the band to write that song and to figure out how to perform it. When they asked if they could do this or that, we told them we didn’t know, as it wasn’t our song. We just said try it and see how they felt. If an idea worked, keep it. If not, toss it. A lot of it worked. And when I watched them perform in front of the other campers, I could tell they were truly owning it and killing it, too. I guess what I felt would be akin to pride. But the truth is, I had nothing to do with their accomplishment. They were solely responsible for their work. They were responsible for their efforts. They were responsible. Okay. I guess I am proud.

 

And then, before I knew it, Rock Camp was over. We Volunteers told all the girls we’d see them at Saturday’s showcase and that was that. The Volunteers had a final end-of-day assembly, and I grabbed my things and inched into Friday evening traffic.

 

I’ve been through this before. This is, after all, my 4th year of Rock Camp for Girls. So I’m familiar with the feelings. I’m ready for the showcase and I’m ready to bid a fond farewell to my Rock Camp family.

 

And that’s what we’ve become. A family. I love these women. I do. And I think I can say this, and mean it… They love me, too. I don’t often feel sure-footed on that front – being loved by others. But with Rock Camp, I am loved and I know it. But I can’t really go on about this right now, as the mere act of writing about it is causing me to cry. I’ll try to dig into this fertile soil when I write my wrap-up. I’ll try.

 

 

 

So it was a pretty awesome final day of Rock Camp. I can hardly wait for the showcase. For reals.