Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Moving to Colorado from Los Angeles and making necessary life changes meant that concerts are now a privilege, not a right. The one I've been to was last night, and it was better than all the shows before it... combined. Yes. Little Jonny and I got each other the same birthday present: tickets to a Ray LaMontagne concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

You couldn't possibly change one thing about last night to make it better. Warm air, clear sky, seats high enough to see the city of Denver, towering red rocks on either side of us, and a shirtless gentleman two rows down with a centaur tattooed across his entire back {who's lucky he decided to stop dancing after the first song...}. Oh, and I was with little brother Jonny, one of my favorite people on the planet. 

Ray LaMontagne has been one of my favorite musicians for about two years, and I felt it was risky business to see him in concert. You know when someone sounds so much better on the album than in real life, and you consider deleting all their music and hanging your head in shame when you return home? On the contrary, I wanted to bottle up his voice and wear it on a string. 

Apparently a simple man, he worked in a shoe factory before making us weak in the knees with his voice and lyrics. His simple stage presence made him all the more appealing, and his music spoke for itself. He doesn't force emotions on his audience. Instead, he can summarize bits of life in a song and leave you speechless and dumbfounded without hardly trying. I think if you asked him why he sings, his answer would never be "to entertain the people." His music is soul music -- his songs mean something to you. 

When he opened his mouth to sing, I stopped everything. I realized I forgot the defibrillator only after my heart stopped beating -- or maybe it flipped inside out. Either way, I wanted to explode. He possessed a refreshing humility like I've never seen before on stage. The whole thing was, in a word, unforgettable.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Dream of Grocery

I decided to write about something weird today, and that idea was confirmed as brilliant when I walked into the coffee shop just now. A musical group was seated inside the front door, playing instruments I have never seen. It was either Renaissance or Riverdance music. I'm not familiar with either to distinguish them, but all I know is I wanted to jig. I wanted to jig bad, and this is exactly the kind of place that I could start a jig and perhaps be joined by everyone else in line and it would be totally normal...but weird. Anyway, it got me in the perfect mood to write about my weird dream.

This dream was inspired by the name of a local grocery store. Some grocery stores have names that actually reveal what's inside: Food4Less, Whole Foods, and Farm Fresh. Others are just plain funny: HE Butt Grocery. Others leave you guessing: Jitney Jungle, Piggly-Wiggly, and the main character in my dream -- King Soopers.

King Soopers. What? It's a household name in Colorado. It's our local grocery store, founded by Lloyd King in 1947. I've shopped at King Soopers for years and think it's great. So great that I dreamed about it and will never forget it.

In my dream, I had just been hired by King Soopers and arrived for my first day of training, only to find all the employees dressed in Kung Fu fighting clothes. Startled, I stood off to the side until I realized why. Kung Fu was the newest effective method of cutting down on shoplifting and taking care of those unruly customers. I slipped into my fighting clothes and instead of learning the cash register, I learned Kung Fu. The result of all this? King Soopers was forever known as Kung Foopers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Think of this post as With Love, Jen: Part II. I scanned pages of her letter and put them here with her permission, both so you could see why I was so delighted and so you can add some of the best advice around to your thrifting repertoire. When Jen and I were together in Washington, I asked her how to successfully shop thrift stores. I want to learn this skill. Extraordinary items can be found there when one has the eye for it. Jen has the eye, and I asked her to tell me all she knew. I apologize that some of it is hard to read because of the scan quality, but I hope you enjoy her response as much as I do.