Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

Wait for that guitar to come ’round again… part one

It’s been said that you can never go back. You shouldn’t go back. Trying to go back will only make you sad, yearning for what you had, knowing what you lost. The weight of it all will leave you deep in your cups, cryin’ in your beer…(cue the record scratch) Well, that might be good advice for the masses, but when have we ever followed the voice of reason?

Hers & His at the coveted table in the Willie Nelson smoking section. Our names are etched in here somewhere.

A few weeks ago, we packed the bags, left the kids some pizza money (at ages 20 & 15, what could go wrong?) and hopped in the car. It had been a few years since we visited Nashville and given that this was the 10-year anniversary of how all of this started, heading south on I-65 seemed a proper and fitting thing to do. It was a Thursday afternoon, the weather was perfect and our simple mission was to arrive at Tootsie’s by 6 p.m., local. Unlike the happy accident of my 40th, THIS was a calculated birthday destination. And there at the door to greet us, with those bright blue eyes that crackle when he smiles, was Jake Mauer.

The years have been good to Jake–he’s been blessed with a beautiful family and for many, he has become a reason to go to Nashville. A true gentleman and delightful showman, his homage to the classics is not lost on us and his toasts and stories never get old. Like a good Tennessee whisky, Jake’s voice has mellowed for the better and his personal songwriting approach has become more textured and the stories refined. He was raised right, and we’re better people for having him in our circle.

I couldn’t have dreamed of a more appropriate way to be grateful for all that was my 40s and in the same motion, make welcome my 50s. Singing through the classics (thanks for the Prine!) as well as new material, Jake and his talented band put on an incredible three-hour set. While Dave and I thoroughly enjoyed every golden moment of it, being able to connect with Jake and chat throughout the evening made it all so very fine. From his stage and through the crowd, we toasted everything that has taught us and shaped us over this past decade. To life, to love, to alcohol (because no good story every started with a salad!) and to the honky tonk gods who once again made it so we could hold court at the Willie table, we raised our beer bottles high, letting the dust mites and ghosts of that place embrace us. Thanks, Jake.   ~Jacqui

Our 8×10 black and white among all the others… Tootsie’s. June 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 6, 2018 Posted by | The Birthday Trip 2018, The Birthday Trip, 2008 | 1 Comment

Old Like Candy

The cake… coming to get me.

It’s been a string of sweet and enlightening days — a turning point for certain. The actual day of honoring my Gemini 50 was bookended by discoveries through Kornfield and Hedwig. Appropriate, wouldn’t you agree? In between, so many thoughts, reflections, memories and yes, apprehensions. I wasn’t expecting the range and depths of emotions nor the sensation of emergence and regression at the same time. In spite of it all, the learning and the growing and the love continue. This life is a mysterious blessing and I thank all of you for being a part of my weird, colorful, blissful, fragmented mosaic that is still under construction.

I’ve been quiet lately and perhaps that has come off as aloof. I don’t chatter on social as much as I used to… and I certainly haven’t posted much here. But it isn’t because I’m totally disconnecting. It’s really the other way around. And while I may not be as verbal in the electronic realm, please know that my heart is full and it is because of you. I am grateful.

And now, to segue into something old/new… it’s time to pack the bags and see what Nashville is like with an AARP card in one’s wallet. MmmHmmm….

Keep loving — despite everything — keep loving. It’s the only thing that keeps it all together. ~ Jacqui

 

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Shine!

Earlier this summer, I was going through a spate of transition. While scary and tenuous, it was a good time for me. I got to re-engage with myself and read some really good books. It was a launch phase into a new realm of life.

One day while on the patio (I spent a lot of time on the patio), I noticed something a bit odd as the Black-Eyed Susans began their annual push skyward. One of the plants had decided to not spring up with the masses but instead, find a place up front and center near the retaining wall.

Now, I could have been a conscientious gardener (although gardener I am not) and gingerly moved the little sprout back to the larger Black-Eyed Susan patch, but I decided not to. Instead, I opted to watch this plant grow and see what happened.

I also decided to name this plant Black-Eyed Stephanie.

As summer warmed the soil, Stephanie took off and rocked her place in the garden. Her. Place. She also taught me a little lesson and one that I’m reaching back to on a cold, albeit bright, winter’s day.

You don’t have to grow where you are planted. You don’t have to grow as someone outside of you has prescribed. You can — and should — take a chance and plant your beautiful self where you want to. Then grow and shine — arms wide to the sun — with everything you are and everything you own.

Don’t be afraid to be like Stephanie. Don’t think that if you went left instead of right that someone will immediately course correct you and put in in a sea of sameness. Contrarily, someone may actually take note of what you are doing and nurture the will to be different and the need to stretch.

For those who helped me be like Stephanie this summer, thank you. ~Jacqui

 

January 19, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Sinko-de-Maya!

 

You can keep your ‘May the Fourth be with you’ memes. Today, and everyday, it’s Sinko-de-Maya around here.

This cat. And that chair. And the divot to end all divots. It doesn’t matter when you pass by, she’s there. Working hard. Oh, to have that singular focus for 80% of every day.

You may think we don’t see you, but we do. Such a strange little beast.

We love you, Maya. Happy Day.

 

 

May 5, 2017 Posted by | Everyday | 1 Comment

As We Watched

It’s been a month and I’m still processing. Similar to the night he was born, it happened in a flash. So much joy. So much love. In a moment, everything was new.

As we watched, life turned. And while words can perhaps set the stage, the story is best told through the eyes. Of everything we saw… and of theirs only seeing each other.

The moment he saw her…

All eyes and she only sees him…

Brandon & Katie Killen  •  March 11, 2017

 

 

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Different

This isn’t the post I was going to write. And perhaps, once again, procrastination is guiding me to the post I need to write.

Like many, I stayed up most of the night. Between the sinus medication, Bourbon Cream coffee and the TV, I was focused on watching one of two versions of history unfold. At 2:45 am, I did wake up from a mild doze to watch and listen live as the transition began.

As I listened, I recalled something I had read earlier today nestled within my Facebook feed. It was from a post of a mutual friend who embodies understanding and peace. We haven’t met yet but there are times that I feel I know her and she knows me.

M.E. wrote:

“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the enduring lesson I learned from one of my mentors Bob. Once I got it, well, it explains just about everything.

He taught, “It’s not that we see things differently. We see different things.”

Several times that phrase wormed through my mind yesterday as I sat at work and waited for one of the two versions of history to unfold. We do see different things.

I’m apprehensive about what this day and the days coming will bring to me and my family. How will these days impact relationships we currently have? How will these days shape new ones? We are divided in our subgroups of unity. Some of us so much so that our pain oozes with every word, action, nuance. Things are interpreted and misinterpreted.

If we are to Make America Great… it is not by Making America Great again. That implies we twist backwards. One quick flip through a history book and I see a lot of the backwards that was wrong. What is it that you see? What is it that they see? We need to figure out — and quickly — how to make the America we have now, with all of its beautiful shades, souls, loves and desires, illustrious and celebrated. There is room for all of us. All of the different us. We need to see the different things the other person sees and discuss with civility. We need to learn how to build each other up without tearing each other down. We all have basic human rights. Those shouldn’t be cast off as different.

Freedom gave us all the chance to participate in this entire election cycle. Freedom allowed me and my dear running sisters to gleefully run the dark streets yesterday morning without fear and stand by each other as we went to each polling places to cast our votes. I wore white in honor of the brave women who made damn sure that I could do this. I can only hope that my daughter, can continue to do these things — and more.

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No, this isn’t the post I was going to write and it isn’t perfect, but neither am I. For what it is worth, I appreciate the freedom to write it.  ~ Jacqui

November 9, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Higher Enlightenment

I’m traveling today on business. And while I have a lot of work I could/should be doing while flying, cramped quarters on planes don’t allow for much client confidentiality.

So, I always turn to this little guy:

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Ironically — or not — these were some of the passages that came up during my first flight. I wasn’t flipping through the book and cherry-picking chapters. Just reading in a natural sequence…

The gentleman next to me gave me a quizzical look as I took these photo grabs. Hopefully he got something out of these bits, too.

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A few pages later…

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To quote my friend Terry, “I choose joy.” And, I’m looking for ways to bring more joy and peace into my bit of the world starting with those closest to me. These are turbulent days. Remember, we’re all human and we’re all in this together.

Happy travels. ~Jacqui

 

October 10, 2016 Posted by | Everyday | 1 Comment

The Picture Anniversary

Today is October 6 — our 26th.

Fittingly, on what we’ve come to know as #TBT, it is the picture anniversary. So here’s one we stumbled upon this spring while compiling James’ grad video…

circa December 1996

circa December 1996

 

A silly, random shot. Our first house. Brandon’s 4th birthday. If memory serves, he took it. We were just kids… I love to remember that. When we started out, we truly were kids. We didn’t know much except there was something in each other that was needed to make our our lives and worlds complete. Not always perfect, but complete. Wouldn’t want it any other way.

Flash forward a few decades and yeah… things haven’t changed much. We’re still two goofy kids making a go of things in this crazy world.

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The picture anniversary also brings to mind one of my favorite Guy Clark Songs. So here is another flashback… Americana 2012.

I need to pour a certain Mister the first cup of coffee while you enjoy Guy. Love to all who love us. Love to all who love. *click*

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Everyday | Leave a comment

Travelers, Poets, Merchants and Thieves

Confession. I like to explore astrology and nature’s energy every now and then. Some of my earliest memories include scouring the daily paper, Sunday’s Parade Magazine or the back of T.V. Guide for Jean Dixon’s column. I’m not a hardcore purveyor of the mystic and metaphysical, but friends will tell you I always keep an eye on the moon. (It’s waning, by the way. New Moon next Friday!)

When I realized that Mercury was headed into Retrograde on August 30, I decided to tune into the 22-day period so many people dread with a dedicated sense of awareness. Perhaps in doing so, I wouldn’t be broadsided by the backward motion. When the crux of what you do is project manage all day, a bad run of misinterpreted emails and calls layered with scheduling mishaps is mis-er-y .

My embrace of the period included grounding myself. Kyanite helps (thank you Dennis, Rainie and Crystal Guy Gene for opening me up to this) so my dangles were as essential everyday as my toothbrush and glasses. I observed more and meditated. Being mindful in this way curbed my natural instincts to control and drive the state of things. I began to figure out how to allow situations to evolve and resolve without my overt meddling. That felt good.

Small things I treasure: Blue Kyanite from The Crystal Guy, orange Kyanite from sweet friends, Dennis and Rainie, earrings designed by Teresa Yee.

Small things I treasure: blue Kyanite from The Crystal Guy, orange Kyanite from sweet friends, Dennis and Rainie, earrings designed by Teresa Yee.

 

All in all, the period came and went without too much interference in my personal day-to-day. Sure,there were a few moments where it seemed like everything was Babylon. You didn’t have to look too far to see blatant and sad examples of miscommunication. But I think the bigger thing to take away from this is what you can do when you see all the disconnect around you: How to react, and to that, in a constructive way. How to bring comfort. How to reflect. How to stage yourself to be a positive catalyst. The god of travelers, poets, merchants and thieves will always get the itch to rule a span of our days with whimsical mischief. Its in learning how to sing and play with him that we might find great energy to do new things. ~ Jacqui

Heard the term Mercury in Retrograde but not sure what it means? This little summary from Farmer’s Almanac is a good place to start. There’s one more in 2016 — just in time for the holidays. Joy!

September 24, 2016 Posted by | Everyday | Leave a comment

Day +364: Liberation

I’ve written before about anniversaries and looking back. It’s one of the things we humans do. The completion of a revolution is a catalyst. Oh, how we can latch on to the moment, wax on and reminisce! It’s easy to get lost in our own spin.

As I sit here and write this post — which on one level seems a bit obligatory — I realize that where I thought I’d be after this whole experience is not where I currently am. It’s a tough one to reconcile.

A year ago was transplant day. As surreal as that experience was, it seems small when compared to so many other things in our micro and macro worlds. Through a day of transfusion in which there was a mystery cake, weird science and references to James Brown, I got my best friend back, our children regained their sense of security and the misaligned puzzle piece that represented our collective eventually settled. We resumed our roles and functions. We had a lot of fun. We slipped back into old habits. All good. Some bad. Life, right?

Hyper-reflecting on the 8,736 hours between one September 9 and the next — and isolating myself in the process — I’d like to say the witness of this experience helped develop a better ability to be present. I could then twirl, fling glitter into the air and share with everyone the joy of everything, like say, dirt. Life altering moments, including the vicarious ones, are supposed to have that sort of result. Both Hallmark and the Internet say so.

But as I honestly reflect, I see that for me it did not. Lord knows I squandered more than I should have this year, especially when reminded again that living is so very unpredictable.

What held me back? Simply put, status quo. The rush to get back to ‘normal.’ The desire to experience ‘uneventful.’ The need to uphold ‘responsibility.’ Instead of looking up and living out I retreated into the daily grind.

Damn, that’s a shame. Even the rough parts of the shared journey serve up shinny pebbles. Somehow I managed to cruise right by and miss this one. I left dare on the road and ran straight to safe.

Day +364. It is over. Dave is great, ahead of the curve in so many ways. His doctor has given him the next set of orders including, and most passionately stated, “forget you even had this transplant.” Go. Live. Be. Free.

That applies to me, too. It is time to be open and free. The memory of that day itself does not bring me joy so I am releasing it. What does bring me happiness and grounding is the result of that day and the fact that it is tangible in my here and now. Continuing to squander that would be a sin.

So, I put this out there and most appropriately feel gratitude for everything Dave and I — as a couple and as individuals — have received through this passage. It’s time to get up and dance. ~ Jacqui

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Dave, Everyday | 1 Comment