Adventures with Dr. Lady Cutie Troublemaker

Life is in flux BIG TIME these days. I want to keep in touch with all of my peeps. The Internet is this beautiful thing. I can move to a brand new city and still stay in easy, near-daily contact with the people I love. When I feel connected to the people in my life that matter, I am unstoppable!

Swell is Such an Understatement

By Abby at 12:51 pm on Friday, May 16, 2008

What can I even say about The Swell Season? It was a delicious songfest that felt like snapdragons singing in the sun and a big noncreepy hug from an old wise man and like falling in love and like when you’re laughing so hard that you can’t stop. I was rivited the entire time. It was so much more than I could have imagined. It was an entire evening of delight. They could have come out, sung the songs from the movie Once, and gone home, but nonononononono! They didn’t do that. They sang many new songs. They sang some Pixies. They told us stories. They opened up their hearts and told us about their day, their thoughts about life, about America, about Irishness, about humility and facing problems.

I think my favorite analogy of the night (there were many) was Glen Hansard’s description of himself in the back garden (you know, y’all… a “yard”) kicking a ball. And his goal is that he’s going to get that ball all the way to the end of the garden. So he kicks it, and it reaches the back of the garden, then it goes over to the next garden, and out to the street, and into the next town, and then into towns he’s never even heard of. He was describing the momentum and trajectory of the song “Falling Slowly”, which you have no doubt heard, and if you haven’t… let me be the first to introduce it to you.

Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova – Falling Slowly
Found at

This is the song that is featured in the movie Once. If you read this blog, you’ll know that I was completely in love with this movie. The song was the catalyst that brought these two together in the film. It wasn’t a soundtrack. He’s teaching her the song while she plays the piano. Their relationship changes from the beginning of the singing to the end. Music brought these two together in fiction and reality. What a beautiful thing.

So anyway, back to the analogy. I loved what he said last, in the way only an Irishman can: “JAY-sus, this song has been good to us.” It’s been good to me, too, as have the rest of their songs.

Glen Hansard is a raconteur and a magical man. It’s hard to even describe the hold he has on an audience. My friend Roz would call what he does putting people in a “happy trance.” I know I was in one, as was Katy. Near the end, I found it so fitting that he fit in a melody from “Willy Wonka”: “Come with me, and we’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” You know the tune? I’ve always loved it. It fit right in. I haven’t seen the newer version of that film, but the way I felt during the show was that same wide-eyed, enchanted feeling. The lights they used had the effect of lighting up the entire space of Meymandi as the songs swelled – like dawn or sunset. It made the music feel big, although they didn’t need help with that. Swell Season is such a perfect name. There is the feeling of smallness and intimacy, and then something really big – bigger than everything.

Filed under: Music,Ramblings/Brain Dumps/Opinions3 Comments »

91% Enjoyment

By Abby at 1:07 am on Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I wanted to write about this so badly, but writing with the cast (while OK for my hand) is starting to really take a toll on my shoulders. This video is part reflection and part theatre review!

91% Enjoyment from abbyladybug on Vimeo

Here’s the info about the play from Both Hands Theatre Company themselves:

please join us for @ liberty.

what does your life look like? could you pick it out of a line-up? how do you measure your moments? speed riggs, a fast-talking 117-year veteran of the liberty warehouse in durham, just might be able to help.

come on out and celebrate our 10th anniversary @ liberty!

cheryl chamblee and tamara kissane / co-artistic directors

Remaining dates are May 8th, 9th, and 10th. Tickets


Filed under: Raleigh and the Triangle,Ramblings/Brain Dumps/Opinions,Video4 Comments »

Let’s All Calm Down, Everyone!

By Abby at 10:59 am on Thursday, April 10, 2008

Everyone on Flickr is FTFO because of the introduction of videos on Flickr. My only gripe is that they are all lumped in with the photographs, which I don’t think works, but I’m sure they will get that worked out soon enough. The older I get, the more I see that people just HATE change. They really do. I must admit that I don’t really get it. I love change, and I love the adventure of seeing what comes next.

Speaking of which, if you’re new to the Raleigh Group on Flickr, let me recommend that you never ever EVER dare to suggest they change the monthly meeting day. You will be sorry. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Filed under: Ramblings/Brain Dumps/Opinions,Video4 Comments »

40 Years Since

By Abby at 4:58 pm on Friday, April 4, 2008

Image from Time Magazine’s “The Last Days of Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Last night just after midnight, I remembered on my own that it was April 4th, the day Dr. King was shot. I always remember it because of the line in the U2 song “Pride (In the Name of Love)” off their Unforgettable Fire album. It came out when I was in high school, and I remember U2 coming to town to see Coretta Scott King when it was released. The line is:

Early morning, April 4. A shot rings out in the Memphis sky. Free at last. They took your life. They could not take your pride.

My senior recital at Oberlin was April 4th, 1992. It was easy to remember that date because it coincided with King’s death. Growing up in Atlanta and attending Atlanta Public, Dr. King was always in the curriculum. The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change is in Atlanta, and I spent a winter term during college working in the media department there. I got to meet Coretta Scott King in person in her office. I was pretty star struck, actually. I couldn’t believe I was in a meeting with her. It was surreal.

I was born in Memphis in November 1969. I always thought it strange that the man who had such an effect on my life and the society in which I grew up was never alive at the same time as me. There was this story my dad used to tell about how he was chief resident on call at the emergency room in Memphis when King was shot. I was sitting here trying to remember all the details when I had the genius thought: I bet Dad blogged about it today. I was right. Here it is: His telling of that day in Memphis, April 4th, 1968.

I was an Intern at the City of Memphis Hospitals on this day forty years ago. We had a shortage of Residents, and I’d been temporarily promoted to “admitting resident” for the day. I was proud to be asked, but had spent the day terrified I was going to make some fatal mistake, send someone home who died or create some indelible medical catastrophe. That evening, I was sitting alone pondering the day, glad that both I and the patients had survived, when I got a call from my wife that Dr. King had been shot downtown.

It wasn’t an easy time to be in Memphis…

Read the rest of Dad’s story: Link

Memphis Mississippi Pano

I lived in Memphis from August 2004 – August 2005. I’m not sure why or how it happened, but it seems that the fruits of the Civil Rights Movement never really “took” in Memphis. It’s like there’s a black cloud over the city. I’ve heard other people describe it in similar ways. While there are many wonderful things there, the color line and the poverty line seem to be identical. The gap between rich and poor, the haves and the have-nots. It feels huge. Maybe it’s because I was working with victims of domestic violence and abuse and in the Memphis Public Schools, but I certainly felt while living there that Memphis was a city that was still in need of healing. What a burden to bear. If you ever get there, go to the Civil Rights Museum. It it housed in the Lorraine Hotel, where Dr. King was staying when he was shot, that fateful April day.

Filed under: Dad's Wisdom,Family,Memphis,Ramblings/Brain Dumps/Opinions,Stories From My Life1 Comment »

Maps and Legends

By Abby at 9:59 am on Tuesday, April 1, 2008

u r here

At a party on Sunday, I heard someone say, “You know what they say around here. If you don’t like the weather, wait 24 hours.” What’s funny is this is something they have said in a few places I’ve lived. I think it was the most true in Bloomington, Indiana – where it would go from cold and snowing to hot to tornadoes. You really never did know. The other places I’ve lived have been so much more predictable. In Boston, you can expect it to be cold a lot of the time. In North Carolina, the sky really is blue a lot of the time. There are general patterns that happen.

This all got me to thinking about the differences between people who have spent a lot of time living in the same place and people who have moved around a lot. I’m obviously in the latter camp. I’ve lived in Memphis; England; Atlanta; Athens, GA; Oberlin, Ohio; Boston, MA; Atlanta again; Bloomington, Indiana; Memphis again; Boston again; and Raleigh. What I don’t have is this inner sense of the cyclic-ness of a year. I’ve always assumed that this is because of my ADD brain. I mean, I have no regular sleep schedule, no regular eating schedule… I never have. I seem to lack these cyclical rhythms that other people have. But it’s definitely been made worse because of so much moving around.

Living here in North Carolina for over a year now, this is really the first chance I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time around many people who are truly locals for longer than a year. While I lived in Bloomington for 7 years, I knew very few people from Bloomington – or even Indiana. My closest friends there were from Chicago, Michigan, India, England, Ohio, Texas, etc. We all shared years together, but our yearly cycles had much more to do with the academic calendar than anything else. It’s the one thing we all shared.

The people who come to mind first are Shannon and Andy. They both have very organized, properly regulated internal cycles, and they have both spent a lot of time here in Raleigh. They know that it’s almost time for the state fair and the best places to park when we go. They know what the fun things to do are at any time of year and what is coming up next. They have advanced organizational and navigational skills, honed in one place. They have been around the same patterns for years, and they have been paying attention. It’s really fascinating to me – Me, a person who sees every day as brand new, every trip to the store as time to look up directions yet again.

As a result, I’ve learned to just trust that things will all work out, that I’ll find my way, that something fun will happen. Because it’s my only option. Yes, we will end up somewhere. When we get there, I’m sure we’ll see what is fun. I bet we’ll meet some nice people and see some cool stuff. Whatever it is, I’m game. I trust my navigators. I trust the Universe (with a capital U) to get me to another adventure, because generally, I have no idea what to expect. And I’m kind of OK with that.

For me to get around as they do, I rely on GPS, calendars, and todo lists. They help me to function as if I have clocks and compasses of my own. I call them my external hard drives. I guess my gift has always been the ability to find these technologies and befriend these kinds of people. I’m so grateful for the linear thinkers around me. Those that know the best way to navigate. Those that have internal clocks and compasses. I’m lucky to have them in my life.

Filed under: Friends,Ramblings/Brain Dumps/Opinions3 Comments »
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