October and the Trees Are Stripped Bare

Well, my two other most favorite bands are celebrating anniversaries this year, so let’s give them some love, too.

U2 just celebrated 40 years as a band. 40 years! Not many bands can claim this milestone.

I was late to the U2 game. I remember hearing their early hits on the Top 40 countdown, but the first album I bought was Achtung Baby in 1991. So if I had to pick a favorite album, I would pick this one. Because it’s the one that made me fall head over heels. So many of these lyrics are imprinted on my heart.

“Took a drive in the dirty rain to a place where the wind calls your name”

“You gave me nothing; now it’s all I got”

“Love is clockworks and cold steel, fingers too numb to feel”

“If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel (on your kneels, boy!)”

U2 is an inspiration not only because they are incredibly gifted musicians and perform stunningly good live shows, but also because of their politics (which I happen to agree with). Some of their most popular songs are about injustice, political movements, war against others, war against ourselves. Watch them take on Trump recently.

I first saw them in concert in 1997, right before my 22nd birthday. Two friends and I drove six hours to see them. It was the Pop Mart tour, so I remember the wild graphics and stage setup. I also remember that we were walking around when they started playing, so we freaked and my friends, two tall men, proceeded up a down escalator. I barely made it; they had to yank me up the last few steps.

img_3684

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next time I saw them was in Boston in 2001. They played four nights and I attended two of them. They produced a concert film of the shows, which is awesome. Boston loves U2!

2005 is the year I set my credit card on fire for the boys…they played in Boston for two nights in October, of which I attended one. I remember the seats were one of the best I’d ever had at a concert.

…Until December, when they returned for two nights. I attended both. This is where my memory fails me: I remember meeting a guy at a subway stop and buying a ticket from him for one of the nights. When he had bought it, he thought he was buying two tickets because the price was so steep. So he decided to sell it. I remember being grateful to him because he was selling the ticket for less than he paid. It was a super special ticket that allowed me to go to an exclusive bar at the venue before the show and I received a leather folder embossed with the U2 tour logo.

For years, I’ve though that I spent maybe $175 on the ticket. Which is a lot! But I just looked at the price on the ticket: $390.

img_3686

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whaaaat! Did I really pay that much? I doubt it, but I’ll never know. But I do know that I had the time of my life at the concert.

It was also in 2005 that I attempted to give U2 a letter. I had read that they were staying at the Ritz. I wrote a heartfelt note thanking them for their music, being an inspiration, etc. etc. With note in hand, I, along with a work friend, walked into the Ritz’s lobby and asked the person at reception if U2 was staying there. The response was, “I can’t confirm that.”

OK. So then my friend and I approached the doorman. My friend was cute so we chatted him up. He didn’t confirm or deny that they were staying there either. But he ended up taking the note and said he would try to get it to them. I’m not hopeful that they received it, but I’m happy that I at least attempted to thank them.

I missed the band’s next visit in 2009 because they played at a stadium outside of Boston and I didn’t have a car or any super fan friends to go with.

Therefore, I went 10 long years without seeing U2. I saw them in Boston last fall. What I love about their concerts is that they always play a perfect mix of new and old songs. The magic in the air at their shows is incredible. There is nothing like belting out the lyrics to “Bloody Sunday” or “Pride” along with 19,000 other people.

U2 is going on tour next year when they release a new album. And I’ll be there.

Advertisements

The Little Things

My heart is heavy…three tragedies this week. I am in a state of disbelief. How do we fix this? I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that white people need to step up and help change the future.

I’ve heard a few times over the past few days that “this [police brutality] has been happening forever; now we just have cell phone videos to document it.”

I used to walk around “not seeing color.” (I’m white.) I saw no difference between me and someone with different-colored skin. Over the years, I’ve realized that that’s all well and good, but I needed to start SEEING that these people with different-colored skin live with discrimination and bias ALL THE TIME. They are different from me because they have different experiences because of their skin color.

I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book Between the World and Me in a book club and a light bulb went off. I got a glimpse of what it is like to feel unsafe in your body because of your skin color. As a black person in the club said, “I don’t have to read this; I’ve lived it.”

I don’t know how I will help right now, but I will find a way. Inaction is an action in itself, as Martin Luther King Jr. said so eloquently:

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

And one last quote:

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate can not drive out hate: only love can do that.”

I’m taking a short break from my swirling thoughts and feelings of anger and despair and reminding myself that life is precious and to cherish the little things.

Like brunch. I love brunch. So I’m not sure why it took me 17 years to check out a diner near me called Johnny’s Luncheonette.

IMG_1798

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allen and I went for Sunday brunch and it was superb. The food was great and I loved the diner decor. The waitress was nice and the menu was impressive. I’ll be back to try lunch or dinner sometime.

I’m getting to the end of my list = five more things to report!

The term “self-care” seems a little New Age-y to me, but I’m going to encourage you to partake in it this weekend. Attend a vigil or walk in a march if that’s what you feel you need to do. Thank local police officers for the work they do. Or go to brunch with a family member or friend.

Saturday and Tuesday

Thanksgiving is nigh! I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy taking time to ponder what you’re grateful for and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

If you participate in the events on Friday and Monday (that shall not be named), best of luck to you. I hope you will also participate in Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday:

On Saturday, visit your favorite small business to buy some one-of-a-kind gifts.

On Tuesday, donate to your favorite charity. Why not make a donation in a family member/friend’s name and give that as a gift this season? I’m adopting a wild animal and buying a share of an animal for my family this year. Or you can pledge to donate some time this season. Visit Volunteer Match to find opportunities near you.

Listen to these smart people:

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“For it is in giving that we receive.” Francis of Assisi

givingtuesday3

The Meaning of Hospitality

hospitality (noun) 1. Cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward guests.

Last week, I went on my third annual silent retreat at the Society of Saint John the Evangelist’s home north of the city. I continue to be in awe of how welcoming and hospitable this monastic community is.

I love living in a city, yet I seem to effortlessly fall into the rhythm of working, eating, worshiping, reading, and sleeping when at Emery House.

DSC07597

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is such a welcome change to unplug from the world and have no daily obligations except for working in the garden, attending a few services, and eating three meals.

I reveled in the simple acts of gardening, eating in silence, and reading in the library. I read two thought-provoking books: I brought Taking Our Places with me and found A Year to Live in Emery House’s library. The gist of both books is the importance of making peace with the past and being mindful and engaged in the present. I have a lot of work to do regarding the latter.

I am prescribing myself more time in nature. It’s so easy to focus on the present moment when one is watching two birds chase each other or contemplating the beauty of a flower.

DSC07586

 

 

 

 

 

 

I attended three services per day, which had me pondering the meaning of faith and what role it plays in my life. In recent years, I’ve felt more “spiritual,” not subscribing to any one religion. One of my favorite quotes from the Dalai Lama is:

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

Instead of attending church on Sundays, I volunteer at an animal shelter. I guess I express my faith through volunteering.

What role does faith play in your life?

DSC07577

 

 

Fernando Friday

DSC06624
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
—Martin Luther King Jr.
How many more people have to die senseless deaths in this country? The time for action is long overdue.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives