Monday, October 31, 2011

I Made This: Death Star Jack-O-Lantern

Happy Halloween!

This year I decided that I wanted to carve a pumpkin. In the past, pumpkin carving was going over to someone’s house, having a pumpkin placed in front of me, thinking for a minute, seeing what everyone else is doing, sighing and then resorting to the classic triangles for eyes and nose pattern.

However, recently I have taken on this “Go big or go home,” mantra in my life, so if I was going to really do Halloween crafts, I was going to do Halloween crafts. When I was first brainstorming about my pumpkin (slow news day), I thought I should do something lovely and classy. How would Martha Stewart or other people from Connecticut carve their pumpkins?

And then I decided on the Death Star of Star Wars fame.

Upon seeing the final product, a friend’s fiancĂ© questioned why a bunch of girls would be so into Stars Wars that they would carve a pumpkin in the shape of chez Darth Vader.

I am pretty sure that I made some sort of nasal sound effect and rolled my eyes.

First, I want to make clear that I don’t live in my parents’ basement, and I don’t have a bunch of cats.

Second,  I have only meet this fiancĂ© once and it was during a dinner party where I am pretty sure that someone spiked the chicken rolls since it got pretty ridiculous pretty fast. Alien abduction stories were discussed.  So maybe his point of reference of me and the friends that helped with the pumpkin is a little skewed. I should invite the happy couple over for tea and have a discussion on ongoing human right abuses in the world.

Third, Star Wars is the movie that I best acquaint with happy times of my childhood. It is the first movie that I can remember being fascinated with, as opposed to E.T. which scared the bejezus of out me.  Stars Wars was just big, in every way. It had good guys to cheer for, bad guys to boo. It had a big Wookie and a wise little green Yoda. It told the story of an underdog that was asked or called to do something that at first he thought he couldn’t do. And it had a pretty strong female character, which wasn’t that common. Sure, Princess Leia got captured and had to be rescued more than once, but she also fought alongside all the boys. And of course, in the end it taught us that even after devastating loses, good can still win, and you should always celebrate victories with a dance party.

So with all being said, behold the transformation from harvest gourd to a star of death:

I found the instructions, tips and patterns for the pumpkin from this website. Its creator’s gets all the credit and glory, below is my interpretation of said instructions:

Pick a pumpkin canvas. I had high hopes of frolicking in a local pumpkin patch with a cute scarf and boots, on a crisp autumn day, finding the perfect pumpkin and ending my day with apple cider donuts. In reality, I got my pumpkin on my way home from work in the produce department of the supermarket in between the red onions and potatoes.
I was sure to find one that was pretty uniformly rounded, instead of flat sided. The pumpkin I choose was smaller than the one used in the online example.

The majority of this pumpkin is skinned (carving just the top layer of skin) as opposed to the traditional way of cutting all the way through. This means that you have to clean out the pumpkin’s innards extremely well, so the candle that will eventually be placed inside the pumpkin will shine through the skin.
 My pumpkin had a lot of goop.

The Death Star begins to take shape. The online instructions mentioned a couple different carving tools needed for the project and that they should be available at any craft store. I found out though, that any craft store doesn’t include going to Michael’s the Friday before Halloween, scouring through all the picked over Halloween stuff, settling for a random wood carving set, and then standing in a mile long line because the so called, “Halloween Headquarters” only has 2 people working. Moral of the story: plan ahead.
I started by carving the familiar middle part and the circle for the laser beam. I tried but couldn’t find any red lights to put in the laser beam hole.  I then divided the sections above and below the middle part into rectangular sections, each to be individually carved.

The finished product! The online example used more creativity in carving all the little squares; I ended up just using the same 4 patterns over and over again.

And all lit up!

I started around 11 a.m. and finished just before 6pm.  But during this time, I also took a lunch break, talked to housemates that wandered into the kitchen, went in search of warm fuzzy socks because my feet got cold, watched the snow fall, and got sucked into the Project Runway finale (I very much disagree with who won).

I am pretty proud of my first attempt at pumpkin art, and I am happy to report that I still have all my fingers, and no band aids were needed! 

I think the seal of approval came when I pulled up to my house tonight, the pumpkins were all out and lit up, and there was a little boy just sitting on the ground cross legged staring at our Death Star. His dad had encourage him to get up and go knock on our door for candy.  Indoctrinating the youth. That is what Halloween is all about!

I really, really want to explode my Death Star Pumpkin, just like the real Death Star, followed by a dance party, of course. I am trying to figure out how to do so without the involvement of emergency rooms, police/fire departments and our very vigilant Neighborhood Watch. I'll keep you posted

And an added bonus of pumpkin carving: roasting the seeds!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Local Travels: Occupy DC

I love current events and believe that everyone should be aware of national and international events, but I don't trust the news.  In fact, I just don't trust the news, I loathe the news, except for Bri Wi whom I wandered around the Newseum looking for. In my honest opinion and experience of being surrounded by 10-12 hours of the news cycle everyday, most news stations are all about entertainment and agendas. Man, am I jaded or what? I have the tendency to seek out  a variety of independent news sources, and take everything a read/hear with a pinch of salt. 

 A couple of days ago I decided to wander down to the Occupy DC encampments to see really what they are all about. Not really to participate, but to investigate and understand. These protests are becoming polarizing issues. Some seem them as the voice of the people, others as dirty lazy hippies. I know how the economic times have affected my life, but I feel that I know very little of the bigger picture.  Protests also fascinate me. They have some sort primal element to them. I am mad and I want you to know about it. This isn't right, I want you know about it. Sometimes I feel that if some group isn't condemning me to hell at least once a week the world must of stopped spinning.

The day that I walked down was rainy, so there wasn't a lot of people out. But the few that I did talk to seemed to be genuine in their concern and their actions. I am still forming my ideas and views and actions regarding our economic life and times, but one thing was made crystal clear that day. 

I am grateful to live in a time and place where protests are allowed. People are allowed to speak their minds without the fear (for the most part) of retaliation from the government. I think we take for granted not so much our own freedom of speech, we love to talk (!) about that, but we forget that our neighbors, the crazy people on the street corners, and our perceived enemies also have freedom of speech.  100 percent of the people will never agree on every issue, we all come from different backgrounds, have different lives and minds who make us who are are. I think that is what makes the human race so beautiful, all of our differences.   But respect and a genuine desire to understand one another, that should be universal.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons Learned

This week I learned:

That if you wake up early to do lunges so you can you look cute in boots on an European adventure,  your legs will cease to function, in entirely, at exactly 12:37 pm.

I am not ashamed that I made a meal out of Pumpkin Spice Soymilk and Cinnamon M&Ms. Hooray for seasonal foods!

No matter how many times you have done it, or how many cute headbands you have, growing out your bangs is always awkward.

Tuesday and Wednesday are not the same days.

It is time to laundry if I am wearing my Hanukkah socks in the middle of October.

I am the  78,733,907,170th person to have lived since history began. To find out your place in the human family ask the BBC.

Thanks to a steady diet of Jon Stewart, I now subconsciously, or sometimes consciously, refer to Mitt Romney as Mittens. (p.s. I never make my mind up who to vote for before the primaries, so this really isn't a political statement and maybe I am still waiting for President Palmer to enter the race.)

No matter if it is assumed or known, hearing, out loud, that someone cares about you is the best thing ever.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Local Travels: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

On a cool, crisp and sunny Autumn day I finally made it down to our newest memorial on the National Mall, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. It was the perfect day for such a powerful place.

I am a little distracted by the gentleman in blue's stance. 

Some of my favorite quotes from Dr. King:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Song of the Week: Neil Young + Arcade Fire

I can't resist a guy with a harmonica. 
Or Arcade Fire. 
Or a good cause.

Each year Neil Young throws a concert to benefit his Bridge School in California, which serves children with severe physical and speech impairments. Who says rockers don't care?

This year, the 25th year, featured some amazing friends, including Canadian phenoms, Arcade Fire, which performed, "Helpless," with Mr. Young. Wait. Isn't Neil Young Canadian too? Go Canada, your talent pool runs deep. 

p.s. if you are wondering what is happening tonight in my late night cooking school, the answer is a big pot of Spicy Pumpkin Chili. Doesn't that just sound like Autumn inside and out? I am getting ready to stir in the pumpkin as we speak. I really, really should learn how to go to bed and/or cook at a decent hour.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Life Lately, According to My iPhone

Lately, I have been:

 Eating Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Hummus. This is almost nothing that I won't be a chickpea in.

 Waking up to this in our front yard.

Not buying this ukulele, but really wanting to.

 Reclaiming my lunch breaks by taking little walks. Points to anyone that knows where this is taken.

Spending my evenings doing arts and crafts. I only (accidently) glued my fingers together twice.

Roasting the most beautiful little heirloom tomatoes for a new favorite sandwich.

Having a car trunk full of feathers. Maybe it is better to just leave it at that. 

Sound of the Week: Ryan Adams

Song of the Week is back!  And I couldn't wait until Tuesday to share a song, which also means that I am typing this to procrastinating some other task (don't look at me like that, unfolded basket of laundry).

I feel that I post about music enough, sneaking a song or two in almost every post, but I have missed looking for that one song every week that stands out to me. Also, I have the tendency to fall into music loops, listening to same song or album for a whole week on end, which helps my soul, but can be kind of boring to talking about.  

I have had a love/comme ci comme sa,  relationship with Ryan Adams. I loved Whiskeytown, and some of his early solo stuff, but I fell into comme ci comme sa territory around the time that he married Mandy Moore, not because of the marriage, but just because I found myself in a place in my life that his music really didn't fit. But this week I came across "Lucky Now," off of his new album, Ashes & Fire, and loved it upon first listen. Now I wish that I would of gotten a ticket to his December concert in DC before both shows sold out. Maybe next time.  I  feel that he will be around writing melodies and words for while. 

Other things of note in music as of late:
Wilco performed on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series
Tom Waits released his new album, Bad Like Me 
Jack White covers both Hank Williams and U2, but not at the same time. (p.s. Can you believe that Achtung Baby is 20 years old?!)
Dropkick Murphys performed the one song from their new album that I always skip over on Conan O'Brien. This is not to say that I don't love the album, it is pretty excellent. 
REM released a new track from their upcoming and final album. The song is called We All Go Back to Where We Belong. I love that title. Being a gypsy soul, I have a hard time finding that place where I belong. I hope to find that Island of Misfit Toys one day. 

So, I probably now should get to the basket of laundry . . . . .or go make some pancakes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seen and Heard: Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three

Last night I dragged a couple of friends to the basement of a DC BBQ joint. Wait, that sounds a little diabolical and maybe a tad Sweeney Todd-ish. But it was to see a guy named Pokey. Um, not helping. Maybe I should start over.

Last night, a couple of friends and I wandered over to Hill Country BBQ in the Penn Quarter, where they serve  beverages in mason jars and everyone’s fingers seem to be dripping in sauce, whether they are eating ribs or not.  In the basement, among long family style tables and a bar is a stage, where musical folk come to play. For many of the shows there is no cover, but you do have to wedge yourself in between tables of diners, barkeeps and wait staff.  In other words, it was the perfect setting to see Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three from St. Louis, MO.
Their music has been described as Riverboat Soul, and not just because that is the name of one of their albums. It is a mixture of ragtime jazz, Americana jug band, Western swing, and with just enough bluesy soul to have your heart on the verge of breaking. They cover some of the old timey classics, but with their own original music they resist the urge to be just a cover band.  Pokey, who never diverges his real name, leads the band on vocals, guitar, witty stage banter, snappy suits and kazoo.  A kazoo, oh my.  And it fit the song, without the gimmickiness that you would think. Ryan Koening melted our faces off with his mad harmonica washboard playing.  Joey Glynn on bass and Adam Hoskins on guitar rounded out the group.  And as a bonus, we learned about the St. Louis brick industry.

We only stayed for the first set making it home by 11pm, because we are old on Tuesdays nights. But oh this band made my week. I don’t think that I stopped smiling the entire night.

Way to make Missouri proud, fellas!

I know that I have posted a video of them before, but, I am feeling oh so generous at this moment, so here is another:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Image from the Underground

I cannot express how much I love this Walker Evans print. He is singing with his eyes closed. With an accordion. On the subway.

Image: Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but I found it on the Getty website

Next year, at a yet to be determined date sometime between the months of June and December, I will be visiting  Los Angeles California. I will respectably not visit any of the homes or neighborhoods of my youth.  But I feel a trip to the Getty will be in order. And In & Out. And maybe Disneyland. But most definitely the beach. A Pacific Ocean beach. Even if it is December.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go meet a man named Pokey.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Made This: Rosemary Peasant Bread

When making Rosemary Peasant Bread it is perfectly acceptable to:

Watch season 1 of The X Files and dance around the kitchen during episode 3 (Squeeze) shouting "Scully, he is in your house! HE IS IN YOUR HOUSE!!"

Top warm fresh bread with triple creme brie and honey. In fact, it is more than acceptable, it should be mandatory.

Rosemary Peasant Bread 
1 cup of warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp yeast (1 packet)
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Rosemary

Mix water, sugar and yeast. Stir until yeast dissolves. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt and 1 Tbsp of Rosemary. After yeast mixture becomes foamy, add 1 1/2 Tbsp of oil. Add 1 cup of flour to yeast mixture and stir until mixed. Keep adding flour about 1/2 cup at a time until it becomes dough. Knead for 10 minutes, adding flour if necessary. Set dough in an oiled bowl, brush dough with oil, cover bowl with a cloth, and let dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch down dough and let sit for 5 minutes. Then split the dough into 2 pieces. Form into ovals and place on a greased baking pan. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. After dough rises, brush with melted butter on top of each oval. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. After about 10 minutes in the oven brush more butter on top of the bread and sprinkle each loaf with the remaining Rosemary.

(I have had this recipe for a million years, and can't remember where I got it, so if I get thrown in jail for copyright infringement, can someone bail me out? I'll pay you back . . .in bread.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Epic Pie

You guys. Pie Day is only a month away.

Wait, everyone knows what Pie Day is, right?  **crickets**

It’s only the best the pastry based made up holiday ever. Come Thanksgiving Day, you (yes I am being bossy for minute—YOU) get too full eating turkey and potatoes and stuffing and more potatoes that you just can’t enjoy that piece of pie. Hence Pie Day, usually the Sunday before Thanksgiving, where you can devote a whole day just to eating pie. Unless that is what you do every Sunday, then my friend, you are ahead of the curve.   I have been serving pie to the masses since way back in my MO days, and have brought the tradition along with me when I move. I am like a pie missionary.  Amen and hallelujah.

This year I am having it a week early since I will be in France for Thanksgiving, nah nah nah.  Thanksgiving isn’t one of my favorite holidays, so I always try to travel for it. Pie Day has become my holiday to celebrate with friends and food, without all the awkwardness of thinking of something to be thankful for (pie), or debating historical accuracies of holidays (was there pie at the first thanksgiving? Well, technically the first thanksgiving wasn’t the first. .  . .Oh please, go shut your mouth with more pie). Plus I don’t like turkey. 

This year, I want it to be epic, but it will be hard to beat last year when someone came dressed as a pie. Yep, you read that right, DRESSED AS A PIE. And p.s. It wasn’t me.  That totally deserves caps lock, and that is how we roll when it comes to baked goods.  With the pressure on, I have started planning. I usually make 3 pies, one fruit, one other (usually cream), and one that will end up in the trash because it is a new recipe that didn’t turn out. Last year I burnt and undercooked the same pie at the same time. Kids, they don’t teach you those skills in college.  Others usually bring pies too and for one odd reason or another we get at least one person who brings a dessert that is not a pie. Are there people out there that don’t like pie? Shudder.  I draw the line at brownies. Do not bring brownies to Pie Day. I will not put them on the table.  I always worry about not having enough pie, but by the end of the night have plenty.  Just like the pilgrims.

So the countdown has begun for the new pies recipes. I also have to figure out how to incorporate a hot air balloon and a mime.  Or maybe an elephant and a parade. Epic, people, EP-IC.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not So Much Love in the City

D.C., you are getting pretty hard to love lately. Are you jealous of my near stalker obsession with Boston?  Do you worry each time that I get on an airplane that I won’t come back? Whatever it is, please stop. For reals.

Yesterday, someone jumped in front of a train (they survived), paralyzing the Metro system during the evening rush. I was suddenly thrown into a Choose Your Own Adventure story. Do I : 

A.       Hang out with the huddled and cranky masses underground  for a couple of hours and pray that my station will be opened by the time my train gets there, 15 years in the future,  since they seemed to be opening and closing stations all willy nilly? (p.s. when was the last time you heard someone say willy nilly? We should totally use it more)

B.       Roam the streets of DC and try avoid zombie attacks or protester/occupier attacks or zombie protesters (What do we want? More brains! When do we want it? Now! ARRGHHH.)?  Someone the other day asked me why I seem to always compare DC workers to zombies. First of all, I usually compare them to cannibals, but zombies will work too, ‘cause have you seen the federal workforce at 8:00 AM in the morning? Second, the apocalypse does seem to always be looming around here.

C.      Go eat a burrito at a friend’s house?

I chose the burrito option, obviously. There are very few reasons to ever not choose the burrito option.  p.s. thanks for the burrito which I very unlady like inhaled.

And, to be fair to the morning rush,   Metro was again down this morning and I sat and sat and sat somewhere in the bowels  of the city hitting repeat on this song a million times.

And what is it with hockey tickets being so expensive. 65 dollars for the cheap seats?  Maybe when it gets cold enough, I'll just go down to the Sculpture Garden and shout “Fight! Fight!” at all the ice skaters.

And, and AND,  last but not least, we don’t even have a masked superhero.

D.C., you have some explaining to do. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Long Weekend in Pictures and Words

I know that blogs are suppose to be about how super fun awesome our lives our are, but sometimes life isn't so awesome.  Some days are pretty soul crushing. One such day was last Friday. I am a firm believer in being allowed your feelings, so I was bound and determined to take a couple days and just be sad.  Thanks goodness for long holiday weekends. So I was sad. I cried. I pouted. I played sad songs on the harmonica. But I also discovered ways to make a crap situation better:

1. See Henry Rollins speak. I know that 98%, who I am kidding, 100% of my known blog readership has no clue who Henry Rollins is, but I do, and that's all that matters right now. Henry is a legendary punk rocker, writer,  and photographer. I was basically out the door on Friday to see him speak on photography when my soul got crushed. I did considered not going, but I ended up throwing on my biggest pair of sunglasses to hide my puffy from crying eyes and went into the city. I'm glad that I did. Henry showed pictures from his new photography book, Occupants and told the stories behind them. These are not pictures of flowers and butterflies. He went to some of the most battered and bruised parts of the world; Iran, the killing fields in Cambodia, the slums of India, the rubble of Haiti. It was all about finding life in the midst of suffering. Hope, in the middle of desolation. At the end, during the Q &A, Henry while answering a question from the audience said, "Be bold. Don't be afraid to live your life."
We weren't suppose to take pictures, but as the program was ending, I sneaked a blurring picture off my phone. If you know H.R. you can totally tell its him. Local legend Ian MacKaye was there too, and my punk rock heart exploded. 

2. Get awesome texts from friends
Look at me, figuring out how to take screen shots off my iPhone.

3. Eat ice cream in bed while watching The King of Kong , shouting Steeeeeeeeveeee Wieeeeeeebeeeee! at appropriate parts throughout the documentary.
 Then get up and wash your sheets because you just ate ice cream in bed. 

4. Wear argyle socks. I don't know why it helps, but it does.

5. Eat crumpets and homemade chocolate pumpkin butter. Crumpets? Yes. Judge me, whatever.

6. Listen to good music. Loud.

Also, do a lot of rock star jumps in the air while listening to said music. I didn't get a picture of that. You're welcome. The Ducky Boys is one of my favorite bands to listen to when I need help getting out of the gutter of life. I accidently saw them once when I was in Boston a million  years ago, the General and I still talk about how great that show was.  Their new album doesn't comes out until January, but I just pre-ordered it, on vinyl. Cannot. Wait. 

7. Take a deep breath in nature. Some friends dragged me out to see the Fall leaves in Shenandoah. I was cranky pants the whole ride over. I seriously sat in the back seat, with my arms folded and didn't say a word. Then we pulled over when we saw this tree:

And then someone asked me about my latest trip to Boston, and then they couldn't get me to shut my mouth. 

8. Do a breakfast run to Sonic, in a car, don't actually run there with your feet. 

This may sound lame if you are one of those people that actually has a Sonic in your town. We don't. The closest Sonic is an hour + away. But sometimes you need a strawberry limeade in a cup so big that you need both hands to hold it. 

9. Work on a project that you have been putting off. There is something to say about being productive. I have been meaning to sun print some fabric for awhile now. It is basically using the sun to fade designs onto fabric. Maybe I'll get around to writing a whole post about it. For a first attempt it was ok, I want to try it again doing a couple to things differently. 

I used roses

10. Watch the Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 17 times in a row. I know that since his death it has been overly played and overly posted and overly quoted, but I still love it. I still feel the truth of it in my bones.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow 
your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

**I didn't write this post fishing for pity about having  a bad day. I know we all have them. I know that people have way worse days than I did. And the whys behind my bad day probably aren't all that important now either. I think it is realizing that some of the lows in life are as important as the highs. Or that one day isn't the end of the world.  Or something like that. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Words: Wisdom

"She wasn't bitter. She was sad, though. But it was a hopeful kind of sad. The kind of sad that just takes time. " 
 Stephen Chbosky, 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I believe

Because I believe:

  • That children should be indoctrinated as early as possible
  • That I will need something to do after my housemates hide my mandolin, harmonica, and tambourines during the snowstorm we are sure to get this winter since Mother Nature has made it very clear she hates DC
  • That someday, probably during the post apocalyptic time of man, I will have the coolest kids ever

I purchased the pattern/instructions to make this little craft from this lovely Etsty store. If you are looking for me this weekend,  I will be under a pile of felt at the local craft store. 
(Images from Julie's Blog)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cooking With Friends: Indian

I have a friend who lived in India for a couple of years. Since she has been back in the States, I have been after her to teach me how to cook some India cuisine. I love India food. Well, to be honest there are very few types of food that I don’t love. But the sad fact is that ever since she has been back she had gladly traded in curries for red meat.  In fact, she really can’t fathom the idea of cooking or eating India food.  But my endless whining and pleadings finally wore her down and she came over to teach me to make Lemon Rice and Butter Chicken.
In addition to filling my belly I learned a lot about Indian cooking:
Indian food takes a lot of ingredients:

My friend, along with another friend who is also an awesome cook showed up on my doorstep with bags and bags of groceries. The Lemon Rice had 15 ingredients, the Butter Chicken, 22 .
Most of these ingredients are spices:

I inherited all the leftover spices, so look for upcoming recipes that call for 3 pounds of Gram Masala.  Other spice facts that I learned; Indian chili powder is very different than Latin chili powder and should not be used in chicken tacos and there are some spices, no matter how important they are to the recipes, are so stinky they need to be kept, by themselves, in sealed Ziploc bags.
Speaking of spices, I didn't think my spice cabinet was that strange, but it came up in conversation a lot. Everyone has an alphabetical list of their spices,  and 8 different kinds of vinegar, right?

Potato chip bag copy editors in India spend their nights writing soap operas:
Flirt with the tangy flavor of Lays Spanish Tomato Tango and take some time out for romance.
Indian food is good.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sounds: Laura Marling at Sixth and I

Last Tuesday night I found myself sitting in the sanctuary of a Jewish synagogue in the middle of Chinatown.  But it wasn’t for a religious service. Technically. It was for music, and music has probably taught more about the goodness of life than years of Sunday School had. And I totally counted it as church attendance, (Pay attention Universe!) and I didn’t even have to pick out cheerios from the carpet.
I have seen bands and musicians play in places that range the spectrum from dive bars to ballparks to fields under the stars , but this was the first time that I have seen a performance of a popular performing artist in a church.  We sat in pews under stained glass windows with lights that lit up the room like candles.  It was a little magical.
What I have noticed among the handful of British bands/artists that I have seen lately is they always apologize for their awkward banter.  There is always that pause in between songs where people feel they need to fill up the space with words. I think that there is also the pressure to make a live show feel different than just listening to the music at home.  You have a roomful of people, people who paid money, staring up at you, what do you say?
If you are Laura Marling you say,  “As you can tell, stage banter is not one of strengths, so I will now entertain you with a series of facts.”

Her stage presence is actually pretty endearingly entertaining.  She did tells facts about her guitars, lines in her songs she finds peculiar, and stories about the interesting people you meet walking down the streets of DC at 2 o’clock in the morning.  Her band told jokes, which is the route that I probably would have gone.  Or talk about pie. But I couldn’t do it an English accent, so it probably won't sound so charming. Her songs are so beautiful and powerful at the same time. Sometimes as a girl I think that I can't have or show strong emotions without being label as one of those girls, or just plain old crazy.  Marling's music reminds me that I can be feminine and still have an important voice, and important stories to tell.

This lovely performance was the last concert of my Rock-tember. I didn’t make it to Les Mis.  I have two,  vastly different musical field trips already planned for October, one in November, and a couple of possibilities for December depending on my holiday plans.  I love the fact that I have gotten back into going to see live music. It's like I have reclaimed a little bit of my soul.
If you want to hear more of Laura, check out her NPR appearance.