Tag Archives: music

Thank you Sara & KEXP

First things first, I have to kick it to all of my Seattle peeps because almost everyone I know in Seattle has at one point or another recommended KEXP to me. But earliest and most adamantly, Michael B nudged me in his quiet “look how cool you can be like me” way to listen to KEXP when I was living in Seattle.

Thank you Michael!

Next, Nathan gave me more of an insiders view of KEXP. My Seattle friend Nathan has been volunteering at KEXP for years and years; he let me tag along on a companion fare for SIFF movies, he took me to the studio a couple of times, prodded me out the door to KEXP community events, played beautiful music for pure appreciation after dizzying conversations about life, let his adoration and admiration of KEXP shine through all the time.

Thank you Nathan!

Of course, everyone else Seattle who is reading this and I can’t name you all – thank YOU, too!

Then I came to Sicily and thought KEXP would be a ghostly whisper in my ear…but of course, these are the days of the internet…but even more than that, these are the days of Sara telling me about the KEXP Song of the Day podcast. Not being a very good media technician, itunes technician, or anything like that, I quickly signed up for this podcast and then even more quickly forgot all about it.

Nevertheless, Thank You Sara!

Luckily, despite my shortcomings, Sara reminded me of Santigold, which she discovered via KEXP Song of the Day, and now I am nursing my pre-race jitters with this song. I hope you enjoy it, too!


Filed under 5-100, Running, Songs

The Weight of Lies

If you’re feeling at all contemplative or like you want to give some thought to how we try to hide within ourselves, give The Avett Brother’s a chance. These guys write some really honest lyrics that strike me as simplistically beautiful. Big props to my cousin Steph for initially introducing and to my brother Jim for re-introducing me to The Avett Brothers.

The music hits that same simplicity, but it is more nuanced with harmonies and hums, sharp dynamics and pitch changes that draw your attention right back to the song just at the moment that your mind started wandering away on the implications of the lyrics.

“Nothing happens here that doesn’t happen there”

This lyric has always been the one that stands out most to me. Due to my introspective nature and my wanderlust soul, I have made several self-check-ups over the years: Are you running away from something? What do you think will be different in the next place? What is making you feel like leaving again? What challenges are you seeking with this next adventure?

Between 17 and 27, I lived in three dorms, my parents’ house, three sublets, one house share (unknown roommates), four apartments with seventeen different roommates, my friend’s parents house, a host-family house (Ecuador), my suitcase (extended travels), and one apartment all to myself. I was the opposite of settled down. Because I was not running from the law, or debt, or even a bad break-up, I thought that I answered all the self-questions correctly. I thought I was just curious about the world.

While the song is couching its lyrics around the concept of lies, I think the lies at issue are really those that we tell to ourselves. Hiding who we really are, or holding back from expressing ourselves really only charms others, and sometimes ourselves, into befriending, or be-lovering, a facade. While it is still true that I am curious about the world, I have been enough places and put myself in enough situations that stretch the limits of my comfort zone to see that I didn’t necessarily need to travel the world to have these growing experiences (though it is certainly a great way to do it). I just need to be brave enough to be honest with myself about my dreams, opinions, doubts, ideas, loves, hates; about why I avoid conflict to my detriment until I seek it out to my detriment; about my career status and how I chose each step on the path to this point…and, that if I am brave enough to be honest with myself, well, that would be the grandest adventure of all.


Filed under 5-100, Songs

Musica Sconosciuta

While wandering Cefalu the other weekend, I heard a lovely tonal hum and soft percussive thumps of a street musician cutting through the slow-moving crowd in front of me. The sound alternatively dropped into the rhythms of Italian and French around me and pulsed through the parting of the crowds as I neared the musician. His modest look and handsome face together with the beautiful noise stilled my feet; caught in the moment, I stopped and stared. As I regained my senses, I reached for my camera, caught his eye, and with his slight nod, began attempting to capture the serene stillness emanating from him and his music. It was the sort of stillness that rises out of unknown sounds, the ever-present heartbeat you can’t hear when you’re in a crowd, the ribbon of calm that leads you through fields of adrenaline and exhaustion as a runner finishing a race. His hands were in constant motion, and passersby steadily chipped into his offering tray, as did I. The moment passed, my group had moved ahead, and I felt a stirring renewal of curiosity and compassion for the unknown histories of my contemporaries in this life.

Unknown music, “musica sconosciuta.”

Cefalu, Sicily
September 2012


Filed under 5-100, Awesomeness, Travel

If today had a soundtrack.

Please don’t hate me, but sometimes when I’m getting ready for a workout, I sing the lyrical phrase “Working on my Fitness” a la Fergie (around the 1:25 mark) in “Fergalicious.”

It is a little bit better than singing the latest craze by LMFAO, “I’m sexy and I know it,” which includes the lyric “I work OUT” (kind of all the time, I don’t need to direct you to this line).

However, the best song to wrap up this momentary meme is the simply beautiful and haunting song “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra. The video is super cool, so it’s worth checking out, but the chorus will stick with you, too.
“You didn’t have to cut me off…
blah blah blah (good lyrics, but they change)

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know”


Filed under 5-100, Songs

Spinning ‘Round Again

Does art imitate life? Or does life imitate art?


Like a pinwheel in a late spring tempest, Dave and I have been spinning round geographically, a little emotionally, and tonight we are taking a break and just enjoying each other.

Apparently, the Juliana Hatfield Three knew about things spinning round in this song, Spin the Bottle, featured in 1994’s Reality Bites.

Juliana sang “Spin it ’round again” over and over at the end of this song. Yet, I always thought she was singing “Spinning ’round again!” These moments of misunderstanding are at the heart of much of the crusty moments between Dave and I lately. We just haven’t been listening closely enough to what the other is actually saying.

We are going to focus on all the things we like about each other tonight. I can’t wait to hear all the things we like about each other…and to have such a positive energy flowing in the house.


Filed under 5-100, Songs

Big Happy News!!!


(Uno) 1. The beautiful frutti di mare (seafood) on display at Alphio’s. Alphio’s is a restaurant near base. Photos below.

(Due) 2. Farewell lunch at Alphio’s. I am sad to bid farewell to the Chief who is moving on to Rota, Spain, he is a great anchor for the role he fills. Eating a nicely spicy Penne alla Puttanesca made up for it.

(Tre) 3. Visiting the Motta Residence Hotel to pick up a couple of items we inadvertently left behind (Dave’s U.S. cell phone among other things). I had a jack-o-latern grin the entire visit as I chatted with the staff who were so warm to us during our stay.

(Quattro) 4. Laura Pausini. She sounds a famed Italian pop/ballad singer. Check out my current LP jam, Benvenuto. This is available in the U.S. iTunes store.

(Cinque) 5. Deciphering song lyrics! I have been hearing a song on the radio and I could tell the man was singing “e te” (sounds like “Ay Tay”) – but I didn’t know anything else. Now, I’m all the way up to hearing “la differenza tra me e te” (the difference between me and you) and after that I found myself understanding nearly the entire first and second verses. He used some unfamiliar verbs in the third verse (or is it in the bridge?). In any case, I love it! Tiziano Ferro is the singer and the official title is “La Differenza Tra Me E Te.” (It is not yet available in the U.S. iTunes store – BOO!).


The U.S. Navy is a leviathan organization, filled with Admirals, Rear Admirals, Midshipmen, Captains, Sailors, Commanders, Lieutenant Commanders, LNs, YNs, Chiefs, Master Chiefs, Lieutenants, and a navillion more! While I don’t understand all the intricacies of advancing, I have known that the next step in Dave’s career was to be selected for the CSB (huh? explained below). Today, we’re celebrating his selection! A board composed of one Rear Admiral, two Captains, and three Commanders selected Dave for the Career Status Board (CSB). This is an important threshold to cross for Dave, as well as a meaningful accolade and milestone. Congratulations!

Now it’s time to look at some beautiful Frutti di Mare

Here is the whole spread, sitting on ice and positioned right by the antipasti buffet (think Italian version of a salad bar), so that you see all this glorious seafood right when you walk into the restaurant. Hello little fellas…

The restaurant does not get sufficient business to have fresh seafood like this every day, so they feature fresh seafood on Fridays.

I know tuna is often caught on the west side of the island, so this is probably very fresh.

I am curious about how and from where they obtain their salmon.

Then, there are the squid inserted lovingly and colorfully around the display.

And then these delightful fishies (sardine family?) – if you know what they are, let me know!

Ciao, Tutti! If you hear the party rockin’ in Acireale, that’s just us celebrating…


Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.

Name that tune

Top five song lyrics I heard today:

1 (uno) “Amor, Amor, Italian words I don’t know” (trust me it was good in the car).

2 (due) “play me a sad song, cuz that’s what I wanna hear” (I feel that).

3 (tre) “now that you’re outta my life, it’s so much better” (sing it sista).

4 (quattro) bjork. I don’t remember the lyrics but I was just singing along like I knew them.

5 (cinque) “What’s bad? We’ll fix it what’s wrong? We’ll make it all right.”


Today was Columbus Day. Columbus being Italian and all, it was a national holiday. Oh wait, that’s right, it was a U.S. national holiday! Here in Sicily, I celebrated by going to Ikea and then assembling furniture all day. Mercifully Ikea was like a normal box store today – no waiting line. We also knew what we were after thanks to our reconnaissance. In-a-few-extra-looks, a-few-unplanned-purchases-and-out. Just what the business model that is thriving there prescribed. On the way home we stopped for yummy AutoGrill sandwiches. That’s when I started wondering what I could do with 5 kg of Nutella.


And, yes, those are regulation size bottles of wine.


Filed under 5-100

West Virginia ROCKS!

If you are anything like me, and probably a good 295 million other people in the U.S., the most recognizable West Virginia reference you know of may be this one:


Of course, if you follow the burgeoning (cresting?) food movement in the U.S., you may have heard of that infamous chef Jamie Oliver.


Pictured here with a CINQUECENTO!!! (That’s the car he’s leaned up against!)

jamie's italyjamie’s italy (I got the photo of this dust jacket from his website and have included the link to this book.)


Mr. Oliver tackled the notorious disaster that is school cafeteria food in none other than West Virginia. Naturally, he did it in his reality-TV, flashy style, on the television show Food Revolution. However, if you’ve followed Jamie Oliver’s career, you can see that this man has heart and he puts it into everything he does. He is enigmatic in the way he manages to balance his intense passion with his robust capacity for self-promotion and publicity. It is a true gift.

And the most recent benefits of his gifts are the students and school cafeteria workers in Huntington, West Virginia, who are now eating and cooking a nearly 100% food-from-scratch menu. Wow! This is a public school people! What an inspiration to the rest of the state, nation, and institutions who follow the bold lead of Rhonda McCoy (school food service director in Huntington), Dr. Jorea Marple (W. Va. state schools superintendent) and Alice Gue (school cook featured on Food Revolution). Ms. McCoy has binders full of recipes with USDA ingredients list for other schools to follow. My goal is to continue working toward making 100% from-scratch meals at home.

Jane Black wrote the follow-up that informed me and you can read all about it here.

Go West Virginia!!!


Filed under cinquecento, Food. Cibo.

Welcome to the winery.


  1. Stayed sober after getting the gentle let-down of being passed over for the job I recently interviewed for.
  2. Made lemonade out of disappointment-lemons by telling another military spouse about the job opening.
  3. Created a stay strong outlook with “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child on my playlist and “You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down” by Alice Walker in my hand.
  4. Listened to my Italian Songs playlist, a gift from my newlywed friend Ashley.
  5. Check, check, check, check, checked all the boxes on my to-do list!

Keeping perspective in the face of disappointment is difficult at the best of times. Going on five hours sleep, functioning without your partner, and resting your hopes of paying your hefty student loan bills on the outcome, disappointment can feel overwhelming. At first. “*Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” It is normal to feel disappointment, hurt and angry. Yet, these flashes are temporary states of emotion. With practice and perspective, I can weather such storms by keeping my eye on the sparkling vision of an engaging vocation and financial stability; which is so pretty, why waste time dwelling elsewhere? Forward!

*Recently, I’ve read that Haruki Murakami is credited in some places with this quote or with referring to it, though it is also a common spiritual edict in eastern religions, and more frequently in western phillosophies.)

Since I passed on the opportunity to open up my own “whinery” yesterday, I decided it was high time I shared these enchanting photos I snapped at the Bagliesi Winery outside of Agrigento on Sunday. Enjoy!

Now, we’ll take an imaginary step back in time with the help of the Hipstamatic.

Take a moment to stop and see the vines.

And finish with a lovely path down which your mind may wander…


Filed under 5-100, Adjusting