Saturday, March 15, 2014

homage and parallels

i've been stuck inside the house this week with yet another bad cold (rainy season, will you just give it UP already?), with little energy but to do endless youtube digging for some new additions to my already oversized music collection. of course i found my way back to one of my favorite songwriters, neil finn, and was rewarded with discovering a few tracks from an album he put together with his brother tim. they have a musical chemistry that is so well-honed over the years... happiness for the ears.

this song especially stood out for me, i immediately tabbed it and added it to my list of cover songs. it's got such a lovely hopeful vibe, the joy of embracing uncertainty.

anyways, i've been on a neil finn/crowded house kick again lately. some music speaks to you more at certain times of your life than others. oddly enough it was reminding me of a time a few years ago (6ish already, eek) before i moved to scotland. i was imagining what my future would look like, and it came out in a drawing of me being driven away in a black car waving a handkerchief out the window, with a pile of tiny hearts blowing away behind. the next picture was of me standing happily beside my home, which was a mud hut with a thatched roof.
maybe something like this? this is shuar by the way.

at the time i was visualizing africa, but at the core there are enough similarities in environment and culture to say that now i'm very close to living out that visualization here in ecuador. who knows, in a couple years if i learn shuar and move into the jungle even the hut thing might become reality... how cool would that be!

anyways, i digress. so i was listening a lot to crowded house that year. the expansive imagery of the lyrics, music, and the intimacy of it as well was something that more and more was hitting me. and when i found the album 'together alone'... heaven.

so the other day i pulled it out again. it had been lost somewhere in the shuffle and mostly forgotten. but with the first notes of 'kare kare' (the name of the beach in new zealand where they based the recording of this album) i was back there. the feeling of space, possibilities, reflection. a profound connection with your surroundings.

all the things i was looking for then, and in fact did find when i went to scotland (which made it incredibly hard to leave) and now, years later, am beginning to find here.

there is music that offers a certain atmosphere for a passing mood. but there is also music that goes deeper, that calls to the very essence of who you are, to all the differing elements that weave you together.
crowded house is one of the bands that does that for me.

and when you're in the middle of life-rethinking, adapting, energy-healing and brain-rewiring, that is a beautiful thing to have. a little reassurance that you are still you. and some things don't change at all.

here is one of my favorite tracks off that album, played live.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


so i have a new little monster in my life. her name is alexie. or lexi for short.

she's a kitten... well... more or less half-grown now, which explains why she's somewhat delinquent at the moment. apparently cats have a rebellious teenage phase too. but for all that she is a lovely little being to have around. and when she's all done with her sneak attacks and frantic galloping through the apartment, she's quite content to climb into my lap and curl up for a good long nap. i think that bodes well for the future. (may those days come soon!)

once in a while she decides to try her hand at climbing things, and will very intently start up my leg. yeowch. and her favorite game in the morning is to hide in the kitchen near my feet and leap out at them, in full battle gear from behind the curtain. tremendous fun for her! especially as i leap around trying not to drop hot tea on her head, and shout 'lexi NO' in a desperate attempt to let her know who's boss. i wonder what the neighbours think... and those cat-training manuals don't seem to be working either.

it was love at first sight though. i saw her in a friends photo as a kitten in december, squealed and said 'where can i get one of those!'. she replied 'you can have this one.' so a month later i brought her home, small, wide-eyed, starting at every sound, curled into my chest as we bounced along in the bus.

she's a humanizing (animalizing?) element in my home, something warm to come home to. always entertaining, sometimes frustrating, loving and smart, challenging, a ball of energy one minute, a happy puddle of purring contentment the next. like right now. all lady-like and stretching out her toes like she's getting a pedicure.

i've always been more of a dog person, but over the years (and a LOT of catsitting) i've really started to like the feline species. it's another layer of personality and intelligence. and i love that you can let them just get on with things, without too much bother. alexie is somewhere in-between. part dog (following me around the house, yowling when i leave the house) part tiger (her moth-killing rate is 100%).

the downside to having a cat in the house full-time is loads of allergens. but the desire to avoid living in abject allergic misery is forcing me to keep my house pretty darn clean. points for domesticity. (silver linings)

anyhow, i wish i could philosophize about all this more eloquently, but what can i say. we're made to look after things. it brings out the best and worst in us, takes us out of ourselves, and we get so much love back in return. i'm a happier and more content person for having her here. simple as that.

(fleet foxes white winter hymnal is her theme song by the way. give it a listen.)

j and lexi out.