The Knowing and the Not Knowing

I saw Pete Yorn play an acoustic set at the Troubadour recently and it was sublime. I told a couple of people at work that I was going to see him to which they responded, “I don’t know who that is.” It was all I could do not to cry for them. I mean, anyone who didn’t spend the early 2000’s wallowing in musicforthemorningafter and Day I Forgot on repeat truly missed out.

“If you heard Strange Condition you’d know who he is,” I told them.


Judy Greer was there and  I saw her buying merch and she was so excited to get her Pete York t-shirt. She was seriously adorable. My friend Lisa who I went to the show with didn’t know who she was. If you don’t know who Judy Greer is, she’s one of those working actresses that you recognize when you see them on TV or in a movie and think to yourself, “Where do I know her from?” and it drives you so crazy you have to pull up IMDB on your phone immediately because you cannot wait one second more to figure out where you know her from.


So maybe that was the theme of the night – knowing, but not knowing.

My friend Lisa may not know who Judy Greer is but she loves Pete Yorn (almost) as much as I do and spent the early part of her 2000’s not missing out by listening to his albums on repeat. It’s better to see a show with someone who loves the music as much as you do if possible.

The Troubadour is tiny, but it was packed. (Of course it was packed. Pete Fucking Yorn was playing the Troubadour!) We stood to the side of the stage so we could be close and feel the breeze from the door (because a packed Troubadour equals a hot Troubadour) and we lucked out because we were standing right behind his parents. He was a good son and acknowledged them and made sure they were comfortable and talked about them and thanked them for being there which made me love him even more than I already do (and trust me the way that I love him has nothing to do with him being a good son if you know what I’m saying).

I mean it would be easy to love Pete Yorn because he’s beautiful.


Obviously.

But that’s not why I love him. (Okay, maybe it is a little.)

And the reason I love him is also not because of his songwriting. Though his songwriting is amazing. Truly.

I don’t miss you, still I will take a car to be with you
I don’t know you, of course you think you know me
I don’t want you
So why should I compete with other guys?
I don’t love you, no
I think I’ll take a long way down from here

(Guess what – he loves her.)

The reason I love him is because of the yearning. In his voice. In the way he strums his guitar. This dude is yearning for more. Even in his song about a burrito (which is not really about a burrito at all even though the song title is Burrito) the yearning is there.

In the knowing there’s more to come.

Or not knowing if there’s more to come.

Or knowing everything is perfect and not knowing how long it will last.

Spend This Christmas with Matthew and Gunnar Nelson

“The music we take dead seriously, but we don’t take ourselves that seriously, we have a lot of fun,” said Matthew Nelson describing the Christmas with the Nelsons shows he will be performing in eight cities across America with his brother Gunnar.

mattheew-and-gunnar-nelson-tour-christmas

Recently I sat down with Matthew to discuss the upcoming tour and new NELSON Christmas single, featuring Carnie and Wendy Wilson. (And by sat down with, I mean I sat down in my living room in Los Angeles and he sat down in his living room in Nashville and we had a lovely conversation on the phone.)

We talked about living in Nashville vs. living in Los Angeles (Nashville: full of world class musicians and a great place to raise your family. LA: The awesome food and weather not worth the traffic and hustle-and-bustle-affected lifestyle.), the dreaded “B” word – branding (it sucks, but you’ve got to do it), and mostly Christmas.

Last year Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, along with a singer-songwriter named Alyssa Bonagura co-wrote and recorded This Christmas, an original song to include on the Nelson brother’s album of Christmas standards sharing the same name.

A second Christmas album, This Christmas Too will be coming out December 9th and they’ve re-recorded the title track with Carnie and Wendy Wilson.

“The first recording was great, it was our first hit song in twenty years, but we have been wanting to do something with the Wilson sisters for a long time and this just made sense. It is literally like the new The Mamas and The Papas. The blend is unbelievable and we had so much fun,” Matthew said, talking excitedly about re-recording last year’s hit holiday song.

In fact the two sibling groups had so much fun working together they are already talking about future projects. “We all kind of grew up as kids of the 70’s and we’re talking about possibly taking some of that music like (Dan Fogelberg’s) Leader of the Band and (The Doobie Brothers’) Listen to the Music and putting a new spin on it.”

I told him I hoped that would happen. “Oh, it will happen,” he assured me.

nelson-brothers-wilson-sisters-cr-brian-lowe-2016-billboard-1548
Photo credit: Brian Lowe

When I asked him how the Christmas shows came about he said, “It came together very organically. About three years ago, somebody called us up and said, ‘Hey we’re from a tiny place in Nebraska called Red Cloud and an author named Willa Cather was from here. That’s what we’re famous for. She left money behind for an opera house and we’d like you to come and do a Christmas show.’

“And I said, ‘What do you mean, you want us to come and do one of our normal shows?’ and he said, ‘No, I’m talking only Christmas music.’

“And Gunnar and I got together and we thought about it because we love Christmas, we always have. It’s been our favorite time of year for forever. Our dad too. No matter what he was doing he came off the road to celebrate Christmas together.”

Taking what they learned from their popular Ricky Nelson Remembered tour, a unique multi media entertainment event featuring the live music of their late father Ricky Nelson’s hit songs, they put together a live music and video program that tells the story of three eras of Nelson family Christmases, starting with Ozzie and Harriet’s era, through their dad’s era in the 70’s as a country rocker and bringing through to Christmas with their families today.

“We always say, our show at best is a combination between the Everly brothers and the Smothers brothers. The usual Christmas shows people put on have two or three Christmas songs thrown in. We flip it. We do all Christmas music except for one segment with Hello Mary Lou-Travelin’ Man-Garden Party in a medley with one or two of ours, but that takes maybe 10 minutes in a show that goes two to two-and-a-half hours. This year we’re touring with a violinist/fiddle player named Molly Cherryholmes who’s Grammy nominated 5 times for her bluegrass band. She’s only twenty-four and is like a freak of nature, as far as musicians are concerned,” Matthew said describing the show.

So if you’re looking for something a little different to do with the family this Christmas (or on a date night) check out their tour schedule below. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell your husband that Matthew and Gunnar were your secret 90’s crush.) And don’t forget to add This Christmas and This Christmas Too (available on pre-order) to your Christmas music library.

 

Nov 28           Modesto, CA                         Tickets

Dec 04           Lakeland, FL                         Tickets

Dec 06           Milwaukee, WI                     Tickets (two shows)

Dec 07           Milwaukee, WI                     Tickets (two shows)

Dec 08           Milwaukee, WI                     Tickets  (two shows)

Dec 09           Milwaukee, WI                     Tickets  (two shows)

Dec 10            Larchwood, IA                     Tickets

Dec 11            Davenport, IA                       Tickets

Dec 12            Mount Pleasant, TX            Tickets

Dec 16            Goodyear, AZ                       Tickets (two shows)

Dec 17            Tiffin, OH                              Tickets

Kindness Counts

Last night at dinner we were discussing the trip Dave and I will be taking to Washington D.C. this fall to visit Chandler in college during parent’s weekend.

“Remember that woman who helped us in the subway station,” Chandler said. “She didn’t have to do that. That was so nice.”

It’s not the first time our family has talked about how helpful this stranger was to us. A random act of kindness, I suppose you could call it.

Random-Act-of-Kindess
Change the world!

 

Three years ago we traveled to Washington D.C. for a family vacation. We had an early morning flight that was delayed causing us to miss our connection. We eventually got to D.C. after a four hour layover and fourteen hour travel day. We landed sometime after 10PM and took the metro to our hotel. At the transfer station we encountered a huge mass of people. A Phillys/Nationals baseball game had just ended and the subway station was packed full.

Dave has lived in several big cities and I’ve traveled quite a bit, so we certainly know how to handle a crowded subway. But our kids? They’re Southern California suburbanites who’d only ever taken the LA subway (which can best be described as subway-lite) for fun day trips. As we stood at the edge of the line with our wheely bags, overtired, overwhelmed and completely out of our element, a woman approached us.

“Hi,” she said. “I can see that you guys are traveling. I’ve got an app on my phone and the next train is a short train. You’ll never make it on if you stand here. I know there are a lot of people, but try to move more towards the middle if you can. You’ll have to wait another twenty minutes if you miss this train.”

“Thank you,” we said as she and her friends moved up the line.

We mushed our way through the throngs of people and made our way toward the middle. She was right. The train wasn’t very long, but thanks to her we made it on.

It was such a simple thing she did, taking a few seconds to help a family she didn’t know and would never see again. She could have looked at us and thought, “Suckers.” Or just look through us and thought nothing at all. It wasn’t a grand gesture, but it certainly did save the day. It’s something we still talk about sometimes three years later.

In our day-to-day lives we’re met with rudeness or indifference all the time. The person who cuts you off or who doesn’t say thank you when you hold the door open for them. But those are not the people I remember.

I will always remember the man who helped me at the Chicago airport when I was traveling with toddler Chandler in a stroller and was faced with an escalator instead of an elevator. I remember the woman in Paris 29 years ago, who stopped to help us when she saw Rita and I standing on a street corner looking at a map (and probably looking very confused). I remember the two men in Ireland, on that same European trip, who helped us push (or rather pick up) our car out of the mud when we were stuck on a country road and then refused the ride we offered them once they got us out. (Okay, that’s hard to forget!)

What we do in our day-to-day lives matters. What we focus on matters. I choose to focus on the good, the beautiful, the inspiring and remember the kindnesses that are bestowed upon me, both big and small.

I’d love for you to tell me about an unexpected kindness that has been bestowed upon you.

 

Photo credit: Heath Brandon via Creative Commons

 

 

It’s Hot

On Saturday morning I was wasting time on the Internet pinning things to my Pinterest page. Inspiring sayings that look like this:

Wouldn’t you like a life like this?

Yummy food I really and truly do hope to make one day that looks like this:

Tuna and chickpea salad
Tuna and chickpea salad – sadly I’m the only person in the Ross household that would eat this!

I was also pinning pretty clothes I’d like to own. (BTW – I’d also like the life that goes with clothes like these!)

You can totally see me wearing this right? (No? Sigh…)

and this…

Fall fashion with leopard shoes
Adorable! Love those shoes.

and this…

Beautiful fall fashion for office
Wouldn’t I look nice wearing this to my publisher’s office in NYC? (You know, if I had a publisher?)

and this…

gray and teal fall fashion
Adorable!

not to mention these seriously cute brown boots…

brown-boots-for-fall
My life will not be complete until I own these boots! (Click the picture if you want to find out how to buy them. They’re only $43.00!)

and finally this…

greay and peach fall fashion
I cannot tell you how cute I’d look in this!

Then I left the house to drop Chandler off at the bus for his cross country meet and take Marley to her soccer game. This is what the the car thermometer said:

102 degrees in September in Los Angeles
Hot hot hot

Yes, mid-September is still summer, people, and it’s usually Los Angeles’ hottest month. My poor kids. It’s way too hot to run 3 miles or to play soccer for an hour.

How to pack an ice chest for hot soccer games
Ready to go with cool towels, Gatorade and plenty of water.

And even more importantly, poor me. How am I supposed to obsess over warm and cozy fall outfits that I cannot afford and have no place to wear in weather like this?

It’s just not right.

I’m curious… are you pinning on Pinterest? What do you like to pin? Follow my Pinterest page here. (I promise to follow you back!)