Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year

Spring can really hang you up the most, ya know? But that doesn't stop me from loving this season of growth, rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, re-everything, and crazy, crazy weather. Oh how I love spring.

Spring is the time of year when you never really know what to expect from Mother Nature. You might wake up to sunshine streaming through the windows and birds singing their come hither melodies, experience a torrential downpour with lightning and thunder accompaniment during the lunch hour, and find yourself seduced outside in the afternoon by a double rainbow that quickly fades when the hail starts falling. And then the fog rolls in.

Spring. A good time to dress in layers.

After a long, dreary winter, along with fresh sprouts and longer days, spring has a way of bringing with it a renewal of hope. An understanding that there are sunnier days ahead, both actual and metaphorical. When spring has sprung, it’s the release of a tightly wound coil. Suddenly, I can breathe. (And then the pollen stuffs me up again, but let’s just pretend it doesn’t for a moment. Because it’s also like a Vitamin B-12 shot for creative individuals.

Spring has been inspiring artists for eons. Poets, painters, and musicians. I don’t know a lick about poetry or watercolor, but I’ve been a fan of music that pertains to the changing of the seasons for about as long as I can remember, and not an equinox nor a solstice is allowed to pass by without at least a small dedication to the changing of the season on JPR's Siskiyou Music Hall. Usually it's more likely a rather large dedication.

By the time you read this, the first official day of spring will have already come and gone (this year it was March 20th). No matter, I'm celebrating spring a little late this year, dedicating today's column to all the glorious music that's been written in its honor. And there's a lot. In fact, below you'll find two playlists of music inspired by all things a la primavera, fruhling et printemps; one that's for classical music lovers, the other for the rest of you.

Additionally, listeners are invited to tune in to JPR's Classics & News Service on Monday, April 8th, when I'll share a number of selections from the classical playlist during a special edition of Siskiyou Music Hall. Listeners in Shasta County can tune their radios to 90.9 FM. If you're anywhere else in between Roseburg, Oregon and Mendocino, California, you can either find the appropriate spot on the dial using our handy online map, or stream directly from the JPR website.

Spring - The Classical Playlist by Valerie Ing-Miller on Grooveshark
Spring - The Classical Playlist

1.     Vals de Primavera - Agustin Barrios
2.     Last Spring - Edvard Grieg
3.     Appalachian Spring - Aaron Copland
4.     Spring from The Seasons - Mark O'Connor
5.     Spring from The Four Seasons - Antonio Vivaldi
6.     Rondes de Printemps - Claude Debussy
7.     Spring Morning - Frederic Delius
8.     Spring Blossom (Sakura) - Traditional Japanese Melody
9.     Symphony No. 1, Spring - Robert Schumann
10.  Spring Song - Jean Sibelius
11.  Spring from The Seasons - Alexander Glazunov
12.  Violin Sonata No. 5, Spring - Ludwig Van Beethoven
13.  Ocean In Springtime (Haru No Umi) - Michio Miyagi
14.  Voices of Spring - Johann Strauss, Jr
15.  Primavera Porteno - Astor Piazzola
16.  Pluie de Printemps - Django Reinhardt
17.  Spring Song - Felix Mendelssohn
18.  Der Fruhling from The Seasons - Franz Joseph Haydn
19.  String Quartet No. 14, Spring - W.A. Mozart
20.  Fruhlingstraum - Franz Schubert
21.  Spring Waters - Sergei Rachmaninov
22.  The Rite of Spring - Igor Stravinsky

Spring by Valerie Ing-Miller on Grooveshark
Spring - The Rhythm Playlist

1.     March (A Prelude to Spring) - Jon Foreman
2.     Spring Wind - Jack Johnson
3.     Spring - Heidi Happy
4.     Printemps - Coeur de Pirate
5.     Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most - Norah Jones & Marian McPartland
6.     Spring Blossom - Oi Va Voi
7.     They Say It's Spring - Blossom Dearie
8.     Spring - The Innocence Mission
9.     Spring - Saint Etienne
10.  Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year - Ella Fitzgerald
11.  I Love Paris In The Springtime - Frank Sinatra
12.  Y'a Pas De Printemps - Edith Piaf
13.  La Primavera - Manu Chao
14.  Spring Rain - The Go-Betweens
15.  Spring Thaw - Bela Fleck
16.  Spring Buds - Keller Williams
17.  Swing Spring - Joe Henderson
18.  Springtime - Donald Fagen
19.  Spring - Dori Caymmi
20.  Joy Spring - Clifford Brown & Max Roach
21.  Spring Haze - Tori Amos
22.  Spring - Tracy Chapman

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Three years ago, my junior high boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed, and I turned him down.

Don't worry, this story has a happy ending, I promise.

It was a beautiful evening on Maui. We'd just been to a luau, and as we walked across a footbridge over a beautiful pool with a waterfall and glowing lights, he suddenly dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him.
Technically, I didn't say no. I said "Not yet." I didn't think we were ready. I gave him a couple of great excuses, mainly the fact that we lived and worked in different states. It's a five hour drive from his place to mine, so we only see each other on weekends. At his place, at my place, or we meet somewhere in the middle. I thought it was important for us to know if we could live together before getting married, and living so far apart, we had no idea if we could stand each other for more than about a week at a time. I just felt like we should share a home before we shared the title of Mr. and Mrs.

He took it pretty well, for a guy who had just been turned down. He said, "OK, fine. But just so you know, I'm not asking you again. Next time, it's on you. And fair warning, you're gonna have to ask me twice. Because I'm gonna turn you down the first time, just so you know what it feels like."
I laughed, and immediately asked him to marry me. And he laughed back and said "Nope."
And since that day, we've just continued on, me waiting for the day that he decides to move to California, and he waiting for the day I give in and ask him to marry me.

A lot has happened since then. We've really gotten our money's worth out of our shared Verizon plan. We became godparents to a friend's children. I saved his mother's house from an illegal foreclosure perpetrated by one of the biggest banks in the country. He taught my daughter how to drive. And how to dive. And he made sure he never missed a dance recital or a play. I've done his taxes every year (and he keeps pretending he's going to pay me for it), and he's power washed my patio (without even the promise of money). I was by his side for every company Christmas party at the Elks Lodge in Brookings. I watched him stand up at a funeral and sweetly, poignantly and perfectly honor the co-worker who's last effort in life was to save my boyfriend's. He watched me stand in front of a thousand people on stage and declare that I was going to kiss George Thorogood if given the opportunity. We came up with a secret signal for party exit strategies. I started loading him up with sandwiches, not just for the drive back, but for the next 3 days of work. We each gained about 10 pounds. Maybe more. "Food just tastes better when I'm with you," he says. And I realized that after five years, he still whispers "I love you" in the middle of the night, whether he thinks I can hear him or not. And just like otters, we hold hands when we're sleeping. In five years, we haven't drifted away. We've gotten closer. We fall deeper in love every single day.

I realized, finally, after five years, that home does not mean my house. We make our home wherever we are. In the big house where I cook for him in California. At his little place high up on a mountain overlooking the place where the Chetco River meets the Pacific Ocean. We have made our home in my sister's old bedroom at my parent's house. In the little apartment over his sister's garage in Coos Bay. We have made our home in a hotel room in Bend while visiting his son Jesse. We have made our home at The Pinehurst Inn, far from tvs and cell reception, and in a makeshift tent at Fish Lake. In an old VW Westphalia parked outside a cabin up on Mount Hood. We are a family now, and our home is not four walls in a specific place. It is what we create every time we are together. It's a non-tangible thing that we have created together that requires the energy of two people who love each other the way we do.

A few weeks ago we created a little home in the tall grass on a hillside overlooking the beach near Brookings, snuggled in, just watching the waves in the bright afternoon sun. It was a sweet spot. We had a little bench carved out of an old tree, a bottle of red wine, and my dog was happier than I've ever seen him. I swear he was smiling.

Eddie never forgets to capture moments like these. He pulled out the camera, took a little panoramic video of the beach and us and the dog, and said life didn't get much better than this.

So that's when I made my move. Because I knew maybe it could get just a little better.

And of course he said yes. He was so excited that for one crazy moment he even said he'd take my last name (he came to his senses about an hour later).

People keep asking "So is he moving here? Are you moving there?"

Neither. We're keeping things just the way they are, because the way we see it, not only do we have two homes (my digs in the city, where he can do all his shopping, and his getaway at the beach), but we have managed to make ourselves at home wherever we happen to be. And things seem to be working pretty well just the way are.

I know it's a total cliche, but home really is where the heart is, and that's probably all the explanation today's playlist - or our marriage - really needs.

Check out the playlist directly at Grooveshark.

  1. Home - Jack Johnson
  2. Home - Philip Phillips
  3. Far From Home - Gabe Dixon Band
  4. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To - Julie London
  5. Home (Naive Melody) - Talking Heads
  6. Home - Michael Buble
  7. Two Of Us - Aimee Mann & Michael Penn
  8. Carry You Home - James Blunt
  9. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  10. Baby Come Home - Led Zeppelin
  11. I'm Going Home - Charlie Musselwhite
  12. Home Is Where The Heart Is - McFly
  13. Come Home - James
  14. Bring It On Home - UB40
  15. Home - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
  16. I'm Going Home - Jack White & Friends
  17. Home Is Where The Heart Is - John Butler Trio
  18. Come Home - One Republic
  19. Take The Long Way Home - Supertramp
  20. Home - Zero 7