In the parking lot of work this morning I stayed in my car to listen to Ray LaMontagne’s “Devil in the Jukebox” on the radio. During those two minutes, it was to appreciate the rarity of Ray on the radio. It reminded me of nearly three years ago when I met Ray LaMontagne, the dog.
Six months after buying a house with a yard, I scoured petfinder.com, looking for that perfect dog. It was very much like online dating, combing through profiles of traits I was seeking. I wanted it to be a male because I already selected a man’s name for him. He had to be small enough to pick up if necessary. I wanted him to be a terrier, to appease the wishes of a much younger Jamie. I wanted him to be house-broken. I stumbled upon a one and a half year old Jack Russell Bassett Hound mix named “Joey”. In all three of his photos, he had one ear permanently stretched to the skies and it was then that my heart completely melted, tears welling up. I had found my dog.
It was a labor of love getting Ray. I had to email the woman who was fostering him and plead my case for why she should decide to give him to me. Time was of the essence because there was someone else interested in adopting him. On June 16th, 2010 I agreed to drive to Elkin, NC (the halfway point between me in Charlotte and the foster mom in Virginia) and sat waiting in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrell for the dog of my dreams.
He hopped out of a red pickup truck and into my heart. He came with a leash, a basketball, a puppet and a personality all his own. I guided him to the backseat of my car and played him a Ray LaMontagne CD on the way to his new home. I called him Ray. He called me Mom.
Ray is the perfect name for a dog whom everyone adores, after all, everybody loves Raymond.
Ray LaMontagne’s seranade in the produce section of Publix as the snow fell on a Saturday morning. The ritual of selecting a bag of celery never sounded so good. Celery to serve as a vessel for the creative peanut butter I keep making. Currently, there are no less than 5 plastic containers of nut butter in my fridge. My latest concoction is banana peanut butter. Banana. Peanut butter.
Die Hard 5 aka A Good Day to Die Hard, the first time I’ve paid money to see a movie since June when I paid to see Magic Mike. Twice. Got a little Die Hard On for the actor who plays McClane’s son. My fascination with the Die Hard series cannot be explained.
Ray got into it with something with claws when I let him outside to the backyard.(When I called home for help, my dad suggested if it wasn’t a mean housecat, it was a raccoon or a bobcat. I had to explain to him that the only bobcats we have around here are those that don’t put up a fight. I’m talking to you, worst team in the NBA.) I did the best at being a nurse until the Nyquiltini kicked in and I was out cold by 10 pm.
Sam’s for two pounds of salmon. Who am I? A baby Grizzly bear.
Rented Celeste and Jesse Forever. I had such hopes for this movie with Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg.
An hour and a half until a staff meeting and I’m half tempted to still be sick just so I can get out of it.
After Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I went to Atlanta to reunite with some friends from college. I flew from Charlotte to New Orleans, but I took the Megabus to get from New Orleans to Atlanta because double decker discount buses are cheap. Like $60 cheap. Not having any prior experience and knowing no one who has traveled that way before, I was pleasantly surprised that the Megabus didn’t turn out to be a mega bust. I really can’t say enough good things about my new favorite mode of transportation. They boast free Wi-fi, but it’s something to be desired since I had little to no service on my iPad. So passengers are left to entertain themselves with their phones. I’d suggest packing a book/Kindle to read. And snacks, A LOT OF SNACKS. The Megabus has a schedule to keep so there aren’t any stops (save for 15 minutes at a rest area in who knows where Georgia where I raided the vending machine.) For tiny bladdered folks like me that means holding it for hours on end, or peeing in the tiny bathroom at 70 mph. (What’s the Megabus equivalent to the Mile High Club?).
My friend was late picking me up so I waited across the street from the bus stop at a hotel bar where I warmed up with an outrageous $6 bottle of Miller Lite. Always making friends while traveling, I got to chatting with a married couple. They asked where I was from. I told them about what brought me to Atlanta. They have a timeshare in New Orleans. They also shared with me the story of how they met 35 years ago. At a bar. She tripped over his huge feet and busted her chin. He was quick to give aid and ask if she was okay. She followed up with “Honey, if the rest of you is as big as your feet, I think I’m in love!”. Isn’t that just precious? I’ve always wanted my meet cute to involve a sexual innuendo.
I bid my new friends goodbye and was finally reunited with my old friend. She asked if I was hungry. I don’t usually eat dinner at 9 pm, but then again I don’t usually eat a bag of chex mix for lunch so to dinner it was. I requested Flip Burger because of krispy kreme milkshakes on their dessert menu. (Flip Burger, if you are reading this, please come to Charlotte…and bring H&M with you). We shared a platter of fries, onion rings, sweet potato tater tots and Brussells sprouts, in addition to scarfing down burgers and shakes.
On Thursday, my friend had to work at one of the eight Atlanta Whole Foods all day so I set out to visit with my college roommate and her 9 month old baby girl. I got to hear all about her 24 hour labor and what the hell a nipple shield is. It was nice to visit and catch up since seeing her 3 years ago when I came down to see Ray LaMontange at the Fox Theatre the day after moving into my house.
After catching up, I made my way in Atlanta traffic to the fanciest mall in the world. I thought South Park Mall was fancy, but Phipps Plaza takes the cake. It was the fanciest mall I have ever set an underdressed foot in. There’s a piano in the foyer. There are SO many stores that I have never heard of before. There’s no food court so I had to make one outside of Nordstrom’s ebar to chow down on french fries and kalamata olive dip from the Nordstrom Bistro Cafe. It was Valentine’s Day after all so why not spend it with something that you love?
Once my friend got off of work, we trekked to Clermont Lounge. She claims it to be an Atlanta staple. It’s hard to describe what the Clermont Lounge is exactly. It’s a dive bar that Atlanta hipsters flock to. After paying $8 in cover, you enter a dingy smokey bar with a small stage with a live band playing to your left. And strippers to your right. But not just any strippers. Overweight, tattooed, cellulite-ridden, past their prime strippers. It would seem as if Clermont Lounge is where strippers go to retire.
No visit to a strip club would be complete without a visit to a diner. The Magestic Diner for cheesy hashbrows. One of the servers there was in New Orleans for 48 hours of Mardi Gras too.
The alarm sounded too early on Friday when I had to make it to the bus bound for home. All in all, a spectacular week!
On the commute to and from work, this song can be heard pouring out of my car. Former member of Nickel Creek, Chris Thile, is now part of the Punch Brothers (who opened for Ray LaMontagne once upon a time). Truthfully, the only thing I’m looking forward to about The Hunger Games movie at the end of the week is the soundtrack. Featured on the album are two songs by the Civil Wars (saw them last year at NYC’s Town Hall-amazing!) and one by the Secret Sisters (whom I met last June when they opened for Ray LaMontagne), and a tune by 15 year old British import Birdy who did an amazing cover of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought that I’d put a spin on the 10 things that rock my world post that Natalie had tasked me with. If you’ve been a reader for awhile you can already guess as to what my 10 things would be. But for those fresh on the bandwagon, this is for you. Better late than never, I always say.
1) Ray “of Sunshine” LaMontagne
I fell in love with Ray LaMontagne, the bearded singer/songwriter, 7 years ago. I fell in love with a certain Jack Russell/Bassett Hound after poring over petfinder.com profiles for months. It was when I saw his trademark ear that my heart melted. I had to have him. It was an easy decision to name him after the man who penned “Trouble” because my new four-legged companion gets into it often.
2) Vanilla Coke
Years ago, I was shopping with my mom in downtown Vero Beach, FL, popping in and out of boutiques when we took a break and stumbled upon a cafe where I noticed vanilla Coke. It was love at first sip and that taste is forever attached to shopping with my mom under the warm Florida sunshine. Not ready for the end of production, I will stockpile cases whenever I’m at the only grocery store in town that still carries it.
My bedtime is embarrassing. I have no excuse. I just love sleep. I love my bed, my pillows, my sweet dreams. I simply love sleep and cannot get enough of it. I get less of it on the weekends thanks to #1 but it’s worth it because he’s so damn cute.
I love experiencing new cultures. I’ve been to 4 countries, but I recently met someone who put my pitiful passport to shame. How am I to compete with someone who has literally traveled around the world and could rivel even the travelocity gnome? I’ve got some serious catching up to do.
I’ve been wearing out my library card since the day I got it. I love escaping through books. I love the smell of bookstores. I love that one day, in a perfect world where dreams come true, you will be able to thumb through my literary masterpiece.
Read this post about how exactly I appreciate music.
7) Birthday cake
Birthday cake is the only reason I’m ever remotely excited about turning another year older each year. Birthday cake makes everything better, no matter the time of day. Whenever there was birthday cake in the house, I’d wake early to sneak into the kitchen and help myself to a slice, even better if ice cream was involved. Birthday cake for breakfast is the epitome of my childhood.
8 Hand holding
A simple gesture that can be so heart-fluttering. I know for sure whether a guy likes me when he reaches for my hand as we cross the street after a date. It warms my heart to see old couples walking hand in hand.
Where would I be without my friends? It would be a place void of laughter and gossip and cherished memories. I’m thankful for old friends, like the ones I’ve held onto since junior high and I’m thankful for new friends, as recently as a few weeks ago. I’m even thankful for the friends I’m about to meet.
Yes, they are crazy and more often than not I am embarrassed by them (I’ll spare you the gory details) but they are the only crazy family I’ve got and I love them. And it’s my sincere hope that I marry an orphan because I don’t want to marry into crazy when I’ve got enough for the both of us.
I was born with many talents (picking up things with my toes, double jointed fingers, etc.), but musical talent was not among them. In the second grade I tried my hand at piano, but could not graduate from Chopsticks, so that 8 year old’s dream died. In the fifth grade, I tried to master the saxophone, but since I am not a yellow cartoon character, realized that I just couldn’t make it cool. In high school I joined the color guard because I wanted to hang out with my marching band friends. Even in college I roomed with three music therapy majors, hoping to learn something through osmosis.
Since I cannot play music, I support the musical arts. I drive four hours to Atlanta when major tour stops don’t include Charlotte. I sneak onto tour buses in the Amos’ parking lot to play tic tac toe with Rocco deLuca. I have JET members autograph their albums I checked out from the library. I catch drumsticks from the Blues Traveler drummer. I stand in line for hours on Record Store Day and don’t even own a record player. I make out with the Wailers young tour manager at the Holiday Inn in the middle of the night. I make out with Harry Connick Jr.’s bass player on top of the Holiday Inn uptown. I beg lighting supervisors to give me Ray LaMontagne’s set list from his Cincinnati show on my birthday. I fly to New York to see The Civil Wars when their Charlotte show is a sell out. I serve as Justin Timberlake’s back up dancer for part 3 of the history of rap with Jimmy Fallon.
There’s pretty much nothing I wouldn’t do (and no one I wouldn’t make out with) to show my music appreciation.
Me: Excuse me, are you Ray’s lighting supervisor?
Ray LaMontagne’s skinny weathered hippie of a lighting supervisor: Yep.
Me: It’s my birthday today and I would love to meet him.
Lighting supervisor: It’s pretty impossible to meet him.
Me: Can I have the set list at least?
Lighting supervisor: Talk to the sound engineer the second the concert is over. If you’re a minute late, you’re not getting it.
Me: Okay. Thank you!
I woke early this morning to participate in the 3rd annual Record Store Day at Charlotte’s only participating record store, Lunchbox Records. I thought that the rain would keep some music buffs away, but no such thing. I stood in line for an hour, waiting to get inside the small record shop. All for grabbing 1 of 3,000 of Ray LaMontagne’s live fall 2010′s vinyl album, despite the fact that I do not own a record player, nor am I an actor in any John Cusack movie. My justification for dropping $14.99 on something I literally cannot use was that my new purchase can serve as wall decor, because I’m always complaining about the plain white walls in my home.
Before heading home to my unadorned walls, I wanted to participate in the grand opening of Buffalo Exchange but there was a sign on the door that they weren’t able to open its doors to me due to unforeseen circumstances.
This just in, some poor slub is trying to sell his/her copy for $59.99 on ebay.