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Monday, May 23, 2016

Powhite Parkway

I tend to associate phases in my life with places and things, tangible, solid structures that can perhaps hold a memory. Keep it safe. I will always associate highway 85 with my father and trips to Atlanta. God, it's a long drive, 8 hours. Traffic is never that bad, not too many trucks. The Virginia and South Carolina stretches aren't too bad, it's getting through North Carolina that's the kicker.

Plenty of time to think no matter what stretch you're on. I used to think about seeing my dad, about life, about the future, dream of things that I wanted. The playlist was also extremely important. In the confines of the car, a song could make me happy, sad, upset and everything in between. Sometimes, it was just me and the music. I preferred that if I'm being honest. Just me and the music.

I became familiar with 85's signs and exits, it's Starbucks and Waffle Houses. I knew it. It was familiar. I don't drive it as much as I used to. Life always changes. I imagine the next time I'm on it I'll see something unfamiliar and say that must be new. It won't feel the same after that. It won't be mine anymore, It will belong to someone else who will say yea, they put that in a year ago.

I remember driving on another road, the Powhite Parkway, to my first interview at my, now, former job. I hurriedly got ready that morning and hopped on the Parkway to head out to Brandermill where their offices were located. I'd probably only driven on the Parkway a couple other times my whole life. Unless you lived out there, there really wasn't a reason to.

I remember thinking how much I really did not want to make that drive every day, not to mention pay tolls, but I ended up getting that job and the rest is history as they say. In the beginning, I didn't travel so I had to drive the parkway every day. I came to know it's curves and potholes, all important if you drive as fast as I do. After a year I think I could have driven it blindfolded. For a while I even called the other side of it home and moved in with a roommate just a couple of minutes from the office. That was weird. It never really felt right. I'm from the north side of the river.

Later on I traveled a ton and so only had to make the drive once or twice a week, but it was still my road. I knew everything along the way and where I would be when I came to the end of it. No need for a GPS. Over the years I've only gotten one speeding ticket on the Parkway. Oddly enough it was just a few weeks ago. First ticket in 11 and a 1/2 years, despite my penchant for speed. Maybe karma was making up for lost time and knew this was her last chance.

There were other signs that a change was coming. On the way to the office one morning I heard on the radio that Mercury was in retrograde for the next month so we should all hold on to our hats. Then, I opened a desk drawer just three weeks ago to pull out a few more business cards, having just run out of the stash I kept in my purse, only to notice that the box was almost empty. I would have had to order new ones the next week. Turned out I wasn't meant to. Change did come, and I won't be driving that road anymore. I've moved on to a new professional adventure and I'm extremely excited, but I'll remember my time at my old organization with profound fondness and be grateful for the amazing experiences and opportunities it brought me.

I will miss driving that road. So much has happened. I was heading north one evening when I got the call that my father had had a heart attack and wouldn't last the night. I was driving on it when I was the happiest I'd ever been in my whole life. I didn't even know I could be that happy. I was driving on it when I realized the new direction my life needed to take.

The last 11 1/2 years and the memories that accompany them are more than just a road. But I will always keep them safe and close, incorporated into the fiber of that road. The miles, the songs, the weather, the trees, the signs, the sky, the life that I have led while driving on it.

Did I mention I don't have to pay tolls any more?!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Follow The Trail

Sometimes life leaves you a trail of breadcrumbs, little markers along the way that lead you somewhere you're supposed to go. Three years ago I followed such a trail back to music and haven't looked back since. The band has also followed a few of it's own trails to find our sound, our rhythm and venues we enjoy. Last weekend we played for the second year in a row at the Trail Days Festival in Damasus, VA. Hope we can make it back next year, we have such a good time and love the crowd's enthusiasm. Here's a few pics from Saturday's show shot by Karen Rankin and also a couple from the weekend which doubled as a mini-break in the mountains. Getting out of town for a few days is always a nice treat, but the stress of the past couple weeks has been tough so I enjoyed the breather even more.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The East End

Here's a few pictures from this past weekend's East End Music Festival in Chimbarazo Park. Church Hill Music Co. was happy to be a part of the line-up and help raise money for Richmond City School's Music Departments. For most of us, other than attending a church, music class in school is the first place you're exposed to instruments, notes and songs......the mechanics, the beauty, the creativity, the preciseness of it all. For me, I remember the first time my elementary school music teacher told me I had a beautiful voice. It was like the sun on my face to learn I was good at something, that there was something that made me special. Music helps us in so many ways as we develop in school and we should never forget the confidence, happiness and wonder it can bring to a child. Even if music isn't part of their life's path, the positive influence of it is immeasurable. Please remember that the next time you have the opportunity to support music in schools.

Friday, May 6, 2016

It's Friday, Love

{ Everything feels a bit out of focus at the moment }

It's been a heavy week and I'm emotionally exhausted. Good, new things on the horizon, but saying goodbye to other things is hard. Change is hard. Thank you to all of my friends for the encouragement, love and support. Band has a show tomorrow, but otherwise, I'm looking forward to a lot of rest and regrouping this weekend. See ya Monday....

{ When bad photos happen to good people }

{ I stood in this same spot over 11 years ago }

{ I love this picture because David is smiling }

{ Great time presenting at this week's ConnectVA Social Media for nonprofits conference }

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Monuments Men

I'm in DC quite often, especially lately for work, but I rarely have the time to pull out my camera. I'm usually hustling from this side of town to the next, then to Capitol Hill and then to a hotel or the train station. This past week I had a bit if free time to run the mall and I brought my camera along. It ended up being that glorious time of day when the sun is setting behind Abe and the Mall looks like it goes on forever. Amongst all the monuments you feel especially small, insignificant, until you remember that people just like you built them, people just like you forged an idea that became this country and people like you will remember who we were and what we did here long after we're gone.