December 19, 2011
Un-Settling, ME Newsletter, Vol, 4, Issue 51
Refreshed, dressed and ready to go a little early, I decide to take a moment to lightly unload my lightly filled expandable rolling suitcase only to realize there was actually no bureau. I didn’t find the shallow one-drawer nightstand to be very conducive to settling in, either. So, I lugged my luggage up off the floor onto the single bed, and reorganized essentials into distinct areas. Undergarments and sock in one corner. Pants and jeans and shirts were refolded and re-stashed in order of possible potential use. I hung a few items on the few provided wardrobe hangers hoping to reduce wrinkles, and placed my most used make up and toiletries on the bath shelf.
Even with that minor derailment, I felt so good I grabbed my camera. I did that thing all the kids do - leaned into the bathroom mirror, all smiled up and feeling fine. The looking glasses in Ireland seem to be kinder than those at home – I’m sporting an excited glow. I’m pretty pleased with the image staring back at me.
Phone above me, or below me, or straight ahead – it turns out it really doesn’t matter. Despite what I am seeing, happy with my reflection, the photo comes back like a slap – a sudden, unkind unsettling slap. I check the mirror again and confirm what I see - a young, pretty girl, head-on. The camera however chooses to capture a droopy eyed, warble-necked woman. So, I repeatedly try different angles, and am glad I was talked into purchasing a 16 gig media card for the camera – I mean supposed phone. At least that’s one thing the phony knowledge-imposter sales dork was right about.
After fifteen minutes of creativity and oddly angled lens shots, I manage to eliminate the warble, but still appear completely bald in every photographic image. Love the smile though, so I decide when I get home I will edit off the top of my head so you can’t tell. That one became my new Facebook profile picture.
December 06, 2009
WPA, The Ark, Ann Arbor, 12/5/2009
You know those little heart plugs you self-install? The ones that must be stable and permanent and fail-safe because you put them there so very long ago and they’ve stayed in place so far?
Well, y’all yanked one out.
The catalyst: a song whose title I don’t know. It was one of those weird, “have you been shadowing my life in your dreams?” moments. It may very well have something to do with the fact that I have been surrounding myself with people who don’t know much about me.
In fact, for the first time in the 3 years since my husband’s death, I held a dinner party in my home. It was deliberately the day after Thanksgiving, because I chose to spend Thanksgiving alone this year. I only invited my new friends, because, well, you sort of end up falling away from the couples you shared your married life with when you become only one and a constant reminder that someone else is missing.
Before my visitors arrived, I methodically went through the house removing certain pictures from the walls, moving gold records to rooms not likey to be visited, consciously tucking parts of my life away. Otherwise, I’d have to explain, and they don’t really know how broken I am.
Can I u-turn my life? I’ve done it before. Right now I’m ten years past Nashville, and none of this is really your concern. And it’s not at all the point I was aiming for when I began this mid-night, post Ann Arbor Ark show ramble.
Even though I’m hurting with the self-divined knifing knowledge that I am still broken no matter how successfully I’ve managed to hide it, I wanted you to know that you were so absolutely right when you said you were in the right place.
Congratulations on taking charge of your own destiny, doing it yourself, and surging through life’s uncertain surf; and a heartfelt thank you for sharing your gifts.
I’m thanking GOD for that, and for you.
February 14, 2008
Swamp Scum, February 14, 2008
Thank you for your phone call yesterday. I do apologize, though.
I truly though when Jeff passed away, that I had contacted all of our Michigan Hot Sauce Club store vendors. Even though our conversation was brief, you really saved the day for me. Hearing how much you enjoyed talking with Jeff and your very accurate impression of him as an always happy, upbeat guy, was right on.
I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, and he tried diligently for a few weeks to get a hold of you. He was relieved that you were ok, and mentioned some warehouse damage to me. As we watched reports of the devastation, Jeff was already wishing he could go down to New Orleans and help. Unfortunately, his health was already failing, and we knew that it was not a realistic goal.
Michigan Hot Sauce Club was founded for two main reasons. Jeff was disabled and could no longer work at his job, and the sitting at home was driving him crazy. He had a passion for hot sauce, and I really didn’t give him much choice in the matter. I just announced we were opening a hot sauce store and that was that. Jeff really enjoyed the camaraderie of the hot sauce world. He loved talking to vendors all over the country. He loved manning the store 3 days a week and talking to customers. Swamp Scum was one of our best sellers; a truly phenomenal product. Jeff and I came up with so many great ideas and unique ways to use Swamp Scum. I even made a green chili for a cook-off at work with it. Once folks got over the color, they loved it.
It sometimes still surprises me when I look back on how well things went for us during this difficult time. And it still surprises me, that even though I know God has a greater plan for each of us, how everything ends up connected.
You see, the reason that I am writing to you, is that Jeff was a dreamer. I think in his heart he knew he would never make it to New Orleans to help, but he talked about it often and even encouraged me to go without him. I did not. I was too afraid of leaving him. I wanted to have every second I could with him, because we knew that our time together would be short.
So just in case you are having one of those days where you’re wondering if what you do really matters, I am here to answer “Yes.”
If you had not sent Jeff that first sample box, we wouldn’t have had such a popular item in our store; we wouldn’t have felt that connection to Louisiana. Jeff would not have planted the dream of helping to rebuild New Orleans in my head. And I never would have made that significant healing trip. I don’t take it lightly that you happened to call on Valentine’s Day. It truly brought me joy to hear that you enjoyed speaking with him. I’ve heard from many vendors who only spoke to Jeff on the phone, and some who only knew Jeff from email, and so many of you have said the same thing. That it was always a pleasure to talk to him.
I am hoping to return to New Orleans with the same mission group, Get In The Car. There is a March trip, which I am not sure I can make, but I am really trying. There will also be an October trip, which I am committed to. If you are interested, you can go to www.getinthecar.org to learn more about the group, and to see pictures.
Wishing you continued blessings and great success.
Mrs. Jodi A. Korte
January 03, 2008
Dear Henry Rollins, January 3, 2008
Dear Henry Rollins,
I don’t normally write letters to iconic individuals such as your self. And, no, I am not mocking you. I have been a fan since my early years in the music industry in Manhattan. I’ve admired everything you’ve ever stood for, your boldness, and your uncompromising opinions. Most impressive was an accidental viewing of the Uncut in Israel gig on Fuse just a few days ago. I’ve been enjoying my come-lately discovery of The Henry Rollins show. Satire and seriousness; brilliant stuff. But, with complete sincerity, I just have to know, don’t you ever want look for the good side?
Sure, the whole Beckham hoopla was annoying. But, hey, if he gets a couple fat American kids off the couch and heading towards either a field goal or personal goal, I say, more power to him.
No, one song does not an artist or a man make, but take a listen to Toby Keith’s recording of “Love Me If You Can”. It didn’t get much red-neck airplay, and there are a couple of good reasons why.
I’m glad you found a positive way to channel your rage and outrages. When you’re out there in the hospitals, visiting the war wounded, would you try to memorize just one nameless, faceless volunteer that actually makes the joint every day?
Would you believe that there are people who make a modest (or less than modest) living, and yet have spent their vacation time over the past two years traveling to New Orleans at their own expense to help a city still trying to rebuild? It’s true. Check it out. www.getinthecar.org.
You know, what Mr. Rollins? You are who you are. That’s fantastic. That’s why I respect you. That’s how you inspire me. If you ever do decide to try the brighter side, there’d no need to advertise that to the world. I’d be happy keep that secret for you, plus I’d probably sleep a little better at night.
Peace and blessings.