(In my continued effort to fill in the blanks of what's happened in 2009, I begin with tales of February.)
Off and on for the last five years, I have had numerous casual conversations with Dave's colleagues at the firm about the relation between design (urban, on the large scale and structures, on the smaller) and composition. About inspiration, form, maintaining vision, communicating vision, choosing a palette, etc. My husband is fortunate to work with a group of hard-working visionaries who are never short on interesting conversation material.
In the last year, the conversations moved toward talk of collaboration. Of uniting musical design with space design. Naturally, in the somewhat torrential economic climate of development (and thus, commercial architecture), this partnership has moved cautiously, but not without progress.
In conjunction with a performance opportunity that was flying me back to the continental 48, I decided to make a stop in Nashville to record a demo track for the folks at Jerde Partnership. A 5-minute track for a promotional video about Zlote Tarasy in Warsaw, Poland.
I love spending time in Nashville. There was a season where I was inches away from making it my place of residence. But as things turned out, visiting for work and play on occasion has proven to be, perhaps, equally rewarding.
At the top of the list is spending time with dear childhood friend Jennifer Johnson Bays, her husband Greg, and her kids Theo and Josephine who live in Franklin. They have always opened their door and hearts to me and I absolutely love being in their presence. Inevitably, Jenny and I will stay up one night talking until our eyes have long ceased to open. Inevitably, Jenny will take me to downtown Franklin for fantastic food, shopping and hospitality. And inevitably, we will laugh heartily about long-gone days around Hiner's Pond...ice skating to her house in the winter months, kick the can on summer nights, and the hilarity of growing from toddlers to teens in the same neighborhood. She is a priceless friend.
And as if my heart wasn't filled enough by that visit, I managed to make my way from Nashville to Boston to visit yet another stellar woman and her family (who, coincidentally, is also named Jennifer!).
Jenn, Asif, Aleisi and Senna had left us - a weepy pile of broken-hearted friends - in Amsterdam four months before I we were reunited in Logan Airport in February. She was waiting for me in the baggage claim area, and let's just say the weepiness in our reunion was simply an extension of what transpired in October. BIG hugs. BIG smiles. BIG crocodile tears.
And what a welcome by our nearly 2-year-old godson Aleisi when I approached the car! Priceless! Waving and smiling and bouncing up and down! And within minutes, he was asking all about Number Five..."Five...woof...? Five...woof...?" "Yes, Number Five still says, 'Woof'!"
I got to spend nearly three days with them in their spectacular flat in downtown Boston, which I had heard much about over the years. We went out on Valentines' Day and drank ourselves some nice smooth urban cocktails, ate Wendy's (my four-hundredth, Jenn's first!), walked in the park near their house, ate some delicious homemade goodies by Jenn, ordered Indian food, and talked and talked and talked.
The weekend ended way too fast, but it was great elixir for the soul to be in her presence again. I miss her in Amsterdam more than I'm ever able to show with our intermittent phone calls and emails.
And from Boston, a short jaunt to NYC.
One taxi ride from an illegal Caribbean immigrant later, and I was at the front door of Dane Larsen's Brooklyn apartment. My capacity for beaming with enthusiasm and love for all of these long-distance people in my life was stretching so far, I could hardly breathe!
Dane and I have known each other for over ten years now, having first been introduced in Minnesota when I worked at a church as a worship music director for a weekly high school service. He was a teenager then, but only by birth certificate. Dane's wisdom and thoughtfulness far surpassed any 15-year-old I had ever encountered, and we became friends without much effort at all.
Even back then, he would talk about living in NYC someday, pursuing a creative career in the business world. And now, living happily in His Town, he works at top notch advertising agency in Manhattan that has a view of seemingly the whole planet. He talked over Thai food about his plans for the future, about where he hopes to be and what he wants to do, and I couldn't have been happier than to have been sitting across from him, taking it all in.
Luckily, Dane was able to spend more time with me throughout the week as I began working on the project I was ACTUALLY there for...performing for G-Star Raw's NY Fashion Week runway show. My good friend Maartje Meijer (Dutch) - a fantastically talented jazz pianist - and I had been hired to be the two live musicians at the helm of G-Star's big show in the Hammerstein Ballroom. In the all, the performance lasted only 12 minutes and we did only one show, but it was a great time. We each sat at a grand piano at the base of the stage and played together a montage of five pieces, one of which being Brahms's G Minor Rhapsody, which I played alone.
It was a good time and as ever, completely intriguing to me to enter a new world...this one being the Fashion World. Having worked in the Hollywood music scene, red carpets and famous people didn't faze me. But talking to the models off and on during our endless rehearsals and thinking about how clothes are presented and why designers do what they do was a brilliant exercise for me. An intriguing and profitable remedy to the grey dark days back in Amsterdam.
We had a few long days of rehearsals, fittings, hair and make-up sittings. And on the day of the performance, we rehearsed almost up until the crowd filed in. We had a short 20-minute gap in which we could inhale dinner before the show. We ran up to the buffet area - which just so happened to be filled with nearly every one of my favorite American foods - and filled our plates. We were mutually famished.
But a funny thing happened.
I sat down. Surveyed my spoils with what must have looked like a raptor's grin. But couldn't stomach the thought of taking a bite. Maartje noticed right away and asked if something was wrong.
As confused as she was, my wheels began to spin a bit, and something came to mind that never had before in my life...
I leaned over to whisper to my friend what seemed at once both preposterous and entirely logical...
"Maartje...I think I might be pregnant."