Great American Music Hall

Birdseed plays GAMH on 1/29/2016!

If you had told us in the basement of The Bird Music School that our dad band would be playing at the Great American Music Hall in 2016 we might have laughed and assumed you’d had five too many.  But sure enough, we had the privilege of playing there on Friday night and opening for Poi Dog Pondering. What a blast! As you can see from the above, it was a packed house with 500 people spread across 2 levels. As usual, I saved up my energy all day, and my body held up during the show. Nothing like adrenaline, joy, the band, and a fun crowd to ban cancer for a few hours. Your brain needs focus to register pain, so the distraction of lyrics and being utterly in the moment vanishes pain for awhile.



I also think leather pants play their part in the fun and distraction as well! It was the wonderful Brian Hetherington’s 50th birthday (keyboard), so he got to pick our set list. Minus a few hiccups of me forgetting some words, we played one of our best shows yet. I feel so lucky to be part of this. I’m grateful to the band for all their support; I love the time I get with my brother in both rehearsal and on stage; and I am so thankful for the friends who come to cheer us on!


Credit to Sara Recktenwald for some fabulous photos! She may be a Partner at GS, but she is at heart at gifted photographer! Credit too to Sarah-Marie Martin, one of my dearest friends from Stanford, who trekked out for the weekend. SM was a preppy Texan who dove into banking and became our sophisticated New Yorker. I’m always in awe of her, because in addition to kicking ass at Credit Suisse leading their financial sponsors group, she is also a wife and a mother to 5 children (2 natural born, 3 adopted). She gives new meaning to busy, and yet she always makes time for her friends and stays grounded. I think when you strip life down to the things that matter most, time appears.

Tomorrow is a big day.  I have my first CT scan since the trial began, and really since the hideous ones on Nov 9th that showed an explosion of cancer.  After radiation and a bit of the trial drug I’m very hopeful that this will show some progress. I know that my hips feel good again vs being sore to the touch in November. I expect to see tumors in my spine where I still feel pain and bruising. I have come to accept the daily pain, and at least have it managed with OxyContin. It just keeps it in check. My walking is vastly improved and I’m rarely using the cane. I can only walk about 1 mile but am stronger each day. My friend Micaela now joins me in the pool and saves me from the mean 80 yr old Lady and makes deep water far more fun. It is 2x the workout when you are laughing.

I’m working my way through A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. They complement each other nicely and fulfill my current need to understand how the world works, how we are here, and what the hell happens when the lights go out. I find myself more curious than ever, and ever more clueless! Science and miracles co-exist. And whether we get one go or 20 at this world, it certainly seems a good philosophy to live well, fully, and purposefully. The first book puts hard core science into English and with a bit of humor; the second asks you to accept death. It is such an uncomfortable topic in the US, often off limits, and yet if we can accept death we are likely to live better.  When I asked her how she is doing with everything, Bebe told me that she gets nervous. I said, “me too”, but we both agreed that it is nice having more time together. Will just asks lots of questions about cancer and medicine. We do our best to be honest and direct. But that said, for now I see no reason to think far beyond the next few days. I’m accepting the fact that I get very little done due to so much napping and just enjoying each day as it comes.

I move slowly in the morning, and I laugh when I think that for 20 years I went from slapping the alarm off to turning the key in my car in 15 minutes, and to the desk 15 minutes later. Boom!  I always felt every sleeping minute was sacred so I became the master of fast make up, no hairdo, and a well laid out closet (thank you Susie Birndorf for the perfectly organized by function and color closet!). Streamline and you gain time.

Most of Cheryl Strayed’s writing speaks of love and heartbreak, but I wanted to pull out a few quotes below to mull over.

“FEAR, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story…I decided I was safe.  I was strong.  Nothing could vanquish me….Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.”  I have written about the fear of death and the unknown, and I so agree that by changing the narrative in my head, my fear calms. It isn’t denial. It is simply stopping the what ifs in their tracks, focusing on the here and now, and knowing that in this moment I am safe and strong.

“Forgiveness doesn’t just sit there like a pretty girl in a bar.  Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up the hill.” Ha! This one cracks me up and rings so true. As I get older I appreciate more that you have to forgive yourself and others. It is an energy suck to hold grudges. And it may be hard work to forgive, but you will be pounds lighter afterwards. I like to be right, and while at work I was quick to self deprecate and admit mistakes, at home I’m a big pain in the ass wanting my way. At Exeter we learned to always listen to all sides of an argument .  You might not agree, but if you can open your mind to the other viewpoints you will learn more and understand more. I think this also allows for forgiveness.  I try more than ever to understand where other people are coming from.

I hope you read my post on Age. This quote complements it nicely: ” stop worrying about whether you are fat. You’re not fat.  Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally.  The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this.”  Work out, eat well, and remember to love Susiecakes and Fentons milkshakes along the way!

“I’ll never know and neither will you about the life you didn’t choose…there’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore”  so many paths, so many choices, so many possibilities.  im writing a song called Rewind right now, and I think my main conclusion is that in the end there are no mistakes, because each one was a lesson that brought us right here. Easier said than done!!!!!! But still.

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding” Well cheers to that! I think I’ve been dealt some phenomenal cards and then some real shit. But everyday is a fresh start and a chance to make the most of what is at hand.

And now my eyes are closing. I will report back post the scans. Have a happy week!






5 thoughts on “Great American Music Hall

  1. oh how I wish we lived closer!!! I could discuss life & philosophize with you for forever!! A favorite quote of mine is “Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of what you do with what happens to you.” It’s hard, but life IS beautiful and you are a beautiful special soul with so much purpose. Tibetan book of living and dying is one of my favorites! Just ordered A Short History of Nearly Everything. – another favorite quote “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” Always love your words! Wish we could have be at the Great American Music Hall! xoxox Michelle


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