Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Heart Maine

Dear Stevie,
I haven't been writing here much, mainly because I haven't had many new thoughts to share, at least related to babyloss. I kind of felt like because this space was called Dear Stevie, I could only really post things specifically related to you. But the more I think about it, the more 'okay' it seems for me to talk about my everyday normal life here, too. I'm aware that you can't actually read anything I write here, but for some reason, when I pretend like maybe you can, I feel very connected to you.

So, dear Stevie (and dear readers!), I hope you don't mind that I am going to start using this blog as a place to talk about, well, whatever. I want to feel like I am somehow involving you in my day-to-day life, as unexciting as it may be sometimes.

And here we go.

This last weekend I went on my first big business trip, to Portland, Maine. A bit of back story: as I've probably shared before, I am the special events manager for a large nonprofit. Our affiliate in Maine was putting on a big benefit concert featuring the Young@Heart Chorus. Let me pause for a second and rave about this group. If you have not watched the documentary 'Young@Heart', stop whatever you're doing and watch it right now (click here to watch the trailer). Seriously, this group is amazing. It's a choir of very elderly people (the average age is 83!) who perform rock songs (everything from the Rolling Stones, to Nirvana, to Jimmy Hendrix, to Coldplay). To say they are inspiring is a total understatement.

I've really wanted to do a Young@Heart concert here in Minneapolis, benefiting my organizations' extensive work with seniors. When we found out one of our affiliates was doing one in Maine, it was the perfect opportunity to experience the event, first-hand, see if it seemed like it would be a good fit for us, and get to know the chorus a little better.

I had a blast.

First of all, Portland is a really sweet city. I had never been out to the East Coast before, and to be completely honest, was not really expecting to like it as much as I did. It had a really nice small town vibe, but also had a very urban feel, which I loved. I got into town Friday at about 2:00pm, and had all afternoon and evening to bum around and explore the city:

On the waterfront

I was so excited to see unfrozen water!

Down the street from my hotel

Another shot of all the fun little shops and pubs

A cute little restaurant where I had some amazing lobster dip and my first Maine beer (Allagash White, so good!)

Playing around in my hotel bathroom; I just like this one so I thought I'd include it :)

Saturday morning the Young@Heart chorus members arrived and I spent the morning hanging out with them at their hotel. They were all so friendly and so funny. These 90-year-olds seriously had more energy than I do at 25! Then that afternoon I went shopping with a woman from our national office in Washington, DC, who was also in Maine for the event. I found some really fun vintage jewelry at a cute resale shop, and had my first lobster roll at this fun little hole-in-the-wall down by the water:


That night everyone had a really nice, fancy dinner at this lovely Italian restaurant. I had THE best desert I've ever had in my life (some sort of banana cake, no idea what it was called as everything was in Italian!).

Sunday was the actual Young@Heart event. It was absolutely amazing. They sold out the 2,000-seat Merrill Theater (a huge feat for a town of only 60,000 people!) and put on an incredibly fun and moving show. From the opening moment, when one of the singers pulled herself out of her wheelchair, slowly shuffled up to the microphone using a cane, and belted out the first notes of the Rolling Stones, 'You Can't Always Get What You Want,' there were tears just streaming down my face. 

The chorus members getting ready to go out and perform

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"

Packed house

The whole weekend was just a really, really good time. It was very refreshing to get out of Minnesota and experience a change of scenery for a few days. It also gave me a renewed sense of excitement and enthusiasm about my job. I really hope we can put on our own Young@Heart benefit next spring! You are all invited! :)

Wish you were here,


Rawsonfamilyof5 said...

I have been following your blog since you lost Stevie, I am a fellow August mom from baby center. I live in Maine actually about 45 minutes from Portland and it is so funny to hear an outsiders perspective of what it is like to visit here. I never thought of Portland having a small town vibe. It is one of the larger cities in the state, but if you loved it here you should visit during the summer or the fall that is when the state is truly breathtakingly beautiful! I think that it makes Stevie smile that you are writing about your day to day life in her space.

Rhiannon said...

Sounds like an amazing trip! What an interesting and inspirational group!! :)

rebecca said...

Sounds incredible, so glad you had such an amazing time! Loved the pictures you included as well, you are such a talented photographer!

Rebecca said...

Hi there! I have been following your blog for sometime now but have never commented until now. I found you randomly one night while I was logging off from BabyCenter and through you I also found Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope (THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!!!! I am a fellow BLM and your organization has been a huge help to me)

First, I am so sorry for your loss. Stevie was so beautiful and this blog is such a wonderful tribute to her. Second, WOW!! This chorus group is just amazing! Thank you for sharing. I am glad you enjoyed Portland. Portland is my hometown! It was a wonderful place to grow up. I now live about an hour north of Portland but my parents still live there and I just LOVE going there to visit.

I look forward to your blog updates. You write beautifully.

Peace and love,

Kelly Jean said...

I wish you kept up with your Project 365! I'd love to see some more pics. Keep your chin up, Mama.

Courtney said...

I have to agree with "Rawsonfamilyof5." I actually live in Portland, and had no idea that show was coming to town, but that group is amazing! (It's also funny to see what other people say about coming to town, living here for what seems like forever can get boring!) As far as Portland goes, it is a pretty fun place to be...but the summer is absolutely amazing here! Glad you had fun!!

I have been flowing you since the beginning of your blog, and Stevie is proud of you, Mama.

x Jen said...

Great photos!

I look forward to more day to day stuff about your life. I love reading your posts, no matter what they're about.

It goes without saying that Stevie was and always will be a big part of your life. That won't change even when you don't write directly about her.

She would have loved this blog too.


Leanne said...

I'm so glad you will be writing here more! I've missed you!

Wow! That sounds and looks like an incredible trip! What an awesome group! I'd love to see them perform!

Damien Franco said...

I think it's great that you're starting to post more of your "daily" life stuff. I think it's a good exercise and can lead to much healing.

Also...great photographs! Please continue to share your photography.

MamaE said...

Great pictures!

T said...

I hope you can get an event to happen here in Minneapolis- I will definitely be there!

Big Love, Big Acceptance - or so I say said...

I just caught up on this post and had to comment - I LOVE Young@Heart! They are amazing! I'd love to see them in person. I watched their DVD after Acacia died (my boss had recommended it, and said to be prepared because it would probably feel extra tender for me with our loss), and she was right. There were parts where I cried and laughed, sometimes at the same time. So glad you got to see them in person. :)

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