My bestie Alexis went with me to see Indigo Girls in Port Townsend last night. I didn’t realize her experience with them was mostly from compilations* she grew up with and that she wasn’t yet a devoted fan.

I decided to write up what I think is a good guide to getting into the mountain of songs that Amy & Emily have available!

Hi! I’m Bevin! I want to be a good influence on you! This is Alexis the procurer of tickets and my local Port Townsend tour guide!!

Of course this was the summer of Closer to Fine because of the Barbie movie, but there’s SO MUCH MORE to “the Girls” than just their top iconic hit. I love the artist joke “this is my closer to fine” in terms of their most noteworthy and iconic piece of art.

There have been upsetting times in my life where I went MAD like brain bonkers reality splitting grief and something like listening to Indigo Girls songs from A to Z or Joni Mitchell’s greatest hits cd were the only way I could feel soothed and drop into the present moment. I hope you can develop that kind of soothing joyful relationship to the Girls like I have.

You can do this in week by week order like someone with strong Virgo/Capricorn placements like me, or you could bounce around like a Gemini/Aquarius–your call.

If I had the photo archive I aspire to you’d be treated to excited concert photos from throughout the years on this post.

First path to discovery I would suggest is listening to their 1995 live double CD 1200 Curfews (twelve hundred like the number of people at a show, not like twelve o’clock which is what I thought for YEARS). Some of the versions on that live album are my favorite recorded versions!

If you enjoyed your time with 1200 Curfews move into Staring Down the Brilliant Dream their 2010 live double cd. Then Indigo Girls Live with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Pick out YOUR favs that are speaking to you, make a lil playlist for yourself!

I continue to have remorse for getting rid of my cd collection–the books for both of those double cds had the info on each performance. AND JONI ISN’T ON SPOTIFY ANYMORE.

This was a tiny venue and they brought one supporting musician (you’ll hear a band backing them up in most of the live albums) but I have to say violin is the perfect one instrument that adds the right heartstring pull to their songs. They play banjo, mandolin, electric and acoustic guitars, ukelele and more I’m sure. This show had the tuning gear area right on the stage, fun to watch!

Another route to discovering what Indigo Girls have for you is borrowing the framework of the Cohen Curriculum for getting into the Grateful Dead and do it song by song, listening to a few recorded and live versions of each song week by week!

Week One: Galileo, Power of Two, Get out the Map (Starting you off with powerful sing along songs! I would argue Get out the Map is the sister song for Power of Two. )

Week Two: Ghost, Mystery, Yield (I want to introduce you to the ways in which Emily & Amy have articulated my longing. Yield is also a great jam for them as multi-instrumentalists on Mandolin & guitar.)

Week Three: Watershed, Land of Canaan, Three County Highway

Week Four: Love’s Recovery, Ozilline, Chickenman (Pleeeeeeease don’t skip the live versions of Ozilline & Chickenman and if you feel inclined to interpretive dance during Chickenman I highly recommend giving into that impulse.)

Week Five: Least Complicated, Share the Moon, Howl at the Moon (Try howling for real at the moon when you hear it! There was a cute moment at the concert where the audience began to howl! I had hoped and tried to get it going for us to howl throughout the concert.)

Week Six: lt’s Alright, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Go (This week we are exploring Indigo Girls as overtly political songwriters. Amy & Emily have never stopped speaking truth to pseudo power and I have always admired and emulated that ethic in my work! I did a presentation and a paper for my Native American Feminism class on Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee when I was in college!)

Week Seven: Don’t Think Twice it’s Alright, Romeo & Juliet, Midnight Train to Georgia (This week we are diving into covers that I, respectfully, think are better than the originals at least for the first two. Midnight Train to GA is just another flavor of an excellent song. And a current puzzle I’m working on is whether Brandi Marie Carlile is on the 2010 recording of Don’t Think Twice.)

Week Eight: Amy Ray Solo Week!! Lucy Stoners, Blender, Stand and Deliver, Johnny Rottentail (this was hard to pick and there aren’t a ton of live versions unless you cruise you tube but her whole solo repertoire is fabulous on its own. Worth a deep dive into the entire solo discography, the earlier stuff is more punk the later stuff is more Americana.)

Week Nine: Listen to their entire Holly Happy Days album! The Hannukah song is a favorite and always shows up at Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics during the holidays! (Share the Moon always plays at class during Full Moons and big New Moons!)

Week Ten: Listen to their first album Strange Fire and then each subsequent album in order! Here’s the Indigo Girls discography from their own website. Sign up for their newsletter while you’re there. There’s truly no comparable medicine than singing along with Amy Elizabeth Ray and Emily Ann Sailers so if you get the chance to see them in person don’t pass it up!

I’m making a playlist with all the songs and various versions to make this easy for you (I’m clearly passionate about sharing what I love). I will link to it here when I’m done! PLEASE open your hearts and minds to loving Indigo Girls I think they will improve the quality of your life and how you process your feelings!

Mom and my step parent Pat were also at the show! My family masks because we care about our community and stopping the spread of preventable, deadly, disabling illnesses!

You know those recipes on the internet that tell you a long story before you can even get to the recipe? (I’m a fan of clicking “Jump to Recipe.”) On this recipe I tried to save the bulk of my personal narrative for the end of the piece.

I was introduced to Indigo Girls by my mom but also at Girl Scout camp. (A little bit nature a little bit nurture, like my queer root.) When I was a teen she and I fought a lot and when in the car having “compromise music” playing was key to vehicular harmony. Frequently it was an Indigo Girls cd.

The Barbie movie scene with the mom and tween daughter singing to Indigo Girls in the car was SO SPECIAL for me because it was me and my mom. Mom and I saw Barbie together on Saturday night and it was SO SPECIAL that she was also in the theater last night seeing Indigo Girls!

I’ve seen them more times than I can count but never enough. I went to a big show in an amphitheater in Philly and that made me feel committed to prioritizing only small venues for their music. I like seeing them outside, and last night getting to see them in a 900 person venue was SO SPECIAL. The intimacy of a small venue and their voices just really matters for my energetic experience of the music.

The first time I saw them was at 18 years old a the Greek theater in Berkeley, CA. My friends and I were SO LOUD and rowdy that the lesbians behind us were mad that we wouldn’t stop singing along. I like that Amy & Emily encourage singing along. Last night the guy next to me did not love them like I loved them and yet I didn’t allow it to dampen my enthusiasm. I did not get miracle free tickets to Indigo Girls to play it cool, I was SO EXCITED.

Photo by my neighbor Nanci who had way better seats than me!

I also saw Amy Ray’s first solo tour in Philly at this crusty club with carpet on the floor and it was the perfect punk venue and life memory her touring with the Butchies! I spent my teens and twenties favoring Emily and her songs, then in my 30s and 40s thanks to her solo work am now favoring Amy but honestly both of them together are perfect harmony!!

I’m grateful for all the work they have put into their professional and personal relationship (they are not a couple) to be able to keep creating and performing. They confirmed on stage last night that they intend to write a new album.

I have a couple bucket list Indigo Girls experiences to come in this lifetime hopefully! Seeing them at Red Rocks Amphitheater and to get to revive the Lilith Fair as a Festival and have them play all three nights. And if Amy Ray ever plays the Grand Ol’ Opry again she’s one of just a few artists I’d love to see in that venue specifically.

*I’ve learned all about 103.7 The Mountain from Alexis who grew up in Washington and listened to their compilation cds!

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Some people flex (that means “show off”) their material wealth. Pics of cars, watches and fancy vacations. I prefer to flex the ways I’ve found peace and healing cuz I think it’s possible for everyone and I want it for everyone. This entire blog & archives exist still because I want to inspire you to pursue your joy.

In a world that is entirely bonkers and uncertain, I love to control what I can control. Hydration is in my control.

Here’s how I do it!

Hi! I’m Bevin! I want to be a good influence on you!

For many years I used big glasses at home. If I have to get up to get a refill it will slow down my ability to hydrate. Atomic Habits says you need to take the barriers away from your nourishing habits and create barriers for your depleting habits.*

I’ve moved on to a four water bottle system at home. They are each 24oz (0.71L) so I fill four in the morning and that way I always have easy access to drinking water on hand and I know I’ve hit at least 96oz (2.83L). Typically I refill at least once a day so I’m usually drinking more than that, probably a gallon a day most days.

Any more than 24oz and the bottle is too heavy to carry around. (Kudos to the folks who can drink from one of those bigger hydration hype bottles!)

I bring water with me everywhere I go–phone, keys, wallet, water is my chant as I leave my house to make sure I have what I need. (Thanks Broad City for helping me start that chant.)

I gave up fitting in more than two decades ago so I truly don’t care what people think when I bring a gallon jug of water along with me for refills. I keep a gallon jug in the car, too, for refills out and about.

My friends Bear and Addie took me out on a convertible adventure down the Olympic Peninsula! I drank more than a half gallon of water on this ride because of the wind! It felt like I had been at the beach all day!

In 2016 I finally found a water bottle that didn’t leak, was durable if I dropped it (as long as the lid is clasped) and is generally a ride or die companion.

The original was merch from an event, I came home with two and they both were big parts of my hydration. They lasted for 18 months (and still to this day are in rotation) so I chose to find the blanks (24 oz. On The Fly by Nalgene) and print them with high five for self care as Fat Kid Dance Party merch!**

I also supplement with electrolytes during the summertime, and sometimes I need to eat something salty to keep the electrolyte balance in my body. I don’t need an excuse to eat delicious chips, but I will take it.

When I lived in LA my partner was a cancer survivor so we bought alkaline water because it helped hydrate better. I don’t have access to that kind of water at the present moment but in the future I’ll have a system for my house.

Now that I’ve given you the HOW for this self care I want to dig into the WHY. If you are struggling to get a habit going that you know you need to prioritize usually it’s a why issue. Here are some of my whys for hydrating!

  • I value my body. Some people can only hear the language of pain and that used to be me. I’m working on learning through joy instead. I have experienced lots of negative consequences from dehydration, including fainting at a party at the Getty museum.
  • My body chemistry is delicate and particular. Migraines suck. I can’t control much but I will do whatever is in my power to prevent them!
  • I need my body for work. My life’s work took me almost 20 years of adulthood to identify and I want to maximize how much service I can give through body positive aerobics.
  • I’m full of emotions (Scorpio Moon) and do a ton of healing work through plants and Reiki, those require a lot of water to flush out of the body. Water in the body, water on the body and water through the body.

Yeah, I have to use the powder room usually once an hour because I’m so hydrated. SO WHAT. It’s a drama saver for me, if I get stuck in a weird conversation I can always excuse myself to the restroom. I am also outdoorsy and a former NYC nightlife producer, I am fine peeing outside if I need to. (Not my preference but it’s gotta happen from time to time. Also peeing in a wild environment tells the environment what your physical & emotional healing needs are so the forest or the sea can help heal you energetically. Be judicious about how and when and where you pee outside so you’re not being a jerk.)

The more work I do on my self love the more I don’t let what people think get in between me and living the life that maximizes my joy. Dehydration blows!

*I am working to remove moralizing language–“good” or “bad” pathologizes things, instead I like to get specific. Being hydrated nourishes me! Being dehydrated depletes me.
**I’ll do another run of these when the funding opportunity allows. It was $1,000 when I did that run, I estimate the next one will be $1,500 in these economic conditions! I’m obsessed with these water bottles and my beloved graphic designer JLV put the four water droplets so you could use a dry erase marker to keep track of your daily hydration on the bottle!

For more simple self care tips check out the tag! And explore more of my blog through the tags, I’ve been fumbling towards joy for fifteen years in this online space! Thanks for stopping by!

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I call my yard “Gay Gardens” because it makes me smile. I have put a lot of energy and resources into it, but very little money. Everything growing right now was either a gift or my small investment in one or two seed packets.

Hi! I’m Bevin! I want to be a good influence on you!

My mom began it for me as a container garden when I first moved into The Lavender Queen, my RV. She lives 2 blocks away with a thriving garden (she calls it “Marianne Land”) and blessed me with a bunch of starter plants, and my step parent Pat built a lattice structure so the sweet peas had something to climb.

I’ve learned a lot about failing forward and just trying stuff out from tending to Gay Gardens for the past four Pandemic summers! (WILD to think we are wrapping up Fourth Pandemic Summer.)

I had a couple of sunflowers grow and bloom last year but didn’t do the work of figuring out how to gather the seeds. So this summer I put the call out to my neighbors to see if anyone had extra sunflower seeds to offer. I’m glad I asked for help!

My cat Biscuit Reynolds modeling the lattice structure!

First of all, I received a half packet from my neighbor’s dog, Douglas! It was a mix of seeds that included these gorgeous black/orange/red varieties that are so pretty.

Second, I received a bunch of plants in containers from my Botanist friend Becky! Most of them are medicinal or pretty and I am excited especially about the marshmallow plant, the root of which is in many herbal tummy recipes. As an IBS Cutie I love the ability to go into the garden, dig up my container of Marshmallow to get some root, grab some spearmint and peppermint and make a fresh herbal tisane by pouring boiling water over the herbs for 10 mins. Delish! Tummy soothing!

Third, I received a bunch of hand me down containers from a friend who is downsizing, and my mom gave me a few new big containers and extra soil! Expanding Gay Gardens was possible simply with some sweat equity from me! All of this was thrilling!

I named this one Simone after having a facetime with my friend Simone and her being so enamored with this bloom!

In late May I was buzzing along, getting excited for my foxgloves to bloom and I started noticing some volunteers in my pots.

Volunteer plants are not uncommon in my container garden, last year I snacked on the fruit of a volunteer tomato plant. Most of them end up being “weeds” (a word that simply describes a plant you don’t want there, one person’s “weed” is perhaps another person’s volunteer tomato) aka invasive plants that spread a bunch of seeds making more “weeds” I don’t want.

I let them go because I didn’t want to get rid of them until I was sure what they were and I couldn’t yet tell based on the cotyledon (the first pair of leaves plants grow from seed) but in the fifth container i found them in I noticed they were being born from… SUNFLOWER SEEDS.

P.S. You can eat the baby greens of sunflowers! They are perfect at this stage, any bigger not as delish. I did munch on a few of the leaves that didn’t seem viable.

I learned the word cotyledon from texting Becky pictures and I began taking advantage of this opportunity.

“Luck” is where preparedness and opportunity meet. I had the preparedness of having asked for help and received generosity from people who love me. (Thanks especially to my soil sponsor mother!) Receiving is an important energetic part of asking for help!

I had the opportunity of the chipmunk or squirrel who gathered seeds either from last year’s sunflowers or a neighbor’s bird feeder and buried them in my containers. THE CUTEST SANTA CLAUS MOMENT.

If I had left the volunteers in their containers they would not have achieved full sunflower greatness. I replanted more than 3 dozen of them in whatever containers I could, even trash picking a pink plastic bucket and hammering holes into it to drain.

I left some of the later season volunteers in their corners of wherever they grew and none of them hit maturity but a lot of them bloomed little bebé yellow flowers.

Now that the Sunflowers of Gay Gardens are well underway blooming, I have been describing myself as feeling “unreasonable joy” as a result.

I don’t actually think joy needs to be reasonable. But I know the capitalist drudge that was colonized inside me is still dying.

I don’t think I need to tamper down my jolly experience in my yard. When I dance with my Zoom aerobics Regulars and I feel the breeze on my skin and see my sunflower friends waving around, my pollinator friends working hard for the collective good, I do not need to limit my enthusiasm.

Flowers exist to bring us joy. Their vibration is the closest we get to angelic presence on Earth. Sunflowers are the very archetype of a warm summer day, the sun hitting a prism and amplifying beauty everywhere.

The hardest part of unrestrained joy is that I know, like everything, this too shall pass. Once it does pass, I will have figured out how to successfully gather and dry my abundance of sunflower seeds so that I can, perhaps, experience this joy again, as a new version of myself next year. And share with my pals along with my epic foxglove seeds ETCETERA.

I even already dove into generosity and gave the rest of Douglas’ seeds to my visiting friend who admired Simone in my yard. I trust that I will be able to successfully gather Simone’s seeds!

These are some of the volunteers I kept in the original places they grew. Littler!

Long live the Sunflower miracle of Gay Gardens!

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