Top to Bottom 2016

The past weekend I enJOYed a bit of street art at the Top to Bottom festival… And I wasn’t the only one!


“Look for the helpers”

I’ve just finished reading an article about vicarious trauma by Annie Wright and am actually still feeling this all through as I write…

Vicarious trauma and the subsequent grief for the state of the world we live in; it’s definitely something I’m very sensitive too. It’s for that reason that I keep following news outlets to a minimum and will hide posts in my Facebook feed.

But even when I do that, I can’t really get away from reality, nor should I.

Yesterday my girls and I went to the yearly event Paris Plage. An afternoon out and about on a makeshift beach in the center of town. Unfortunately the state of the world is such that the entrance is guarded and soldiers are on patrol, as you can maybe make out in the picture.


The soldiers being there doesn’t really give me a sense of security. To me they are more a reminder of what may happen any time we go out anywhere in the world these days.

Of course I can let that get to me and live in fear, or I can go with the words of Mr Rogers – “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

As much as that may sound like I’m keeping myself naive, I’m mostly keeping myself open to meeting good people, the helpers.

After visiting Paris Plage we hopped on the metro back home and met Fran. Fran is most definitely a helper. He sang his heart out, kept cracking jokes at people, reaching out to touch hearts.

DSCF8960AI have a lot of respect for people like Fran and I wanted him to know. Now really, I’m not someone to just walk up to a stranger and say: “I have so much respect for you”, but I did. What followed was a most awesome discussion…

Thanks Fran, you may have just convinced me to do that more often, after all you can’t go wrong with being a helper!

Drop everything and jam

Matt is in Paris for a year and doing all kinds of cool things. And for this event I got to be the photographer!

a year with mona

Another unexpected text? Another unexpected opportunity? This time of the musical variety. Sounds good!

Ten days ago (I’ve been meaning to write this up for a while, but an unexpected trip to Rome and a visit from a college roommate have kept me busy) I was with my writing group at my place for our weekly writing meet up. We’d already done three of our 45-minute timed writing sessions and downed plenty of coffee when a friend who was having her CD release show that night texted me, asking, “How comfortable are you with jazz piano?”

Truth is, long long long ago, I played some jazz in high school and college, but jazz bass, not piano; my piano studies were always classical. And since those days, I’ve played mostly pop music, which is much simpler: simpler harmonically… simpler rhythmically… simpler in every way, really. But hey, I’m not going to say no, right? So I…

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