June 2008 Archives

What do you do when you haven't seen a friend in years and they just happen to be passing through town?

Meet for coffee to catch up on old times maybe? Go for dinner or a quick bite?

Normally the answer would be yes...

Unless that friend is a heavy metal rock star, Nicko McBrain, in which case you get back stage passes to have that coffee...

or in this case tea (Nicko being a good brit).

After a few days of calls and emails of "let's get together", yesterday Bryan woke up to an email that stated there would be passes at the gate for us and a friend that night.

Hey, when you are on tour there is only so much time to go around. Very gracious on Nicko's part, there isn't a sweeter man(at least in the heavy metal industry;-). And even though I am not a metal head, a concert would be fun but the best part would be to see Nicko again.

So our family and our friend Jeff (who is a maiden fan) headed toward Merriweather Post for the"Somewhere Back in Time" tour of Iron Maiden.

After the quasi-strip-search security check we collected our passes. I have to admit feeling somewhat guilty and undeserving. So many metal fans would give an arm and a leg for what I was about to put around my neck... the v.i.p tag. The venue was filled with the faithful followers of this band from the last several decades, and I felt like a somewhat privileged imposter. I hadn't earned this tag from years of collecting Maiden albums or hours listening to Maiden lyrics (I couldn't sing a single phrase). I hadn't worshiped at the alter of Eddie, the mummified mascot of the band. No, I got to wear this tag which allowed me into that hallowed ground (back stage) because my husband discipled the drummer.

Yea, weird I know. Any metal fans reading this just had their heads explode.

So we know Nicko in a very different way, a friend and brother in christ.

If you are confused you have a right to be. These are the weird twists and turns in one's journey that reminds you that god has a sense of humor and loves to be ironic. The back story in a nutshell...

Bryan was working as what we use to call "programming director" which was the equivalent of music director and leader of creative teams while planning services...etc, etc... for a large church in florida. One sunday his friend Adam(pic below) and member of the praise team spots this guy in the congregation and points him out to Bryan who then for some reason is prompted to catch him after the service and talk to him. The guy is searching. A dialogue ensues that becomes a discipleship relationship and friendship. Some great soul searching times. In a nutshell it is one of those cool god stories. Nicko even played on the praise team once in awhile (when he wasn't on tour). We had the honor of standing up for Rebecca and him at the renewing of their vows... spiritual stuff...normal life stuff...ministry stuff...

not rock star stuff...

Fast forward to the present...

the pass


So now as I look down at this v.i.p tag I marvel at how bizarre life can be. We entered the room that is the "back stage" where food is laid out for the band, looking for Nicko only to get ushered out by one of the band's guard dogs a minute later waved back in by a smiling Nicko...

"Come in, come in... do you want something to eat?" (in that cool british accent) Kissing me on the cheek and giving Bryan and Daniel hugs along with a welcome and a handshake to our friend Jeff. He is wearing colorful and comfy scrub pants and a t-shirt with a cute cartoon character playing golf that says, "life is good".

Nicko loves to golf.

He ushers us in and points out the beverages, "tea?", I grab a cup and he drops a "proper english tea bag" into it, all the while chatting about this and that, lamb and yorkshire pudding was his dinner, "thank you Lord" (it is a favorite, again, being a good brit). We sit down and catch up on the status of friends, his wife and son, and so on. He talks about getting "clobbered" by a golfball that someone "shanked" without yelling four. Admitting that he had to stop and pray so not to get aggressive with the offender, "It was just an accident after all", while his injured wrist begins to swell from the indent of the golf ball. He laughs with that big smile continuing with the story of how he had a show that very night and his wrist wouldn't bend. "I had to adapt a little," showing us the awkward way in which he had to hold his drumstick to play. Smiling and shrugging like it was no big deal... from one of the best rock drummers in the world.

Conversation continues as he pulls out a tissue, apologizing that he has a sniffle all the while as jovial as a boy. He laughs and jokes with Bryan and Daniel bringing up some memories of when Daniel was twelve...

good memory.

We talk of other spiritual things but time is too short...

And then there is someone that needs an interview and although he seem reluctant to he cheerfully tells the guy to give him a few minutes more. We start to say our goodbyes and I snap a quick picture.

He has to be tired and feeling under the weather, or at the very least pre-occupied with having to be on stage in just a few minutes...

but you would never know it. A beautiful soul as unpretentious and gracious as can be.

daniel, nicko, and bryan


As we walk into the venue and take our seats I can't help but analyze the subculture that surrounds us. Since I am not really a "fan" I sort of sit outside of the experience. Like anyone that is passionate about their thing whether it is a sports team, or another collective event, these people are clearly excited about what is about to happen. Some have flown from other countries to be here, and I am again feeling a little undeserving of the seats Nicko so graciously gave us. After all we came to chat with Nicko, not really see the concert. It is interesting to see some that are here to relive a moment that captured them two decades ago, and others who are new to the "maiden family" too young to have been around at the beginning of the band, but love the music now. We watch as Eddie, the larger than life ghoulish mascot traipse through history via the various album covers from british soldier to pharaoh. As the sets change and the band takes on their rocker poses as they play, I have to laugh at them pursing their lips like super-models...

the fans love it.

Clearly the band does too. They are not only great musicians but the genuinely love what they are doing, and are so in sinc with each other that it is obvious that they have been together for years. What little you can see of Nicko behind the drums is nothing but a blur, except when he pops up from behind with that big smile.

I remember years ago when Bryan and he were meeting to discuss all things spiritual. Being a new believer there was some discussion about the life of a heavy metal rock star possibly coming into conflict with being a follower of Jesus. What does it mean to be transformed? Some might be quickly and self-righteously offended by the ghoulish image of "eddie". To my husband's credit, he was not and instead encouraged Nicko to be the "salt and light" within "the world" that he lived in, rather than to quit, an arguably easier road.

What does it mean to be a witness? What does it mean to speak the language of the culture?

Nicko is not shy about his Christian-ness, and if any fan were to ask they might get an earful.

Let those who have ears let them hear.

And as for what to do with Edward the Head, I remember Nicko saying years ago in that accent of his...

"It's all in good fun, you know, big Eddie the head".

our friend jeff, daniel, bryan and me sitting in row "k"


nicko sits very low behind the set. you can just see his leg back there playing the kick drum barefoot. the little stuffed eddie the pharaoh bear perched on the kick drum.


nicko standing behind his drums


the band pursing their lips under a large Eddie the Head dressed as a british soldier with flag.


the crowd


lead singer with golden eddie sarcophagus


nicko throwing his drumsticks to a hopeful crowd


And I had to go rummaging for some older photos... blasts from the past...
in Jan 2004, bryan, adam young, and nicko

back in 2000, the krives, the andersons, and the mcbrains.


summer herbs

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Herb harvest this year has been great so far. Pesto from the basil last week and cilantro for fresh salsa this weekend (great recipe, Sis), and mint for Mojitos!


Taking a lunch break from yard work with some tasty grilled chicken sausage and mojitos with mint from the garden.


Feverfew flowers being prepared for tincture.


inside layout

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revised artist bungalows


Ok they won't be grey with a red roof, but this is what the structures will be shaped like. The inside has a kitchenette, bath, and a bedroom area that is on a raised platform. The second story bungalow has an additional loft.

Bryan and I worked on the larger building design last weekend, but barely managed to get the kitchen designed. The larger building is a bit of a brain buster. And although the idea of having a round building is intriguing, it is a pain to design with.


baby grapes

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gardener's best friend

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Spending the last few days outside in the heat makes me appreciate the life cycle of my garden even more. Spring launched into summer without much warning and my plants took off without my permission. But it is all good, as nature has its rhythm with or without you. Here is a ladybug doing its good work on my feverfew that I harvested for a tincture. Among other lessons this year like learning to grow grapes I am experimenting with the more medicinal uses for herbs. Another useful tool when stranded on an island years from now.


and on the mint


kissed by the sun

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I started this last friday and immediately hated it for its colors clashed in the beginning. But the content spoke to me that day so I continued with the experiment. Being a strange week of schedule hiccups and after yesterday's lack of success, I opted to paint today and made peace with some of the colors in the new scheme. I am also working with water soluble oils for the first time, which behave differently than acrylics but I am liking what they bring, although it is an adjustment.

It is good to be painting again.

And clearly thin places is going to be with me for a while. This piece comes from a need to be back on the island where life is simpler and you are surrounded by natural beauty.



A conference in downtown DC for Bryan sent the three of us downtown to go our various directions to then meet back for an art exhibit of our friend Luis Scotti at the Embassy of Uruguay.

Yea, it is kinda weird living in DC.

While Bryan went to his conference, Daniel and I tucked into a wifi cafe to do a little work... him prepping for a big job interview, me prepping for a cold call on a cultural center and financial institution that has a reputation for funding cultural and environmental projects in latin america and the caribbean. Collecting my promo material for Exnihilo I left Daniel at the cafe while I set out to walk the eight plus blocks to where I thought this place was. Although always directionally challenged when driving, I am much more comfortable finding my way when on foot holding a map. And I didn't have too much trouble finding this place.

I started in the "gallery" that hosts different displays of art and various projects that this institution funds. Hoping I might bump into someone with some insider info I struck out with only a lone security guard staring blankly at the wall.

I asked him anyway.

He directed me to the building next door.

What I was hoping for was a pleasant receptionist who would have all the answers whisking me into the right office with a smiling individual with drawers full of cash just begging for a project like ours to throw money at.

Ok, I admit I come from a Disney generation.

What I got was giant doors I could barely open with all my weight and once I got them open was greeted with a daunting security check point, a tower of elevators on the other side and a maze of departments of untold numbers that went up, and up and up.

This wasn't a place you could just saunter into. It was clear you needed to know where you were going and who you were going to speak to.

I had neither of those.

And the security guard at the door must have thought as much when he noticed me stuck two feet inside the door looking up with my mouth hanging open. He approached me and asked me where I would like to go.

"Cultural and Environmental Grants?", I choked. Giving me a very confused look he ushered me over to a counter with a number of other security people who may know more, and I repeated me request. Since I had no name of an individual they eyed me with suspicion, but one friendly lady wrote a number on a piece of paper and pointed to a lonely telephone over on the wall.

Feeling like I had just been exposed as some sort of impostor I walked over, sheepishly picked up the phone, dialed, and hoped for an angel at the other end.

I got voice mail.

I left a polite message with my number and hung up.

Who was I kidding.

Thanking the guard for his help I decided that maybe numerous phone calls and letters might bring more realistic results than a cold call.

I left.

Even though I had done copious amounts of research online, I apparently needed to do a little more, so I headed back to the cafe.

Eight blocks later I had blisters on the bottoms of my feet (picked the wrong shoes) and realized that my purse was gone.

Ok, the day wasn't going so good.

While checking my previous seat at the cafe while letting Daniel know of my situation a kind stranger overhearing my dismay let me know that my purse was hiding behind the counter.


Ok... nothing major gained today, but at least nothing was lost.

Later we met up with Bryan to go to Luis's show. In spite of being the only non-spanish speaking people at the event, we were warmly welcomed by Luis and enjoyed a little wine from Uruguay while viewing his collection of hand printed works.

A great reminder that blisters and roadblocks are worth enduring.

Luis Scotti's work at the Embassy of Uruguay


Daniel viewing some of Luis's work.


more sketchup

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Thankfully we got the skylight in last weekend because this weekend there was rain and more rain. So we stayed indoors working on our bahamas dream. After signing the contracts on the 19th I received a daunting packet of info along with the tentative timeline for our building. This included dates for funds required and deadlines for every little thing.

Including our preliminary sketches.

Now I am the time nazi in our house and so seeing dates in print (especially with check boxes next to them!) either totally motivates me or scares me to death. So the sheet from our building supplier did a little of both. A single phone call to our "project manager" put me at ease as although the timelines are helpful they are not written in blood...


someone wrote them down and put neat little check boxes next to them.

And one of those boxes was dated june 4th. Our deadline for sketches.

So with the rain being the best justification for staying in we did a final design of our artist habitats. You'd think that with all the time we'd spent so far they would be done, but we realized that when we took our first design and made it a two-story we forgot that it would need a support pole on the lower floor. So our new design divides up the space, adds multiple levels and a kitchen. The overall layout works pretty well.

But it took us all weekend to finish the "easy one". Because the big building with the gallery, dining area, kitchen, and our living quarters is a whole lot more complex, it will take some real thought. Even though we have the general layout, we had that with the little buildings and it still took us all weekend.

One incremental step at a time.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2008 is the previous archive.

July 2008 is the next archive.

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