The Umaverse: Photographic Art and Tarot Readings

For your rooms and walls: Photographic Art

For your inner spaces and growth: Tarot Readings

After years of daydreaming and night dreaming, talking and musing, dipping in and retreating, it’s official. Today I hang out the “open for business” sign. Come on in and look around at my new store, The Umaverse.

Welcome!

Notwithstanding that I am not a lover of long-term plans (because I tend to not stick to them), the basic idea is that UmaBode.com (where you are now) will come back to life as a blog of all things Uma, while the new site, TheUmaverse.com, is for commerce of all things Uma. That’s right, you can now buy Uma goods and services!

As for this blog – I really need to get back on that horse. I have so much to say and it’s not really fair to my lunch dates that they have to listen to me go on and on about every damn topic I care about. That’s what you-all are supposed to be for!

So, have a look at the new site and get yourself something for your walls and something for your soul. Either or both—I’m happy to help.

Launch

Jeez. It’s so anticlimactic to work so hard for so long and launch TheUmaverse.com and then none of the social media links work correctly and even the facebook posts about it just slip away.

Starting a website is a long-term project, even more so if it’s an online shop. It has to be a slow burn with gradual growth, and I knew that, but I’m still experiencing the post-launch period right now as a rude and sudden skid to a stop. It’s a strange feeling.

That said, I feel SO PROUD that I did it and that it’s live and while this is just the start and there’s much yet that I can do to grow and improve it, it has good bones. If I do say so myself. I’m so damn tired of the photos I’ve got for sale that I’m already wanting to dive in and find and edit some new ones.

I have sold twice so far in downtown Asheville for 5 hour shifts at the permanent Grove Arcade Outdoor Artists’ Market. Super fun and great feedback. And I sold a bunch of photos. People actually want my stuff. That helped me really kick into gear to get the website up and running. I just put in orders for more photo prints, mats, frames and packaging supplies (retail and mail) today. I’ll sell again Thursday and hopefully over the weekend.

It’s not a lot of money but it’s a thrill and it’s a start and it’s a dream I’ve had for 8 years. More, really. Forever I thought my photography, or anything I made or had to say, wasn’t “good enough.” But, thanks to so much feedback from friends and acquaintances over the years (yes, that’s YOU who are reading this) I finally believe.

And the Tarot Readings…they are the greatest gift of all. I love to do them so much. It’s like I get plugged in to some kind of cosmic connectivity when I read for other people. I so love to serve in this way, and to be served also.

Also, this is only a side gig. I’m working a lot on Walls of the Wild with my brother, Jeff Bode and sister-in-law Dede Lifgren, helping with marketing. Wow. Who knew that SEO could be fun. Who even knew what the hell SEO is.

But, the real gem here is the real estate career. Got my license end of May and just started last week with a local Weichert franchise. Soon, this will probably be my primary focus and I’m so excited about it. The Asheville real estate market is absolutely booming right now.

So, here’s the point of this rambling post about websites and work: For the first time in my life, I am doing 100% only the things I want and love to do to make a living. This has been a REALLY LONG TIME coming. And if you read to this point and you are longing for that also, I just want to say, don’t give up on the dream. And do all the work to understand what it is that you truly want, on the inside. Because the outside will only be a reflection of the inside.

My plan is to blog more about this very thing. Pray for me that I actually write those posts. I got shit to say. I want to say it. Thanks for listening to this rant.

I Can’t Take Down The Christmas Tree

I can’t take down the Christmas tree. I’m not sure what that’s all about, but I just can’t bring myself to take it down. I love seeing it when I come home and I love how it lights up the room in the morning before dawn and at night while I’m puttering about the house. And so far, even though I haven’t watered it in days, the needles aren’t falling off everywhere. It’s like a superpower tree.

So, what the hell. 15380501_10154805275034581_9068222932082949326_nI’ll just leave it up. As a reminder of the goodwill toward all that is my prayer. May we move past fear, through the perceptions of division, to truly see and accept all views. May our evolution continue and may real Love prevail. I have no idea exactly how the tree represents that, but it does. I guess because Christmas is about Jesus Christ and he taught love and acceptance and compassion. Still the one truly radical idea of all times. And the one that is closest to our true nature, so hidden.

This world is freaking me out, so I’ve decided to make art and beauty and to share it where and as it is invited and accepted. Here on my website, it is freely offered. No promotion or marketing, no requests for payment. All I have to give you is my naked heart and an ever-deepening connection to Source, to the God of My Understanding. Oh, and a lot of confusion and words and pictures that somehow express that and maybe also manage to make some kind of sense of it.

I think a lot about what is happening in the world. I may write about it here. I am not sure that I will really keep writing regularly and posting. Today, I feel like I will. I just need a place to put it all out there.

So. There we go. More soon. Go forth and relax. 😉

Stay Focused on the Heart

Resist the urge to get overly angry today. Resist the urge to polarize so much that we are unable to work together and make alliances and see whatever it is that our possibly fascist new administration is plotting. Don’t fall prey the polarizing rhetoric on social media and the news. Stay focused on love, see with the eye of your heart, and keep aware of what the hell is going on. Make calls to politicians and the White House, but just turn a deaf ear on the endless arguments that permeate all media. I find that twitter is a huge huge mistake right now. Just allows too much immediate reason for anger and division. Stay away, my friends! Have a beautiful day – don’t forget, it’s still a beautiful world.

Uma, over and out.

 

Home State Wins Again!

I just wrote a post about Bruce’s show last night and then…oh, it’s too hard to explain, but basically I accidentally deleted it. So. Let me try again. I’m simultaneously jealous as hell and super happy about the show in Jersey last night. The man (and his band) is (are) super human. Seriously. At almost 67 years old he set and broke longest show records with each of the three shows in this Jersey run over the past week. Last night timed out at 4 hours 1 minute – second longest show of his career and longest USA show. And it’s not just quantity. The setlists of all three shows were pretty phenomenal — last night, however, blew the roof off. And there wasn’t even a roof to start with. He pulled out rarities and oldies and specials and…I mean. WTF. Rather than sink into jealousy and regret along with thousands of other fans, I’m consciously choosing to celebrate instead. And be grateful that I get to see him yet one more time this Saturday in Virginia Beach. It’s unlikely to be a show anywhere close to what he’s done in his home state these past three nights. But anything is always possible at a Bruce show. That’s part of the magic.

SETLIST
1. New York City Serenade (w/strings)
2. Blinded By The Light
3. Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street
4. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City
5. Spirit In The Night (w/ Rickie Lee Jones)
6. Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran cover, sign request)
7. 4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy) (sign request).
8. KITTY’S BACK (sign request)
9. Incident On 57th Street (sign request)
10. Rosalita
11. PRETTY FLAMINGO (Manfred Mann cover)
12. Atlantic City
13. I’m Goin’ Down
14. Darlington County
15. Working On The Highway
16. Downbound Train
17. I’m On Fire
18. Hungry Heart
19. Out In The Street
20. LIVING PROOF (first performance since 2009, dedicated to his son, Evan)
21. Candy’s Room
22. She’s The One
23. Because The Night
24. The Rising
25. Badlands
———————
26. SECRET GARDEN
27. Jungleland
28. Born To Run
29. Dancing In The Dark
30. 10th Ave. Freeze-Out
31. Twist & Shout (The Top Notes cover)
32. Glory Days
33. Shout (The Isley Brothers cover)
34. Jersey Girl (Tom Waits cover, with fireworks)

 

Meeting Bruce Springsteen

The impossible happened. I met Bruce.

The entire circumstance of how it happened seems incredibly random and completely perfect. Here’s the story.

I live in Asheville, NC, which is about 9 hours from St. Louis. I had been thinking about adding the Sunday, March 6 show to my itinerary, but I fluctuated a lot. Finally, I woke up Saturday morning and thought, what the hell?! Of course I’m going! So, in a whirlwind, I found a GA ticket on the BTX ticket exchange site, arranged for friends to come stay with my cat, and hit the road.

I lucked out and got in the pit through the wristband lottery. I was not one of the first ones in, but because I was on my own, I managed to get up pretty close. In the line before we got in, I met some great fans, including Scott Williams, the guy who danced with Bruce in Cleveland.

As usual, it was a great show. You might have heard some about it, like the guy, Tom England, who got to go up and play and sing Working on the Highway with Bruce and the E Street Band. Which was REALLY AWESOME! I met some cool folks around me and had a fine time. I’ll have a post with just pics pretty soon, but let’s get on with the important part now.

After the show, I took my time leaving. I had been thinking about maybe trying to hang out where Bruce would be leaving from and catch a glimpse of him as he left. I bought some (yet more) merch (they have these cool fabric patches now) and was literally one of the last people to wander out of the building.

There was a driveway right next to the venue, which I had seen before the show and which seemed likely to be the way in and out for artists. I wandered over and one lone guy was standing there. Who? None other than the infamous and aforementioned Scott Williams. I joined him and he told me he had been down below and that Bruce’s security guy told him to wait at the top of the driveway and that Bruce would be coming out soon. GREAT, I thought. Maybe I will see him!

As we waited and chatted, a family joined us also. Mom, Dad and two daughters. One black SUV came up and as they waited to turn out of the driveway, we saw it was Max in the front passenger seat and Garry in the back. It was confirmed because there was a piece of paper taped to the side of the vehicle that said “MAX and GARRY.” I stepped forward and grabbed it.

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A few minutes went by, and we saw another SUV leave and in that one we caught a glimpse of Bruce’s guitar tech, Kevin.

Another minute or two. And then…the magic started. The security guy directing traffic in front of the driveway into the main street called over to us, “HE’S COMING!” Which alone was pretty cool, right?!

We looked down and saw two more black SUV’s coming up the driveway. The first one passed us by and made a quick turn into the street. We couldn’t see who it was, and they were turned away from the window. But who cared, because the second SUV was pulling up next to us, the passenger window rolled down and Bruce just sitting there with his arm resting on the door, waving to us. The backseat passenger window was also down, and Bruce’s security guy was there.

And now, things get pretty fuzzy for me. What happened next was SOMETHING like this…

He says, “Hi guys. How you doing?”

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!

We surge forward, but I hang back behind Scott because he’d been there first, and besides I have always felt (as I’ve written before on this blog) that I’m invisible to Bruce and that even when I’ve been at the front of the stage, I’m not one of the ones he ever notices. So even as this amazing thing is happening and Bruce Springsteen is RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, I’m thinking I’m not going to get to talk to him, he’s going to talk to the other people and then drive off and I’ll be invisible as usual.

So the family talks to him and Bruce sees Scott, and says, “Hey, it’s the dancing man!”

The family does the selfies. Then Scott gives Bruce some gifts he had brought for him (nice job, Scott!) and they do the selfies.

And then I’m holding my breath, is this my moment? I’m restraining myself from lunging at him, wondering what to do, sort of realizing  that I’ve got no idea what the hell to say anyways, and

and

and

Bruce Springsteen looks right at me, reaches out his hand toward me and motions me forward. Are you kidding me? HE SEES ME!

So any kind of self-restraint is over. I ungracefully spring forward, grab his hand and his arm and lean part way into the window and the babbling commences:

Ohmygod Bruce Ihavelovedyou FOREVER

(Bruce: Well thank you)

Ican’tbelieveI’mmeetingyou

(Bruce: You are)

Thank you thank you thank you

(Bruce: You’re welcome)

Can I take a selfie?

(Bruce: Yep)

Fumble fumble with phone, drop my poster tube, Scott picks it up, I’m still babbling:

Bruce, you sound horse, I’m worried about you

(Bruce: Well I really appreciate that)

Bruce, take care of yourself

(Bruce: OK, thank you, I will)

I’m slightly aware that people are smiling at my complete goofiness, possibly even laughing, but it’s absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to regain any composure or presence whatsoever and I’m laughing at myself also.

I get the phone in place and we look at the camera, I’m pretty much out of my body by this time, but I’ve got some awareness that his arm is against my arm, I’m freaking TOUCHING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. I snap the picture.

And then I say, “Can I kiss you on the cheek?”

Bruce leans the side of his head slightly towards me, motions at his cheek and says, “Yep, there it is, go ahead.”

Seriously. I’m not making this shit up. That is what happened. He said that. I started cracking up, it was SO FUNNY! And SO AWESOME!

So I kissed him on the cheek.

And then he waved to us all, said goodbye, and off they drove.

I started twirling around the grass on the side of the driveway and screaming and shouting OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT JUST HAPPENED! and the sweet family and Scott and I just were laughing and talking to each other and it was so amazing.

Turns out the family are the O’Connors from Chicago: Ben, Julie and daughters Brennan and Delany. Here’s all of us (Scott, too).

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And here’s the super cool amazing pic that Ben snapped of me and Bruce.

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Holy Shit. It happened. I’ve got the photo evidence.

How do I feel? Still amazed and blessed and super grateful. Also, I feel only more determined to manage to meet him again and this time I’m going to be more prepared. Let me tell you, if you want to meet someone who seems unreachable, whether it’s Bruce or someone else, get ready. Think about what you want to say or ask, what you’d like to have with you to give to them, what you want to be sure to not miss. Because I was so absolutely positive I could never meet him that I never put any time into preparing and although I have no regrets, I do sort of have that one regret. That I wasn’t more ready.

For one thing, I’d love to tell him about this blog. I’d love to give him a bit of my writing about what he’s meant to me. I’d love to be better practiced with the camera phone. All that shit. I don’t even know what-all. But, my friend, I’ll tell you this for sure—I’m gonna be putting some serious energy into preparing for the next time the impossible happens, and I get to meet Bruce Springsteen.

 

Meeting Steven Van Zandt

Little Steven, Miami Steve, guitar player in the E Street Band, star of Lillehammer and The Sopranos, incredible musician, and founder of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation.

Steven Van Zandt is the man. And I MET HIM at Louisville.

It wasn’t any big amazing synchronicity. I donated a relatively large sum of money to his foundation and in exchange I got a seat ticket, and admission to a meet and greet. Also was able to bring my friend, Britt. That’s me on the left.

It was a total thrill to be there. We were all gathered in a private room with a complimentary bar (I don’t drink, so I had a cranberry juice fizz) and a view over the river. We all hung out for about 15 minutes after we got into the venue and then Stevie showed up. Early, apparently. He just sauntered in, and Michael-Ann, the awesome woman who runs the meet and greet at each show was like, “Steven! What are you doing here?!”

He just smiled at her and went to sit at the bar, waved his hand and said, “go ahead, organize, I’ll be here having a drink.” It was hysterical!

So she organized us into a line and he came, and we all shuffled through, had a brief exhange (“Hi how are you? You’re awesome, thank you.”), a quick picture snapped by their photographer, and then it was over. He said, “have a great time” to each of us after our picture. We all stood around watching other people get their turn.

After we all got through, he took time to talk to a teenage girl who was there with her father and wants to be a rock and roll music writer. It was really great to see him there talking to her. He was very encouraging and it seemed like by the end they were talking with Michael-Ann about getting the young woman in touch with the executive director of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, which was really exciting.

He is just as normal and down to earth and cool as you would expect him to be. It was worth every penny to meet him and it really helped shake me out of the blah I was feeling in the last post.

Getting in to the pit was a sort of surprise bonus and it worked out GREAT for me and Britt. We ended up close to the front in front of Stevie and Patti. The show was awesome. Another post coming real soon with some details on that and a BUNCH of photos.

 

 

 

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