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.

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.

The River Tour: Sunrise and Atlanta

I lost the pit lottery at both shows. Dammit. At least at Sunrise I was on the front of the GA rail, and we missed by less than 50. But at Atlanta we were practically dead last. I have to admit that I take it personally. Is it really random, chance, luck? When I keep meeting people who seem to almost always make it into the pit?

I know that I shouldn’t complain, I’m lucky and blessed to even be able to see him at all, let alone get GA tickets, let alone FOUR shows. But, I can’t help it.

Well, anyway. Here are just a few pics from Atlanta.

My travels have been uneventful, mostly lonely and not so much fun. During the journey, on planes and in cars, I’ve realized that being a fan includes a certain amount of misery. It’s got a lot in common with unrequited love. You’re somewhat obsessed with someone who doesn’t even know you exist.

There’s this longing, which feels ridiculous, to just meet the guy. But that wouldn’t be enough either. I’d want to be invited to Christmas. Or at least have the chance to sit down and just talk with him for a couple hours.

Sigh.

But, hey. Whatcha gonna do? Just keep on going to shows and trying for the pit and sometimes making it to the front of the stage. Listening to his music, letting it touch you, staying in touch with your bruce buds and the Facebook fan group…and hoping that nothing happens to upset things for a long long time, so you get at least a bunch more shows in. Because the unthinkable just can’t…happen.

Grappling with all kinds of things these days. Mortality, mine and everyone’s, seems to be at the top of the list.

This post has no point. Just a ramble. I’m sitting in Louisville right now.

Aaaaaaand…some news: I decided to spend some money and donate to Steven Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and get a (really good) seat, and get to meet him. Tonight. So…more on that next post.

 

 

The River Tour: Pittsburgh 1-16-16

Show #1 of The River Tour. The pics aren’t so great because I was kinda far back. But I needed to illustrate the post with SOMETHING! Hope these at least give a bit of the energy of the night.

It was…breathless, breathtaking, big, heart-rending, deep, crazy, sensational, love-full, loud, fun, funny, laughing, crying, whispering, dark, bright, open, streamlined, full-on, full of memories, a gift, light for the heart, soul-lifting, essential, best ever.

The heart of rock and roll is the heart of us is the heart of Bruce and we all wish we could be the one to sit in his dressing room after the show, after his shower, sip the whiskey, hear his thoughts. How it went. What he thinks. What he feels.

Because he’s so. Darn. Friendly. When you see him on stage, him and the band, you see his humanity. You see the little errors, the stumbles in their communications, the moment when he’s making sweet to Patti after singing “Crush on You.” You notice Stevie remind Bruce early on in the show to turn around and sing to the people in the limited view seating behind the stage. When  Bruce nods, turns, motions to rest of the band, and they walk back to play to that crowd behind them, and then the fans back there rise to their feet and the roar of their appreciation swells up so loud–when all that happens, it’s like your heart, which you thought was pretty big to begin with, is going to burst out of your chest.

Most of us couldn’t really exactly explain this magic that is Springsteen. You can watch the Springsteen and I movie to see people trying. And doing a fair job, really.

But I’ve been wondering about it lately.

I was watching people at the show. In the GA line outside before doors opened (pretty cold), on the floor before the show (jostling for position), during the show (faces in rapture), after the show (high-fiving their friends, reliving moments in words).

I was trying to guess what Bruce means to them. Why do they love him. What can they say? How do we say it?

I am trying to say it.

I’m failing.

Words can’t do it.

Nothing can do it.

It’s the language of the heart.

Intangible. Unexplicable.

 

Mystery.

 

 

 

The Far East San Francisco Bay

It turns out that the corridor from Concord to Sunol is absolutely gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Sober Alcoholic

I have a confession to make. This is especially being posted for any of my friends of all ages who are still struggling with addiction and alcoholism.

When I was 17 years old, my boyfriend bought us tickets to see my idol, Bruce Springsteen. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe we were going. It was absolutely the most exciting thing that had ever happened in my life, even more exciting than my first horseback riding lesson, or my first blue ribbon, or anything. It would only be my second rock and roll concert and it was going to be the amazing, incredible, inspiring Bruce at Madison Square Garden.

The day finally came. We boarded the train in Katonah, NY in the afternoon. Being the partier that I was, we had to have something to drink. So David (who was over 18) got us a box of wine at the liquor store by the train station. A BOX. We started drinking as soon as we sat down on the train. The ride was about an hour long. We would have landed in the city right near the Garden. Should have been easy peasy. But…I don’t know what happened. I have no idea. Because we both drank so much wine on the train that we blacked out.

I have a vague memory of stumbling down a street in NYC, with our arms around each other. The next thing that I knew, we were walking down the train tracks somewhere north of White Plains. We still had our Bruce tickets. We had never gotten to the show. Somehow we got back on the train headed north, but we had missed the last train that continued all the way to Katonah. I don’t remember how we got home. It was the worst thing in my life, when I realized that I had missed Bruce. It went from the best thing in my life, to the worst thing in my life. In a moment. Miserable, wasted, still drunk, coming out of a blackout, throwing up on the train tracks, yelling at David – I wanted to die.

It took me another 15 years or so to fully admit that I was powerless over alcohol. That’s the sign of a true alcoholic.

But the saddest part of the entire story, for me, is what I just realized today as I told all of this to my Bruce bud, Britt Nelson. It took 27 years for me to finally go to see Bruce (Oakland Coliseum, 2007). And another 6 years after that before I really let myself reconnect completely to how important he was to me.

In recent years (as most of you know), I have returned full force to my love for Bruce. But it has been a bittersweet journey for me because I’ve realized how much I missed.  Bruce has been totally amazing all these years, but I just wrote him off when Born in the USA came out. It’s only this year, during tour, that I really came to see that BITUSA is actually an incredible album. Now, four of my favorite Springsteen songs are on that album (My Hometown, No Surrender, Downbound Train, Darlington County). And as I’ve toured around, meeting people who had been following him for decades, I’ve mourned all that I missed. I’ve asked myself why I turned away from him.

Today I realized that the day I missed Bruce when I was 17 years old because I drank too much was more than a bad drunkalog story. It was a pivotal moment in my life. If I had made it to that concert, the experience of seeing him live would almost certainly have been a life changer. I would have kept seeing him. I would have given Born in the USA all the extra time it needed for me to come to see it’s wonderfulness. I would have kept listening to and buying each of his albums, instead of catching up in 2014. I would have seen him live on each tour. I would not have missed the Seeger Sessions, or Devils and Dust. I would have heard him sing This Land is Your Land live. I would have heard Tracks and Human Touch and Lucky Town when they came out. I would have followed his life and his work and his gifts. I would not have missed more than half his career.

I am grateful beyond measure that something brought me back to Bruce in time to see all these shows, in time to catch up while he (and I) are still in concert condition. But I regret so much all the time and adventures that my drinking stole from me.

If you are drinking or drugging or otherwise letting an addiction keep you from what you love, please…stop. Get the help you need. Reach out. Don’t wait. Admit you have a problem and let yourself find the solution. It’s out there. I promise.

Kauai – First Two Months

In mid-August, I (temporarily) moved to Kauai. I’m not sure I’ll be here very long, but I have not blogged in a while so I thought I’d check in. I moved here because a friend of mine was dying and I came here with him and his family. To be part of that. The invitation was there, and I responded. It was intense. The whole experience from start to finish was intense beyond my ability to describe. Perhaps some day I will try but somehow it seems right to let it remain unwritten.

I am lucky that I work remotely. So I can literally live anywhere. As long as I have internet. So, why not live on a beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

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