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veristitalian's Journal

Born in OH, I grew up in NH/VT. I was an athlete, avid reader, writer, and music-lover. While in college (again in OH), I connected w/the music of The Grateful Dead. Over the next decade, I followed the band around the U.S. and across northern Europe. Still, I was inspired by 'The Dead' to study W. African drumming and percussion. This allowed me to perform w/small troupes in NH/VT while I still lived there. I was then employed at Dartmouth College, which afforded me the opportunity of course study in Ethnomusicology and Art History. Though immersed in both, I rapidly exhausted the availability of instruction in W. African drumming. When I'd attended college in OH, I came to believe that I needed to live in CA. On 'Dead Tour' during the autumn of '87, I met a friend who said I could stay at her place until I'd settled if I really wanted to move to CA. She lived in Santa Cruz, about 75 mi. south of San Francisco. (I am not a city-girl, though enjoy having access to the "left" coast's Bohemian metropolis.) In Nov. '88, I packed my car w/what few "important" belongings I could manage and still allow myself sleeping space (in the car) and drove the 3000 miles to CA in 3 days. I took on a job at a natural foods store and within 5 months, joined an all-women band as percussionist and vocalist. For the next 2 years, the band continued to struggle; we didn't pay ourselves for performance; anything we earned went back into the band. We then hired a lead vocalist and in 1992, recorded our first CD and went on tour to promote it. This was the beginning of an amazing career! My bandmates and I were afforded the opportunity, due to the popularity of our original World Beat music and the novelty that we were an all-woman band, to tour the U.S. via festivals, venues, and invitations for the next 12 years! It was shortly after this opportunity became evident that I decided I needed to focus my attention and energy on Pele Juju (our band) and not 'The Dead'. Though I missed the lifestyle I'd enjoyed for 10 years, I was now immersed in creating and performing music, not just following it. However, Pele Juju ceased to be over 10 yrs. ago. Nevertheless, my musical interests over the years have included or still include Evanescence, We Are the Fallen, Creed, Azam Ali, Vas, Within Temptation, Talking Heads, Jethro Tull, The B-52s, Peter Gabriel, Bjork, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Sneaker Pimps, Seal, Tool, Abney Park, Flyleaf, Madonna, The Subtle Tease, BC Jean, Epica, Ian Anderson, Phil Lesh, Amy Winehouse, Alanis Morissette, Pretenders, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Bach, Traffic, Beethoven, Dire Straits, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Little Feat, Miles Davis, Mozart, Rimsky Korsakov, Kate Bush, Youssou N'Dour, etc. (definitely not in that order!). Still, during my time in the band, Pele Juju, I worked concurrently as a Fine Art Model. It is in this profession that I have since worked; I am no longer a performing musician. For over 2 decades, I had the opportunity to travel the U.S. and northern Europe with a means of financing it along the way. I had the opportunity to traverse the country by day and dance for 4 hrs. a night at 'Dead' shows. Afterward, I had the opportunity to earn my living performing at Pele Juju shows, while traveling in between. Today my travel is predominantly between modeling jobs in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. I have the unique opportunity to work with artists and students of art in animation, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and (occasionally) plaster casting. It remains a creative exchange between model and artist, just as did that between musician and audience. I feel fortunate for these choices and experience, knowing I couldn't have done so anywhere else in the U.S.. I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains of central, coastal California with my partner, 2 dogs and 2 cats in a house we purchased in 2004. I love reading fantasy fiction, science fiction, and historical fiction (in that order) and have done so for most of my lifetime ... at home in the summer sunshine (in particular), though too at the gym on the elliptical trainer, and on breaks during modeling sessions. I very much enjoy browsing used book stores (having traded in those books I've already ready which I don't wish to keep) for whatever is on my list to read next! My favorite authors are Jacqueline Carey, Brandon Sanderson, Guy Gavriel Kay, J.R.R. Tolkein, Anne Bishop, Frank Herbert (& legacy), Orson Scott Card, George R.R. Martin, Juliet Marillier, Colleen McCullough, Octavia Butler, Margaret George, etc., though not necessarily in that order. (J.C. is tops, however ... always!) I garden summer vegetables, year-round herbs, California native plants, and flowers. I'm passionate about cooking fine vegetarian meals, though like dining out on rare occasions. I like shopping for food at natural food stores; working out to maintain fitness; watching the occasional movie at the theater; listening to NPR while driving; interacting online within my communities whenever possible ( ... sometimes obsessively); and, getting rid of outdated "stuff" on a regular basis, though I am a collector of fantasy and spiritual imagery, textiles, found natural objects, small coffers, and cobalt blue glass. I am a published poet and photographer and appreciate both stimulating description and visual enticement. It pleases me to be immersed within and surrounded by beauty as its beholder. (I welcome all interpretations with regard to this statement!)
cobalt blue glass, dancing, fantasy fiction novels/movies, fantasy imagery, found objects, gardening, historical fiction novels/movies, music, natural food stores, npr, online communities, science fiction novels/movies, small coffers, spiritual imagery, textiles, used book/cd/dvd stores, vegetarianism, working out