In anticipation of an iPod purchase, I've begun the monumental task of loading up my CDs. This, my friends, is no easy feat. Need proof? Well, it's been nearly three days and I'm almost half way through my collection...almost.

At current count...iTunes claims I've loaded precisely 68.9 days worth of music. So, if I get stranded on a desert assured, I will be well entertained!

What's even more frightening is the fact that during a bad break up many moons ago, one boyfriend completely wiped out my music collection. Truth be told, he nearly wiped me out. I went away to lick my wounds, and came back to an empty apartment. The designer wardrobe? Gone. Furniture? Gone. Music and the killer stereo system? Gone.

So I started over.

And moved from Chicago to Seattle.

New beginnings....came with new music.

And now, as I load up the CDs acquired since then, it's interesting to see how my collection has developed. Old favorites take on new life...and stir recollections of many fond memories:

* This little weekend project has rekindled my love affair with Flamenco guitar. I can't even express the thrill I get, listening to those fingers fly across the strings. In fact, several years ago, I totally scored. Somehow, I managed to get one of my favorite Flamenco guitarists to play at one of my events. Live Flamenco for an entire evening? For me, it doesn't get much better.

* I was enveloped by a pair of weathered hands, and together, we moved to the rhythms...united by our common language of music & laughter. Oh, how I miss those days in Old Havana....One of my fondest memories of traveling in Cuba, is stumbling on the town square, and listening to the old men play thier music.

* Back in the day, a group of Andean musicians used to play at Seattle's Pike Place Market. Wind instruments filled the underground and the sound would filter throughout the arcade. When I first discovered them, my mom was visiting. Together, we lingered and listened as the sound reverberated around us. Then, at some point, my mom snuck away and purchased us both a CD. Today, I can't listen without thinking about about her.

* And when the winter rains become too much, I stack the deck with beach music. Fruitcakes from Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley's Legend remind me of the the tropics. Listening to Bob & Jimmy back at home, I daydream about sand between my toes and the sun, hot on my skin. Yes, for a moment, I can almost forget Pacific Northwest winters...with the rain-soaked streets and a chill that never quite leaves my bones.

* Then there's the techno side of my collection. Inevitably, I'm reminded late night parties at John's. Better than any night club--and yet, complete with bouncers--John's parties are stuff of legends. Dancing on the rooftop with picture post card views...we felt invincible.

* African hand drums and a rhythmic beat conjures up memories of Alki Beach. As the summer sun slipped beyond the horizon, a slow and lazy beat fell from your fingertips. Little did they know...after those sessions, your hands would be numb for days. Sounds from your West African village wafted down the West Seattle strip, and your electric smile was a beacon to friends & strangers alike. Listening to those sounds again, I think of you...and wish you well, mon amore.

* And finally, there's something soul-satisfying about the Celtic/Spanish/Bluegrass sound of the Paperboys. Frequent players on the Seattle music scene, Tom Landa and the band make the trek down from Canada on a regular basis. Recordings could never capture the experience of seeing them live, but the music tides me over between shows.

Yes, it's been quite a trip down memory lane. And I'm looking forward to an ever-expanding collection...supported by many more memories to come.