Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Something fantastical and musical

For the first time in months I took my fiddle, Lily, out to practice. I knew it wasn't going to be for more than 15 minutes, but I was going to practice.  I won't go into why I haven't been able to practice, lets just say Life can be a Bitch, but tonight I was going to re-embrace practicing and making music.

As soon as I lifted the case to my lap my daughter smiled a huge grin an said "Play Violin!"  She went on saying, "Help! Help bow! Play Violin!" For those who don't know, DB is 21 months old.  Over the past 4 months she's sat on my lap and "helped" me bow a few times, but tonight it really was something fantastical.

I played "A Bunch of Keys" and she was furious with me for not sitting down so she could help me.  I started the Eklundapolska, and she began crying. "Me You!Me You! Help Violin!"  I sat down at the end of the piece and she clambered into my lap.

She took my bow in her and and started to play on the strings while I put my fingers down for a D major scale.  I said,"Flat hair, honey. Remember to keep the hair on the bow flat" and she corrected her bowing. I moved her hand from a more fiddler bow hand (choking up on the stick) to the grip and she grasped it easily. We played for 15 minutes easy, and the only reason we stopped was because I realized the time was way past her normal bedtime.  She was not happy with me.  I promised her we'd practice again tomorrow.

Music has always been my lifeblood. Becoming a mother changed that, as my priorities changed.  DB is entranced by music. Mind you, she's heard it all her life, even before she was born.  She hears Celtic music and says "Mama Music", even if I'm not the one playing.  I have to wonder if music will be as intrinsic to her life as it is to mine. What I know, after tonight's experiment, is that I'll be able to incorporate practicing into my life again, and that I'll have help. This is truly something fantastical!

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way

Christmas is an odd time of the year if you're not a Christian. Let me say right here, right now, that I am not knocking Christmas. I just want to be crystal clear about that.  I think the idea of  Joy and Peace and Love are wonderful. Giving unto others, being kind to your neighbors and strangers, and everything else that the Christmas Spirit can embody. No, what I'm talking about is seeing the majority of your world celebrate a holiday that you're not truly a part of.  There's a disconnect that not a lot of people talk about, though I know I can't be the only one to feel this way.

I didn't grow up celebrating Christmas. Being Jewish, this makes a lot of sense.  The allure of Christmas always grabbed at me.  My friends in elementary school would talk about decorating trees, making cookies, and visiting with Santa.  I didn't get Santa.  He was fake, everyone had to know that. I knew for a fact he was fake, because my grandfather, who did not live in the North Pole and who knew diddlysquat about reindeer, dressed up as Santa for some events at Briarcliffe College where my grandmother worked and taught. Lets forget about Santa. Lets talk about the Elves. I can get behind the Elves. Look at history with tales of Brownies, Cobbs, Faery Forts, Jenny Greenteeth, Faeries, Pixies, Dwarves, Dryads and more. How many faery tales are there? How many stories about Elves and Pixies and any of the countless Fey?  Seriously, my grandfather wasn't dressing up as Oberon, ya know?  My friends believed in the jolly fat man, but try to have one serious conversation about the Fey and get you get labeled a nerd for life. Ah, well, you pick your battles, right?  So, back to Christmas.

I never understood what Jesus had to do with Santa, presents, or the holiday decorations that spewed across the neighborhood after Thanksgiving.  I also had no clue what Jesus had to do with trees, cookies and reindeer.  My friends couldn't explain it, and my family didn't talk about it.  The combination of Sacred and Secular always confused me. Again, I am not knocking Christmas, Jesus or Santa.

What I loved about Christmas, being an outsider, were the decorations and the music. I loved the carols. I loved the lights in their garish cacophony. Most of all, I loved the trees. Christmas trees were amazing. Real trees, in your home, decorated with lights, sparkles and so many ornaments. The trees got me every year.  I remember in elementary school when I asked my mom if we could have a tree.  The answer was a resounding No.  Jews didn't have trees.  Trees were for Christmas.  There was no other discussion. It was fact, laid out, end of story. I have to say, I felt conned, but I let it go.  Several years later my family was invited to Christmas dinner with friend's of my parents.  Their family emigrated from Scandinavia, and celebrated the holiday with more European traditions. The food was different than the more American/traditional Christmas dinners my friends told me about, and there were amazing decorations.  Everything was carved out of wood, and there were candles everywhere. Their tree, however, stopped me cold.

The tree was huge, and by huge I mean it was over 7 feet tall.  It was decked out with lights, ornaments, and strings of cranberries. There was a glass finial on the top of the tree, and on almost every branch tip there was a small candle.  The ornaments and lights were mostly white, silver, or cream.  The string of cranberries popped against the light colours.  It was simply breathtaking.  After dinner our host turned the lights off in the room, and then he and his wife began to light the candles on the tree.  They may have sung Silent Night while lighting the candles, but I don't recall that as clearly.  Once they were done, the candles were the only light in the room, and it was magical.  It didn't matter that my family didn't celebrate Christmas, for that moment, in the warm glow of the candles, everyone in that room was connected.  It was breathtaking. Looking back, I don't think I've ever felt that kind of connection again.

Over the years holidays, not just Christmas, have become more commercial.  In college, away from my parents' prying eyes, I celebrated Christmas with friends and had my own "Chanukah bush".  After college, when I had a place of my own I would put up lights (indoor and out) and sometimes have a small tree.  By then I knew I didn't have a Christmas tree, but a Yule tree.  Pagan roots, pagan holiday, and I mixed it with the cultural trappings of the Jewish holiday.  It felt comfortable and right to me, but it wasn't Christmas.  It certainly wasn't that feeling of belonging that I'd felt that Christmas so long ago.

Throughout college and beyond I dated and married non-Jewish men.  I celebrated Christmas with their families, and incorporated their festivities with mine.  I was now celebrating Chanukah, Yule and Christmas.  Finally, I was celebrating Christmas in a cultural way that made me feel like I  was part of it. I'd made the cut! I was Celebrating Christmas.

There was some grand Christmases, and some crappy ones.  There were years with gifts, years without gifts. There were even years without trees, but I still celebrated Christmas with loved ones.  It was nice. I developed my own Christmas traditions.  Like most Jews, I enjoyed Chinese food for Christmas dinner, and I would go to the movies. There were compromises along the way.  More traditional Christmas dinners with lovers and friends, so the Chinese food & movie would move to Christmas eve.  It all worked somehow. 2010, however, was different.

I didn't have a significant other to celebrate Chanukah or Yule with. The holidays seemed empty, especially Christmas.  I read blogs, facebook posts and tweets from my friends talking about the joy of the season, and how they were spending the holidays with their loved ones, and I was back in elementary school again.  Don't get me wrong, friends invited me to celebrate with them, but it didn't feel right.  I lit the Channukah candles with my daughter every night, and it was sweet. It was calm, there wasn't a big fuss, and the night moved on.  I celebrated Yule with my daughter, and it was the same thing. It was sweet, calm, and not a big fuss.  Both holidays felt comfortable and inviting.  Christmas, however, was uncomfortable.

I made a baked ziti for Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas day we had Chinese food for lunch and we watched movies. Meanwhile my friends online were posting their Christmas stories, tweeting their loot, and I felt like a voyeur.  I was out of the loop again for Christmas.  Christmas 2010 was lonely. It was an uncomfortable quiet.  It was a day where I felt I didn't belong.  Christmas wasn't special for me, it was just a day.

I propose this.

I propose that Christmas isn't about gifts, food and insane holiday decorations. It isn't about carols or drunk uncles. Christmas is about surrounding yourself with people you care about, and enjoying their company.  It doesn't matter if you celebrate Christmas as a sacred or secular holiday, it's the people who matter. I think I want to celebrate Christmas in 2011.  I can't tell you where I'll be, if there will be a tree, or carols playing, but I can tell you that it will be more than just a day for me. I don't want to be disconnected.  I want to be part of the Peace, Joy and Love that can embody the holiday season.  Maybe, by being a part of it all, I can reach out to others who are on the outside and we can all celebrate together. Wouldn't that be spectacular?

What's it really about

This blog doesn't really have a focus.  I have a personal blog on LiveJournal as well as a NeidFyre blog, an unused Myspace account, my website NeidFyre.com, and a facebook account. I twitter constantly, and am fond of FourSquare.  Facebook really isn't the place for blogging. My LiveJournal blog is private. Myspace is not for me. I don't really think blogging in 140 characters or less counts as blogging, and FourSquare is all about Location Location Location. That leaves me here, at Fiddlemama.

Fiddlemama seems to be my catch-all place.  Originally this was where I was going to post my letters and notes to my daughter.  I write my daughter a letter or note every day, you see.  It's more for me than it is for her, but it's something I really wanted to do.  It didn't feel right doing it online, so I have a paper journal for that. That leaves me with the dilemma again of this blog not having a focus.

I've posted about my struggles with ADD here. I've posted about teaching here. I've posted about gigs here. I've posted my poetry here. It still doesn't feel like home, though.  I feel like a guest in my own space, and that's just bloody uncomfortable.

Perhaps the blog doesn't need a focus, and I need to accept it for what it is. I'm not pithy or wise. I am not the most eloquent writer, and my grammar often sucks eggs.  Thank the Gods there's a spell check here, because spelling is not my strongest suit.  This blog isn't here to impress people, it's here for me.  Don't get me wrong, I'd like to impress people.  I'd like to entertain people. I'd like it if this blog started getting hit upon hit, and people did think I was pithy and wise. Of course, none of that will happen if I ignore this space or if I only write once or twice a month. It's hard to talk the talk if I'm not willing to actually do the necessary work.

What do I mean, "do the necessary work"? It means writing. It means making music. It means actually living in the world instead of wandering with insecure purpose. I'm so tired of feeling insecure with my dreams and desires. Who does it serve to live like that? Not my daughter, and certainly not me.

I don't want broken promises, or empty solutions. I'd like some more substance with my subsistence.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thoughts on Solstice Eve

Sitting at my desk, the smell of cinnamon raisin bread wafting out to me from my kitchen. I have a few hand-fulls of yogurt covered raisins in a dish as well as a cup of watered down oj next to me.  I'm ready to sleep, and at the same time I'm wired. There's a scene at the end of Highlander (the first and best one) where Connor says "I know Everything, I Am Everything".  I don't feel like that. Not exactly.

Sticking with the Highlander reference, I always thought the Quickening was more than just a money shot.  I always thought it was the Calm in the Storm.  Everything is moving around you, fast and furious, and in that insanity of chaos the mind is calm.  The mind is Focused.  The mind sees clearly, and certain things/thoughts/ideas crystallize.  Clearly I am not an Immortal (first off in the movies all the  Immortals are men and second it's a movie), but I can relate to where Mr. Widen was going with all of that.

2010 has been a whirlwind. Fuck that, it's been a chaotic flux.  For much of 2010 I couldn't see straight. There was too much, too overwhelming, to see much of anything. I have, however, been trying to tame the winds and I think I'm starting to see more clearly.  Tonight, especially, being in-between wired and spent, I feel like I can see.

Everyone A lot of folks have blogged about the Eclipse. I think it's awesome. I'd use a different word to describe it, but I am flitting between dragged out tired & wired, so awesome will have to do. I think tonight is a night for clarity.  I think tonight is a time to really see what's going on inside and outside of my brain.  I would love to say that I'm definitely going to stay awake to see the eclipse, but I know better.  My brain may be functioning, but my body is rebelling.  Still, I've spoken to the sky and put out some freshly made cinnamon raisin bread and cream.  You never know who's moving about on a night like tonight.

How does all of this tie together? Well, for the few of you reading, let me tell you.  Clarity.  Being able to see past the emotional baggage I keep piled around me like a wall.  That's the problem with walls, you know.  Sure, you can block things out like over-due bills and the incoming zombie hoards, but if there's no way for things to get in, then there's no way for things to get out.  Creativity, love, music, laughter, friendships.... all of that stagnates if it has no room to move.  While much of the chaotic flux around my life has been out of my control, I have to wonder how much I added to it by hiding behind my walls; hiding in the darkness.  I'm tired of being in darkness.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm looking forward to the return of the Sun.  I'm looking forward to celebrating the New Year, and saying goodbye to the old.  I'm looking forward to more clarity and less chaos.

Happy Yule

Thursday, November 11, 2010


When did it become OK to disrespect a teacher?

I teach private music lessons, and over the past 4 years I've noticed the increasing trend in students and their parents treating me (and other private instructors) disrespectfully.  No-shows, last minute cancellations, not practicing, not focusing, quitting because it's "too hard".  When did children start ruling over their parents? What is going on here?

No-shows and last minute cancellations (that are not related to being ill, family emergencies or car problems) seem to happen every week. Not only do they happen, but the parents don't want to pay for the missed lessons. This is my Livelihood, people! I have expenses to cover. I have bills to pay. This isn't some hobby, it's what I do!! Why is it so hard for parents to understand this? What about having enough respect for me and my time to call me 24-hours ahead and say, "Janie has a conflict tomorrow and we can't make it." or "Billy isn't feeling well and we don't want to get you sick. We want to reschedule his lesson."  It isn't rocket science people, it's called COMMUNICATION. Email, Text, Cell Phones - those are the tools so why aren't they being used?  Not showing up or canceling last minute teaches that child that it's OK to not keep commitments. It teaches that child that their teacher's time is not important. It teaches that child that it's OK to disrespect others. Again I ask, when did this become OK?

I understand that students get distracted. I understand that students don't always have a lot of time to practice. Life is full these days. School, family, sports, clubs, pets, chores... these things all take up precious time. These things are commitments and need to be prioritized. By the same token, however, these students signed up for lessons. They made a commitment to me and to themselves to practice and learn an instrument. Not being focused and not practicing is another way student disrespect their teachers. Be prepared - be honest - tell me that you didn't practice and I'll work with that. Coming to lessons yawning, slack-jawed and not being present is a waste of everyone's time.  When did this become OK?

Last but no least, the excuse "It's too hard" is bogus. No Shit it's hard! You are learning a new language (reading music)! You are using muscles you don't use at other times! You're doing 18 things at once! If it was EASY then EVERYONE would be doing it.  With everything we do in our lives, there is a learning curve. Things are hard at the start, and it's my belief that they will get harder before we reach the top of the curve, and everything we've been struggling with suddenly makes sense. It all clicks, and as we move forward we start the next learning curve.  "It's too hard" is not the same as a student saying "I'm no longer interested". "It's too hard" is not the same as "I never wanted to play this instrument." "It's too hard" is a cop-out for not wanting to do the work. I'm not suggesting that parents not listen to their children and force them to play an instrument they're not interested in. What I am saying is asking their kids to stick it out for 1 or 2 more lessons, to see if they can get over that hump may be more beneficial than letting them quit because "it's too hard".

How do I know all this?  I've been there. I didn't want to practice. I wanted to quit. I would come to lessons unprepared and distracted. My teacher would talk to me about the disrespect I was showing her and myself, and if that's what I wanted to do then she wouldn't teach me anymore.  She put her heart and soul into teaching me (and her other students) and it wasn't worth her time to waste that on someone who didn't get that.

I love my students.  I teach all ages, all levels, and each one of my "kids" is special.  I know music is a hobby to most of my students, and I have no problems with that. I just want them, and their parents, to see that what they're getting is gift. They're getting a teacher who is investing her time in THEM. They're getting a teacher dedicated to making this a good experience. They're getting a teacher who tries to make the lessons fun and informative.  I respect my students and their parents. I'd like to be treated the same way.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Progression Lesson

I'm tired of false starts. I'm tired of living life through a bubble. I'm tired of regrets and broken promises to myself. I'm pieces of a puzzle, but the puzzle changes and I never seem to get it put together.  I don't find any of this to be particularly helpful in actually living my life. 

I've been thinking about joy, life, and the future.  What's important, what's not important, how I want to live my life. What matters, what doesn't matter, and not caring what people think about me.  These things have been rolling in my brain.  Now I need to bring them, these things, to life.  I need to manifest what it is that I want out of my life.  I need to cut loose the anchors that are no longer needed. There is life out there, and I'd like to join the party.

What is progress? For me, I think writing is progress.  I think making music and listening to music is progress. I think getting my dishes washed is progress.  I think not eating veggie sticks for dinner when I'm home alone is progress.  I think taking my meds, On Time, is progress. I think I've made some progress today.

I have to admit, while I don't really like change, I like progress. Progress is lovely.  Progress is healing and lessons learned.  I think I'm ready.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Thought and Memory

I saw You, watched you, as You
Splashed in a puddle.

It was Autumn, but not a crisp day.
It was wet, and the sky was split between
Sunny and Grey.

I saw You and Recognized You.
I've never seen you have fun;
Play when you think no one is watching.

It was quiet.
The sun-dappled leaves were heavy with rain.
None of that mattered though.
You were playing.

Hunkered down, water up to your chest,
You began to shake.
You dipped your head down, then threw the water
Over your back.

You were nattering on, or maybe singing,
I wasn't close enough to discern.
You were in your own world,
Not mine.

It made me smile, then I wondered where
Thought and Memory were.

I was there, in the moment,
As were You.
There was no past or future,
There was only Now.

I wondered if this was a vacation for you,
A respite from the responsibility of being You.
The thought flew from my head as quickly as it had come.

No questions.
No logic.
No past.
No future.
Now. It was just Now.
Enjoying the moment.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Time Goes By

Time can be so fluid.

Tomorrow is August 1, Lammas.   It's hard to believe we're beginning the 8th month of 2010.  So many things have happened this year, not just to/around me, but to so many friends and loved ones.  I can't say that 2010 has been a horror (thus far) like most of the 00's have been, but it's definitely had its ups and downs.

My Pop is gone 4 mos as of tonight/tomorrow.
My daughter is 16 mos old.
I start PARF in 2 wks.
My ankle isn't healed yet.
My life is moving in ways I wasn't expecting.

I certainly have regrets, but there have been harvests.

I have met so many wonderful people on my travels to AZ and back.
I recorded a new CD.
My mental health is slowly improving.
My physical health is slowly improving.

Looking around myself, I can see different lifestyles and different directions. I have no idea what the rest of 2010 will bring, but I'm hopeful for clarity.  I'm hopeful for health (physical and emotional).  I'm hopeful for creative growth. I'm hopeful for financial understanding (which should lead to financial growth). I'm hopeful for joy and love.  I'm hopeful for hope.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The hope and promise of office supplies

I am a packrat.
There, I've said it.

I looked up the definition earlier at dictionary.com.

1. a collector of miscellaneous useless objects
2. any of several bushy-tailed rodents of the genus Neotoma of western North America; hoards food and other objects

While I'm not bushy-tailed, or a member of the genus Neotoma, I do fit the rest of the description.  This is relevant for two reasons.
1. My house is filled with STUFF. Boxes, upon knickknacks, upon boxes of Stuff.
2. I am in the process of packing as we need to move by the end of summer.

Honestly, I'm having a hard time.  Part of it is ADD-related and feeling overwhelmed.  Part of it is the sheer amount of stuff that needs going through, which also feeds into the ADD issues.  Part of it is that my darling DB sees what I'm doing and wants to help. That means that things I've put in the box to recycle, or bring to the thrift store, or pack get UNpacked.  These things lead to a very unmotivated Me.  I'd rather be playing FB games, watching hulu.com, or practicing.  Basically, I'd rather be doing anything else.  Heck, I'd even go to the dentist if it would get me out of packing. Sadly, I can't do those other things because I must be strong. I must pack.

I've been through most of the book shelves for the first purging, and I've gotten rid of 5 bags of books.  It feels good to have divested, but I feel so sad.  Those books were like old friends.  I didn't want to say good bye to them, but I had to.  Next on the list are the office supplies.

I adore office supplies.  They hold such promise.  They will help me colour coordinate.  They will help me organise.  They will help me reach my full potential!  They will  help me feel productive! They will also clutter my space.  Pinning my hopes on inanimate objects to help me with such things has never really worked, but it's not stopped me from hoarding pens, post-its, staples, push pins, and folders.

So many emotions are caught up in the clutter of my life.  In truth, the emotions and memories take up so much less (physical) space, there's no real need for me to hold onto the tangible objects.  That empty bottle of seltzer tells me that it was the first bottle of seltzer I drank, on my own, and enjoyed.  It tells me that it was a hot night, and cranberry lime seltzer really hit the spot. It's also been sitting on the floor, under my desk, for the past several months.  Recently it took on new life as a toy for my 15 mos old daughter, but really I don't need to keep it.  She has plenty of toys, and I can grab another bottle of seltzer from the cupboard when I get thirsty.  I can get rid of that bottle Any Time.  You just watch me.


EDIT: Not only is the damn water bottle gone, but the floor is swept and mostly clear. Go me. :D

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fiddling Around - NeidFyre is heading to Celtic Fling!

This weekend is the 12th annual Celtic Fling & Highland Games at the Mt. Hope Estate and Winery in Manheim, PA. This is important for a number of reasons.

  1. It's a rockin' good time
  2. Loads of people will be there, enjoying loads of Celtic music
  3. Yours Truly, NeidFyre, will be performing there for the First Time EVER!
You heard me right, my dears, I'll be at the 12th annual Celtic Fling & Highland Games THIS Weekend!

You can find me performing at the Traditional Stage at 12:30, 4:00 & 6:30.  
I will have ALL my CD's with me, as well as other merch (duck feet & magnets)

Please come out this weekend, have a great time, and Take Me Home With You (on CD) ;>

See ya'll at the party!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thinking outloud when ones head is over-full

I may have mentioned earlier that my brain is full.  It feels stuffed with chaos, disorder, crap, and indecision. There are times when I just don't know how to sort it, let alone deal with all the things I'm thinking. Normally, when things get like this, my ADD takes me in one of two directions: 1) Super Hyper-Focus 2) Withdrawal & Hibernation.  Sadly, neither of those directions are very effective for forward motion.

Trying to combat this, I took stock and decided to have a "Me" afternoon.  I took 2 hours for me while MissT watched the Daikini Baby. After that the two of us hung out with a friend and his son in the A/C at the Mall. In addition to not functioning well with an over-full brain, I function even less well (is that even a real phrase?) in the heat and humidity.  One thing about Upstate NY, we have weather. It's not like Texas weather, which will change every 5 minutes, Upstate NY weather is consistent. OK, it's not consistent day-to-day, but given half a chance, it'll be consistent for a few hours.  This afternoons consistency was made of humid, hot, sunny weather. 

While I had an excellent time with my friend, my daughter & my friend's son, my brain kept wandering off.  Silly misfiring of things like "I like how chocolate shakes feel on my tongue" to "Breastfeeding in public isn't that bad. I can't believe how less ashamed of my body I am since I had #DB" to "Those archer farms' hummus chips last night were so tasty".  Now, take those three things and multiply them by 25.  Now, take all those things, and pretend the inside of your head has a radio broadcast on.  If you're still with me, turn the volume on all those radio broadcasts to a point where you can almost hear them, but not quite. This, my dear friends, is what goes on in my head all the time.

My friend Marrus said to me 2 weeks ago at SCRF, "You talk a LOT." She's right, I do. I talk to everything. I talk to trees, elevators, people, birds, my lunch, even my phone (as well as talking to people ON my phone). What I'm wondering now is if all that external conversation and noise is an outward reflection of my inner conversations. Don't get me wrong, I adore talking to trees. They are wonderful listeners, and an excellent source of comfort. I do wonder, though, if I could be silent for a while what it is that I'd hear, both in my head and out.

These are the things I'm going to ponder as I sit in the silence of my studio, and try not to talk to my tea mug.


There's so much going on these days, it's hard to sit down and write about it.  My head feels over-full, but it's not the chaos it was after my dad's passing.  Tonight my head is full of thoughts about the word Goodbye. 

This evening a scene from Sweeney Todd popped into my head.  If you don't know, dear reader, Sweeney Todd is one of my favourite musicals. Len Cariou's voice is just... gut-wrenchingly human. The pain, the sadness, the anger, it comes through so clearly.  Ah, but I digress.  The point of this is the scene in which Sweeney says Goodbye. Toward the end of the musical Sweeney comes to a point where he is killing people, just floating on air, at peace with himself. He seems free. He's made his peace with his past, and he's going forward. 

I can see this around me.  I can see the letting go, and it's just crushingly painful. I can't express in my own words how I feel, so I will share Sweeney's Lyrics with you.

JOHANNA, reprise
Sweeney Todd
And are you beautiful and pale, with yellow hair, like her?
I'd want you beautiful and pale, the way I've dreamed you were,

And if you're beautiful what then with yellow hair, like wheat
I think we shall not meet again my little dove, my sweet

Goodbye, Johanna
You're gone, and yet you're mine
I'm fine, Johanna,
I'm fine

And if I never hear your voice, my turtle-dove, my dear
I still have reason to rejoice the way your head is clear

And in that darkeness when I'm blind with what I can't forget

It's always morning in my mind, my little lamb, my pet
You stay, Johanna

The way I dreamed you were
Oh look, Johanna, a star

A shooting star

And though I'll think of you I guess, until the day I die,
I think I miss you less and less as every day goes by

And you'd be beautiful and pale and look too much like her
If only angels could prevail we'd be the way we were

Wake up, Johanna!
Unnerve the bright red day
We learn Johanna, to say

Sadly the quality from the original musical isn't very good, so I've a link to the song from the movie version starring Johnny Depp.  I don't feel that his voice conveys the same heartbreak and freedom that Len Cariou's did, but think he did a good job none-the-less. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blogging for sanity

I need to start with a confession; It's been almost 5 months since my last blog posting.

Many of the reasons are valid, some are not, but the point is that I haven't written much in the past 5 months.  Life has a way of dancing, and I seem to forget the steps from time to time.

Things have happened in the past 5 months.

Some of the things that have happened:

  • My father passed away.
  • My daughter had her complete cycle around the moon and is now almost 14 months old.
  • I've been in the studio and recorded a brand new CD.

My head is full of chaos. I need to slow down, breathe, and figure out the dance moves that Life and the Universe are showing me so I can flow with them rather than stumble awkwardly, or fall down.

I don't like falling down.  Some people are graceful and fall like a dancer or an acrobat.  Some people are NOT graceful and fall like a wounded rhinoceros with a 4th testicle and a mouth full of bees.  I am not particularly graceful.  I know I will fall here and there, and hopefully it wouldn't be with a mouth full of bees or handfulls of testicles.  I know I can learn from my spills, no matter how painful.  I think what I'm saying is that falling down seems necessary to self-evolution. 

"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something" (Wesley, The Princess Bride)

If we don't fall down and hurt that 4th testicle, how will we learn how to juggle them?  If we don't fall down with a mouth full of bees, how will we learn to open our mouths at the right time and let them go? The process of falling is painful, I don't think there's any denying that. How do we pick ourselves up? What do we learn from our falls and spills? How can we move forward after that mis-step on the runway where we end up ass-over-teacups, and our nether's out there for the world to see.  

I've fallen.  I've hurt myself.  I've not been truthful.  I've swallowed my mouthful of bees.  Life is pain, but life can be more than that.  Life can be rainbows, pretty felted shoes and sleigh bells.  Life can be trolls and faeries getting along.  Life can be as simple as a hug and kiss from a child, or a delicious glass of iced coffee on a hot summer afternoon.

Forgive me, my friends, for I've not written in almost 5 months. I'm going to stand up now.  Want to join me for the ride?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TECH: You confound me so! (Really this is about clutter)

This evening I was working on my new CD, FAVOURITES when I ran into a problem. Apparently 1/2 of my CD's were bad. Each bad CD had snippets of music or something on them. It was infuriating! The best thing I could come up with, after a calming talk with the hubby, was that the bad CD's somehow didn't get thrown away the first time around.  Apparently I just put them back in the bin with the rest of the good CD's. WTF?

I'm not a hoarder, but I feel like I'm on the brink.  I am, in fact, a collector, a pack rat, a connoisseur of things past. I don't throw ANYTHING away. Seriously, I have all my papers from all four years of college tucked in a drawer somewhere. I have nearly all the cards I've been sent, for every occasion possible, from the past 15 years in my desk. I have pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and out-dated calendars.  I have stacks of papers, no longer in any conceivable order that I trip over regularly.

My studio, which was 90% clean before my Daikini Baby was born, is now 90% full. Of Shit. OK, maybe not shit, but definitely crap.

Why do I keep all this?  What's going on in my head?  What is the emotional significance of all this stuff?  What hole in my soul is it all filling?

Oh the things I ponder at 2:07am...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Foodie: Pork Loin Chops in Apple Cream

I had some pork loin chops in the fridge that I desperately needed to cook, but hadn't a clue what to do with them tonight.  My friend Hel suggested pan fry or pan sear, and my friend Joni suggested a few recipes from allrecipies.com.  I ended up making the pork loin chops in apple cream and OMG was it tasty!

All in all in didn't take that long.  I had more than 4 oz. of chops, and I ended up cooking them all.  We had extra egg noodles, so I went with that. I would also spice the gravy better, using fresh rosemary for starters.  Irregardless, this is going into my keeper file and I will make it again. MmmmmmmMmmm!

Bon apettit!

Here's the description & recipe:
"A simple twist on an old Shaker dish. Pork chops are browned, then simmered in an apple cider infusion and finished in half-and-half or cream. Makes a great dinner for two, simple to prepare, hearty enough for him, but delicious by any standards. Can substitute chicken breasts for the pork loin chops."


  • 4 (4 ounce) boneless pork loin chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or cream


  1. Season pork chops on all sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside. Combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, nutmeg, and allspice in a plastic bag. Toss pork with seasoned flour to coat, and shake off excess.
  2. Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. Sear pork until golden brown on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Pour in apple cider and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until pork is fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pork and keep warm; increase heat to medium-high. Dissolve cornstarch in the chicken broth, and stir into simmering cider; cook for a minute or two until thickened. Stir in the half-and-half and simmer until hot. Serve sauce over the pork chops.

Performing: Why I'm No Longer Afraid To Take Your Money!

I've been thinking  a lot lately about Money, and being a Performer.  Happily most of my gigs are paid these days, but I still do free shows, and I still busk.  I'm what you would call the "soft sell" type. I have a tip jar (or an empty fiddle case or a hat depending on where I'm busking) and I ask folks to toss in a dollar or more depending on how much they enjoyed my show. I've never been a fan of the hard sell.  Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes I'm not, but I never feel like I'm forcing myself on my fans.  

I love connecting with people. I love playing a tune or singing a song and watching the audience, old and young, react. I've made people laugh, cry, and even scared a few.  It's an amazing rush, and I LOVE what I do.  For the first time, I really LOVE and ADORE what I do. All things being equal, this life doesn't always pay the bills or put food on the table.  Almost everything in this world has a price, and like the rest of this  country, I'd like to have a bit more in my wallet.

Last September Amanda Palmer talked about this in the now famous blog post "Why I Am Not Afraid To Take Your Money" Take a read. Really hear what she has to say.  I think she's hit the nail on the head with this.

I am a Musician and Performer (neidfyre.com). I run with sissors. I live an unconventional life, and I'm so much happier for it. Jane Smith and John Doe get dressed to the nines, work their desk job and get a paycheck with benefits. My job doesn't offer benefits. I don't have the luxury of a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck.  I work hard for every show/gig/performance, regardless of the size of the audience and venue. I go out there and give each show my best.

Two years ago I went on the road (away from home for an extended time) for the first time. I drove to Texas with my dog and we lived in a tent for 7 weeks.  I worked a small faire and met amazing people, many of whom I'm still in touch with.  Later that year I drove to Wisconsin and Minnesota for shows. My "local" weekend shows took me to Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.   I wore funny costumes, sang songs, played tunes, and tried to sell as many CD's as I could.  I met some incredible people on the journey. All the while, I may have broken even, and more than likely I lost money.  I didn't feel comfortable asking for help, so I didn't.  I tried to do it mostly on my own because that's what I thought I had to do.

We're now in the baby steps of 2010.  My life has changed a lot in the last 2 years. I'm now a musician, performer  teacher full time and I have a 9-mos old baby.  My darling Daikini Baby (DB) was born March 27, 2009.  I took most of last year easy and didn't do as much traveling on the road due to the pregnancy, but 2010 is starting with a bang!  DB and I are leaving for Arizona January 29, 2010 and will be there for 2 months working the Arizona Renaissance Festival.  I'm just not sure how exactly we're going to get there.

We're outfitting Serenity (my '92 Plymouth Voygager) for the trip, but gas and food are expensive.  I put the call out to you, my friends and my fans, because we need some help.  This weekend I'll be putting together a limited run CD (150 copies) called NeidFyre's Favorites.  I'll be taking my favourite tracks from all of my CD's to make this compilation.  The CD will cost $7.00 (includes shipping/handling/taxes) and will be available January 11 - January 28.  Each CD will also be signed and numbered.  If you want to know what my favourite tunes are, buy this CD. If you want to introduce my music to friends, buy this CD. If you want to wallpaper your livingroom, buy MANY COPIES of this CD. ;>  If you've enjoyed my shows, and enjoy the music I make, please think about pressing the donation button below. If you would like to help and don't want a CD, feel free to press the donation button below.

Thank you all for reading.  Thank you all for being a part of my life.  I look forward to seeing many of you on my travels in 2010 and beyond.

With love,

With thanks to Amanda Fucking Palmer for giving me the courage to no longer be afraid

Looking to buy one of my CD's? Want to purchase the new compilation CD "NeidFyre's Favourites" Do you just want to donate to the cause?  

Please go to NeidFyre.com/DONATE  

At the bottom of the page is a DONATE button.  Please fill out the Purpose line with "Donation" or "NeidFyre's Favourites" so I know if I'm sending you a CD!

Much love and thanks, 


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