Monday, May 23, 2011

We are the Music Makers, and we are the Dreamers of Dreams

Once upon a time, not very far away, there was a budding violinist, and she loved to play music.

Music touched her heart and soul the way nothing else could.  Boyfriends could come and go, stress could mount, depression could rear its depressed head, but as long as there was music it was all OK. Music made her heart soar, her blood race, and brought a joy to her entire being. That said, the idea of practicing was never fun.  She would practice when she had to, and once she got started it was easy to continue. Still, the getting started was always the hardest part.

She was lucky, or perhaps blessed, that music came easily (mostly) to her.  She excelled in music at school, played music at summer camp, and dreamt that she would make music her career. She was a big fish in a little pond through her school years.  She decided to follow the path and auditioned for colleges across the Eastern coast.  She was encouraged by her parents to follow a different path.  Music wouldn't pay. Music was hard.  Music was a good hobby, but not something to base ones life upon. Music was a dream. Her parents weren't being cruel, but rational. After all, "how many violinists are there, and how many orchestras are there, and how many of said violinists actually get jobs in said orchestras."  Better to learn more marketable skills and enjoy music on the side.

She would have nothing of it. Music was in her breath and her blood.

There were auditions. They were scary. There was travel to more auditions. They were just as scary. The letters started to come back.  Each letter was received with trepidation, but once opened (and often read with one eye closed) the answers were the same. Accepted. Accepted. Accepted. Accepted. The response  to those letters was always the same, with the girl and her mother screaming in excitement and running up and down the halls of their home.

A college was selected in Upstate NY. It was close enough for her parents, and far enough for her to be happy and satisfied.

Classes began, soon followed by the schooling. There was so much she didn't know. So much she didn't have experience with. So much to learn. Practicing wasn't something to fudge around with anymore. This was Serious Business. There was theory. There were scales, arpeggios, position work, vibrato... She needed to be more disciplined in her practice.  Her heart and soul poured into the music, but her skills weren't at the same level.  She began to practice more often. She would venture to the practice rooms in the bowels of the music building and practice.

And practice.

And practice.

Hours were spent in those small rooms.

At the end of the academic year, music students had a Jury. It was their final exam for the year.  For the violinists, they would walk out onto the large, empty stage, and they would play.  Everything they worked on for the year would be thrown out for the judges to dissect. This was not was the violinist excelled at. Solo playing was a terrifying experience. Being part of the corps, a strong player in the middle of the section, that was where she was comfortable.

The Jury began. She couldn't hear anything aside from the blood rushing in her ears and the mistakes she made. The results weren't very good.  She passed, barely, but she would have to step it up if she wanted to continue on this path.

Practicing began in earnest.  This was her path, right?  This was her dream, right? MUSIC. The colours, the emotions, the magic that  came from playing the notes and being part of the group.  MUSIC.

So she practiced. A lot. And then the pain started.

Shooting pains in her wrists and her right elbow.  She pushed on, of course.  One needs to suffer for their Art, right?  Hours at a time, day after day, she pushed on.  Her sophomore year was not a good year. Ice, meds, braces on her wrists, nothing helped.  She limped along, barely making the grade.  There were tears and screams of frustration.  Dreams were not supposed to hurt. Her second Jury was not successful.

Courses needed to change as her plans for her future needed to change.  The doctors, and there were several, told her that she damaged herself and she could either have surgery, or stop playing.  Surgery that wasn't necessarily proven, so said her parents. Surgery was not an option.  She contemplated a life without music and found it was bleak. Too bleak.  She thought about not continuing anymore, and attempted not continuing anymore.

Her junior year included a lot of therapy.  She continued to play, but very infrequently.  She sang more, but it didn't touch what she felt when she played her violin.

Her senior year came and went. She played even less.  Then she stopped playing.

For five years.

She didn't touch her chosen instrument. She sang less.  Music was too painful to listen to.

Life stumbled along. It was a shadowy existence. Music played on the radio, but almost never classical music. The true Changing point happened at Sterling. Walking down the stone and brick path, she heard a violin. She ducked behind the pork pocket booth and stood, slack-jawed, watching a musician play.  It was a joyous sound. It had depth, energy and life. It was a deep breath after being under water for too long. It was Music.

She began to play again, slowly.  She changed her repertoire.  She discovered she's heard this kind of music before, when she was young, and reveled in the feelings it rekindled in her.

Now, some 14 years later, she's still playing.  She performs.  She still doesn't practice like she should, but Music is part of her life. It is her chosen path, and her career.  Still, she rarely plays or listens to classical music because of the pain, physical and emotional, that it stirs in her.

Recently, last night in fact, she turned on the radio and heard the Brandenburg Concerto. It was incredible and she couldn't turn it off. After the Brandenburg they played the Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor. Feelings of sorrow and joy flooded her. The music was so beautiful, and so familiar, but she'd never be able to play them the way she used to.  Not without pain.  Tears flowed. Loss tempered with the knowledge she could play equally beautiful music without pain was a huge comfort.  Knowing she's instilling a love of music in her daughter, and with her students consoled her further.  Knowing she brings joy to those who listen to her play reminds her that she made the right career decision.  It hurts, but her path is still there.  This is not a pity party. Music flows in her life, and in her blood, and thats what matters.

Bach Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor, Issac Stern & Shlomo Mintz

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is Wednesday the new Monday?

It can't be Wednesday, but I know it is.  The calendar states today is Wednesday. The calendar wouldn't lie, right?
  • There are new sheets on the bed. 
  • The laundry is in the washer.
  • The dishes are done.
  • It's a quiet, sunny-grey afternoon.
  • It's just lunch time.
Surely Wednesdays move faster than this.

Mondays normally have a certain rhythm. 

  • The "I don't want to get out of bed" start to the day. 
  • The lazy feel to everything.
  • The sense of time moving like frozen honey.

Very strange...I wonder how to properly take advantage of this. What should I try to accomplish in this strange time warp. The mind boggles.

Not this kind of Time Warp

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Breaking Matzoh

2011 is an odd year for me in terms of holidays.  The Jewish holidays, to be specific. In a nutshell, and I really will try to be concise here, when I was young my whole family gathered at my grandparent's house on LI for the Jewish holidays.  Everyone. Relatives from across the US would fly/drive/bike in. Family friends would be there. I helped my grandmother prepare the feast, and we would eat.  There would be stories and laughter and food.  Seriously, a lot of food.  I remember one year my grandmother made gefilte fish from scratch, and there were fish swimming in the bathtub.  I was 3.  Really, that isn't something you forget. 

The feasts would go something like this: gefilte fish with horseradish, soup, chopped liver on a bed of lettuce with cherry tomato garnish, more soup or gefilte fish, platters of roast chicken and brisket, potatoes, spinach pie, cranberry or some other fruit compote, carrots, greens, have seconds or thirds or fourths of whatever you wanted, and lots of matzoh or challah, depending on the holiday.  After 2-3 hours of feasting we would clear the table  (we being the women) and reset it for dessert.  Dessert was always brought in since my grandmother did all the other cooking.  Dessert was fun.  There were cookies, coffee, cakes, tea, pies, and maybe some fruit. After 2 hours of schmoozing and dessert munching folks would leave the table and waddle to the various sofas and chairs to chat, laugh and tell more stories.  These were epic gatherings, ingrained in my young brain.  It's no wonder to me that when I moved out of my parents' home I tried to have that same kind of holidays.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but the fact remains that I love cooking for the holidays and enjoying them with as many people as possible.

Coming back to 2011, I say again that it's an odd year.  I don't have much blood family left, and my friends and chosen family are further away than in previous years.  Money isn't plentiful and food is expensive, so this Passover I didn't have a seder.  It was weird. I wanted to commemorate the holiday, however, so there was matzoh.  We had matzoh every day.  I made matzoh brei, and for the first time ever it turned out almost as good as my grandfather's.  I made matzoh pizza, which was a huge hit with DB.  I had open faced matzoh "sandwiches".  It wasn't seder, but it was a taste of Passover.  Then I got an email from my friend Mark. He was going to have an end-of-Passover dinner Monday night, and did I want to come.

I squee-ed.  Literally, I used my out-side voice and said, "SQUEE!"  I emailed him back immediately and asked what he needed.  I could make chopped liver, charoset, or some kind of dessert. I'd just seen 2 recipes for Passover kugel (one savory, one sweet).  He requested the sweet kugel. 

I made the apple matzoh kugel Monday afternoon.  Mind, I've NEVER MADE this before, so I had no idea how it would turn out. I changed the recipe slightly, as is my wont, packed it up, and drove to Mark's house.  A note: the dinner parties I've attended at Mark's have ranged from 5-15 people.  They're always filled with amazing food. Several of the folks who attend these parties are professional chefs.  To say that I was nervous about my kugel was an understatement.

I pulled into the driveway, and was a little surprised that I didn't see any other cars.  I went in, and it was just Mark.  There was soup bubbling on the stove, brisket bubbling away in the crock pot, and a jar of gefilte fish on the counter.  I asked where everyone was, and he said it would be the two of us and hopefully Leslie.  It was an intimate gathering.  That was cool.  Not what I was expecting, but cool. 

We caught up with each other (I'd been out of town for three months), and fought with the gefilte fish jar for about 30 minutes.  That sucker would NOT open.  I asked if Mark had run the jar under hot water, got a look of "Do what?" from him, and less than a minute later the jar was open.  Apparently he'd been struggling with the jar all week. 

We munched on matzoh crackers and cheese, had kosher wine (Not Manischewitz!!) and chatted.  Leslie arrived with some spinach, and we chatted some more. Leslie sauteed the spinach with garlic and olive oil, and then we sat down to eat. 

The feast was delicious.  Soup, gefilte fish with horseradish and matzoh, brisket, potatoes, sauteed spinach and salad. The wine flowed, the conversation was engrossing, and it was really wonderful.  Mark's retelling of the Passover story was fun and educational. It was lovely.  After dinner I dished out the kugel.  Did I mention Leslie is a professional chef? Did I mention she makes incredible desserts, has had her own bakery and her food is divine? Yeah.  So I serve the kugel and they both LOVE it. By the end of the night the 2 quart kugel pan was more than half gone.  To know that these two people with very discriminating tastes enjoyed a recipe I'd never cooked before made me happy.  To know that I helped feed people for Passover made me happy.  To actually celebrate Passover with friends, and have a small seder filled me with joy. It wasn't too big, it wasn't too small.  To quote Goldilocks, this seder was just right.

It was a pleasure to end the holiday by breaking matzoh with my friends.  You'll have to excuse me now, because I've got some brisket leftovers in my fridge that are begging to be eaten for lunch.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Insert Witty Title Here (AKA I haven't gone to bed yet and it's 6:15am)

I really want to go to sleep.  Truly.  Seriously.  But I would have to wake up in 3.5 hours.  I don't think that's enough sleep.  I've checked the usual suspects.

  • It's not the full moon.  
  • Mercury isn't retrograde. 
  • I didn't drink tea or coffee after 5p. (Make that tea, as I didn't have any coffee today/yesterday.) 
  • There aren't any freaky noises coming from inside or outside the house. 
  • I'm not in the middle of a gripping novel that I can't put down. 
  • I'm not engrossed in any of my "Stories".

What the hell, man?!?

Maybe it's time to back away from the computer and close my eyes.  Then again, maybe I should just start up a pot of coffee now and hope for the best.  Either way, I think it's a crap shoot.

I know... I'll flip a coin.  If I was going to be incredibly geeky about this I'd get my camera and document the coin toss.  I am now, however, feeling that ambitious, so ya'll will have to trust me on this.  WAIT!  I can do this in an appropriately geeky fashion!  Here we go....

Heads I get into bed. Tails I stay up. I'm using a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel as they don't have any NYS quarters or Sacajawea's.

And... TOSS!  OK then.... bed time it is!  Sweet Dreams.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Home & space

We've been home just a week now.  The trip cross country was pretty amazing, and I need to write about it.  I'm not sure how I feel being home.  I miss my Faire Family on the road.  I missed my ITown family while we were gone.  It's a give-and-take.

I feel like there is so much to do and not really a lot of time to do it.  The next officially booked show is VARF at the end of May, but I'm looking for more gigs.  I'm always looking for more gigs. :grin:

I will say that it's pretty awesome to watch DB run around the house and have more room to stretch her legs than when we're living in the Winne. That's probably one of the things that's really hitting me right now. There's so much SPACE. A separate room to priv, to cook dinner, to relax, to sleep, to play... it's CRAZY how much room there is here. :grin:

This is a pretty short post as DB is ready for snuggles and bed time. Bye Bye, Everyone! (for now!)

Friday, April 1, 2011

The timing of things

Who is it that figures out when things should open and close. Is there some secret committee that makes these decrees? Can you picture a darkened boardroom filled with cloaked figures wearing very expensive shoes as they make the decisions that affect the rest of the populous?

McDonalds... they shall be open 24-7 across the country
CVS... they shall be open 10-8 on the east coast and 9-9 on the west coast
QT... they shall be open 6-12, but only on the west coast
Target Pharmacy... they shall be open M-F from 9-9 across the country, except near Phoenix AZ where every pharmacy, minus one, will close at 7p.  That lone pharmacy will close at 9p.

I am not kidding.  I have never heard of a Target Pharmacy closing at 7p during the week.  Where's the convenience? Where's the consumerism? Where's the Love? Where's the freaking complaint box?

This is relevant, because tonight I needed to go to a Target Pharmacy to pick up an emergency inhaler. I posted earlier about the coughing. Really, it's the post prior to this one.  If you missed it, you should read it. I'll make it simple, here's the link.  I called the Target Pharmacy closest to AZRF to double check that I could pick up a refill, and they said yes.  They had the medication in stock, it would take 30 minutes to fill, and would be available within 45 minutes of the call placed by my doctor.  Julie, the helpful person on the phone, assured me that I cold pick the inhaler up tonight. This was at 6:35pm. Don't you think it would have been more helpful if Julie said, "We close at 7pm, so you may not be able to pick your prescription up tonight.  If you need it tonight, you should call the Pharmacy in Gilbert." Moving along...

My doc called me at 6:45, I gave her the number, and she called me back 10 minutes later saying the pharmacy was closed. Was I sure this was an emergency? Did I really need the inhaler tonight?

Never mind that I'm coughing like a whooping crane with a 10-pack-a-day cigarette habit, how could the Pharmacy be closed?   I just talked to Julie!  I reasurred my doc that I really did need the inhaler and she said she'd call me back in 5.

I looked up and called 6 Target Pharmacies in 5 minutes.  I shit you not, every single one was closed except for the one in Gilbert.

Gilbert is 28.5 miles away.  I drove an hour (round trip) because that was the only available & cost effective option. W.T.F.

The happy part of this story is that I was able to get my inhaler, and my breathing is less laboured.  I can take a full breath and not cough! Mind, I'm still coughing, but not as much thanks to the mucinexDM.  I am incredibly grateful that the Gilbert Target Pharmacy was open.  I'm incredibly grateful that my NY doctor called the refill in for me.  I'm incredibly grateful that my breathing is improving.

I am, however, still pissed at the boardroom of faceless decision makers. To them I say, "Fie! You are fools (and not the good kind with the silent E at the end)! You are miscreants who make others lives more difficult. You are PITA'S!!!!!"  I would say other things to these faceless decision makers, but my brain can't think of anything else witty to say.  I'm sure I'm also somewhat distracted by their lovely shoe-ware.  I do get distracted by the shiny things.

You know, I feel much better having gotten this off my chest.  I've only coughed a handful of times, too. That's Progress!


PS:  The SuperTarget is pretty snazzy.  Not only does it have all the regular Target stuff, but everything is laid out differently AND there's a supermarket area.  The best part of this, however, can be summed up in two words: Chobani Yogurt!  Yes, the elusive Chobani, that I crave and can find sometimes, but not every time, at Wal-Mart-o' Doom was there in full force.  They even had flavours I'd never seen before!  Lemon and Mango (two separate flavours).  Gotta take the good with the PITA'S with the yogurt, I guess.   G'night all!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The plague - I haz it

I would just like to say that hacking my lungs out and having a fever suck. My hope is the fever will be gone by tomorrow, but this cough... this hacking, horrible, asthma-inducing, bronchial cough of doom sucks. It just sucks. Seriously, it sounds like I have a 10-pack-a-day cigarette habit.  Also, the coughing makes my head hurt in fantastic ways.  How fantastic? Well, my eyeballs feel like they're going to explode. Yeah.... good times.

OK.  Now that I've got that off my chest I'm going to have some more tea, heat up some wonton soup, and pack.


Sunday, March 27, 2011


I was pregnant  two years ago.
My world was different, on the cusp of change.
At 12:57 pm my world shifted, and has never been the same. 

The words Happy Birth Day have taken on a whole new meaning for me. 

There is so much more laughter, love and music in my life all because of Her. 

Happy Birthday, My Shana Madela, My Joy, My Love.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Today I remember

I'm supposed to be doing other things right now.  I should be showered, have the trash thrown out, and be nearly off-site for my errands so I can be back ON site by 1:00.  I'm not.  I'm sitting at the kitchen table, "How To Train Your Dragon" is playing, and I've just finished breakfast.  I've updated my twitter accounts.  I've updated my facebook.  I've cried. Now, I'm updating my blog.

Today is my Poppy's birthday.  I don't have any pictures handy or I'd post one right now.  Mom and Pop married when I was in the 3rd grade.  It was the second marriage for both of them.  My Pop adopted me when I was 34, 3 months before my Mom passed. Poppy and I were never really close before then.  Don't misunderstand me, I loved him.  Poppy just didn't always "get" me.  Truthfully, no one in my family really "got" me, but that's beside the point.  Pop and I had things in common, especially our love of music, but for so many reasons we just weren't close.  After Mom passed Pop withdrew from the world.  He kept everyone, friends and family, at arms length.  All the while he was struggling with a lot of things.  He never recovered from Mom's passing, and I think that escalated his health issues.  All of that changed in the 18 months before he passed.

It was clear that he had been struggling for a while, but things got to a point where someone needed to intervene.  I wish we had intervened sooner as it might have changed some things, but if wishes were horses we'd all be trampled by now.

The 18 months were hard.  I watched his mind fade.  I watched his health decline.  I tried to help him keep his feet in this reality, and after a few months he let me.  I wouldn't trade those months for anything.  As much as I miss him, the fact that he passed at home where he was comfortable, is the best thing that could have happened.  Believe what you will after the body dies, I have to believe that he's with our family.  He's reunited with my Mom, who was the love of his life. I can't be sad about that.

There's a whole wiki page about bereavement in the Jewish faith.  One of the things we do is light a yahrtzeit candle.

Yahrtzeit, יאָרצײַט, means "Time (of) Year" in Yiddish.[13] (Alternative spellings include yortsayt (using the YIVO standard Yiddish orthography), Yohr Tzeit,yahrzeit, and yartzeit.) The word is also used by non-Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, and refers to the anniversary of the day of death of a relative. Yahrtzeit literally means "time of [one] year".

My family has always been a little different.  Rather than only light the yahrtzeit on the anniversary of the death, my family chose to also light the yahrtzeit on the person's birthday.  My Mom and Gram always said they did that so they could remember the person's life rather than focus on the day that person had passed.

Today I'm going to light a yahrtzeit for my Pop. Tonight I'm going to eat Chinese food and drink bloody mary's in his honour.  I will say the Mourner's Kaddish, and I will remember him.  I will remember him teaching me how to count 16th notes at the dinner table.  I will remember his office, full of pipes and eyeballs.  I will remember his love of jazz and big band music.  I will remember how he threw handfuls of mashed potatoes on our dinner plates once, but never again.  I will remember his love of musicals.  I will remember everything I can, all the while relating these stories to my daughter. I miss my Pop, but he's really not gone as long as I can remember him.

Love you, Poppy.  You, the Biggest Shanie, will be remembered today by me and my daughter, who is the Littlest Shanie.

Yisgadal v'yiskadash sh'mei rabbaw (Cong. Amein).
May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (Cong. Amen.)

B'allmaw dee v'raw chir'usei
in the world that He created as He willed.

v'yamlich malchusei,b'chayeichon, uv'yomeichon,
May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days,

uv'chayei d'chol beis yisroel,
and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel,
ba'agawlaw u'vizman kawriv, v'imru: Amein.
swiftly and soon. Now respond: Amen.
(Cong: Amein. Y'hei sh'mei rabbaw m'vawrach l'allam u'l'allmei allmayaw)
(Cong Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.)

Y'hei sh'mei rabbaw m'vawrach l'allam u'l'allmei allmayaw.
May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.

Yis'bawrach, v'yishtabach, v'yispaw'ar, v'yisromam, v'yis'nasei,
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
v'yis'hadar, v'yis'aleh, v'yis'halawl sh'mei d'kudshaw b'rich hu
mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed is He

(Cong. b'rich hu).
(Cong. Blessed is He)

L'aylaw min kol birchawsaw v'shirawsaw,
beyond any blessing and song,
tush'b'chawsaw v'nechemawsaw, da'ami'rawn b'all'maw, v'imru: Amein
praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now respond: Amen.

(Cong. Amein).
(Cong. Amen).

Y'hei shlawmaw rabbaw min sh'mayaw,v'chayim
May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life
awleinu v'al kol yisroel, v'imru: Amein
upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen.

(Cong. Amein).
(Cong. Amen).

Oseh shawlom bim'ro'mawv, hu ya'aseh shawlom,
He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace,
awleinu v'al kol yisroel v'imru: Amein
upon us and upon all Israel. Now respond: Amen.

(Cong. Amein).
(Cong. Amen).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A quickie!

Just a quick post as DB finishes up her afternoon nap.

I have purple shamrocks blooming in my house.  Purple.  Shamrocks.  I ADORE Purple Shamrocks.  I realize it may not be easy to SEE the purple against the maroon curtain, but trust me the shamrocks are purple.

I have a St. Pat's Gig!
I'll be playing with Eddie Jeff Cahill and others at The Firehouse for St. Pats. More details as I get them!

Apparently it's time to wake DB up from her nap.  Why do I know this?  Because Lyric always jumps on the bed to lick the child when nap time is over. WTF?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stoking the fire

It's 5:50p in Apache Junction.  It's Wednesday.  I'm blogging.  I'm pretty happy about this. Of course, I've no clue what I want to blog about, but lets sojourn forward.

We're officially at the half-way point of the AZRF.  It's shocking, but true.  I'm enjoying being here.  I love this show.  The people (patrons, actors, musicians, staff & crafters) are wonderful.  The show itself is beautiful.  It's comfortable being here (at this time of year.  Don't even think about coming here when the hot weather shows up). And, as much as I adore the winter I am thrilled that DB and I have missed all the storms over the past month.  I'm not looking forward to going back to NY because I will miss everyone here  Still, I need to head back. There is so much to do in the next 4 weeks.  I'm applying for shows across the country.  I'm looking to book a number of new gigs (not just faires).

One of the reasons I've been out-of-sorts is because I'm trying to figure out the best way to combine all that I do.  In simple terms: Mama, Musician, Poet, Reiki Master. Of course, I've been working on this for a while, but it takes time.

The trailer is slowly becoming home, which is nice.  We're much more comfortable this year as compared to last year in Serenity.  There are so many storage spaces, that we're still not as unpacked as I'd like to be.  I just don't know the best place to put things.  This, of course, has led to some ADD triggers as there's a touch of clutter everywhere. Clutter Sucks.  Seriously.  I have my moments where I feel like my head will implode, but what helps me out a lot is DB.  Unasked for hugs and kisses.  Little songs. Conversations.  She really is incredible.  Don't just take my word for it, here's a picture from today. It's astounding to me that she'll be 2 years old at the end of March.
Mischievous Child

So the trailer is lovely, and we're making it more homey every day.  In addition to the clutter, I have 2 boxes of papers that are unsorted.  I think that's really what's throwing me into a tizzy.  Unsorted Paper is evil.  I know many of you won't believe me, but it's true.  It may not be as bad for you as High Fructose Corn Syrup or Cigarettes, but trust me, it's EVIL.  Today I made some headway and pulled the boxes down from the high shelf.  Now they can't hide.  Everything is in these boxes.  Gig info, CD info, bills, receipts.  All the important things I haven't dealt with yet. Now I have to take are of them.  OK, maybe not now.  Probably tomorrow.  The point is that I pulled them down.  It's the small victories that count.

And with that, it's time to made dinner, skype with friends, and head out to the Rescue Rally.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just another Manic Saturday...

I'm in my bathrobe, fuzzy slippers on my feet, and I have a hot cuppa brewing on the counter.  It's also not quite 7am, DB is still sleeping, and I'm burning CD's like a madwoman.  Yup, it's Saturday, a Festival Day, at the Arizona Renaissance Festival!

It's the fourth weekend, Faery Weekend.  It's inconceivable that it's the fourth weekend already.  Inconceivable!  And before you say anything, dear Reader - I know I have at least one - I know what that word means.

Seriously, though, this post isn't about fuzzy slippers, tea, or how many weeks have passed since our cross country trip.  This isn't even a post about how frantic my mornings are.  This is a post about movies.  Yeah, you heard me, MOVIES!

Yesterday I saw two animated flicks that blew me away.  First was Rango.  This movie is amazing.  Don't believe me, read Mr. Ebert's review.  The movie is fantastic.  For those of you who don't like spoilers, trust me, I'm not posting any.  The voice acting was phenomenal.  The humour was more for the adults, but it wasn't raunchy. The animation was spectacular.  The music was amazing.  There was PLOT.  There was humour.  There was NO 3-D.  I had a fantastic time, as did the audience I saw it with based on the guffaws and laughter that filled theater.  This was a Good Time.

Last night I watched How to Train Your Dragon for the first time.  I had no idea what to expect, but I was thrilled that I was watching it in 2D. It was FUN.  It was more family friendly than Rango, and the music was superb.  The voice acting was a hoot.  Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera and David Tennant! Christopher Mintz-Plasse was also great.  The dragons, a large part of the flick, were well done.  Again, you will find no spoilers here, but let me tell you that I am always a little worried about how dragons are portrayed (drawn, characterized & voiced) in films.  What can I say, I'm a big of a dragonphile.  No worries in this movie. Here's a review from EW when it first came out.  While I liked Rango a little more, How to Train Your Dragon will be moving onto my "Must Own & Watch with DB Often" list.  In addition, I'm going to find the books (either the audiobooks, which were voiced by Mr. Tennant, or the paper version) and read them.

If you like films, animated or not, I highly recommend both of these movies.

Happy Watching!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I like the internet.  I like being connected to friends all across the world.  I like watching silly things on youtube.  I like writing things on LiveJournal, playing games on FaceBook and tweeting things throughout the day.  I enjoy being connected  That said, it's nice to disconnect too.  Turn off the phone, unplug the computer and just enjoy the stillness.  Do you know what I don't like?  Forced disconnection.

Last year the wifi service at AZRF was atrocious. Seriously, I could barely get anything done. It wasn't just me either.  Most of the folks onsite had a horrible time with the wifi.  This year its been terrific.  Really, a complete 180.  I've been able to use skype, watch hulu, watch youtube and there have been few-to-no glitches.  That is, until two days ago.

I get really frustrated when I can't get online. Really.  Frustrated.  To the point where I want to cause bodily harm to things.  I know, that's not very Om of me, but it's the truth. 

I tried everything possible to figure out why my connection wasn't connecting. I had friends help me.  I rebooted my system more times than I can remember. I called the help line six times and left detailed messages.  They never called me back, which just pissed me off further. Today, however, I finally got through to someone.  We spent 10 minutes chatting about the problem, and the tech kept saying, "I've never seen this problem.  Are you sure you're not mistyping your user/password?"  I refrained from any profanity or voice raising and was quite adult about the whole thing.  For those of you that know me, you know how amazing this is.

We finally got the issue resolved (as you can tell by this post), but the problem shouldn't have happened in the first place.  The tech agreed with me, which made me feel somewhat better.  Then I asked for service and the tech asked why.  I explained that I wanted some recompence for the missing days.  I paid for the days, after all.  The tech said, "Oh, I'm with customer service too.  We can't do anything."

OK, I can understand glitches in a system. I can understand customer service not returning any of my calls because perhaps they were very busy. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for that. What I can't understand is stupid customer service.  Is the company so small that the tech's are also the customer service people?  Is the company so non-user friendly that they won't extend my end date by 2 days because of a glitch? Yeah, no.  Big. Fat. No. 

In the end, I got my connection running again and there's a note for someone to give me a call tomorrow about extending my service for 2 days.  You can bet your left earlobe that if I don't hear from them that I'll be calling.

Don't screw with my internet connection, man.  You won't like the outcome.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Om & cuteness

I know that the Om is a popular concept in the real world, but in the Ren Faire world, it's not just popular, it's infectious.  Seriously, it's like a disease, but in a good way.  By this, I mean that nearly everyone I've met has an Om on their person (jewelry/tattoo/accoutrement), in their trailer/house, or their vehicle.  Before joining the ranks of Traveler, I didn't see Om's that often.  I'd heard about the concept, but I didn't really know anyone that LIVED the concept of Om.

Om is pretty awesome. To take a quote from the Wikipedia page, Om has the literal meaning of "It is" or "Will be". It is the aorist future form of Agu "to become". With all the crazy in my life, Om has become really important to me.  The funny thing is that I almost feel like a poser with the Om's I have around me.  I have a few.  I have one on a piece of jewelry, one on a pouch, and one on a wall hanging in my kitchen.  I look at the symbol and almost instantly feel relaxed and a sense of calm.  The reason I feel like a poser is because I don't necessarily "Live the Om" or embody the what the Om signifies like so many folks I know do.  I'm getting there, though.  Here's the Om in my kitchen.

One of the folks I've been spending a bunch of time with is Auntie Raven (not her real name).  She's a fantastic singer and storyteller at AZRF.  She and DB have really bonded, which is awesome.  Here's a picture of the two of them watching Findng Nemo.  Well, zoning out, right before bedtime.  This pic is from this weekend, Pirate Weekend, at AZRF.  One of the fun things about Auntie Raven, is that even though she doesn't have an Om's, she really does embody the spirit of Om.  She is one of the most positive and grounded people I've ever met. 

And with that, I'm off to Bedfordshire.  Tomorrow is going to be another fabulous day, even with the wet weather we're expecting.  I'm looking forward to it.  I've got the best job in the world.  I get to play, make music, and meet new people.  It doesn't matter what crap is going on in my life, as long as I can make music things will be good.

Nighty night.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The ins and outs of it

I'm sitting on the couch/at the table in our trailer, and I'm shocked at how time has flown by.  As of today I'll have been living at the AZRF site for three weeks.  Time is so fluid down here.  The third weekend of faire will be here in two days. TWO days.  It's mind blowing.

I've been sticking close to the trailer, spending time with a small group of friends, and just remembering to breathe.  I'm not really into my groove yet, but I feel like I'm getting closer to it.

Cooking in the trailer has been an experience, and my favourite thing to make is Terry Foy Delight. It's a quickie crock pot dish that sounds like it wouldn't be good, but it really is delicious.  I've also started drinking tea on a regular basis again.  My new favourite is the Revolution Chai.

I thing the big thing is that I feel really disconnected. The twitter client I was using went away (UberTwitter) and I've only just found UberSocial. The 'net access on site is much better this year, but I'm just not spending as much time online as I was in NY.

DB has fallen in love with Finding Nemo.  She wants to watch it every day, and she enjoys talking about Nemo and Dory.  She's not as enthralled with the sea turtles, but she's young.  I'm teaching her "Fin" and "Noggin".

This is one of those times where my brain is petering out. Time for me to head off, enjoy a cuppa, and read before I head to bed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An earth shattering kaboom!

Actually, it's the opposite of kaboom.  It's an earth shattering SILENCE! I don't mean my life has been silent. I mean I've been been up to my eyeballs in life, but my online presence has been tucked away, packed in moth balls.

Why, I can hear you ask, have you been off-line?  It's more fun to e'splain rather than to sum up.

First, there was the influx of snow which delayed the drive across the country for 5 days.
After that passed, there was the actual drive across the country which took 4 days.
Once our destination was reached there was the panic of "Where Are We Going To Live?!"
After a homestead was figured out there was the unpacking and settling in of said homestead.
In addition to that came the preparation for beginning of the Arizona Renaissance Festival.
On top of all of this, my normal quickie communication, UberTwitter, apparently got slapped down, so I have essentially been incommunicado.

Things are not quite so hectic, but they're not really settled either.  Winnebago life is new to me, and while I'm enjoying it, it does take some getting used to.  I'm taking the rest of this week to get organised, then my re-entry into the 'Netosphere can begin anew.

Until then, my dears, Be Excellent Unto Each Other!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Writing. Blogging. Posting. WTF?

Friends of mine are incredible.  They write/dance/perform/cook/INSERT SOMETHING HERE every day. Me, not so much.

Sure, I do the normal personal hygiene routine daily.  I get dressed.  I've even been keeping up with my FLYLADY challenges, and keeping my sink shiny almost every day.  Those things are great, but my creative side is feeling left out.

There are bunches of memes making the rounds on facebook and LiveJournal with a "post-a-day" theme.  Post a picture. Write something personal. Pick a colour. The subject matter isn't really important here, it's the fact that it's an everyday thing.  I know my limits, and I'm not an everyday kind of woman.  I can try for everyday, but when I don't keep up I start lambasting myself.  That's never a good or pretty thing.  Still, I see the merits of the everyday habit.

While I don't think I can handle everyday, and make it an everyday habit, I think I can make a 3x a week habit. Blogging 3x a week on whatever strikes my fancy.  Playing music 3x a week to keep me in good form, learning new tunes and songs and making sure old repertoire is still at my fingertips. This, I think, is do-able.

Speaking of writing, there are so many words for what this online stuff is.  It's writing. It's blogging. It's posting. Truthfully, I never know what to label it as.  When I think of blogs, I think of The Bloggess .When I think of writing, I think of Neil Gaiman.  When I think of posting, I think about what I put on my livejournal. They're all different, but the end result is the same: turning thoughts into words, getting them out of the brainpan and sharing them in some format.  I still don't have a clue what I should call it, though. :grin:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Odd Bits

I very nearly typed that as Odd Bins, but this is not a post about alcohol. (Boo hoo, I know)  I really don't know what this post is about.  There are random odd bits floating in my brain, and I thought I would write them down. Perhaps alcohol should be involved...

Speaking of alcohol, I made hot chocolate from scratch last night.  Cocoa, sugar, cocoa chili, milk, salt & water. The magic ingredient, however, was butterscotch schnapps.  I didn't have enough milk for the recipe so I added the schnapps.  Let me say right now, DAMN!  That was some tasty hot chocolate. In the future I can see adding baileys or peppermint schnapps. Those are fine flavours to meld with dark cocoa.

Did ya'll know I'll be performing at the Arizona Renaissance Festival? NO?  Well then, let me say right now that I, NeidFyre, will be performing at the Arizona Renaissance Festival for the full run of the 2011 season.  I'm so excited to be heading back to Apache Junction.  I love my AZRF family, and can't wait to see them all.  This also means that I'm going to be driving myself, DB and Lyric, our kitten, cross-country.  (I'll be blogging more about that shortly.)

The other day  was walking around with DB in her Ergo.  I received dirty looks and was asked by 4 people if there was something wrong with my daughter.  They wanted to know why she wasn't in a stroller or a shopping cart or walking around next to me.  DB is nearly 22 months old and will be 2yrs at the end of March.  WTF people.  She was having a great time.  What is with people in the US that babywearing is considered "wrong".  I have friends who wore their babes until they were 3.   It's also not just the US.  Here's a bit on Carrie Moss from 10/21/10.  The title of the article just blew me away, and not in a good way.

Perhaps my brain wasn't as full as I though, because I can't think of anymore to say.  I'll just finish with this tidbit, and yes it's about DB.  Last week she put her fingers on my eyelids and lifted them up. As my eyes rolled back she said, "Zombie Eyes!". This morning she did it again. :grin:  She was considerate about it too.  She asked me to take off my glasses, THEN she lifted my eyelids up. "ZOMBIE EYES!" Maybe that should be the title of my next CD....

Over & Out!


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