Tuesday, January 22, 2013

the first post of 2013

Not a great blog title, but so be it.

Currently, I am sitting on the sofa at Star & Mikal's home in Florida while Jay fixes me a bagel...yes, I am a lucky lady!  We have started a new tour...and so far this year is shaping up to be really excellent.

We left Lindemar on Jan 5th-after a traditional breakfast at USA Donuts with the family...it was a sunny and cold morning as we drove south.  I am happy to say that we had NO untoward car incidents as we traveled to Pennsylvania to our dear friends Davyn & Vesta's home.  A weekend of music and merriment ensued and was capped off by our playing at the Manor and Davyn was press-ganged into coming on stage to help me cover for Jay as he changed a broken harp string!  We wow'ed the crowd with a rousing rendition of 'Sloop John B'...and it was so good that we played it again at the next nursing home!

Our next stop on tour was in Virginia at Brittany's house-she is an amazing bass player and was busy giving some lessons to a couple of up-and-coming rockers.   We had a wee panic as one of her kitties made a ninja escape as we unloaded instruments but were relieved to learn that he was one of the few who were allowed to be outside.  Phew!

Jay made special friends with Ananda the kitty who played 'feet under the blanket' until 3 am when Jay chased her out of the bedroom...I suppose I didn't help by giggling every time he grumbled about her pouncing on his feet!

Our day's travels the next day (Weds) was spiced up by this Subaru with New York plates passing and then braking on I 95-it was our friends Harry and Merlyn of the duo Merry Mischief!  We happily stopped at the next rest area and much hugging and catching up ensued.  We made plans to grab supper together (at decent buffet-Jay wanted somewhere with a salad bar) and tried to figure out where to stop for the night...

It ended up that they stopped before us as I was engrossed in a book on tape and continued to drive until we got to St. Augustine, Fl.  The push had been upon us to get to Cape Coral/Ft. Myers for Thursday night because on Friday at (EEEW) 5am there were going to be some tv stations at the faire site to promote the upcoming 'Kiwanis Lee County Medieval Faire'.   So we checked out of the Ramada (very clean, inexpensive and decent breakfast) at 11 and just drove until we pulled into Max & Dre's driveway at 5pm.  Harry and Merlyn pulled in about 4 min. after us!

It was a fun night of camraderie after that-with a wee bit of jamming-and we somehow all managed to get up on Friday and get to Lakes park with plenty of time to get ready for our big tv shoot.  Several other acts were also there and we all did our best during each "cut away" (which is what they call it when the regular news anchors go to a reporter in another location) to make great music and merriment!

Terry (the entertainment director and head honcho) took all of us out to breakfast at Perkins as a reward.  Yay!  He had Jay and I in tears with some of his tales of past exploits.  All in all, it was a great time.  : )

The weekend passed quickly-it was very warm and humid-in the 80's and decent attendance at faire.

I will post more again later in the week as right now the battery on the computer is down to 25%  WHUPS!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kreativ Blogger award

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kreative Blogger Award

Karen Anne Brady of Ireland Brady bestowed upon me the "Kreative Blogger Award". 
Part of accepting the award means I have to share 7 random, but well thought out facts about myself. So here goes:
1. I am generally a happy and positive person.
2. I am a health nut. I don't drink alcohol, smoke, buy junk food or eat or drink anything with sugar in it (except whole fruits) or eat any processed foods (except organic potato chips and Triscuits once in a great while).
3. I make most of the presents I give away at Christmas. 
4. I'd wear some version of Renaissance attire all of the time if people didn't look at me funny (except when on hiking trips, long distance travel or playing sports -- hard to do those activities in long gowns!). 
5. I love old architecture. I feel much more comfortable in older buildings and in older neighborhoods than in new buildings (it's hard to love boxy glass and steel structures).
6. I was a long distance swimmer as a child.
7. I love hiking and discovering things and places on foot away from traffic.
In accepting this award there are a few rules (which allow some leeway to be broken: check out the parentheses below):
When one receives this honor, there are a few rules they can (or not) choose to follow:
1. Post a link to the person who awarded you 
2. Share 7 well-thought out random things about yourself
3. Bestow this Award to 10 other deserving bloggers and let them know.

I am going to break the 3rd rule because I don't follow or read many blogs (except news and political blogs, but I'm not going to count them in). I'm sticking to art and music blogs:

1. Karen at Ireland Brady  -- yup, I'm giving the award right back to her because I read everything she writes.
2. AnnMarie at AnnMarieTornabene -- because I read all of her blogposts as well (her website is well worth checking out too at www.AnneMarieTornabene.net).
3. Abby at MinstrelTales. Abby hasn't written much on her blogger, but she was an active blogger on Myspace for years (before MySpace disappeared and came back, that is!). She tells what it is like to be a traveling Renaissance minstrel in the modern world.
4. Terrance Frank Lazaroff of EtsyExtension. Frank is a gifted potter and shares tips on the business of selling crafts.
I also sometimes read the blogs of this musician and artist (more well known):
5. Jo at TheCartBeforetheHorse. Soft sculpture and dolls and lots of creativity! 
6. Lisa Lynne at LisaLynneFranco. Harpist sharing concert videos, pictures of her travels and the story of finding her birth mother.

1 comment:

  1. Lise, you are a sweetheart! Thank You!

    I'm with you all the way on preferring older architecture, my home was built in 1920 and its sturdiness and warmth have been hugging and protecting us since we moved in back on 10/1/1970.

    I'm off to visit your bloggers' .... I'm sure they will all be delightful! Thanks!

 Lise Winne
bestowed upon me the "Kreative Blogger Award". 
Part of accepting the award means I have to share 7 random, but well thought out facts about myself. 
So here goes:
1.  I am a bibleophile and read at least two books a week...sometimes more.  I speed read-my Grandmother 
     Townsend taught me how when I was young and I average 200 pages an hour.
2.   Hate raw tomatoes...love pasta sauce, salsa, ketchup but raw tomatoes?  Nope.

3.  I have loved only two men unreservedly (not counting relatives)...Jay is the second man I have loved 
     that way.  No holds barred and damn the torpedoes!  Our relationship is the best relationship I have 
     ever had.  I know all of you have already figured that out!  The other man?  A boyfriend from college.

4.  I am a strong believer in learning new songs 'by ear'.  It is my favorite way to learn most songs with 
    the exception of some of the faster Irish jigs.  Those I really need to SEE how the runs and skips go!
     I think one of the great joys of playing an instrument is figuring out how to play a song without the 
     music-whether you are a amateur or a pro!

5.  I love to jam with other musicians!  No surprise there right?  There is such a fun vibe when we get 
     together with other players and just jam!  

6.  Random-I used to go on very long walks through the woods when I was younger, hoping to see the 
     Fey and telling myself stories about them...and going on imaginary adventures...I still go on long 
     walks and hope to see the Fey!  

7.   My life since I met Jay has been filled with adventures-some happy, some harrowing, some sad but I 
     wouldn't trade ANY of it! 
Its been a while since I posted...and so many great gigs have come & gone since then!

Our time back in Florida was awesome this past year.  We were busy-especially when Mumsy flew down and wanted to do something every day...then we went home to the two teenage daughters and that kept us pretty busy-Ashley graduated from High School with decent grades (after Jay and I light a fire under her butt!)-Kim finished strong and got accepted into the High School of her choice-Bristol Agricultural High School...and also into a week-long summer camp at Bridgewater State University.  She got to go on a whale watch-got some great videos of Minke whales swimming under the boat, etc...and presented information to three state congressmen!  Phew! 

Jay and I continue to stay busy-we've had some great gigs-Robin Hood Faire in Guilford, CT, Silver Kingdom Ren. Fest in Charleton, MA, Midsummer Fantasy in Ansonia, CT...and that's just the Renaissance festivals!  Each faire had great moments-with friends and fans and patrons-and we have added the new guitar to our roster of instruments to haul about! 

I had one of the worst birthday 'presents' ever to date this year-I had a deer tick bite get infected with streppococcus and ended up going to the ER for my birthday!  My arm was gross...and hot...and painful...Jay knew something was wrong when I was up and showered and dressed at 6am-without a gig!  Two antiboitic perscriptions and one painkiller later I was sent home...but the ER doc and pharmacist both sang me a chorus of "Happy Birthday"...memorable!  It has taken two weeks but it is now better-I do have a small scar on my left arm from it.  Bleah.  It really only cleared up after I started doing a salt water regimen-soaking it with salt water...

This past week we had a rash of gigs in the hot weather-Tuesday at the Sandwich Farmer's Market-where we met a lovely Irish woman who was looking to sell her harp-we had to investigate further-its a lovely harp but not 'better' than Jay's Triplett-so we will pass but if anyone is looking for a floor harp by Aoyama harps of Japan please send me a line! 

Wednesday we played at a lovely Garden in Pembroke, Ma...in a gazebo with stained glass walls.  It was hot-Jay broke a harp string but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves-and I got a few ideas for a garden layout! 

Thursday we were at the Plimouth Farmer's Market at Plimouth Plantation.  Jay broke ANOTHER harp string tuning up-it was a 'triple-h day'-hazy, hot and humid!  We had just been about to begin our set-so it was flute solo time!  He got the string changed in record time-less than 4 songs-which is pretty impressive!  We also had a collection of young kids sitting around our ez up and listening!  YAY!

Friday found us in Dartmouth at the Dartmouth Farmer's Market where Jay broke the 3rd string in 3 gigs!  POOP!  It was another 'triple-h day' but the breezes kept it bearable.  We had a bonus of a 'break band'-two lovely 5th grade girls who played violin duets!  This was their first public performance and they were SO good!  By the second time they came up they were feeling more relaxed (and talked into the mics!)  It was a joy to see fledgeling musicians...

Saturday we thankfully had the day off-and ran errands-picking blueberries, picking up Jay's bike and shopping...it was another scorcher...and very humid. 

Sunday was 'Harp for Peace Day'...we were at the Seaward Inn in Gloucester, Ma.  The Inn is a lovely place to play-with an impressive view of the water-and quite a few beautiful sailboats went by as we played...and yes Jay BROKE ANOTHER STRING!  Curses!  4th string in 4 gigs!  Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!
The up side was that I covered in 3 songs this time!  3!!  He can change them at lightning speed these days!  We also got fed-I like eggs florentine...snazzy...

Monday we were off...and spent the day hiding in ac by going shopping at my favorite thrift store (where I bought some new tank tops) and going to the movies!  Kim went with us and we all enjoyed the re-boot of Spiderman...although I picked out a flaw in the storyline (which I won't tell...)

Tuesday we had a double gig-Sandwich in the morning (harp therapy in an alzheimer's wing) and Atria in Fairhaven in the afternoon...but first we brought Jay's small harp by to show the lovely Irish lady who is selling her harp...she mentioned to Jay that she had been thinking of trying to down-size but wasn't sure if she would like the sound of a smaller harp-but after trying Jay's Altarwind harp she was impressed! 

Yes Jay broke a string on Tuesday...we got home, he put the harp down in the music room and 'TWANG!!!'...another string bit the dust.  He has taken to de-tuning the harp before and between gigs now.  It has just been so bloody hot and humid...

Today we were in Weymouth and then off to the Cape...and back home again in a huge thunderstorm!  It was actually pretty cool-we were going over the bridge from the Cape in Sandwich and could SEE the lightning streaking across the sky off in the distance...we ended up driving VERY slowly with 4-way flashers on part of our journey as the visibility was poor!  I kept my fingers crossed that we wouldn't run into the 'quarter-sized' hail that some areas got!  We didn't run into any hail but did have to crawl across some flooded roads...and thankfully that has broken the heat wave! 

Wheeeeeeeeee!!!  Jay also DIDN'T break a harp string today!  I hope that wave is over as well! 


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mom & Kim left Florida today!

Hey all!

It has been a busy two weeks...and more.  Mom & Kim have been here in Fla., and since it was Mom's first time in Florida EVER we were trying to do tons of stuff!

They came in to Ft. Lauderdale on Feb. 15th...the day after 'Chocolate Beer Night' at World of Beer...good thing the flight wasn't TOO early since some of those beers were extremely tasty!  I especially liked the 'Terrapin Chocolate Stout' mixed with a Rasberry Lambec...yum!  : )

Mom's first comment:  "Look at all the palm trees!"  was soon followed by "It really is different here"
I remember feeling that bit of culture/weather shock the first year we came down-6 years ago now...Mom couldn't get over the fact that we needed ac in FEBRUARY!  Our daughter Kim had her teenage blase attitude on since she has been coming to Fla. for 5 years now...

Her attitude was quickly washed away when we got to Star & Mikal's and I tossed her in the pool-clothes on.  : )
It made for a MUCH better time!

That night we celebrated the safe arrival and loss of attitude by going out to Shinju Japanese Buffet in Coral Springs...Mom was ready to try some new sushi and delved into the cooked and a few uncooked items.  She liked most of the offerings-while she was here I think she became a bit fond of the teryaki eel and avacado roll...and also the sesame balls for desert!  Yarn Vikings Megan & Bill joined us-and we were a merry group munching our way through quite a few plates of offerings!

Kim and I paid a visit to Plato's Closet (a consignment shop which I HIGHLY reccomend for decently priced hip/stylish fashions).  She found quite a few treasures-and only exceeded her budget by $2.50...which was fine as the find of the day was a "Charlotte Russe" corset for "ONLY $5 MOM!!!!"

Thursday Mom, Kim and I went off to Fern Forest Park and walked some of the trails...Mom was snapping pictures happily every 8 feet or so.  She loved the Banyan trees (I do too!) because of their neat trunks-they look like a cluster of trees all grown together.  : )

Friday we had rehearsal for the Consort-Kim stayed here and go re-acquainted with her Ipod (we are hanging onto it till she gets on Honor Roll but gave her a break while she was here) and Mom enjoyed listening to us work through some new songs on site.  She also did a bit of exploring and marking off what she wanted to go to at faire.

Saturday we were all excited to head off to faire!  Kim was chomping at the bit to see her friends...and Mom was chomping at the bit to see EVERYTHING!  : )

Huh...think I'll post this now and add more later as Jay is ready to head out shopping!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our first weekend at FLaRF...

Hey all...
So it all began Saturday morning.  The rains passed over in the night and drifted along (after wetting everything for the past week) and the skies cleared slowly.  It was a fun beginning-the 'Occasionally Baroquen Consort' or "Ein Klein Morgenmuzik" group assembled on stage for our first 10 am morning jam session! A few times the band hit a groove and it was truly magical!
Our instrumentation?  2 Harps, 3 violins, viola da gamba, vielle, upright bass, tenor and soprano recorders, guitar and some singing as well! 
It is a thrill for me to be part of such a musically talented group...from the sounds of us tuning on stage to the applause at the end of songs it is just uplifting and fun.

All the day was filled with reunions with good friends...people we only see at this faire...for the next 4 weekends...thus far, it seems that 2012 is treating people pretty well-ourselves included.  ; )
I would be hard-pressed to choose a 'favorite moment' of the day on either Saturday or Sunday as they were both filled with special moments of music and camraderie. 
Musically speaking-we begin our day with the Consort and end it with the new 'Musician's Revels' or Pubsing...with everyone on stage and jamming together on songs!  It is a great feeling to be sharing a stage with everyone...it is an excellent way to end the day!

Saturday night we went out to Duffy's Sports Bar with Rob & Deb & Star & Mikal...I went light on dinner so I could treat myself to some fried cheesecake.  Yum! 

Yesterday was student day at FLaRF and it began on a fun note...there was nothing on the schedule at the Half Clef stage until 11...so members of the Consort got together and decided we would have our morning Renaissance music jam...then while we were getting ready to play, Misha (of Wolgamot) started singing "You are my Sunshine"...and Erik of Iron Hill Vagabonds JUMPED right in with lyrics and fiddle...and 2 bars later ALL OF US were playing and singing-5 verses of a decidedly BLUEGRASS version of it!  It was pretty @$&^ impressive I have to say that we all found the right key right away and sounded polished!!!  It was just too much fun!

The general consensus yesterday was that the kids were much better behaved this year-and very inquisitive-I did get a few good questions from some of them...and most were polite. 
I did have a definite low point to my Monday...I went to pick up my Psaltery case after our last set and knocked into Charry's quatro...which fell to the stage and smashed.  AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
For those of you wondering-a quatro is a four stringed instrument in the guitar family...

Yes, it was an accident...a horrible accident...it KILLED me that I broke his instrument.  I told him in no uncertain terms that I would replace it or have it fixed (which may or may not be possible-the body is pretty cracked)...and he was very sweet about it but I still feel horrible.  Jay found a Sam Ash music store nearby that said they had a quatro-we picked it up and ran it over to Charry after faire only to find that no, it was more of a tenor uke and the sound from the broken quatro was still better than this replacement...bleah.
The clerks at Sam Ash were very understanding and we returned the quatro without a problem...Charry found one on line that he said would do so when we got back to Star's I ordered it...
I hope, hope, hope that it will turn out to be what he needs. 
I also never ever want to break another instrument...ever.  No, not even the Erhu that Jay has even though it sounds like a dying cat.

Today has gotten off to a limping start...phone calls and bookkeeping...next comes laundry...and cleaning and organizing garb in our room-it does tend to get everywhere during weekends-or as I like to call them-work days.  I also have a pile of music to rehearse and get into my head.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Going to try a new color type today as I sip my coffee...it is an overcast, slightly humid day here in Southern Florida.  I'm having one of those days where you feel logy and nappish-but I have things to type so no napping now!

We are going into the first weekend of the Florida Renaissance Festival-the biggest of the three ren faires Jay and I perform at here in Florida-and it is also the longest at 5 weekends!  Wheee!!!  However, our tour really began back in January...cue flashback music

January 8th...8:30am.  It was reasonably warm at Lindemar as Jay and I hauled the boxes, bags and pillows down into the loading area...our breakfast invite was for 9am next door-my wonderful sibs and family planned a big breakfast together before we hit the road...the girls went over for 9, I think I got there at 9:15ish...it was a grand send-off and it was hard not to overeat...one more waffle would have made me too sleepy to drive!
Everything we needed for this year's tour fit into the van quite well...Jay is a master packer and we had the cooler strategically placed for easy access...our first stop was at our friends Davyn & Vesta's house in Hazleton, PA.  The drive was idyllic...and we breezed our way through New York without a hitch (perhaps because we left the camper behind?  Ha ha!)

It was grand to hang out with Davyn & Vesta...the time passed too quickly!  We were fortunate to also have 2 gigs at the nursing facilities nearby that Davyn set up for us-yay!!!  Davyn also had the recording mics set up for one of our jam sessions while we were there and I am curious to know how they came out!  It all sounded great from where I was sitting!  Too soon, we had to pack up and hit the NOT snowy trail again (we really have been fortunate this season to not be driving thru snowstorms!)

Our next stop-Virginia-to stay with a new friend-and Cello teacher~!~!  Brittany had students when we pulled in but after dinner gave Jay a cello lesson-he was soooo appreciative that she was able to do that...he talked about the pointers she gave him for quite some time on the road the next day.
We made it from VA to Northern Florida the next day-we had PLANNED on staying the night in Georgia, but I was distracted when Jay said "take this exit...exit 3...THIS exit...UH ABBY???"  Sigh
Needless to say I passed it by and we ended up at a Florida hotel.  Oh well.

The following day we made it to Ft. Meyers, checked in and then zipped over to Max & Dre's lovely house for a wonderful stay...they are excellent hosts and also hosted our friends Harry & Merlyn of Merry Mischief...there was a wee bit of drinking and jamming over the weekend and beyond!  : )
Highlights of Ft. Meyers-and there were many-included the excellent pub singing with Merry Mischief and having Lady Phoenix sing along with us...and Rob's Mead!!! 

We said our goodbyes with a sigh...we are looking forward to seeing Max & Dre at Flarf this weekend-and will be doing the Silver Kingdom Ren Faire with Merry Mischief this spring.  Huzzah!

Our next faire was in Gainesville...for the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire...we borrowed some camping gear from Star & Mikal and headed up the turnpike.  Just as I was saying that I missed stopping by the Russell Stover Chocolate outlet (a tradition!) there was a billboard saying it was the next exit!
$24 later we had quite a collection of great chocolate to ship up North to the family.  I am sure it is all gone now! 
Tenting went fine...the first Sunday night was the coldest-weather got down to the 30's...we were pretty bundled up and I was a bit stiff and sore in the morning from sleeping in one position all night.
We planned a fun day with Howie & Anita on Tuesday-past years we had gone to St. Augustine but we all wanted to explore something new this year so off to Micanopy we went! 

Micanopy's claim to fame-the movie Doc Hollywood was taped there...there were many antique shops there and Jay and I had fun trying to find instruments...there was a Russian Ballilika that looked waaaay too fragile to play but the only Harp we found was only on a coffee cup. 
I bought a couple of books and Jay bought a new teardrop shaped Mountain Dulcimer.  : )
He has played it a couple of times with a bow and it has a unique haunting quality...

Thursday night we played at Satchel's Pizza and Lightnin' Salvage.  What a fun pizza joint!  The decor is fabulous-all recycled bits of EVERYTHING!  Bottle cap mosaics, chandeliers made with odd keys, you name it!  The pizza is excellent-best in the area-and the beer is cold and inexpensive with great brands to choose from.  Many of our faire friends came out and made it a really great gig!

The student day at the faire started off slow for me...it was very loud in the beginning as the thousands of kids came in...but all day long the kids were pretty well-behaved and asked us pretty intelligent questions about our instruments and such.  Jay had a fun little interaction with one student-I will let him tell that story-just ask him and he will be glad to! 
My favorite interaction was with some delightful little princesses in the ladies room line...they were bored and fidgity until one asked me "what's that" (pointing to the divergent flute on my belt)...and I played her favorite tunes for her until the line moved in!  I can now play "Old MacDonald had a Farm" on divergent flute.  Whoohoo!!!

Sunday-the last day of Hoggetowne-we packed up the tent and all our various and sundry belongings before coffee in order to miss the rain that threatened to come down later.  It did-during the last parade!  Giacamo, Jen, Jim and I were playing 'the Rakes of Mallow' faster and faster as the first drops hit...and I ducked into the S.C.A. tent as the skies opened up!  Phew!  The rain did not last long and thankfully the patrons stayed.  : )

Rebecca and Brad offered to house us Sunday night at their new home-and we gratefully drove over with some beer and a fresh bottle of Christian Bros. Honey liquor (my new favorite!)...those went down really well with fajitas!  We enjoyed our all-too-brief stay there and are really looking forward to spending more time with them next year...oh dear, that means no tenting...YAHOO!!!
Not that I mind camping...or staying in a tent...it was just the 1/4 mile walk to the bathroom that was challenging...since after all, I'm a girl...

Jay just called and our first rehearsal for our Early Morning music with the musicians will be Friday!
Yay!  It was an excellent time last year to start off the day with a Renaissance music jam-and I am really looking forward to it this year!  I have some new tunes for us to try and am also hoping to perhaps sing a couple of Cantiguas with Misti B.

I think that pretty much catches up our adventures to date...I will post again next week after the faire!

This blog has been brought to you today by Alan Anapoo-a musician that apparently all musicians should know-according to the strange gentleman who accosted Mikal today at the Thrift store!!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Trying a new blog here...

Hey all!  Wow...I think I may like blogging here...lots of cool designs to put in and its even pretty easy to add pictures!  : )

This is a shot at the Kanahapa Gardens in Gainesville, FL...Thanks for taking the picture Howie!  We had walked about 1/4 mile through at that point.  It was lovely-so many different types of bamboo in the section we were in...they sold it too and I almost debated buying some to try to make a flute out of but said 'naw'...
This year's trek to Florida has been a fun one-we decided not to bring the camper as we only needed it for one week at Gainesville and were staying with some of our favorite folks during the other times...