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 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 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 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 calls and 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 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 was a grand send-off and it was hard not to 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 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 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...