A Peaceful Setting in Vermont

One of my Facebook “friends” is Martin Guitars.  I have a Martin HD28V which I named Aiden which has incredible depth of sound.

Today Martin Guitars posted a question – “Sometimes it’s nice to be peaceful on your own and play – where would you like to take your Martin when you need to get away?”

I posted my comment without any hesitation …

One the last day of school in May, Josh took me to a spot on the outer rim of Castleton’s property where there’s a little wooden bridge that crosses a stream.  The water in the stream is the clearest I’ve ever seen.  It runs over rocks of all sizes and sounds like peace.  Josh and I sat on the bridge, feet dangling close to the running water, and we listened to the sounds around us.  Water, birds chirping, leaves rustling in the slight breeze – it was so calming.

We plan to go back there when we move him back up to Castleton. I can’t wait. I’m thinking maybe this time I’ll take my Little Martin with me. Maybe that sounds a little corny, but what the heck. I think I’ll get inspired and maybe write a song – something I haven’t done in mega-years.

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Just Checking In

Yesterday was Fathers Day.  My parents had a rib cookout with the family back home in Illinois.  I’ll find out on Sunday how everything went (it’s the day I usually talk to my mom and sister).  I’m sure it was great.  My dad is an excellent cook and exceptional with grilling.

Jamie’s out on the deck putting some new strings on my new-used hammered dulcimer – he’s replacing the low strings with wound strings to make it sound better.  He’s teaching me how to play.  I got the bug after the Deer Creek Fiddlers Convention a couple of weekends ago.  Now I can’t wait for the Music & Arts Festival at the Farm Museum the weekend of July 9-10.  David’s Dulcimers is supposed to bring a new stand that they’re holding for me.  It’s cherry and should match my dulcimer.  By the way, I named my hammered dulcimer Rohan (it’s got a red-stained top).  And my beautiful Martin did so well for me at the Convention that it finally gave me its name – Aiden.

I got an extremely wonderful surprise on Saturday that I can’t share with anyone (except for the few people who know about it) because it would probably get one of the involved parties in trouble.  Don’t you just love a mystery?

Josh is doing great with his dad in Atlanta.  He’s seeing what the working world is like – getting up early, getting home late – eat dinner, sleep, wake up, go to work, come home, eat sleep, get up … and on and on.

Other than this, not much is going on.  Work is really busy (budget season), I am constantly working in the yard on weekends (weeds never take a break), and I am already looking into what I play and/or sing at next year’s Fiddlers Convention.  A full life is a wonderful life.

Talk to me.

Bedtime Stories

It’s 10:30 pm.  Do you know where your “sweet dreams” are?

I’m afraid of the dark.  As far as I know, I’ve had that fear forever.  I don’t like open closet doors in my line of vision at night (deep pockets of darkness are very unnerving).  I don’t like to stand next to my bed longer than necessary when the lights are out – I jump into bed as quickly as I can (hey, you never know what’s hiding under there).  I don’t look into mirrors at night (you never know what’s going to look back at you).

Why these fears?  I’m not really sure, but maybe it goes back to the bedtime stories my mom used to read to my sister and me when we were little.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Yep, you read that right.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Can you imagine trying to fall asleep with visions of witches, dwarves, devils, and other such charming characters prancing around your head?  How about talking fish, wolves, rabbits, and more – not necessarily nice creatures like you find with SpongeBob SquarePants or Blue from Blue’s Clues.

Maybe my mom has a warped sense of humor.  Maybe she decided that would be her way of punishing her darling daughters after a day of children behaving like children.  I have this vision of her just chuckling quietly (or maybe roaring with laughter) if I ask her about it.  Her answer will probably be something like, “What?  You didn’t like the bedtime stories?”

At this moment, that 1954 Nelson Doubleday Junior Deluxe Edition book is setting on the arm of the chair where I’m sitting.  I think of how as a little girl I used to lay a sheet of tracing paper on the cover of the book and rub a No. 2 pencil gently across it to capture the cartoonish characters embossed there.  I remember asking my mom to read from the book.  I remember her sitting on the edge of the bed and spinning those tales into glorious ribbons of nighttime visions.  Back then they were just tales written down by two brothers; but somehow their words were absorbed by pieces of my young mind, hiding behind partitions of brain matter and blood vessels, hovering and then seeping into the core of whatever makes phobias rear their ugly heads.

Oh, the joys of childhood – of not being afraid of anything – not the dark, not of jumping off the top floor of a barn into piles of straw, not of crashing side-first onto a grassy hill and rolling giggling down it, not of anything that tomorrow would bring.

Until “The Outer Limits” started airing on TV.

Cold shivers …

Reviews on the Trip to New York

I had the fortunate experience to be in New York this week for an American Management Association (AMA) seminar. The people that attended the event, ten in all, were great. We came from several different industries and backgrounds, interesting educational backgrounds and goals.

The group dynamic was interesting. No matter how the instructor mixed up the groups, each one had insights and experiences that blended well with the others no matter what the assigned task. Of course, there were a handful of exceptions (to be expected when there is such a vast variety of talent in the room), and I gleaned much from the three days I spent in The Big Apple.

Beyond the classroom experiences, I enjoyed the time walking the streets surrounding Times Square. I had one of the best freaking corned beef sandwiches I’ve ever had, courtesy of Carnegie’s; some excellent and spiced-just-right cheese ravioli from Benash (oh yes and my guilty pleasure of cherry cheesecake), and phenomenal margarita pizza and
Caesar salad from Seraphina’s. Overall, a fantastic eating experience.

People are interesting. Here are some take-aways from the past three days …

There still are gentlemen in this world. Both on train to New York and the return trip, guys helped me get my suitcase into the overhead compartment. I thought that was wonderful. If people bumped into me on the crowded Broadway streets, many turned and apologized. The waiter at Benash was great as he had to explain that the original item I wanted was not available and recommended a variety of other things I might like (like the cheese ravioli). I found out he is originally from Puerto Rico, has family in Chicago, etc. The key thing in that whole experience, however, was that I sat by myself in the restaurant – something I’ve never ventured to do. It always seemed awkward to me – but this time I went for it. And it wasn’t awful.

I think the thing that sticks with me most right now is how people can tell you all about themselves – where they went to school, what they do for a living, their hobbies, all kinds of stories about their pets and their families. They go on and on and on. And then comes the question – are you married? And the response – yes. It’s like the relationship is the last thing on their mind. How can that be?

I think we sometimes need to step back and think about the people and things that are important in our lives. Shouldn’t the relationship come first?

When you travel, does your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/partner come up first in your conversation? Do they send you quickie texts just to say hi/I miss you/I love you/hope you’re having a good time? Do you reach out to them? Or do you get into a pissing contest to see who will contact whom first (that is not a good thing).

Priorities are important, but people are too – especially those you’re in a relationship with. Remember them no matter how far apart you are. If you don’t reach out to each other, does that mean he/she is not that important to you any longer? Do a relationship check and compare notes with each other.

Don’t mean to preach … so I’ll sign off now as I’m heading home from The Big Apple.