This is the pile of stuff that I need to cram into my VW Beetle. Not shown are the two suitcases, two boxes of CDs, my sewing machine, and my instruments. Good thing I've been playing a lot of Tetris lately.
I have been working like crazy to get the house and myself ready for the road. The following may sound like I am making huge sacrifices, but keep in mind that I have wanted to do this for so long that this month has been strangely one of the lowest stress times I've felt in a long time (well except for the Lilly search, but now even that is perfect). I have sold or given away almost everything I own. My philosophy is this: what goes around comes around. I don't expect those exact items to come back, of course, but hopefully, when I want to settle back into the world, things I need will present themselves. I have worked very hard on finishing details for the house. Carpet, paint touch-ups, bathtub work... It looks really great. I have scanned ALL of my documents. I no longer have any paper files. By the way, I offer that service in my organizing bizness! Through all of this work, I feel very at peace. No matter what happens this was the right thing to do in this moment. Merry Christmas!
Deciding to go on the road was a pretty big decision. Along with it came even bigger decisions and processes. I decided that in order to really put things in motion, my actions should reflect the acceptance of every possibility. I decided to put the house on the market. If it sells, there will be completely new options when I choose to settle back into a world with ceilings and plumbing. The other huge and difficult decision was to give up my furry partner of almost nine years. That blob on the floor is my cat, Lilly. She has been with me through so much and she has always truly been MY cat. The last couple of weeks, I went through watching two possible options for Lilly fall through. The second one, quite honestly, nearly ended the idea of going on the road. Then three friends pulled me back up. I sent out another plea via email... This time with time running out. I got a response from a wonderful loving person who after meeting Lilly this afternoon, called to say she would like to adopt Lilly.
Yesterday I got an iPhone. I can take pics and do email anywhere and I can post blogs!!! This morning I took Lilly to the vet. She was nervous, but she was calm and SOOO good. I took her pic with my phone and now I'm posting. This is so cool!
I went to the trailer hitch store today. I have a VW Beetle. When I called around to ask about towing with it, I got a couple of chuckles, a couple of people got online on my behalf to look up some things, and this custom hitch place that has treated the whole idea with an attitude of "why the hell not?" Even at that, there has been some issue as to whether it would even be possible to attach a hitch and then to actually tow with this car. After much debate and a trip to the custom place, it has been decided. Tomorrow a hitch will be installed. I am so thrilled. This is a puzzle piece that has been uncertain. I want to go on the road. I could go on the road without a pop-up trailer, and just sleep in a tent, but the pop-up would be so much more comfortable and weatherable. I love to camp, but this year at TRF sleeping on the ground was a little rough.
I hope I don't tear up at the custom hitch place tomorrow. I'm really that excited.
I just got word that I will be at the Arizona Renaissance Festival for all eight weekends!!!! I am so thrilled, excited, etc.... So many things are about to change in my life in big big ways. I have to get prepared to be on the road for three months, possibly (hopefully) more. I better finish this blog entry so I can get to work! :-)
Bill & Emily of "Constant Billy" host the radio show, Irish Aires, on KPFT in Houston, TX. I tuned in on Saturday and heard myself!! You can listen to the show HERE! Wyndnwyre, Clandestine, and Teribus are also on this episode. Enjoy the show!
It was a really wonderful afternoon filled with friends and family and some good music, if I do say so myself! Singing Bheir Mi O with the pipes droning. Looks like a happy song. EJ played beautifully. I hope there are many opportunities to play music with him in the future.
Just a reminder that if you are in the Austin area, leave work early and come to Things Celtic at 4:30. My CD release party will be lighthearted and informal. The store closes at 6, but the party just might move to a nearby Mexican food place. EJ Jones will be there to add pipes and flutes. This is free and I promise, it will be fun!
Weekend one was great. The first weekend is always exhausting just trying to get used to the whole routine again. The first day was my birthday. I managed to turn every song we played into a song celebrating my birthday. Since all the songs are in foreign languages and I get to translate them all for our audiences, it wasn't very hard.
My friend Cayla came out for the first weekend to see what it is like to do what we do. She is one of the funniest people I know. It was great to have her there to laugh with.
I did a few of my own sets - my own music, not Istanpitta. I had a great time, and scoped out a few good places to sit in the shade and play some music.
Second weekend.... We had the same 'Pitta crew, but this time, Joachim and I were preparing to play for weekend three without Al. I played saz most of the weekend. Joachim and I came up with a list that both of us could live with and we let Al play his Citole (aka medieval ukulele).
I did more of my own sets in new places. There is a long path with a "creek" (it's probably some nasty ditch) near Sherwood Forest. It is totally shaded and peaceful. I really liked playing back there. Not as much traffic, but more people got to stop and chat without feeling rushed through the hustle and bustle of the regular fair setting.
I got to hang out with my friend Pinocchio who brought by the pictures he took from Middlefaire. Yay, pictures!
Because this fair is eight weekends long, we, Istanpitta, sets up a pretty nice little camp. We have electricity, light, a small fridge, camp stoves. I cook breakfast for whoever the Istanpitta players are for the weekend. I have spent the afternoon chopping food, organizing pots and pans, and making sure I don't forget an instrument or article of clothing. I will load up my little Volkswagen and get on the road in the afternoon tomorrow. I can't wait to tell you how everything goes!
My friend, Pinocchio could have taken this photo BEFORE the last second of the fair. (All of these pictures are courtesy of Pinocchio himself)
Next? Texas Renaissance Festival! I am really glad that I will have the chance to share some of my music and still be a part of Istanpitta all at the same festival. This is going to be an amazing year!!
My website has had a facelift. If you haven't taken a look lately, feel free to drop by. I used some of Michelle's fabulous art work to make a banner for the top of the site. Everything looks fresh and clean.... Let me know if you see any typos *pleeeeease* :-)
It's official. I want to be a musician when I grow up.
My friend Laura called me on Monday to see what I might be doing on Tuesday. Laura's mother was trying to find a musician who might do some strolling for a wine tasting event. There would be several tents and she tells me that I would be just great. Not having anything to do, I agree to it. The woman organizing the event called me next to give me directions and we agree on 6 o'clock. I was a little nervous, but not so much that there was any hesitation... I just went.
I followed the directions to Round Top and found the group of tents that was the Arbor Antiques Show. I began strolling and singing to everyone around. It was a combination of singing telegrams and a fair. Sometimes I would approach a friendly group and ask if they'd like a song, sometimes I would just post myself in a visible but out of the way spot. Both methods worked very well and produced such friendly responses. I was offered more wine than I could have possibly drunk in about 3 months. Everyone was wonderful. So many kind comments and questions. I laughed with all sorts of people. It was one of the most rewarding evenings I have had as a musician so far. Two hours went by so quickly.
I will be doing the same for the wine tasting event they have for their spring show. I should have a few new songs by then... I can't wait to share them with this great group of people.
The date is set! If you're in Austin, take off work early and come to Things Celtic Friday, November 21. Things Celtic is at 1806 W. 35th St. We will begin playing at 4:30. The store closes at 6, so we have to be done by then. Did I say "we"? EJ Jones will be joining me to play flute and bagpipes. He's on the CD and I'm very excited we found a date that everyone could deal with... So PLEASE, come join us!!! Admission is free. We will have a tip bucket available for any kindness you feel we deserve. And of course, CDs will be available - both my brand new "Éiníní" and EJ's "The Willow" CD.
I'm going to have a sales booth at this fair this weekend. This is my first ever sales booth. I cannot believe all of the little details I have had to take care of... pricing signs, organizing everything so that it fits in one plastic bin so that if it rains, I can quickly secure everything in the one bin. I did get change. I've got a nice table to set up and fabric to use for making it pretty. I hope the booth helps promote Michelle's art. I will have cards and a Greenman painting that she did.
Aside from the sales booth chaos, I am also performing three times a day. 11:15, 3 & 4. I hope I don't forget to bring Molly!
I picked up the CDs... ALL gagillion of them... on Thursday! I have the pre-ordered CDs in their envelopes waiting to go out on Monday.
I am writing this from my hotel room in lovely Tyler, TX. This afternoon at 4PM I perform for the Four Winds Celtic Music Festival. Last night was a lovely meeting party. Everybody was great. The organizers are super sweet people and everyone was just there to have fun - my kinda world!
The CD master has been shipped off to the duplication company. The artwork has been chopped and worked to death to fit in the templates for printing. The liner notes are done.... I HOPE I don't find typos when I open the first CD. Hopefully, everything will be finalized and on to the printing process by week's end. Thank you so much for all the support, kind words and ORDERS! I can hardly wait to start recording the next CD... I started researching new songs in Irish this evening. Life is so good!
I have recorded my first CD. I am so excited. It's in the hands of my fabulous sound engineer who promises to make me sound good... not bad. So far, I'm thrilled! I just posted the Google checkout purchase button on my website - Check it out... just take a look, then you'll want to click and then, well, you might as well buy the CD! Oh, well, here, just in case you don't want to go all the way to my website, just click here! :-) Seriously, all you have to do is click the little blue button below and Google will accept your payment of $15 for the CD plus a $3 shipping fee. There are extended liner notes on my website, so feel free to drop by and see what the CD is about. Oh, and if you do buy it, I will send it to you as soon as I get them in hand which should be no later that Sept. 17, 2008! If there is any delay, I will let you know.
Today, I got my officially official contract from Four Winds Celtic Festival. I will be there September 20! It is in Tyler, TX. If you're anywhere near, come by and say HI! My CD will be on its first out of town outing.
Al, director of Istanpitta had to stay home and take care of his "real job." That left EJ and I to represent Istanpitta at Olde World this last weekend. Istanpitta really isn't Istanpitta without Al. Al plays rhytym and melody on lute and saz. He's the glue that holds everything together. He sent me with his saz and these words of encouragement: "Don't screw up." OK, he didn't really say that, but I felt the pressure of trying to fill his shoes. EJ provided several different sounds with his various flutes and different bagpipes. I sang my heart out and provided the rhythm on saz. All in all, it was actually really good. It felt good, people seemed to enjoy it, and we had fun with friends that Istanpitta has made in past years.
Here we are looking very serious. Oh, did I mention that it never got out of the 60's? Ahhhh.... Minnesota in June!
Howdy! Looks like I will be performing solo for two weekends at Middlefaire. YAY!!! All my Texas friends should come out and enjoy a day. It's in Hillsboro, TX - 2 hours north of Austin. Last weekend of September and the first weekend of October.
It's on! I just accepted a contract for a weekend in August with Illinois Ren Faire. I'm really excited. It should be a lot of fun. I can't wait to meet everyone. Maybe I should make that CD I've been thinking about.
Utah was fabulous. The concert - the first run of Istnapitta's Sephardic program - went beautifully. The audience was a total pleasure to meet and talk with after the show. What else can be said? It was really fun and exciting.
Then there was Utah itself. We went in search of snow and found an amazing spring. The land was layered with crystal clear water covering each layer.
And of course we went birding at several wildlife and migratory bird sanctuaries. Yellow headed blackbirds are such a treat for us Texans.
Things have been a little slow in the performance area. Later this week I have a concert with Istanpitta. We are doing the Sephardic program for the first time. I love this music. I was incredibly honored to sing on the CD that Istanpitta released last summer. Finally, we get to perform a live program.
Otherwise, I have been working on promoting my solo self. I love playing with others. I think that's where the real creation of music happens - collaborative efforts between multiple musicians. I want to be more self sufficient and stronger and more able to create music with others, so I'm working on things on my own for the moment. I'm very very excited about it. I sent out 14 press kits earlier this month. I have a few more that I would like to send out later this summer.
Last weekend I performed with Istanpitta at the Norman, OK Medieval Festival. Friday morning was really cold. We borrowed the blankets from the La Quinta, and I managed to wear my blanket for the first set. Once it warmed up we had a wonderful time performing on stage and busking throughout the day. These photos were sent to us by a friend who found them on www.povera.com. I went to the site and couldn't find them.... but there you go.
I'm working on my press kit. I'm planning to be able to send it out and begin applying with fairs in the next week or so. There are so many things to do. First I have to figure out how to sell myself in a few sentences. Not a bio exactly. I can do that. I need a sales or mission statement. What makes me the one they should hire? Second, I need a good color photo of me and Molly in costume, well, me in costume, Molly stays naked. Third, I need to record a demo to send in the press kit. Fourth, I need to video myself and post it on my website or somewhere that entertainment directors can visit. And of course, I need to be constantly practicing the songs I plan to be using. Putting songs together is getting easier and easier. I wrote two songs this week and put together 2 more traditional songs, one of them in Irish. Then, when all these things are finished, I need to print it up and put it together and get it out there. Jim Garrison took this photo for me to use.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Saturday the 15th was actually my big St. Patrick's Day celebration. I did my first ever completely solo Celtoid type performance at the fabulous Things Celtic store here in Austin. I had a fantastic time. Many friends, more like family really, came to show their support. I really appreciate that so much. I sang lullabies, jigs in Irish, and a couple of folk things that are Celtic enough. Thank you, Jim, for photographing the event!
Then I ran off to Marble Falls to perform at the Hill Country Community Theater fundraiser. I sang a couple of songs in Irish for them and played 4 tune sets. Laura, fiddler, & Jonathan, flute player, trusted me to accompany them and it went pretty well. Playing Molly on those tune sets was actually my favorite part of the day. Performing like that on a stage was a first for me... and it most certainly will not be the last. Everyone there was wonderful and I had a wonderful time.
Today, I sit back and enjoy other performers. I might play in the session that will be going on most of the afternoon today or I might sit around talking with my friends.
So... I'm starting to get paranoid. People are watching Einini, but no one is commenting. hmmmmm.... If you have a YouTube account and you even remotely appreciate our version of this song, could you please comment on the video on YouTube? Especially if you are one of the four people who marked it as a favorite?!?! Please :-)
It's a good thing when you are able to "bring home the bacon". It's even better when the bacon is brought to you. On Friday morning I left to go do a singing telegram. With no one in the house, EJ decided to play his highland bagpipes (the really loud ones). My neighbor across the street likes bagpipes apparently. EJ said he heard a knock at the door. My neighbor handed him a pound of bacon saying "anybody that plays the bagpipes that good deserves a pound of bacon." *plunk* It's the good kind of bacon, the kind from the butcher wrapped in white paper. Mmmmmm!
I love laughter. I love people who make me laugh. Michelle is definitely one of those people. She's an awesome fiddler. Apparently she's also a banjo player. And she's a pretty strong singer though she won't admit to that. So. We sat around and wrote some songs. We video recorded them with my computer and put them up privately on YouTube. Today, we're going public. And unless I lose some important gig because of it, I'll keep them public.
Our dear neighbor from across the street... has brought Michelle and me more meat. Yesterday a pound of bacon and some sausage... which was FABULOUS in spaghetti sauce. Today he brought 3 pounds of hamburger meat. We are having Michelle's famous Mighty Burgers tonight. I guess we look hungry and maybe pale.
Yesterday I surfed Craig's List as I do often and found a restaurant that I like advertising for waitstaff. I decided, what the hell.... what else am I doing today? I marched myself right over and filled out an application. As with EVERY single job I have applied for since beginning to work on music, here is the response: We want full time people. And we need you to be available for weekends. Being gone one weekend a month is too much. Translation: We want someone to devote their lives to us, a restaurant who will pay you little, but we let you accept tips. Aren't we nice?
OK... What am I already doing that I should capitalize on more? What am I good at that I'm overlooking? I don't mind doing non-music things as long as I can still do the music things. Why cant that be ok? Is there some service I can provide using my computer while I travel but still have time to offer? Is there anything I can make and sell? I like makin' stuff... and I love using my computer.... Let's think here. Liam has been awfully cuddly lately. I think cat rental will soon be an option.
This computer can go everywhere with me. My favorite part is that there is almost ALWAYS an internet connection open anywhere I go. Most people have their connections protected with a password. Usually it's the public types that I find open and available, but I have found a few personal ones that do not have passwords... I can see people's iTunes and everything!!! SO... note to everyone - put a password on your wireless connection!!!
So this morning I am petsitting, watching cable TV, listening to iTunes and posting on my blog via some wireless connection. Wow...
Oh my goodness! I didn't tell you... I have my car back!!! She's running, not smoking or leaking.... she sounds good and seems to be running great. I'll have to fill in the rest later... but the important part is that I have my car back :-)