Sunday, November 29, 2009

UnThanksgiving Weekend

(This is the KenapocoMocha House in North Manchester, IN). I survived the helliday weekend without Mom. It was actually a good weekend. That's how she would have wanted it. On Thursday, we hosted the unThanksgiving celebration for the seven of us (Dad, Steve's folks, and two friends) with spaghetti, salad, Italian bread, beverages, and desserts. We surprised one of our friends with a cake, ice cream, and presents (her birthday was actually on Wednesday). So in essence, we turned the UnThanksgiving Day into a post-birthday celebration. After dinner, the parentals needed to leave for other parties. The four of us played Rock Band and then watched Star Trek. On Friday, I worked. I was tired and I experienced one technology issue after another. Otherwise, it was a calm, smooth day. I was grateful to see the clock strike six o'clock. On Saturday, Steve and I trekked up to North Manchester to visit a friend. I have not seen my friend for 17 years! We were in concert and jazz band together. We walked around the neighborhood and then enjoyed a wonderful lunch at a new place called KenapocoMocha. It's a coffee and pastry venue that opened almost two years ago. This community-owned place is located in a beautiful historical home. Soups and sandwiches are also offered there. I enjoyed a yummy vegan soup with homemade bread. There is also artwork tastefully displayed all over the walls. (Some of the displays gave me inspiration for my photography). After we enjoyed a great meal and chatted, it was time to leave. What a wonderful morning! Saturday night Steve and I attended an annual video gaming/ eating soiree. We played Rock Band and Beatles Rock Band. We must purchase the Beatles Rock Band. It's neat. Sunday, we slept in. I hosted an open house for my jewelry business. I had one person show up and we had a great time! Tonight after I post blogs, I will enjoy a quiet dinner with Steve, go for a walk, and then prepare for the week. It's going to be a good week. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ArtPost Afternoon

(This is one of Jake's sculptures). After meeting with a friend for coffee outside on the patio at the Chocolate Cafe, I drove to ArtPost and met with Jake and Kay. Jake and I brainstormed about the art & poetry book we are doing together. Some visitors arrived and we sat in a circle, read poetry, and talked. It was a lot of fun! The working title of the poetry book is Field of Blue, named after the painting and the lyrics I created a few months ago. In February, we will collaborate and put the books together. Jake will create an original painting on each copy of the book. If you are interested in pre-ordering a book, please contact me via email or Jake at ArtPost. Each book will be $50. (In the art world, that's inexpensive for an original painting). There will only be 40 in the first printing. We're looking forward to the book signing/reading in April 2010. I'm going to bring my percussion...perhaps a drum circle would be fun!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Musical and Poetic Weekend

It's been a musical and poetic weekend so far. Friday night Steve and I visited friends at Sunny's briefly. We would have liked to have stayed later and had appetizers but it was so busy and we had to leave to go to RhythmWorks! at The Beanery. Watching music, especially percussion, always inspires me. The ensemble let people come to up to play drums with them. I love the interactive environment. Also, the ensemble enjoyed eachother's company. It's very exciting because our band will be playing this venue on Friday, January 22, @ 8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. This morning I hauled my whole drum kit, a conga drum, and auxiliary percussion to rehearsal today. It was neat to play with the whole ensemble with the whole set. The music is coming along nicely. NewCastle is just an interim name for us, but we're still looking for a name. Tonight I'm enjoying my evening handing out with Steve, writing, and working on my jewelry business and gathering poems to show Jake tomorrow for our book. Very stoked. The challenge will be to choose which ones. Tomorrow I will go for coffee with a friend tomorrow and then a meeting at ArtPost. It's turning into one of my favorite weekend places to relax.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

ArtPost Sunday

I sat in the chair in the corner, took my shoes off, and relaxed... This jewel is located almost directly across the street from the new South Bend Civic Theatre. I visited ArtPost today to talk to Jake about a library program. And to my happy surprise, I saw Kay, too! Her photography is wonderful. I remember showcasing her work in the old North Liberty Branch Library. :) Upon my entering, I received warm hugs, a cup of coffee with cream, and a comfortable chair. And we chatted for a few hours. An exciting library program at the LaSalle Branch is set (pending approval, of course). I am also very excited that I will collaborating with Jake--he will create a painting for the cover of a poetry book... showcasing my poetry! :) This winter I will be collaborating and sending 50-100 pages of poetry. In April, I will be doing a poetry performance with Jake! It's going to be a lot of fun. I will be bringing in my percussion to accompany the poems. As soon as this is set, I will share with you!

Saturday Surprises

I saw this group last night perform on the campus of Notre Dame. It blew me away. Love my bandmates. They greeted me at the door upon my arrival and helped me carry drums into the house. And they helped me carry them out, too. Next rehearsal I will be bringing all the drums into the house. It'll be fun for everyone to see the full kit. We now have firm performance dates: Friday, January 22: The Beanery (downtown Mishawaka) Saturday, February 6: Club LaSalle (South Bend) As soon as we finalize our name (to be changed from NewCastle), we'll set up a Facebook and Twitter account. NewCastle is okay, but it's not 100% what the band wants. I'm on the fence. I think Red-Haired Vixens would be kind of fun, but the guys may not like it so much... ;) After returning from rehearsal, a girlfriend called and asked me to go with her to see a concert. The band is called The Idan Raichel Project. The lead singer and pianist started this project in Israel. He features different musicians from all over the world on different concert tours. It's amazing. Hebrew meets African rhythm. It was a wonderful performance and I enjoyed seeing the percussionist play. He has his drums and percussion set up in a way I would like. A bass drum with cymbals. No toms. He has congas and other drums in front of the bass drum. There are several drum trees with all sorts of percussion I had never seen before. Inspiring!

Friday, November 13, 2009


It's a 13. Ten months today. No wonder I am out of sorts. Grief lingers like the painful fever blister that's hanging around on my lip. It's caused by a virus that usually lies dormant, but under times when the body is under stress, will fester and sting and hurt and bleed. Like grief, you can't miss the damned fever blister. You can medicate--and it fades. And of course, when it is the least convenient time, grief, like fever blisters, will reappear. The morning started out well with a great painting session. I had extra time today and painted a larger piece. I wish I could have carried that painting with me today as my shield. Emerging into my own with a dark blue universe, an emerging multi-colored sun, and a large beating red heart. Afterwards, I should have declared a bed-in today and just read and slept. The hellidays are sneaking up. And I'm bracing myself. Again. I doubt myself. As a musician. Rough rehearsal. Stirred up frustration. anger. fear. A part of me wants to stop playing. Sell the musical equipment, save the extra money. But Steve said to be, "What would that prove"? Yeah, he's right. Another piece of me would fall, shatter, and be silent. And I'm trying to become more visible on this journey of living, not fall invisible into the shadows of grief. I enjoyed a nice dinner with friends. I also ran into a dear friend and her mother. As happy as I was for them to be dining together and laughing, I experienced an ache and the loss in my heart, as I will never again be able to enjoy a simple dinner with my own mother.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Featured Book & Blog: Cake Wrecks

Last night, I finished a hilarious book entitled Cakewrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously, Horribly Wrong by Jen Yates. Basically, the book contains photographs along with Yates' commentary. It works. The book makes me laugh out loud, even though I am not currently a baker (although I was a good baker when I was very young). My favorite "wrecked cake" was a baby cake with Darth Vader and a baby girl. Just pink cake flowers and Darth Vader just amuses me. Also, Jen Yates has a great blog entitled Cake Wrecks and this site won a bloggie award. I hope you are as amused and inspired as I am with this new find! Enjoy.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Artistic Sunday

(Since the person (V.) was brave enough to showcase her art, I am showcasing one of my pieces on this blog entry. It's entitled "Heart".) Yesterday Steve and I attended a service in Elkhart. The service that day was about a person's (V's) grief and her 16 paintings. V lost three children and is working through the same grief therapist I am. Her story truly inspires me as well as her paintings. It is amazing that she can function. Some days are still trying for me--I can't even imagine what she is going through. What was neat was that after the service, people helped move the exhibit across the walkway from the church into another building. One of the helpers was a grandfather who had four beautiful grandchildren. One of the children took a liking to me, and hung out with me while the grandfather was helping. All of the children wore string bracelets. The young girl said to me that her mother told her when they look at their bracelets, the mother is also looking at the bracelets and thinking of them. I thought that was touching. Another person I knew from the library attended and sat with me for awhile. The children liked my hair and asked me if they could braid it. I said sure. So I had four kids braiding my hair. And my friend D. had decorative pieces of yarn to use to tie the ends. This exercise in "hairapy" kept the children occupied while the exhibit was re-created. And I pinky-swore my little friend that I would wear the braids home. And I did. And actually, they looked cute.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Crab Legs, NewCastle, and Kalamazoo

After library on Friday, I arrived home and set out to Tradewinds with my father-in-law. This venue changed hands, and is now cleaner and has better service. Our purpose for this visit was to opt for the all-you-can-eat crab legs. Dad S. managed to clear two plates and I cleared three (my record is six, not that I'm counting). We also had a nice chat. Meanwhile, Steve ran his Freeport game, so I returned home to pirates fighting and pillaging... in my basement. Yar... I dressed into my pajamas and the girls (Java and Latte) curled up next to me. This morning, I drove with Bryan to Cassopolis for our music rehearsal. We have a band name! NewCastle! (There's another group with that name, but capitalizing the C makes it authentic and ours. And yes, it's named in honor of the beer. Someone caught on already). We also performed and narrowed down some music to put a demo together. We will give the demo to venues so they can listen to us and (hopefully) will hire us to play. Tonight Steve and I are visiting a friend in Kalamazoo. He is fixing dinner for us. Mmmm. It will be great to see him again.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Three Halloween Parties: Part Three: House of Grammarman

Sadly, it was after 11 p.m. when we arrived at the House of Grammarman. Friends I was supposed to meet up with already left for the evening. :( We still had a great time, playing pictionary, going through the house on a scavenger hunt, and hanging out with friends and enjoying the food! The house was decorated to the theme of Grammarman and macabre. It's funny, because I am always teasing Grammarman of being my grammar cop. He always corrects my grammar in my writing in libraryland. (And I'm grateful for it). So, it's an honor that he sported his costume after my nickname for him! He and K. also gave me a present:more cowbell! He gave me a cowbell! Plus, Grammarman cranked up the song Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. I performed the cowbell part just like on the Saturday Night Live skit (sans the hip thrusting-my dress was short enough as it was). After 1 a.m, we had to fly the Starship Enterprise home to get some sleep. It was a great night with great friends. Steve and I are so fortunate to know so many wonderful people! :) And Grammarman, I just wanted to say "You done real good!" (*ducks, then runs away*).

The Three Halloween Parties: Part Two: Chez McCoy

After leaving Blenda's Woods, we stopped home for a quick costume change. I donned the Star Trek uniform and dolled up for my Cougar Trekker persona. We then took refreshments over to Chez McCoy. (It's actually amusing going to someone's house with the last name as McCoy dressed in Star Trek uniforms.) Yes, we got our geek on! We arrived at Chez McCoy and most of the guests were gathered around outside in the backyard. (Thank goodness there were heating lights, but I went inside quite a bit. It was a very very cold night). Kenn Kong was sporting a killer bee costume and J. was dressed as Velma from Scooby-Doo. M.(son) was in some kind of ghost costume. The puppies, Butch and Lucy, were doing a great job supervising the refreshment table. We stayed there for a little while and chatted with friends. Kenn Kong and I are going to have another crab leg eating contest at Tradewinds Restaurant. (I almost beat him one year. My six crab legs to his seven. I demand a rematch!) After we demanded the rematch, Steve and I said our goodbyes and trekked on to the next soiree: Home of Grammarman!

The Three Halloween Parties: Part One: Blenda's Woods

I am getting too old to be out doing this much carousing and mischief-making. But it was a lot a fun. Saturday morning Bryan and I trekked to Cassopolis to rehearse with our band. We now have a keyboard player. She's very talented. The group, formerly called Purest Green, is possibly now The NewCastle Band. We have a week to sleep on it. Please let me know what you think!:) After we arrived back home, I crawled into bed and took a nap. Steve woke me up at 6:30p.m., we dressed in our costumes, and then ventured out to Blenda's Woods as our first stop. I was dressed in Friday's kitty costume because there was no way I was going to trek in the woods in 40-degree weather in a polyester minidress and boots. We got lost on our way to the first stop. We took the cross roads through the woods. We cruised through the rural part of southside South Bend for over a half hour until we checked the map and realized we were on the wrong path. Oops. But it makes for an interesting part of the story. We finally arrived to our destination, hung out with friends by a large and cozy campfire, and went into the woods for the Haunted Trail adventure. I kept whispering "Blair Witch" to Steve, and he was not amused. After a fun adventure and a few scares from monsters in the woods (no chainsaws, luckily), we raided the food and drink table, and had to say good-bye to our friends. Next destination... Chez McCoy.

National Lampoon's Garden Adventures, and Last Thoughts on 46

Update on Sake Sakura: We will be making an appointment to get Sake's MRI. It's been really hot and our schedules have been nuts,...