A Minstrels many hats~ Day 4

This would be country panama hats and Civil War caps & bonnets~

Our 2nd day at Waterloo and playing the festival and encampment. A beautiful day spent out of doors playing music and recanting local and national history to fair goers.

Over the last four days....that makes 8 different historical outfits (Ren , Erie Canal & Civil War) a bunch of different props, 2 large backdrops ....lots and lots of old tunes.

Tired now....

Garbed out.

Done singing.

Time to eat, drink and be exhausted.....

Happy Memorial Day!

A minstrels' many hats~ Day 3

Actually the hats involved today.....
were mortar boards....
and stovepipe hats to be precise...

Mortar boards. Graduation Day at Wells College. Harry responsible for the sound for the ceremony, as usual for the last 15 years or more.... 
It was a beautiful day with Cayuga Lake sparkling vista providing a wondrous backdrop for the grads.
A funny guest speaker lightened the festivities with humor, plus she directed her message to the audience in advising them that life is made up of events that happen, and to dare to step out and be the first out there! Take chances, enjoy life...stand out. Be someone. Look around and help the world.

And the 2nd portion of the day was spent in Civil War garb...as Erie Canal minstrels singing for the troops at the Civil War re-enactment at the Waterloo Commemorate & Celebrate event at the birthplace of Memorial Day right here in NYS in Waterloo!

We sang "Shady Grove" for Union soldiers under the cover of cool leafy trees in the heat, and we sang love ballads and hymns for polite ladies in their afternoon rest after tea at the encampment. We sang for Confederate soldiers and made our Limber Jack doll dance jolly tunes for them.

We sang drinking songs for boothies who were thirsty and needed a drink.

We sang "Long Black Veil" by request from a Union soldier and made this old crusty bearded man almost cry. He loved it so....

We sang a smattering of songs for a woman who'd been wanting to meet us for ages, and who had "tracked us down" and we sat and sang to her personally for quite awhile. She was beaming.


Harry & I sang for President LINCOLN!!!


We were THERE!

We sang him his very own campaign song! "For Lincoln & Liberty Too!" The character of Abraham Lincoln was STRIKING and VERY adept at his character. He is THE most believable Abe Lincoln look alike that I've ever seen.

And he was indeed FLATTERED and pleased with our efforts at his campaign song!! Dave Duprey, the videographer of the event caught this magical moment on tape and will be sending it to us....to share with YOU soon!!

We were VERY lucky and happy to "meet the President" and sing for him this day.

Mortar boards of learning.....
Stovepipe Hats of honorable icons.

A goodly Merry Mischief day :)

A Minstrels many hats~ Day 2

 So this day saw us up and at 'em for 3 of our "Ren Revelry" shows back to back to enhance and support Fairport MS's "Medievel/Renaissance Day: ..for all the kids.

Our "Ren Revelry" show is supported by curriculum and backed up with texts...and...we hope...

Fun AND Educational.

So there were were....In the Rochester area, loaded in, plugged in, patched in, tuned up, garbed up, and fed...(aye, they fed the minstrels. It harkens back to a long tradition of "singing for yer supper" ...as well as getting paid "day of show" ...which....to those minstrels out there know (if they've ever worked for "institutions" that this is a BOON day :)

The shows went good... the first fine, the second rocked and the third.....
well....... the third went very well..... until it was the proverbial "bus time"....where the kids lost their minds.

It's a thing.

In gigs like this, you have to be VERY aware of social implications, role modeling, accurate portrayal, fun presentation...and MOST Importantly ....


When the mod begins...when the kids settle in....down....
and when the mod is OVER.

In the meantime, you try to behave your very best....
sing your most harmonious...
give as much historical information you can...
while still being "human" and entertaining....

and turn the kids ON.

There were many kids in the 2nd mod that came up to us to pet my ratty named "Scabbers". Yah, he looked like Ron Weasley's famous pet. I couldn't resist naming him.

After three shows done, costumes folded, backdrop dropped and packed, wireless buttoned up (we are very much liking our wireless system for these gigs BTW...it gives us such freedom!! I would recommend a bobby pin behind your ear hook to hold the mic. VERY helpful when changing between instruments, and dancing.)

Yes. Harry danced. :

With ME.


It was scandalous.

Then my favorite part of the show....


Q~ "Why did King Henry the 8th kill his wife, Anne Boleyn?"


A~ "He accused her of treason and beheaded her so that he could remarry a different lady. Not fair. Not advisable. ....but sorta like in "Alice in Wonderland" where the Queen says, "Off with their Head!" And like that.

Q~ "Is that your REAL Hair?" (to Merlyn)
A~ "Aye." (Merlyn pulls on her hair) "Ow!"

Q~ "We listened to Queen Elizabeth talk of dancing today, and she said that if the couple's hands touched while dancing (instead of not touching) that it was "scandalous"...but you did when you danced..."
A~ "Aye. That be because Harry & I are "marry-ed". We have.... a "license". :)

Yet another...
Q~ "Is that your real hair?" (to Harry)
A~ "Aye... and the beard too. When you get a grey hair it can mean only one of two things: Either you are getting old (and Harry IS 207.) OR it means that you are a WIZARD. He certainly looks like one, doesn't he?"

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Harry off to move a trailer full of gear to Wells College for their graduation tomorrow. And den? More wandering minstrel work as Erie Canal/Civil War era travelers, in garb at a re-enactment for Memorial Day festival in the birthplace of Memorial Day.

I went on errands to buy groceries and get WINE.

Old Vine Zin to be precise. :)

Day 3 is tomorrow.

G'nite from the Wizard and his Mate, Merlyn :)

A minstrel's many hats~

Some weeks are like this.

It's Murphy's Law.

You know it when it happens. There can be a whole month of days....and for some reason, things fall on the same weekend. So, as minstrels (read: those that live by the Muse) you "make hay while the sun shines" and take all the possible work you can and then book around the edges.

So it is with this weekend.

Day 1

Today, saw Harry & I getting up at the "crack o' dawn's arse" at 4:30am. I didn't want to fool around, because of the time element... but knew it was the best motivator for the begging Harry to get going.
Sort of like a carrot to a horse.

How'ere, once you have sex, that early in the morning, even if it is only a "quickie cuz you gotta get going-to take the edge off-sort of sex" you KNOW you are both gonna wanna lay there entwined some more afterwards....to lounge....and you're still gonna have to face the fact that you gotta get your ass outta bed at "o'christ o'clock"...
 and now you have even LESS time than before, because you both decided to fuck around.


COFFEE. That's what's next. Lots of it and keep it coming....even if it makes me want to pee while we are on the one hour road trip after we finished loading the car and that we started driving at 5:30am. Or at least.....5:fucking45 by the time Harry gets done with printing bills for the day and loading his last bit in the car and packing his fiddle particularly, and filling his coffee mug again ...and like that.

Anyways....we are off!

We arrive...pretty happy.... to the school at  6:40AM. To unload and set up our show, "Songs of the Civil War" and thankfully there is no warring this morn in this civil union. (see previous wake up call ;)

Unload Subaru that is packed to the gills with: speakers, crash box, snakes (the electrical monsters not the scaly ones :), instruments (2 guitars, mandolin, fiddle, bodhran), and huge garb bag (full of matching costuming and backdrop and flags for this event), music stand, banner, show notes (in an order from military/historical beginning to silly songs on the end), period dolls/props, accessory table, water, instrument stands...and let's not forget the "buckled to the roof of the car" is a bundle of truss and trees (wrapped in a tarp and duct taped and bungeed) for the 10' x 12' backdrop.

Load in, set up, put finishing touches on stage....students arriving any minute now...Merlyn dressed and Harry almost dressed but still setting up wireless for each instrument...clock ticking....tic tic tic tic tic tic tic....

now ARMED and READY...the kids file in.
250 fourth and fifth graders and teachers.

It is now 8:15am.

We have exactly 40 minutes after the introduction to cover music of the Civil War.

Holy Shite. That's a lot to cover in a small amount of time!



You get the kids exposed to some history, factoids, filking of old songs, clapping along in time (hopefully....this IS how one learns), and then, when all is said and done and you have watched the clock (because it's all about MODS....and TIMING....and squeezing in the learning in a SET PERIOD OF TIME....and cutting songs or verses...cuz you have SO MUCH material...and you make executive decisions about your show on the fly...it ALWAYS goes faster than I want it too...and I always want to squeeze in so much every time....)

And you make SURE you give 5 last minutes before the last fun song for QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (because this is your favorite part...aside from the singing and playing ;) and you get to hear what are in kid's heads:

"What was the name of the 2nd song?"
"Tell us about Harriet Tubman"
and one bright child who was apparently not paying attention to extensive introduction to "Goober Peas" that asked, "What's all that about the Peas?" and you reiterate the information again with a smile...careful not to slay him like the pub wench you really are....

You finish the show, the kids and faculty are pleased. But even more impressively, the President of the local historical museum and society (that is putting on the event) comes up to you (in full Union uniform) and tells you what a good job you did.

That's nice...

but not nearly as nice as several dozen of the kids coming up at the end of the show and start approaching you to tell you what to name your dolls...

or one girl who came up to me, tentatively who said to me, "When you sing you remind me of my Nana".  I said, "Is this a good thing? or a bad thing?" She beamed, "Oh...a very GOOD thing." And I squeeze her arm.

Another girl, came up amongst the kids giving me names for my dancing limberjack doll...and I could tell she wanted to tell me something important. I said, "yes?" She cleared her throat...
"When you were little, did you sing good then too? Did you like to sing?"
I said, "I have always sung. Even in my crib. My mother told me I would wake up singing and sing till she got there. And she would have me sing to her in the car when she drove."
She liked that answer and said..."I love to sing. I sing all the time!" I said, "and you keep singing hon! Maybe one day you will be onstage too" :)

The kids filed out to their next adventure on their day planned to learn of the Civil War down at the museum...

We struck the stage, unbuckled, unplugged, unpatched, unscrewed, folded, sorted, changed clothes, and loaded our gear and repacked it all into the stuffed Subaru and drove another hour back to Harry's van we left at the mini mart parking lot halfway from home. We got subs and ate them at 11am because we were starving. I took my car home...

and he took his van, also loaded...to the Chiropractor College to run sound for a Memorial Service for the cadavers that are in medical experiments... It is nice that they do this extra step to honor those. Leonardo DaVinci had to study in secret. How else do you think the science community knows so much about the body?(a plug goes here for you to sign your donor cards...). After this event, Harry had to go to yet another college and load out his brother's scaffolding that has was leftover from an install...

And den?

Chinese food....... and pack for tomorrow's Ren shows. Different costuming, different show, different backdrop.

All in all, a fun, energetic, interesting, learning day in many ways.

Day 2 tomorrow.

Week 13 of 52~ "Eat Your Wheaties"

Still with me on our voyage through "52 Small Changes: A Year to a Happier, Healthier You"?

This week's small change is a simple one.... that a lot of you DON'T DO.....


They say that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day"....

It is also said....

"Eat breakfast like a King, eat lunch like a Prince, and eat dinner like a pauper".

I almost always eat breakfast. It is a throwback to my dad's health and maintaining his Type I diabetes. Mom always made sure that he "ate regular meals" for his blood sugar and I know that it has helped me a lot.

You should eat breakfast.
Even if it's just a little something....

Did you know that of people that SKIP BREAKFAST ....
have a 4.5 X greater chance of being OBESE?

I try to stay around 300 calories or so for breaking my fast in the morning.
Yes, I make sure those people around me (especially if they are grumpy and their blood sugar is crashing) have something for breakfast.

It could be:

*2 eggs and a piece of toast.

 *A "bagel thin" with cream cheese and a slice of tomato.

*A 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with some fresh fruit

* A twice toasted whole wheat English muffin with some old fashioned peanut butter (the kind you have to stir :)

* A bowl of granola and some almond milk. (I don't do cow's milk anymore...)

*A quick smoothie! In your blender pour some almond milk, a glop of Greek yogurt, a sliced banana, a package of Stevia and a scoop of Green Food (it comes in flavors like chocolate and mixed berry). Blend . put it in your "to go' cup and out the door you go Mmmm!

*Even a slice of leftover cold pizza ROCKS!

But my favorite breakfast, when I have a bit of time, (like 15 minutes) is to cook up some Quaker Old Fashioned steel cut Oatmeal with some sliced apple (add apple to the water when you bring it up to a boil, before you put in the oats....while it's cooking...it "poaches" the apples) , stir for 1 minute, then cover for 10 minutes or so. Then I add some raisins, almonds, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.

Add a cup of black coffee or two (I'm allowing myself a couple of morning cups... :)
and you are good to go! It "sticks to your ribs" and it's a meal that you can feel absolutely NO GUILT for.

So, tomorrow....be good to yourself, and have some breakfast!


Mommy Merlyn said. :)

Peter Pan and Happy Thoughts~

Tender Shepherd, Tender Shepherd 
Let me help you count your sheep
One in the Meadow
Two in the Garden
Three in the Nursery 
Fast Asleep

Tender Shepherd, Tender Shepherd
Watches over all his sheep
One- say your prayers
And two- close your eyes
And three- safe and happily
Fall Asleep

StoryBook Club dreamed of Peter Pan and we had many Happy Thoughts last night.....

Here is our lovely "Never Land" table setting!

 A blue table cloth (water) and 3 land masses...
Starting on the Left: The Indian Village (with burning candle camp fire).
Center: The Pirate ship (my pirate hat with Capt. Hook/Cutlass/Shackles/"The Colors" flying and with a ratty on board too!
Right: "2nd Star on the right and straight on till morning" is the Land of the Lost Boys. With a long house for the boys and a "House for Wendy". I even had the luck to actually "find" a Lost Boy doll in the road the day before. (He looked like Rufio! :)
There was a broken clock and also crocodiles did abound!

Fabulous FUN Food for the evening included:
"Pockets to fill" (Pita pockets), "Clouds" (meringue), "Peter Pan Peanut Butter Cookies" (with a crocodile to "guard them" :), BANGARANG!! (Chocolate meringue pie), "Horseradish Bombs" (definitely a Pirate food with a kick of gun powder), "Crocodile Toes (Dolmades), "Blue Go Go Juice" (Blue Tequila Margaritas...gave us a blue tongue like a kid :) and Merlyn's "Sloppy Joes with Mandatory School Cafeteria Marm Coleslaw".

Intelligent, thoughtful and randy conversations did follow Peter Pan, just like a feisty Tinkerbell.
PETER PAN, by J.M. Barrie is a classic tale that has stood the test of time. Written for children, but yet, there are so many themes within it that are still relevant today.

The boy that wouldn't grow up, who still needs companionship and nurturing. There is that place within each and everyone of us that is an Orphan. Either by life's dealings, or by the growing away from our parents or their absence in our emotional lives, we have all felt orphaned somehow....haven't we?

So we bond with our mates, our friends, we "play house" with our boyfriends/girlfriends and life is a lark. Sometimes we are the Pirates....and sometimes we fight against our "Inner Pirate". Sometimes we are afraid of our wild earthy "Indian" nature and sometimes we befriend it and smoke a peace pipe with that part of ourselves...

Our discussion of the story took many turns and twists, jumping from one starry subject to another. Childhood memories of fun and imaginary friends came to the surface. Days of freedom mixed with imagination.

Victorian rules for women of society of that day and age were played out within the context of the female characters in this story.  The female characters: Mrs. Darling/Wendy/Tiger Lily/Liza/Mermaids/Tinkerbell are all aspects of female nature and personality.

Mrs. Darling- Dutiful Matriarch of the Home
Wendy- The Good Daughter. So grown up already and responsible
Tiger Lily- The one that needed rescuing...and yet, was able to rescue her own self
Liza- The young girl (child labor) that was chained to housework drudgery
Mermaids- Free, Wild...yet only 1/2 woman....1/2 unfeeling fish
Tinkerbell- Rowdy, untamed emotional bitch (check out the real story...not Disney :)

Pirates~ Notably Captain Hook is the "Grown up" in this story...yet both he, and Mr. Darling are haunted by insecurities and feel death approach with every passing day. Death stalks them like the crocodile and time does not stand still.

Also interesting is the Mr. Darling IS like Peter Pan and needs Mrs. Darling to be his "Mother" as well....

The Lost Boys- who ran away...but still wanted a mother. Those boy children who want both freedom and rules...yet only on their terms. They secretly want a home and to be loved and wanted more than anything, but will rarely give up their freedom to get it. Only when they "grow up" and "give up" some aspects of their freedom, do they attain what they really desire.

Peter Pan....well, led me to "The Peter Pan Complex" in my reading.  There are men in this world who resemble Peter Pan. I know I've personally dated several. Married two of them. Damn near handfasted with a third. They are fun and you love them....but something in them, can't commit...or if they do so, they generally have their own agenda. Not generally yours.  Even so....I love them. Totally. And keep finding them like stray abandoned children on my doorstep.


2 Reasons:

One~ Peter Pan IS fun. He is the joy of life! He is happiness and drama and comedy! He is spontaneity!

Two~ He needs a Mother. I am a nurturer.

This is a SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP of massive proportion.

Which brought me straight up to the fact that I....

Yes, this is a fact that slapped me HARD on the face.

I am Wendy. 

Mothering, nurturing, coddling, protective, fix your pocket, cook your dinner, do your laundry, accept your excuses, good old WENDY.
I feel the need to fix...to help...to mend....to help Peter Pan to be the best he can be.


Because I need a mother too. But that is not possible anymore. She did the best she could. And now, she is gone. But there is still a deep need within me to be loved and appreciated ...and noticed...by my mother.

So, instead....I AM YOUR MOTHER.

This epiphany made me prick myself with the needle of truth and it made me drop the mending in my lap.

I CANNOT BLAME PETER PAN for BEING PETER PAN....When I ENCOURAGE PETER PAN to keep being that way and accepting his way of being! By me covering for Peter, fixing up things nice for him, and doing his mending...I participate in this circular story.

NO....I need fairy dust of MY OWN.

Instead of fulfilling someone else's dreams...I need to find my own Happy Thought.

I've had so many.
Some of my Happy Thoughts don't make me fly anymore.

I'm jaded. I've flown with them so much, that they've run out of Pixie Dust steam....

I need a new HAPPY THOUGHT.

Not Wendy's happy thought. Hers was to have a home and to spring clean for Peter.

I've done that one. Lots and Lots and Lots. My real life spring cleaning never ends.....it is not a Happy Thought to me anymore. "I'm OLD Peter. So much older than 7..."

But I will endeavor to find a new Happy Thought.

Until that time, I wish for you to find all your marbles.

Toodles and I are still looking for ours..........

In the meantime...until I finally discover my next Happy Thought....
I will content myself with dressing up little doggies in dresses.

This picture below is "Pixie". She is Christine's doggy who came to the party. I thought she needed a party dress. I ADORE dressing up dogs and cats in clothes for fun....always have...always will.
Dressing this doggie, to the delight of my own self and to the howls of my guests was...

TRULY THE MOST FUN I've had in ages...and ages...

Indeed, I have not grown up ....and am still a LOST GIRL.

Next Month:
We were led by Peter Pan to HIS favorite story.....


Stayed tuned as StoryBook Club conjures up the ins and outs of this story.

But more importantly....

Whatever shall I wear????

Week 12 of 52~ "Breathe"


Just breathe.

Count 4 for the inhale.
Hold- for count 7.
Exhale for count 8.

Just breathe.

Breathe when you want to scream.
Breathe when you need to relax.
Breathe when you are sitting at a traffic light.



Sometimes we just need to let go.

Stop worrying.

Stop making things happen.

Sit back.

Let life come to you.

Let it unfold and roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Week 11 of 52~ Read the fine print...and stretch yourself

Hey ho~ I'm on Week 11 of the book:

that I am doing with my friend Lorie and a few of you are following along with me.

This week's change is to: "Read the Box" 

That means checking labels for ingredients, fats and content. I do this already. I will try to do it more.

And No, I didn't blog about last week's change: "Take Time to Stretch" mostly because I've been doing Yoga and well, it was a hellacious busy week. Several gigs, 2 of which had major setup, backdrops, costuming, performance and break down time.

But mainly, the real reason I haven't been blogging is I've also got a problem. 

I'm out of whack. You knew that, tho', eh?

I've been without a Chiropractor for a year, since my doctor passed away last year. He basically dropped in the harness as it were, and died of a heart attack at work. It was very sad, but really it was a warrior's death and he was healing others till the very last minute of his life. A good man.


Now I've been floundering without a doctor and a regular adjustment all this time and it's becoming apparent. I am starting to feel and walk like an old lady. Or like a horse that was "rode hard and put up wet." It isn't pretty.

Stretching aside, which is nice in theory...I really need a doctor to put some bones back in place. I got a referral from a friend of mine (Thanks Lynn!!) to her new doctor, not too far away, for this coming Friday. Will have x-rays and see WTF is going on within my achy body.

(It's my right hip and leg...I personally think it is Piriformis Syndrome....which I've had before. The BASTARD.
I sit at my desk at work a lot, and my "throne" chair at home has been killing me. I'm active, but, I'm in PAIN.

I am very much looking forward to my appointment. Until then, I'm doing some modified Yoga and walking the dog as far as I can without hurting myself.

This pose: "Thread the Needle" is the best thing for my current condition of pain. It HELPS.

This pose: "Lying Side Twist" is the 2nd best to make me feel better.

This pose: "Downward Dog" is good for stretching my hamstrings and calf muscles.

This pose: "Cat to Cow" (altho reversed in the picture) FEELS SO FUCKING GOOOOD.

(Tip: Exhale completely as you suck in your belly to your spine for the Cat pose...then inhale fully and drop your back and belly for the Cow pose. Do this for several breaths. It's AWESOME.)

The stretching and Yoga is helping.

As does Ibuprofen....

Hot baths.....

Early bed....


Hope you are doing good out there? Thinking of you, which is why I'm writing this. I am hoping that this blog is helping you too, in some small way :)

Oh, and don't forget to take your vitamins.