Organizing a Scattered Life

Life here at Squirrel Haven is written on a huge dry erase calendar board.
We don't have your typical 9-5 chained to the office sort of jobs. No. Not at all. Our schedules are flexible, variable and multi-topical.
There are colored markers for our business dates for Merry Mischief and Harrison Audio & Stage...
as well as for our personal life. And it helps.


When we are pulled in seven different directions at once, trying also to get music practice in, make recordings, work on a book, and manage a home and property, and also work at our jobs on top of all of that ....well...things can get dropped through the cracks.

Add to this my husband's love for hoarding gadgetry and papers and Styrofoam and wire ties, and you have a cluster fuck waiting to bite you in the arse on a daily basis. Before morning coffee, even.


On our latest trip, we brainstormed "What to Do About It" and while chatting, I hastened back to days of old when housewives had a "Day of the Week" work schedule in order to get things done.

Like, "Tuesday is Laundry Day" sort of thing.
These women have the right idea!

A place for everything...
and everything in it's place!

I also remember doing this sort of schedule when my girls were young, and I had to do so much including hosting Teachers, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists and Counselors into my home on a weekly basis for Shawna and her Early Education Program. Not to mention all the Camp Fire groups, 4-H Club meetings and Sunday School programs I was also doing with the girls.

It worked for me I concluded, it should work for us now.

But then again.... I have Harry. :)

No matter.

Here is our New and Improved Schedule and I'm hoping that it will help us concentrate and focus a bit on our mundane tasks in a simplified way, and which also follows the natural flow of our life:
 I also added in special areas for Harry (in bold italics) because he needs a bit of structure too.

A day for Worship, Planning, Being Grateful, Having Company or for Rest.

A "Put Away Day" (natural occurrence for dealing with our weekend gigs), also tidying and cleaning the Social areas of the house: Porch/ Front Room/ Kitchen

Laundry Day. Also, while there in area, address the Bathrooms and clean them as well.
Yellow Shed

Wayne's "Dog House"

Back rooms, Deck and Car

Desk work, Filing. And afterwards, DANCE!

Create/ Play/ Invent. Also Shopping or Outings.

Already this schedule has helped me NOT STRESS.

Example: Sunday, I pretty much took a day to VEG. After our long trip, I decided I needed a day to lay around and read. And I did so. ALL FECKING DAY. It rocked! At one point in the day, I walked into the upstairs bathroom and saw my newly purchased shower curtain, waiting to replace the one on the shower rod. I thought, "I should probably do that now.... (SIGH)"

But then I thought: "No! Tuesday is the day you have scheduled for the bathroom projects! You will do it then! Go back and enjoy your day off."


These work days are not set in stone. I'm not gonna freak if we don't do things on the list.

They are more like this:

Yesterday was Monday and our first real work day back and I am on track! I figure that if we follow this the end of the month of February for starters, that we should be in better shape and in good habits.

We shall overcome!


Merlyn has a PLAN :)

Fairytales, Sunshine and Ice ~ Part 2 and...HOME

In thinking about our annual treks, I have to say that it is always such a joy to drive south to Florida in the middle of January from New York. You start out dressed in layers upon layers of winter clothing. The winde bites. The snow blows. As you drive, state to state, farther southward, you adjust your wardrobe to match, off goes the heavy coat, then the boots, then the extra sweater until you hit Florida and finally decide it's sandals weather!! Woooot!
There is SUN! Ack!
My eyes! My eyes!

I revel in the good weather, soaking up the tonic that is the sunshine and dear ones whom we rarely see. Musicians whom I'd love to play with daily, I have only a few days to play with. Vistas and adventures that are new to us. Going out to eat and traveling is a joy to my happy wanderer spirit!

How'e'ere, while I do revel in the journey, and I love packing for the trip and seeing new sights...
It is not as fun to say goodbye to those you love, nor retrace your steps northward after being in short sleeves and drive home away from good friends whom you only get to see once or twice a year. Nor are deteriorating road conditions and tractor trailer squeezes on the highway while ice to contend with. 

That and the bundling up in ever more layers as you proceed to higher latitudes. Sandals give way to shoes in South Carolina with a cold snap there.... We stopped for the night in N.C. and watched on the hotel TV the advancing of the greatly heralded winter storm "Janus" and had to decide in a groggy morning instant, whether to stay put and let it pass us before proceeding....or to hightail it and skeedaddle and try to beat the storm home first.

We scurried around and packed up our things and put on boots and heavy sweaters and set out early from N.C. and tried to race Mother Nature.

I'll tell you right now, it isn't as fun as winter boots to shoes to sandals...
But it is is fun to think about getting home, and seeing our favorite doggy in the whole world and to have some downtime. We have been going, going, going every minute of our trip. We thank our dear friends, Mike and Leah, Donna, Dre & Max, Star & Mikal and Dee & Francis for putting up a couple of wayward wandering minstrels. Thank you for the comfort of bedding down and warm and dry the nights we were with you! But even saying that, I hope you'll understand that I won't sleep really sound, until I'm in my own bed with my puppyboy at home after all is said and done.

Tuesday morning, we drove straight into the oncoming winter storm named "Janus." A two-faced bastard that it is to match the God he's named for. But Ha! Ha! Janus! We have all new snow tires!! We are not afraid of ice and storm! My Suburu has "Goat Feet!"

I figured by the radar that if we could just get above Washington, D.C, and a bit above we would be fine. But we've usually avoided going that route in the past. Mostly because of stops to friends in Va in the past, we've taken other routes. How'e'ere this time, the shortest, quickest, and least miles was right through Washington. And during a storm too. Awesome.

The weather was fine till we were almost to the Va border. Then it darkened. Then it started to rain. Then sleet turned to snow. Just as we came into Washington, we had to pass a snowplow. Unfortunately he was spreading sand, not in the customary fashion of a fan spray of sand from behind,  but in the fire hose off to the side fashion and we got nailed pretty good with sand as we chugged by.

My Suburu said: "cough cough" spew!
And then the sand froze ON the passenger side with ice. Harry is a great driver. I read as he drove and kept his mind off the monotony of the road. It destresses him to listen to my voice. We had already finished reading "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" and had already devoured and picked apart the bones of that story's themes in preparation for next StoryBook Club's theme. I picked up my next new book, which was a Christmas gift from my first husband, David. It is "Women Who Run with the Wolves:Myths and stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes's Ph.D.

Psychology AND Myth mingled together and covering stories like Bluebeard and Baba Yaga that I know full well. YAY!! Oh the synchronicity of it all. It is meant to be a help to women that we learn from the folk stories of old. Which is also why I started my StoryBook Club years ago! This book is fascinating to me! HUZZAH.

More snow. More ice. More miles. Miles and miles and miles of miles. I stop reading aloud occasionally due to horrendous traffic or to help Harry find the right exits.  At the rest stop in Wilkes-Barre, Pa, we actually had to chip off ice off our headlights so they would shine and the grill and whole front of the car was just one thick sheet of ice. I started trying to break ice off the grill and radiator area with the snow brush, then I said, "Fuck it. It's air cooled enough, I'm thinking." The Wild Woman in me is gonna run with the Wolves in traffic.

Yah! It was kinda like when the Nautilus got trapped in the ice channel and they all ran out of oxygen and nearly died!!  Ok, so maybe it wasn't totally like that, but you get the idea.

Anyways, here's a few more pics worth a 1000 words:

Here are the "Harpies" (in the nicest sense of the word) Theresa and Heather
 Here is James from "Bunnies in Peril" (who has an amazingly awesome deep bass voice) and who is also Theresa's husband :)

 Terry Short and Johnny Phoenix

Davinci Brothers!
Merlyn & Darin Graves the Fiddler
I really enjoy playing music with him!

Pub Staff at the ready!

Kewl pic :)

Surprise folks from NY!

His majesty the King!
 Now here's just some fun pics that we took along the way....

Kismet! (Our first album!)

Just keep your purse open on the Florida turnpike. 
Because every 5 miles or so, they ask you for money....

 and keep it coming....

Low flying planes!!
 Beautiful weather!
Gorgeous sky!
 Palm trees!

Lots of congested traffic!
  and now....

the Road Home....

How about a helicopter or two? Not usually the way they travel....

Going north....
Storm Janus on the way in....

Merlyn finishes one book....
keeps reading to Harry on a new one...

 The vistas are different...

but still beautiful :)

So now we are HOME.
Home to the cold, the snow....
our own beds...
and to a funny little doggy who needs us :)

 I suppose he'll want a treat for it too....

Fairytales, Sunshine and Ice~ Part 1

Hey ho! I have a whole sackful of stories and pics for you!
May have to continue this in the next blog there's so many!

Faire WAS fun and it cannot be denied.
Here's the proof!

Playing at the pub is one of my favorite happy places :)

 Having fun with friends~

Cute garb. Must remember this combo. 

 Having fun with Ravyn, Dre and meself. We didn't know it was Purple Day.
I love Purple Day!

Jay's new harp

mmmm...pints on a hot day!

I think that Dre's kitty, O'Malley likes me :)

Yah, I'm pretty sure he likes me :)

 I love animals...and especially friendly ones that I meet along the way....
even at highway/thruway stops

Here's an interesting character. Everyone affectionately calls him "Ren Shirt Guy"
On this shirt are beautifully embroidered recognizeable likenesses to popular ren faire performers.
(I'll blow it up big so maybe you can discern a few folks you know, on his doublet :)

 Ooooh Look! There's Merry Mischief too!

and here is the embroidery artist herself :)

A chilly morning but beauteous music in Liza's shop with our dearest buddies, Jay & Abby- 
The Harper & The Minstrel!

Yes, this is what an "Uber-Band" looks like :)

Water toss splat game!
In January :)
Teeny Weeny the Faery Fae with Merlyn 

 Rainsylph and Rob!

 Dharma and Little Bo Peep and some sheep that I made dance wildly!
The wee nymphs :)
I love this pic, Dharma!

 Wendyl on percussion in the awesome Manna booth (our 2nd home at faire :)
and Harry hamming it up!
They have beautiful hair!
 Seeeeee??? :)

 Dee so pretty in green!
Woooot! Laura you wicked piratey wench!
 Merlyn giving Birthday boy Rob his spankings and pinch for all to see :)

and..... his wife Laura taking pics ;)

Rob liking it, methinks

More to come!

I have to go stretch! This is gonna be a big blog!