Docking 2016

Ahoy mateys!

Well, 2016 was a good year, a hard year, a blessed year, a tumultuous year.
There was loss...there was gain
There was joy ...there was pain.
Starting to sound almost like the song "Season in the Sun" doesn't it?

While the news and media look like shite...
Let us not look back with darkness nor ahead with storms brewing.
Remember, that "shite sells" in the commercial world.

If we want a different way...
And if we are the creators of our own destiny, then we must manifest the goodness and expect the best!
In other words, we must Believe it... to See it.

You are worth it.

I have experienced much inner growth this year.

Did you know that the earth is 98.5% water?
Did you also know that we are, as human beings, also the same 98.5% water?

Think of it like this:

I feel like deep water some days.

Other days I just enjoy the ripples.

Once in awhile I make a big splash! 

I know the freeze cold and sharp....

And the droplet of the misty brow,

The glisten of a steamy body.  

The gloom of a cloudy day

The parched tongue of drought

The hopeful dew of a sunny morning in May.

These things are all of worth.

They make you feel ALIVE.

And that my dear is the greatest gift of all.

You are HERE.



Make 2017 the year of BEING PRESENT.

Go with the flow of YOU and be one with the Universe. Great things happen!

The Wing & a Prayer Tour- The Good, the bad, the Miraculous!

You know, sometimes life gives you lemons, and you wonder if you should go forward or not. Like an Omen of badness to come or something.
The start of our trip was like that.
But there is always Good if you choose to look at it and find it within the bad.

Like the sudden engine problems at the start of a 3500 mile trip.
As in...
ours blew a cylinder only 1/2 hour away from home.

 How'ere, the GOOD NEWS was that we were only a 1/2 hour away from home!
And we went to mechanics we know and trust and not getting stuck in W.Va bumfeckboonies somewhere and then have to go to BillyBobJoe's Garage.

We had to borrow a car we didn't know, and drive thru a blizzard in the night to even get to our work. BUT the car that our good friend loaned us got 35 mpg!! That's amazing! (even if we were in close quarters, the car was a CHAMP!)
We saw a lot of rough blizzard conditions on the way down as you can see.

This is a pic of the car with the dried on salt and sand from only 9 hours thru a blizzard on the road that day....

Then there was the catching up of the time schedule of leaving late to be able to arrive on time...
but we squeezed in a great visit with friends (Kristin, Jeff and kids) and then we pushed hard and got into Florida on Thursday night... instead of the usual Friday morning before faire.
And that was a good thing.

BUT the bad news was that we were just in time for a tornado.
Yah, well, that was a rough rainfall on the surrounding environments, including the faire and all the vendors trying to set up....
The good news was that we were safe inside and not driving when torrential rain came down!
Looking out the window of our hosts Dre & Max's backyard, on the Friday before faire opening, we saw 4" of rain come down in an hour, it was exactly like looking out into a snowstorm blizzard! Nothing but white expanse

The faire pending to open the following day suffered hard for it. But the faire and all the rennies and patrons were troopers (they are a hardy breed!)  Everyone mucked in. Literally. I even saw someone loose a shoe in it.

But we had lovely reunions with friends and patrons, and we were staying safe with friends, who are more like family. The faire had to close one of the only 4 days that they were running, but thankfully, the faire made good on everyone's contracts even so. It was a beautiful kindness in the face of ruin. They will be blessed next year, methinks on this faire that runs as a fundraiser for the children in the community. It is a Kiwanis faire. Some of the nicest people I've ever met and we love them.
Here are some pics we took the day that the show was closed:

This was our stage for where 3 of our 4 shows was to take place.
Yah....I'm thinking Sailing Songs....
or maybe....
Drowning songs....

Then there was the sad fact I couldn't see my actual family down that way on the other side of the state, midweek as we had previously planned, (what with the borrowed car, we felt we shouldn't do any extraneous travel, only what was required of us to get us to gigs.) That really sucked bad and I felt crappy about bailing out while so (technically) close. I had very much wanted to see my brother and his family, and my nephew in his family, but that didn't get to happen.

The good news tho, was that the weather was mild, and we were safe, and we hung out in a communal atmosphere at our friend's house. I cooked several times for everyone, and we made the "family" atmosphere happen anyways. Family is loving who you are with.
We did get to see the new Star Wars movie with Jay and Abby tho, that was AWESOME. Cuz we'd never been out to a movie theater together!

 Then there was the early TV promo where us 4 minstrels had to get up at 4am to get to faire on that last Friday before the last weekend of faire.
That whole promo went well, and aired fine.
Then the dozen performers and administrative folks from the faire, all decided to turn up for breakfast at Perkins in garb at 9:30am. We gave the patrons a thrill, I'm does any Rennie who's ever had to get gas or shop for something while in Ren garb in Wegman's. :)
The bad news was when we got to Perkins, a sudden thunderstorm blew up and (get this) LIGHTNING hit the parking lot of the restaurant right by us!
All the air got sucked out of the room where we were sitting stunned, then the fire alarm went off screeching at us and we all sat there dazed stupified for a moment. Then I looked at my forearms and all and the hair on my forearms was standing straight up for about 20 minutes afterward!

The good news was that none of us were hurt and after breakfast we all went home for naps. :)

We had a relaxing week off...with a couple gigs in between. Great time at The Celtic Ray Public House (Voted Florida's Best Celtic Pub!)
We are already booked again there for next year!
See you there on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017!

And we enjoyed singing at the Fort Myers Unitarian Universalist Church for our sister UU Friends!

Then the faire got hit with a wind storm, on the 3rd of the 4 days it runs, with 30 mile an hour winds. That was rough for the vendors, the performers, the faire attendance. It was a severe day. It looked pretty but it was tough to withstand. When I sang, the words and music just got swept away and even Harry couldn't hear me unless I was looking at him!

It was WINDY!

The good news was that we did it, and we all had about a 2 minute pub sing with all the minstrels of the faire playing one quick windburned song at the end and we all went home to recover.

The good news was that when we went home to our home away from home at Dre & Max's,

they had invited family and friends, Donna (Rayvn) and Jenna (Dharma) over for dinner! And (BONUS) I got to see the cover art Dharma's been working on for my upcoming new book! We are still working on it and it's coming along for sure!

The last day of the faire (Day 4) was AWESOME. A perfect day. With good weather, good moods, and good fun! The faire will open next year, but they sure deserve a medal for all their hard work that they went through!
Abby & I are minstrel sisters :)

Here we minstrels are taking a break for lunch, getting away from the wind, and wondering how the heck we put all the stuff we did into this car.... :)

We enjoyed being with our friends down there very much and always hate to say goodbye for another year when we leave. But leave we must. We packed it all into the car once more, and set off for Charleston! I've wanted to go to Charleston for the longest time. It is said that it is "America's most beautiful city!"
We got a room at the Comfort Suites about at 9pm after a 10 hour ride. We ask for a ground floor room so that we don't have to cart the instruments far. The concierge told us regretably that there were no ground floor rooms due to conference area, however, if we didn't mind taking a "Handicapped" room...that it was right by the elevator on the 4th floor...would that be ok?
Sure we said.
OMG. What an awesome room! It was HUMONGOUS! :) Biggest bathroom, a couch, chair suite and gads of room. So much for thinking that was a bad idea, eh?  This room rocked. 
But we hadn't done any real adventure on this trip but survival mode, and we had about 6 hours to kill, so we allowed ourselves a look around at this beautiful city and had some lunch. Would love to go back to Ft. Sumter sometime and see it on the island!

While in Charleston, we stopped at this place called "Southern Brewery & Smokehouse" and the Assistant Manager told us he was from Liverpool, NY! He gave us a beer and we had a great chat and look around! The Coconut Porter they make is AMAZING. He even let us take pics from the 3rd floor!

 Historic Charleston!
Would really like to go back and go thru the Aquarium and do the ferry ride to the Fort, but not this time. No time. No money for it, and that's ok. But hey, it's lunch time and we only have a couple of hours to kill....we could at least afford a seafood treat and a couple of pints, right? I mean, we ARE at a PORT. :)

We ate lunch at the Noisy Oyster. MMMM

Then we were off once again, saw friends Kristin and kids that night and stayed for an awesome quick "power-visit" with her before we were off to the wilds of N.C.

Check this out:
We were going to play a house concert at Harry's HS chum's house by the ocean. Harry hadn't seen her for 40 YEARS. Nora and her husband were great, her friends wonderful and her house and property were amazing! Really surreal how beautiful it was there!

I would like to paint some of these vistas!
They used to play music together.
They even got a chance to do that again when we were together! <3

 Just lovely the way the pics turned out...

It did take us a Loooong time to get home tho. 14 HOURS on that last leg, which we drove full sore. That was the bad part.

How'ere, the good part is that we missed "Snowmaggedon!" And when driving through Washington, D.C. we saw the President's motocade pass us by! SO many cop cars, 2 limos (one decoy) and an ambulance following it. That was freaking kewl!

The other good part to this whole story is that we really didn't know HOW we were going to get here, or even how we were gonna pay for the vehicle when we got back from our jobs, as we put everything we had into it to get it in the first place. Ya gotta have a car when you live by the Muse.
And we do live by the Muse, lovies,  it's always feast or famine.
Starving musicians is not a joke. But then there are awesome times too.
Why do we do it?
Because we love our work, and we try to make life happier for others with our music, banter and costuming.

We arrived home to Nick, Alissa watching the house and a very happy Monty Joe schnoodle of love waiting for us with all well at home!

Well, the good news in all this, was that Fate smiled on us with the gifts of safe travel, good friends, and a spontaneous gift of a GoFundMe page set up for our behalf for the car repair!

People we knew and loved, (and even some folks we don't really even know but who have seen us play) all helped us pay for the majority of our vehicle repairs.
We don't have to go to debtor's prison! YAY!

We would not be able to do what we do, without help from our friends sometimes.

This blog is me telling you that even if SHITE happens, take that LEAP OF FAITH!

A leap of faith (in my opinion) is JUMPING...
and THEN yelling to the Universe "Catch Me!" and believing it WILL BE OK.

Cuz more times than not....It WILL BE OK and there are reasons for it.

Thank you Universe!
Thank you all for your friendships, and for opportunities to perform and thank you for eyes for seeing the Good in life.

So when life hands you lemons...
Just TRUST the Universe to give you the makings for Marguaritas!

The "Wing & a Prayer Tour"

Hey ho Mischievites, friends and family!

Well, it's been quite a wild ride.
We've named this trip "The Wing & a Prayer Tour" and it's aptly named!!

From our first blog of telling you about our beginning trip complications of having our car having engine in....there IS now NO ENGINE in our car....

To a miracle happening and thankfully borrowing Elaine's car and getting safely out of Central New York just as a winter storm came in suddenly....

We got to S.C. to see our dear friends Kristin, Jeff and the kiddos!
YAY! Relief in the form of friendly faces, hugs and food and wine! Thank you so much!
 What a lovely family and one that we care for deeply!

 We sure relished a glass or two of wine about the time we got there! There were a lot of crazy drivers and some crappy weather to drive thru! Thanks to the Izzo family for such a lovely, yet quick stayover and we were back on the road at 7am next morning!

Pictures are worth a 1000 words. There was some "weather" on the way down, as you can see....
Elaine, your car is fine (and now is washed!) but people down south were giving us dirty looks, (even tho' we'd only been on the road 1 day) so Harry & Jeff washed it! Great car and the mileage is 35 mpg!

 This is the dried on salt and sand from the storm. All gone now, but man, Harry did great traveling thru it all in a car that he really didn't know well!

We got in to Cape Coral Florida to stay with Dre & Max Rousseau and Jay and Abby (The Harper & The Minstrel) in our annual "Musician Infestation" at Dre's house....
but just in time and out of the car in time for Tornado watches, and torrential downpours!
The faire DID open yesterday, but it was very saturated with water, and there was so much mud. But Rennies being Rennies, we truly all did "muck in" and we STILL managed to get crowds and have a good day.
It was a little rough.
Here's pics from opening day:

Can you see our stage????

So, when life gives you make lemonade.
And when faire gives you sing a lot of Sailing Songs!
We still had a lot of fun tho and made a lot of people happy.

 And then last night this this link

We got dressed for a faire work day and we went, but after last night's 2nd terrible storm, the faire was cancelled. There was such damage from the storm on top of another storm....

This is what faire looks like today when we went in for morning meeting:

 Gods Bless the Vendors!

 Where the water is here is usually just grass....

Abby and I are sort kinda in ren much as necessary for the morning meeting on a day that the faire cancels anyways...
We are making the best of it.
Hey, at least we are together! <3
 An Orb on me!
 Me with my stage behind me.
This is usually called "The Tavern Stage"
Now it is "The Moat Stage" or "The Swamp Stage"
(no, no bodice for me...going home soon back to Cape Coral for a boon day off....)
Come on...You gotta just have a sense of humor about shit like this.
Here's my stage!

Come on...

At least the sun is coming out!

Thank you to everyone who donated to Heather Jenson's GoFundMe page for us to help with our engine repair back home Hopefully all will be well one of these days. :)

At least we are alive, happy and with friends in a borrowed car. Signing off from sunny wet Florida for now!

Hugs from Merlyn & Harry
Your Wandering Minstrels