Friday, August 29, 2003

A cathartic week? It certainly does feel different now than when it started. Spent some time last Sunday just hugging and crying with my soon-to-be-ex-husband's cousin. We are very close and she is having a hard time with the split. I think it will be okay, though. We are always going to be like family no matter what.

I still feel overwhelmed with work but I did make some progress this week. A few new projects kicked off and I feel good about them. I'm still running behind schedule, though and playing catch up from vacation. Speaking of which, I am still working off my post-Pennsic depression. It is always like this after Pennsic (as if I didn't have enough emotional baggage right now). Someone posted an interesting message to the message board: 69 Reasons Why It Sucks to be Back in the Mundane World, which pretty much captures my feelings as well.

I am not-quite-single-again yet, but I did pass a critical milestone that I'm quite proud of--I mowed my lawn! And I took out the garbage. I don't need a man! (Ya, right.)

Looking forward to a long weekend of fun-filled activities, including a show tonite with Between the Waters, my new favorite band. And, possibly Ceremony. Other than that, who knows. Bon weekend.

Monday, August 25, 2003

So I played a few more songs with the Wild Geese on Saturday at the Harp & Fiddle. It was quite a rush. The audience was great. Thanks to my friends who came out, I had my own cheering section. This is probably just an Irish thing, but it seemed that everyone was related to one another somehow. And, there's just something invigorating about being able to clap and sing along with the band. I am probably not playing with them on a regular basis, but if I did, it would take a lot more work for me because their repertoire is huge and I am unfamiliar with Irish music. Sure, my family is mostly Irish, but it was not a very musical family until my generation. It was a challenge, and a welcome distraction from my personal-life-in-ruins.

In other news, more Pennsic pix to be found here on

Saturday, August 23, 2003

I must have balls of steel that I don't know about...I just played a song with a band, live, in front of a bar full of people, with like NO preparation whatsoever. I listened to their CD maybe twice and I had my fiddle with me so they put me on the spot. I LOVED it, but I was so NOT ready. The band is the Wild Geese, and they have a regular violinist, but they were looking for a sub to fill in when needed. Well, even if it doesn't work out, I can say that I stood boldly (eventhough I was scared shitless)!

Friday, August 22, 2003

Some scenes from Pennsic...

How to balance stuff on your head...

Had fun making beautiful music with these lovely ladies:

Had fun busking with Khafif in front of Father Dun's booth this year...he has the best tribal trinkets!

Had a chance encounter with a band of smurfettes (You never know what you will run into at Pennsic!)

Learned lots of cool new dance moves just by hanging around Tshaya...

Monday, August 18, 2003

Pennsic was grueling and miserable, and yet also wonderful at the same time. This year, I had some special challenges. Because of some not-so-pleasant issues going on in my personal life, I was torn between wanting to curl up into a ball and rock myself in a corner and wanting to run around like a convict just busted out of prison after doing seven years hard time. You see, I am finally splitting with the SO after a long haul. I'm told that you are not supposed to make major life decisions like that so soon before or after Pennsic but it could not be helped. I agonized over this all summer and I just can't go on with it any longer. I was on an emotional rollercoaster most of the time.

Anyway, let's see, how was the weather? Well it was definitely the worst in seven years, and others have said longer than that. It started off as a monsoon. It rained constantly for days. The whole place was like a rice paddy. Then the last few days were sweltering with the heat index in the 100s (F). I think that this contributed to a more toned down, laid back Pennsic. Everyone was tired all the time. Evenso, this does not prevent us from trying to have the time of our lives. To cap it off, it also rained on the last Saturday night, when we have our big "burn everything" party. The fire was still large, but not quite the towering inferno that we are famous for.

Speaking of Saturday, let me start there because it is freshest in my mind. This is when the event starts to clear out--lots of packing up and leaving because some folks have to travel great distances, compounded by the weather reports of rain and high winds. But most of us live close by and we are the die-hard partiers, so Saturday is our traditional big party night. And, despite the weather, we had a decent turn out, although maybe not as rowdy as can be. We probably had the best drum circle of the week, with the best drummers, musicians and dancers that you will find at Pennsic. I only played my fiddle for a few songs and spent more time dancing. I was much less inhibited this year. I was inspired; I found my muse. I performed the "Bacon Dance of Allure" where I danced enticingly around the fire with the bacon. Bacon is sacred in our household. At least, I found it amusing. Well, I had to do something. It was just so damned depressing standing around doing nothing.

Earlier in the week I had to struggle with finding a balance between playing my fiddle and having a good time. Most of the trouble was clearly my own pressure that I put upon myself. I feel obliged to perform, but I don't actually like being put on the spot and having to play in front of people. I play for myself and because I like learning new things. I don't enjoy improvising a solo in front of strangers, or playing the same 12 songs over and over again. I do enjoy playing with other musicians who I don't get to see during the rest of the year. I did enjoy playing in the dance expo and busking in front of Father Dun's during midnight madness. I can't play all night, or I get too fatigued and cranky--I learned that much. I really really really enjoy dancing, and have trouble playing fiddle at the same time. So, I left the fiddle at home some nights, so that I could dance and actually have a good time. It was my vacation, afterall.

So I went to a few other parties besides the big one at the end. My regular bed time became 4 or 5 am. I might have gotten a combined total of five hours of sleep for the entire week. I don't know what I was running on. I think that near the end, it had to be pure will. I didn't eat much, or drink much, except one night I did become very very drunk. I was glad that I had friends watching out for me that night. I was in an emotionally bad place that ended in a fit of tears--once again, glad I had a shoulder to cry on--you know who you are--and realized that I did indeed have a good many friends. But everyone has their tearful moments at Pennsic, even if you are having a really good one. All in all, I think it was a good one. I feel like I am making the right decision and it will be better next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Greetings from Pennsic! Unfortunately, I don't think I am going to do as much blogging as I thought I would because Mystic Mail is quite expensive, but it is awfully convenient! So, I will be posting the pictures and the gory details when I'm back on the home lan. So, here's the report so far: it has rained everyday until today, so I have been slogging around in the mud for the past four days. But, yesterday, I finally bought a waterproof parasol so now it is guaranteed not to rain anymore. It is nice and sunny and hot and oppressive now. But our (Khafif) performance at the dance expo went well, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to play with and learn from the other musicians here. It should be smooth sailing now.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Re: my last blog entry, AND my impending trip to Pennsic, my fortune cookie today said: You may attend a party where strange customs prevail...

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Did some cool stuff this week! Attended a short story reading, hosted by American Shorts, at the Mattress Factory. The theme was sex, so of course it was very amusing. The texts and readers were Joyce Carol Oates - Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? (read by Jennie Luvv) and Allen Gurganus - Adult Art (read by Tom Sokolowski, who happens to curate for the Warhol Museum). Both readers were very good. I also attended a performance by Monks from Tibet, of the Drepung Loseling Institute--part of the Frick concert series. They are famous for their multi-phonic chanting. It was worth it to hear live--their voices cut through the air like a knife through butter. And of course, had to set up camp for Pennsic. As is tradition on land grab day, it was excruciatingly hot and humid, making the packing and unpacking of the truck and erecting of the pavilions all that much more fun. But, I did not plan on staying the night--I had yet more interesting things to do this weekend. After getting back from camp and washing off the grime, I went to a party. This party was of particular interest because the theme, which was strictly enforced, dictated that you wear ONLY two pieces of clothing (not counting shoes). I could not pass up such a fashion challenge, so I had to go. It was fun. Some people had fun with the theme, but it was somewhat lame. Most of the guys just went "commando" under their t-shirts and shorts. There were a couple of kilts. One guy wore a chef's apron over underpants--that was imaginative. Another wore a cardboard box! There were a couple of chippendale dancers: tie and dress pants. The host was in his graduation gown. Not too many girls as daring as Melissa and I, though. We went in our bras. There was one other lovely lass in a bikini top and skirt, but most of the other attendees lacked such boldness. However, I don't think I'm bold enough to post the pictures. You'll have to use your imagination;-)

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