Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy F*cking New Year.

Happy New Year from America's Hometown, where everyone's either dying or having babies. I put myself, with very heavy heart, in the former category. (No, not immediately. I mean that in the "time marches on" variety.) Christmas week has brought two more exciting bits of news! Neighbor's sister passed away suddenly on Christmas Day! Friend's kitty goes to the Big Milk Bowl in the Sky today!

Anyone familiar with the phrase: "ENOUGH ALREADY"?

Or how about, "OK, GOD. WE GET IT"?

This sucks. But wait! Time has brought us solutions. Let me try one.

Assume lotus position, breathe, find your center, where a shining sun glows in love. Chant:

"What is meant to be is meant to be."


Nope, not working. Let's try this:

Assume lotus position, breathe, find your center, where a shining sun glows in love. Chant:

"It's the circle of life."


Nope, not working. Let's try this:

Assume lotus position, breathe, find your center, where a shining sun glows in love. Chant:

"Everything happens for a reason. It's all part of God's plan."


Nope, not working, either. I have one more, this time assuming the kneeling-by-the-bed-with-hands-folded-and-pointing-upward position:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

(Reinhold Niebuhr said that.)


Working for you? Nah, me either.

God's battery must be running low. Hold on a bit. I'll plug in this charger and get back to you. In a month. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The First Christmas of the American Doll

The first gift Soul Fry opened on Christmas morning was wrapped in red shiny paper with a white satin ribbon. It was an American Doll, the 1774 American Patriot Elizabeth Cole. She was wearing a floor-length pink taffeta gown, diamond earrings, and white patent shoes, her long blonde locks tied at the nape of her neck. A little curl over each ear framed her face. A beautiful 18-incher, she is. Embraced immediately.

Also in the packages was a handmade dollie bunk bed, lovingly crafted over three days by Papa Carpenter in the basement of the Lindsay Lodge. In other bags: doll clothes meticulously handmade by the lady who runs the antique shop on Main Street, and a hand-knit sweater ordered from the church lady at the Church of the Pilgrimage, who played a little Christmas poker with us at the Harvest Fair. That is, she took our order, saw our 15 and raised us 10, deciding that what we really needed was an Irish knit sweater and matching tam. We saw it, agreed, and joyfully forked over the extra money.

Christmas morning, Soul Fry was over the moon. For about an hour. Then, while fidgeting with Elizabeth's hair, made it clear that she really needed Elizabeth's best friend, too, Felicity. 

Sure! The dolls are only $109, and why not get a friend for her, with outfits to match--only an additional $30 or so per outfit. We'll get right on that.

You think I'm kidding?

I know, I know. The "tsk-tsk" of my disapproving anti-materialist, liberal friends is rattling my windows. You stuffed your children's stockings with wooden toys, nuts, toothbrushes, and an orange that you all split after dinner. Your kids are now playing pickup sticks and Jenga on the living room floor. We don't want to disappoint you. We did do old fashioned gifts, too: markers, coloring books, a wooden Chinese fan, bath salts, and old-fashioned jacks. Soul Fry loved them. For about a second. Then went right back to her American Doll.

Soul Fry doesn't understand how much her American Doll cost, and that is most certainly not why she wants them. Oh, we tried to fool her with the cheap knock-off 18-incher a few months ago.  Guess what? Her hair looks like hell now, her eyes are a little crossed (not that there's anything wrong with that), and worse, they don't close when she sleeps. Frankly, we're finding that a little freaky.

But it's okay; Soul Fry dealt with it. She put her on the bottom bunk so we could sleep. It's hard to feel peaceful when you're sleeping beside something that looks like it came out of the third drawer  in the basement at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.

Now, the day after Christmas, the three girls—Soul Fry, Elizabeth Cole, and the Freak—are all resting comfortably in an upper chamber under their handmade quilts. (Mommy sewed the bedding on Christmas morning; Mommy has issues.)

And Mommy is looking at the Christmas money from Nana, thinking it just might be enough to buy Felicity, so that our little Patriot Elizabeth can have a buddy who sleeps like a normal human being. Felicity's a Loyalist, by the way, but we think it's only fair to give Elizabeth someone English to beat up on.

The resident Irishman approves.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fetching home the family

So begins the fifth day of travel, bringing home loved ones for Christmas, pilgrimming ex-pats home to the land of the Pilgrims. Thursday and Friday it was NYC, and today it's DC. A long drive about to commence....but it's never long when it's to bring someone you adore home for Christmas.

And I must admit, a Honda Pilot is far more comfortable than a donkey's back.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

early morning video shoot

Fun with Debbie and Friends today
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sometimes the bad really gets worse.

I saw a New Yorker cartoon Thursday and chuckled all afternoon. A man was sitting with his doctor, looking distressed. The doctor said, "Sometimes it helps to turn a question around: Why not you?" (See it here.)

That cartoon was funny Thursday night and much of Friday. At 4:45 Friday, we got a phone call bearing bad news. At 5:00 on Friday, that cartoon was no longer funny. It was real.

Following that bad news came more bad news, then a little more bad news. My dear friends who have suffered loss this weekend, we are together. We don't grieve alone. We all walk so close to tragedy every day. All I have to share with you now in this darkness is a little voice that envisions peace.

Peace... L. and R., who lost their baby Friday, just five months in the womb. H. and L., who lost their brother to suicide Saturday. S. and B., who found out on Saturday that their best friend, at just 46, has terminal cancer. P., who suffered a massive stroke this weekend. S. and S., who found out on Friday that they most likely can't conceive, and they have no options.

Folks tend to console the grieving, and perhaps the grieving console themselves with the well-worn "Everything happens for a reason."

That doesn't work for me. I don't believe in a master plan. Quite an unfortunate position to put oneself in.

But: Things happen as a result of other things—that we can agree on.

Things happen as a result of other things, and then other things happen as a result of those things. Some of those results are good, and some are bad. We have no real control over that. We probably agree on that too.

To suggest that the tragedies of daily life are there specifically to teach us important lessons: We may differ there.

But reality proves: Things happen, and we can survive. We can make lemonade, and people who know how to make lemonade are very valuable people in this world. Others can learn much from them.

What others can learn from them is how to make lemonade themselves someday, and while the tragedy may not or may not have happened for some providential reason, there is one thing we can do: We can move forward.

Life is full of lemons. It matters not whether they come because someone up there wants us to make lemonade. It matters not whether they come because someone up there wants us to make whiskey sours. It matters not whether they come because someone up there wants us to remove the smell of garlic from our fingertips. It matters not whether they come because someone up there ran out of limes.

They just come, and they will keep coming. These things are everywhere, happening to everyone.

Do not ask why the lemons came your way, or your friend's way, or anyone's way. And no, bad things don't just happen to the good people. They happen to the bad people too. Good people make lemonade; bad people make more lemons.

Unless we wish to remain sour, we have but one recourse:

Grieve for a while. Lemons suck.

Then, shave the ice, grind the purest cane sugar, and drop them together, with the lemons, in the perfect glass pitcher. Shake. Stir. Listen to how the ice cubes gently tinkle, bell-like, against the glass.

Drink from it, all of you.

Enjoy the product; mourn not the tang of the original ingredient.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Thing About Getting Older

The thing about getting older is that you get regular opportunities to go to whirring and beeping grey rooms to have people you don't know stick thingamabobs up your whosie-whatsie.

We know the line, "This will only pinch a bit." Then, POW!: Our backs thunk into rigid position like a Lazy Boy recliner, our fingernails tear into the crisp sheets, and we're stuck staring at the ceiling wondering who thought it was a good idea to make styrofoam ceiling tiles in the first place. And trying to breathe.

The other thing about getting older is that you get to wake up at night around 2:00 (the same time you used to go to bed) to stare into the darkness to foresee these delightful experiences. That is, in between wondering how in the world you ever thought, in 2003, that it was okay to run to the mall to pick up engraved bridesmaid keychains when your friend came down to help you garden before the wedding. (I hear you shuddering.) And then you start thinking you should have just eloped. And why in the world would you honeymoon in Italy in August, especially the year of the heatwave when people were dying all over Europe?  Oops, and you have an e-book to review ASAP!


...Imagine crystal blue skies, suspended whispy clouds, a light breeze... blue skies and clouds... blue skies and clouds.... breathe... blue skies and clouds....

....and don't forget to pack the 800 MG of Ibuprofen for tomorrow, "to be taken a half hour before your appointment."  

Really. It will only pinch a bit.

Music by Friends: The Lindsays “From the Green to the Blue” > The Harvard Press

Well, thank you Jonathan, for a nice review. Now we know we killed it. AND we have a killer bodhran player. :)

Music by Friends: The Lindsays “From the Green to the Blue” > The Harvard Press

Monday, December 6, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Last night, we discovered normality. Our crazy gig run was over. We made dinner. We watched a little TV. We put away laundry. We jumped on the bed. (Well, Soul Fry did). We sat around. We went to bed early.

This is what normal people (the ones who don't play Sunday gigs) do on a Sunday night?

Sign us up. Work is fun, but breaks are delicious.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

10 Down, One to Go

Soul Papa and I counted this morning: Ten gigs in the last two weeks. Holy cow.

The best one yet was the unpaid one: We performed a Celtic Christmas concert for the Festival of Trees at Plimoth Plantation yesterday, to benefit the Cranberry Hospice--and it was wonderful. It reminds us that music is an expression and a gift, but not a commodity.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Lesson in Perspective

Just when you think you're edgy because you've come out with a CD that has a drunken Sponge Bob on it, you meet a swanky New York PR maven who wears skunk fur hats and blogs as an alien.

Then, you get booked to do a children's show this summer and -- gasp -- there are liquor bottles all over your website. Do you see the challenges we artists must face every day?

Now do you understand why this woman looks so maniacal?