Sunday, July 24, 2016

On Being a Rock Star

We had our second annual front yard concert/party (now affectionately dubbed "Twistapalooza") on a sunny day in July. This is a by-invitation-only, bring-your-own-meat, bring-your-own-beverages, bring-your-own-chair, bring-a-side-dish-or-dessert-to-share event.  I was still in the depths of pain management and trying to recover my usual strength, but woke that morning feeling better than I had since the initial injury to my back.

Adrenaline is a good friend to have.

The true excitement I was feeling wasn't just from hosting a big party (which, despite my rather introverted tendencies, I really and truly love), but from the fact that my very own band was going to open up the festivities with a small set of songs. Finally, at the youthful age of 41, I got to pretend to be a rock star for reals, in front of actual breathing human beings.

I'm used to being on stage every Sunday morning, plucking the strings and singing for our congregation. Church music with lots of bodies singing along.

This time, it would be a quite mixed audience of family, friends, co-workers, and miscellaneous hangers-on that were invited by any of the above. We easily doubled our attendance from last year, making it slightly more chaotic, but the added energy was just fuel for my fire.

There were three grills going with friends of the Farmboy managing the meat cooking, there were two canopies covering all of the shared food dishes, there were torches and lanterns filled with citronella, and laughter; so much laughter. There were groups and gangs of kids free ranging all over the place, swinging way too high on the hammock, climbing trees, kicking balls, playing pingpong in the side yard, and generally having the time of their lives.

The evening was once again finished off by the main attraction, Chris Stewart, who only seems to get better with each year. We've known him since before the kids came along, and it has been fun to watch as his musical career has finally started to catch up to his talent. 

It was exhausting and energizing and perfect in just about every way and we wanted to immediately hit repeat the next morning.

Next year, the only things that we wanted to change were to add a tip jar for our valet parking attendants (the firstborn and his friends with walkie talkies had a blast directing cars and were given so many compliments), to not have the hammock out and available for molestation by gangs of children, and to perhaps have a small cover charge so we can add another musician to the lineup. We'll see. There are eleven months left to plan it. I can't wait!

A note about the photos: I was obviously very busy and otherwise occupied most of the day, so very few of them were taken by me. If they look like regular snapshots, they were most likely taken by my Dad (that's him standing by the tree with the Seattle Mariners baseball cap several pictures down),  or were possibly taken by me (I managed a few with my phone and camera after I had performed, eaten and settled down). If they look professional with perfect editing and lighting and sharpness, then they were taken by my little sister Joann.
And now, for an adorable little video clip taken by my Sister in Law (that's my bearded baby brother on the right side) to show just what some of my youngest relatives thought of my band...

Friday, July 22, 2016


I don't understand how the pace of summer can be at once frenetic and slow. The days are longer, the housework stays the same, the work load doesn't change; but friends visit, exceptions to bed time are frequent, more books are read, homework is traded for "Mama, I don't know what to do" (the word "bored" is not allowed). It is almost expected that the social calendar is more full, regardless of how introverted a person might be, or how much she longs for just a few quiet days at home with no obligation.

I try to seize the warm afternoons as often as possible, grabbing the picnic blanket and reading aloud in the shade of trees to the kids. But days pass, full of I-don't-know-what, and the season is passing way to quickly.
That last picture, of the wild sweet peas, is designed to fit on a wide flat screen monitor as wallpaper, if you like it. Just click on it to enlarge, then save to your computer.