Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Something's burning

It could be the stray crumbs of the homemade olive oil and rosemary bread in the oven that set off all the smoke alarms, or the lack of coolant in the car due to a failing hose between resevoir and radiator, or the firepit yard debris hurling skyward in orange plumes. But perhaps also it is my joints from yoga, my savings in preparation to pay 2008 taxes, and the midnight oil as I contemplate the next steps to More.

I recently had the pleasure of playing harp for a very intimate wedding ceremony and reception at the Ohio Historical Society's chapel and American House Hotel. When weddings are scheduled here, the little village is not open to the public and therefore resembles the abandoned ghost town re-creations from my Colorado childhood.

The chapel has unbelievable acoustics and thus is one of my favorite places to play. A small stained glass window above the door to the left of the harp...

hints at the chapel being made for this instrument, don't you think?

The following day I was invited to perform at the Mansfield Richland County Library. Breathing a sigh of relief in the elevator that I made it despite a smoking car (see above), the doors open *ding!* to an atrium of silent seated patrons. What was supposed to be a background music gig suddenly turns into a full-blown interactive performance presentation peppered with question-and-answer segments. Two harpists were in the audience -- I told the group I would pretend to not be intimidated by their presence. I ran out of business cards at its conclusion.

This year's Lifeline of Ohio ceremony at the Fawcett Center involved my playing pre-program harp music and again during a photo slideshow of organ / tissue donors and recipients. Those whose lives were improved or saved and those who lost loved ones shared their heartbreaking stories. I managed to not completely fall apart on stage during this experience; opting to be a donor has more meaning for me now.

The Flotation Walls are a fresh band that records in lush layers, similar, but not quite, to the Arcade Fire, so I was ecstatic when they asked me to lay down some harp tracks at Relay Recording (formerly Snaps-n-Taps! MB brought me there to play years ago) for their new release, Nature. We experimented with several "voices" of the harp and finally settled on bits that had me laughing; can't wait to hear the final product.

My mother celebrated a Very Important Birthday last month, and family came over to celebrate. Turns out the unfinished particle board floors were perfect for toy wars. Just don't let them fall through the hole in the floor that Aunt Trista brilliantly put a chair leg through, ripping out the outlet box that had been mounted underneath. I made vegan treats.

Pictured above; lemon (very) tart with toasted almond crust boasting a topping of lemon curd and candied lemons -- yes, we love our lemons (Yo Sweet J!) -- vegan strawberry shortcake with cashew cream, and vegan chocolate chip cookies. And that towering mound of white in the center? Real whipped cream. Yeah, not vegan.

And now, even more randomness...

My biggest hurdle in the tax struggle is the 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income rule. I have squelched and pinned it to the ground several times over, all to no avail. It refuses to decrease or disappear -- it just stares back, deaf and dumb.

I again met really wonderful people during the Spring Fund Drive for the local NPR station, WCBE. Those of us volunteering are also often listeners, and it seems to me we are united in a way by isolation; that is, we listen while engaged in our solitary work. So coming into the station we can collectively marvel at how close / far our mental portraits of announcers and testimonialists are from the real thing and simultaneously learn more about fellow members of this quiet community.

Seared in my memory is the Andrew Bird concert in Cleveland last week. It's impossible for me to get enough, so I'm grateful to relive moments here (scroll down for video) and here. My friend E and I made a nice trip of it -- ridiculously, I didn't get pictures. On this tour Andrew has three other musicians with him; I'm familiar enough with his music to recognize when he is trying out a new approach, or how he comes out of a seemingly wrong turn, or what parts he gave away to the other musicians to clear him for what he wants to do next. Fourth (or third??) row seats were perfect for viewing how he communicates nonverbally and musically with Dosh, on drums. This is the communication I want with whom I play -- it's what makes the music. It wouldn't hurt at all if this communication occurred with Mr. Bird himself.

Great Blue Herons have again been spotted on my river route. I read somewhere that they are territorial, which means I am probably seeing the same herons each time, and this entitles me to claim them as mine. I am not impressed by the other waterfowl -- my only fondness for Canadian Geese is the flawless imitation my sister can render of their calls. My other favorites are back, too -- they are either Red-Tailed Hawks or Prairie Falcons. Last fall, one stood at the side of the road as if waiting for me to walk past. Just a few yards from each other, with heavy gazes, we took the other in until the spell was broken by a passing car. When I watch them soar, I want to spontaneously burst into flames just to join them.

Molly Gordon wrote a great piece: How to Get Organized Without Dowsing Your Creative Fire

It's the Full Moon -- that explains everything.


  1. Happy Birthday! Hey, I make a mean vegan chocolate chip cookie, too. Have I told you M can't do dairy? Oh wait, I still use eggs...guess it's just dairy-free, not vegan. Oh well. :) Love you.

  2. I am drooling over that Lemon Tart....I NEED that! Yum!