Archive forJune, 2006

AHHHAAA it feels good!

It feels so good to have the Evart workshop program in the hands of the printer. (I’m the workshop chairman and organize the 221 workshops into a 20-page three-day program.) From the time I ask the leaders to start submitting their classes, in December, I feel a high level of stress. I know I need to get the information organized – it’s always hanging over my head. Ideally, I’d do it as the classes come in, but generally I end up organizing it when I have about 80% of the necessary number of classes (so that is about May). The last minute ones fill in the slots that are open.

Nevertheless, it’s been over six months of preparation and worry about what needed to be done. Now everything is complete. It’s time for a breather. (I figured out my time, and it took roughly 70 hours since mid-May to get the program ready.)

Tonight John and I will be playing at Subterranean Strings Haithco Concert. It’s a fun group of friends so we always look forward to getting together. Each summer since 1993 we have hosted these concerts. We host one per month during June, July and August. Audiences are generally the “white haired” set. We love ’em. Unfortunately it looks like rain. If so, we’ll move the event to Wescourt senior residence facility. Either way, it should be a fun evening.

Saturday afternoon, our small group called Live Music (four of us) will be playing for a small wedding. It was a last-minute hire, so we have had to really hussle to get our music ready. There’ll be another practice tomorrow.

Our packing for Evart has barely started. I figure once we get the concert and the wedding out of the way, there’ll be time (Sunday-Tuesday). We’ll leave for the festival Wednesday a.m.

So I’m still stressed, but compared to the period before the Evart workshop program goes to the printer, this is heavenly.

I’ll let you know how the concert goes.

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Preparing for Evart

You start by going to each room, and clearing it out. (That’s how I pack for Evart.)

My reputation of “being the person at Evart who you can go to for anything you need” means that I bring along things no one else even dreams of. In addition to the stuff I use in my role of Workshop Chairman, like boxes of programs, felt tip markers, sound equipment, and push pins, I also drag along a commercial type copy machine, 10 reams of copy paper, and my computer with a colored printer. But I also go around the house looking for other stuff people might need: fans, extra outdoor coffee pot, extra chairs, office equipment (staplers, hole punch, clips). We bring along bandaids, scissors, sewing supplies, extra batteries and light bulbs.

We used to bring along an extra tent (just in case) and a cot, but we ran out of space.

Of course, Evart is a music festival. We’ll bring three dulcimers, an autoharp, tenor banjo, whistles, tenor guitar and harmonicas, but no upright bass this year. (Last year ours never left it’s case and it’s a pain to deal with.)

Preparation/packing is a PAIN. We’re leaving in one week and four days. Between now and then we have a lot to do: Program needs to be mocked up and prepared then delivered to the printer; the copier needs to be picked up; we’re attending a family dinner, we’re performing at a wedding; we’re hosting a major concert; and most of all we’re packing for a two week time away from home.

Does it sound like I’m complaining? Not at all!! I love our life. We’re so fortunate. We’re healthy, comfortable in every way, and we have this fun (sorta wacky) hobby/lifestyle/diversion/obsession.

Countdown to Evart is nearly complete!

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Bringing You Up-to-Date

Time to catch you up on what’s been happening since we returned home from our cross country trip on May 10th.

It felt good to be home but there was very little time for relaxation. The grass was in need of attention. The grapes and apple trees needed spraying and the garden planting was overdue. So John got busy. He also had a major banjo performance on May 13th with the Flint Banjo Club at Banjorama.

I was busy inside.

Before we’d left on our trip, I’d confidently thought that I’d be able to organize the hundreds of ODPC Workshops while on the road. But the wonderful scenery we encountered as we drove across the country added to my responsibilities as navigator took my full attention, so when we got home, nothing was complete. It took more than two weeks of solid work before I had the schedule ready to post. I finished the program and bragged that it was ready. Wouldn’t ‘cha know it… the next day I had several cancellations so I had a lot of reorganizing to do. (I now believe it’s ready, but the program won’t go to the printer until next Monday, so there could still be changes.)

Click here to see the Evart Workshop Schedule


Over Memorial Day weekend, our dulcimer club (Sub-Strings) played at the Lumbermen’s Festival in Frankenmuth. It was a hot but enjoyable weekend.

Sub-Strings play for Lumbermen's Festival

June 9, 10, 11, we were at Lake of Dreams Campground near Merrill, MI, again with Sub-Strings. We had great weather and a wonderful turn-out. The food was also spectacular.

That brings us about up to date. On June 15th, we headed to the Upper Peninsula. We have a place on Lake Michigan which is very remote.

Where you'll find our place

We had closed it up on August 5th, 2005, so we needed to look in on it.

This is the view from our deck toward Lake Michigan.

View from our place to Lake Michigan.

Every season up here has it’s features. In the spring, it’s smelt runs in Dead Horse Creek. In early summer the ground is covered with flowers including dwarf lake iris and lots of violets. In late summer, we enjoy wild raspberries. This time of the year, we have a clump of the most beautiful showy lady’s slippers. These are protected, delicate, rare, wild orchids.

You can see how they grow here (notice several are in full bloom):

Our patch of Showy Lady's Slippers.

But what do they look like close-up?

Showy Lady's Slipper

Most of the summer months we also endure wood ticks. They’re crawly ugly creatures that love waist bands, socks, cuffs, and places you can;t easily reach. When you go through tall grass you can expect to find at least a tick or two crawling on you. And they aren’t easy to do away with. They won’t squash easily like a mosquito or fly. These aren’t the ones which carry lymes disease, but they can cause an uncomfortable infection if they “dig in.”

Wood Tick on John's leg

We’re heading back home today. We only have about two weeks before we leave for Evart and there’s lots to prepare beforehand.

We’ll be back here in the U.P. on July 27th.

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I Couldn’t Stay Away

We’ve been home a little more than a month and I’ve been hearing lots of comments about my 6,000 mile travel blog. I was amazed that so many liked following our trip. And I have to admit it was great fun writing my “on line” diary. I enjoyed documenting our travels probably more than you enjoyed reading them.

Now I’m finding that I’m suffering from blog withdrawal. So I’ve decided to resurrect my blog..

You can find our travel chronical under the “West Coast and Back” category. Now I’ll be adding current day to day stuff. It may not be on an every day basis, but fairly often. As time goes by, some postings will be travel documentaries. (We go to Florida twice a year.) And I have a feeling, since our last trip went so well, we’ll head out on another major trip within the next year or two. We go camping, we head to the U.P. We have concerts, we have family drama, and music stuff. Maybe you will find it boring. Maybe I’ll be the only one reading it, but that’s ok.

Just how interesting can the life of a 64 year old woman be?? We’ll find out.

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