1) Drive down the middle of the road, through slush, to get to the hammer dulcimer teacher’s house. Have a fun lesson.

2) Eat at Veggie Grill – YUM.

3) Go to JoAnn’s Fabrics. Buy 4 small felt squares and 2 pounds of polyfill. Those are going to be some mighty stuffed teddy bears!

4) Come home and resurrect clawhammer banjo playing and remember how much I LOVE it! See below.

5) Put on heart monitor. Open app on phone. Run up and down stairs like a maniac. Bounce on mini trampoline like a maniac. Heart rate feels like it’s way up there but it’s not. My resting heart rate is 47-52. Burn 77 calories in 10 minutes. Go back to the (incredibly rare, almost never watch) mindless TV. Stellar day. The snow and ice that turned into slush is now, with the rain, turning into flooding.




Patience = tuning 46 strings on my hammer dulcimer (the smallest model), and then having to go back and tune them all again, right away. They haven’t liked this Portland weather either.

Barring any infestation by locusts, I assume Portland schools will finally be a “go” again. Moms around town are doing a happy dance right now. They get awards for endless patience!




Who took my F#?

The mother of all hammer dulcimers

The mother of all hammer dulcimers

Above we see the mother – make that the ueber grandmother – of all hammer dulcimers, to which I aspire someday. This is a big ol’ honkin piece of fabulous equipment that virtually needs its own forklift. For now, I am on the training-wheels model. Look at all those pretty, shiny (I’m supposed to tune a gazillion strings every time?) work of art.

Unlike the various notes on a flute, one string on an HD does not feel differently nor is it hammered differently than another string. To make it even more challenging, there are 3 areas, on the baby model, in which strings may be struck. Their location is confusing though because the pitch of a note does not correspond to its placement on the soundboard. In other words, there’s an F# on a lower location on the far left set of strings that is higher in pitch than the D, that is lower in pitch, that is located on a higher location on the middle set of strings. Confused yet? I was. I emailed my teacher tonight because I could not find my F#. Vanna – I’d like to buy an F#! But it was hiding in plain sight all along. Who knew?

The age old joke amongst those of us who play these beasties is:

Let’s Get Hammered!!




My heart is full…

I had my first hammer dulcimer lesson yesterday since the summer of 2011, at which point I was battling chronic pain and not really understanding anything my teacher was saying. Last night I felt pretty good and I could follow the teacher and remember some parts of the tune via watching and listening. HOORAH.

Today, I got to immerse myself in the glorious land of DB tactile ASL and reconnect with some dear friends. As soon as the workshop started, I was absolutely overcome with tears of joy.

My heart is full, my tears are dry, the possibilities are endless. Music in Portland, DB terping in Seattle, terping in Hawaii, move back to the south???? I’m ready to fully reclaim my life and get on with it but I’m going to need some Divine road signs – *really* clear ones – because I can’t be everywhere, doing all of this at once!

THIS way, moose girl!!

THIS way, moose girl!!

House concert – 12/21/13 – in Lake Oswego

Hello All!

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays to refresh your spirit with some excellent music in the cozy setting of a house concert. Featuring Carl Thor on Hammered Dulcimer and Jennifer Pratt-Walter on Celtic Harp. Seating is limited so be sure to make a reservation as soon as possible. When you make a reservation, you will receive directions to the location in Lake Oswego and information about the potluck social before the concert.

Wishing you a musical holiday!

House flyer 12.21

Strings galore

Many moons ago, when it was still popular to wear bell bottom jeans and to say groovy and far out, I played classical guitar. There were 6 strings to tune, which seemed to take forever.

This morning, in the wee insomniac hours, I decided to count the strings of all the instruments I play. The hammer dulcimer, and mine is the smallest model, has 46. The harp, also a fairly small model, has 26. The octave mandolin has 8 and the banjo has 5. That’s about a gazillion strings, or 85, depending on your counting methods.

Tuning all my strings is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. When I’ve come to the end, it’s time to start over again.


582 tuning pegs. Objects may appear less numerous in photographic situations. 🙂

Fun with PT!

Now the physical therapy sessions are getting to be fun and interesting since I’m, and this is a direct quote, on “the VERGE of NORMAL”. I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite that close so that is a reason to run and jump with joy. However, since my ever fabulous PT taped up my feet so my ankles would work mo’ betta, running isn’t going to happen. Right now, I’m happy to just walk without falling all over myself. I think he should have taped my mouth instead since I can chatter so much 🙂

Dan, TEFPT (The Ever Fabulous PT), gave me a new title in regard to the instruments I play or want to play. He called me a harpelele flutist. How cool is that? If you take the 5 instruments I have going (and don’t add the others that are yet to join me), I would actually be a hammer harpomandobanjo flutist of the dulcimer variety. Or, an octave harpoflutist hammer banjodulci mandolinist. Or…the list goes on! 🙂

This tape color is SO last week! I should have asked for the purple. 🙂