Zippity Do Dah

What else does one call a post when one has not posted in so long?

I have been snowed under with countless things since the end of March. I knew that at some point, I would miss those long, lonesome days of just sitting on the couch (not missing the chronic pain and vertigo), just crocheting and watching the mailman make his rounds. I have drawn all kinds of opportunities to myself but some “opps” were not altogether fun – there was an outpatient surgical procedure that had me on Vicodin for a week. I now declare that there is nothing left on me to cut, burn, poke, biopsy or stitch! The husband unit was carted off to the ER with a kidney stone. BUT…

….drum roll… there was a ton of good stuff. For the first time in *years*, I am feeling sheer excitement again. I went back to Bikram yoga last night for the first time in well over a year. Who knew that having had a cantaloupe sized fibroid tumor removed last year would make such a difference in postures and balance? I’m training for a half marathon that I’m doing as a fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Association. I’m hosting many house concerts and music jams. I’ve started an online school program to become a therapeutic musician. (That is someone who plays one on one, bedside, for patients who are facing surgery or are in Hospice. I calm them through music! It’s a new field and I hope to blaze a trail and be employed again for the first time in ages!!). I started playing the harp and love it way more than I thought I would (along with way too many other instruments).

Just one good thing after another. Life is grand. Never thought I’d make that statement after having been virtually suicidal – or at the very least, almost completely hopeless – not all that long ago. HOORAH!

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. 🙂


Harping on our trip

With very little lead time, Pete and I decided to drive to Port Townsend yesterday to visit a family friend who had just moved into an assisted living center. She worked with my dad at NASA in the 60s. With her memory slipping rapidly, we wanted to catch her as soon as possible.

Port Townsend harbor – view from our room

Any questions?

When we arrived at the hotel yesterday, a particular restaurant, The Upstage, was recommended to us, along with its live music. Well, why not? Little did we know that we would get the best seat in the house in front of  Dan Crary, the pioneer of flatpicking guitar!! Steve Spurgin played bass and a killer mandolinist named Martin Stevens was there too. Do these guys ooze coolness or what? (Their show, 2 days later in Portland, is completely sold out. And here we just walked in and stumbled upon them).

This morning, we visited with our friend, H.F. She was fairly clear in her memory most of the time. Conveniently, as we were wrapping up, she had another friend stop by. Perfect timing. Off to the ferry in Kingston to head over to Seattle.

Once on the other shore, we postponed lunch and zipped over to Dusty Strings, the music mecca for hammer dulcimers and harps and other folk instruments.

Look at the new baby!! I am running a home for wayward instruments. Like I said in a previous post, my fondest desire is to play therapeutic music to folks in hospitals, hospices, assisted living centers etc. This is a SWEET instrument with a gorgeous sound. I got it used for a great price, along with a case, stand, and tuning wrench. After mulling this over for several hours at the store, and then driving home in the dark in a virtual washing machine of bad weather, I’m thrilled with the decision. This baby is a Ravenna 26; bought two years and one day after my first spinal surgery, with some very hard won settlement money!

A work of art!

Harp levers with a smattering of mandolin and banjo


Therapy Music

I feel a real calling to play soothing music to folks who are struggling with life; to those who are injured, sick, depressed, isolated, post-surgery etc. I’ve learned a bit about those emotional states in the last few years and how the right music can at least start to pick a person up out of the darkness (human companionship also does wonders!!).

Here’s the latest instrument I have my eye on. It’s a mini-me version of a monster harp, at only 34 inches and 7 pounds. Now I just need the long hair and some wings – oh, and some harp skill would be good too. 🙂