Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thai Curry & Tendinitis

My mother left a message on my voicemail. She is (once again) insisting that any set list I put together include Me & Bobby McGee. I swear she'll have me singing that at her funeral. 

However, she is usually dead on with critiquing either my performance or my song choices. So in it goes.

I am icing my left arm as my intensive practice schedule is threatening me with a wicked case of tendinitis. I've been told that this is not abnormal and to basically suck it up (of course alternating with heat & ice).

Since it's been a while since I've performed, I think I'll need to find a random venue where I can get a feel of what's in store; maybe have some people over and give a small in-home concert. The new part of the equation is that I've never accompanied myself on guitar - even when I did so on the keyboards, I was never quite comfortable solo; I've always felt at home with a band. If my karma keeps going as well as it has, I'm sure musicians will be dropping into my life very soon.

I dropped off my Ovation at a luthier today. Good news - an inexpensive modification to the nut & saddle should enable me to get more time on her. She should be ready in the next day or two. Another serendipitous meeting.

Made some amazing Thai curry vegetables for dinner; trying to keep my food relatively simple, which works best for performing.

Yes, Virginia, there is life after love - hopefully there will be love after love, too~

Friday, June 24, 2011

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

I have to keep reminding myself that every day I begin all over again. Zen masters call this "beginners mind."

So after a self imposed retirement from music of 10 years (coincidentally, the length of my marriage), having sold all my keyboard and other various equipment prior to moving to New Mexico, I find myself with just a guitar and a longing to feed my soul again.

Officially, I've been playing guitar *seriously* for 3 months (again, coincidentally, the length of time I've been on my own again). I'm outside practicing and a neighbor comes by after hearing me practice (not a small feat in a rural area - you really have to go out of your way to "come by") and offers me a paying gig for an artist reception she's having at her gallery in September.

What do you think I said?

Then, a couple of days later, the musical director at the Unity service where I go asked If I'd like to fill in for her when she needs a Sunday off. I said - "Sure, when you think I'm ready." She said "You're ready".

So now I have even more reason to capitalize on my obsessive compulsive practice schedule -- so I don't embarrass myself too terribly within the next couple of months.

It really is like starting all over again. Although I've played countless gigs (primarily as a lead vocalist, and filling in with some keyboards), all over NYC for many years, I feel like a complete novice. New instrument, new material, and a major hit to my confidence (which used to be unshakable) due to the sad course of my relationship.

Needless to say, if I'm going to be standing in front of people again warbling, then I need to look my best. This has definitely influenced my cooking. Back to simple salads and staying off of sugar as best as I can (I did make some delicious strawberry/lime sorbet last night - it was so hot in the house and I really needed something cold).

So here come the salad days of summer...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Herb Garden: The Bitter and the Sweet

The patch of earth beside my front door has always been problematic. Last year I put in a yarrow and Russian sage plant, threw some new gravel over it and declared it a xeric zone. The patch knew I was faking it as much as I did. It was, at best, a temporary solution.

We were supposed to create the huge vegetable garden this summer, but going forward solo, that was out of the question. So back to this little patch. It seems one of my many lessons this year is having the ability to go forth and create, but in manageable quantities.

Gardening is a wonderful excuse for indulging in control. In the inhospitable environment of the high desert, it takes more than desire to grow. It is not "woman vs. nature" as much as "woman working with nature." You really can't get around it - try to bully this land and it will bite back. Hard.

So back to the patch.

As much as my ego was screaming brussels sprouts, broccoli and eggplant, my wiser self acknowledged that perhaps parsley, cilantro, chives, mint and lavender would be more appropriate for an herb garden. A modest, serene herb garden.

One thing about herbs is that they are not so picky about their soil. There's a lesson in there, somewhere. After some time raking out what gravel I could, a handful of soil amender and the patch has now become a garden.

This autumn, I'll relocate the yarrow and Russian sage.

As with all landscaping projects, I always feel an amazing sense of accomplishment, as well as peace and a touch of awe upon completing a phase. A new feeling: bittersweet. Even though I am feeling pretty wonderful, I did find a few tears to help water this new garden. It's times like these the reality that we are pack animals hits home; and that life is best when shared. So I'll share it here, instead.

My yarrow called out to me this morning:

..and of course, it's water colored rendered cousin:

Oh - almost forgot - the sweet: Lemon Coconut Bundt cake for the party

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bumblebees and Buttercream

Three years ago, I had a lovely vegetable garden. A horney toad, named "Bob" took up residence in my parsley. It seems that this summer a Bumblebee has something to teach me.

No sooner did the butterfly bush get comfy, my new friend showed up:

He's not shy and allows me to get really close. I'm so impressed with this photo, I've posted it on just about every online community I'm in, along with this photoshopped version which may have to be my next tattoo~:

Tomorrow is a going away party for a very special person who is leaving Taos. We have been asked to bring dessert. I think I'll have to do a vanilla cake with raspberry & chocolate vegan buttercream filling and icing. I wish I was as good with a pastry bag as I am with a camera, as I'd love to decorate it with bumblebees~

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Buddha and the Bumblebee

Actually, I don't believe there is a Sutta referencing this, but today, the moment of stillness which encapsulates the essence of the world manifested itself as this:

and looking up, I saw where all my yarn scraps had gone on to be transformed:

..and by slowing down and paying attention, my wish for a comfy spot to sit in this beauty was realized when I drove past the thrift store:

Major score~
and the transformation of desert into sanctuary continues:

...with much gratitude to my friend, Cate, who helped me slow down, and realize I don't have to cultivate my garden (or my life) all at once.