Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I wrote this after reading a new series named #WhereILivedWednesday on a blog I follow called Ann's Rants. Hopefully she'll be doing more of these because I enjoyed reading other people's memories of past homes.

My great-grandmother Elizabeth moved to a nursing home when I was four. Her little house on Tenth Street was empty, so my parents bought it and returned from the suburbs of Tulsa to their hometown. That's how I ended up sleeping in my Nana's childhood bedroom, two doors down from the house where my mother grew up.

My great-grandparents came out from Jackson, Tennessee, in 1920 to work in their brother-in-law Charlie’s dry goods store. Just a couple of decades before, the Creek Indian Nation had been forced by the Dawes Commission to enroll its members and accept private allotments of their reservation land in preparation for statehood. All “surplus” land was sold by the federal government to white settlers. The massive Glenn Pool oil field to the north and the coal mines to the south filled the booming town with refineries and manufacturing plants. When my great-grandparents arrived, new telephone lines and unpaved streets were laid out awaiting the homes of the fortune-seekers who were flooding into the former Indian Territory.

Elizabeth and John built a two-bedroom craftsman bungalow on one of those new streets. A deep, cool front porch stretched across the entire width of the house, with French doors that opened onto the living room and the front bedroom. There was a spacious dining room with more French doors, a kitchen with an alcove for the breakfast table, a bathroom, and a small back bedroom for the children.

My Nana Ruth and her sister Annie grew up there from the jazz-paced growth and oil money opulence of the ‘20s through the Dust Bowl years of the ‘30s when John took to the bumpy roads selling candy door-to-door. Ruth married one of the GIs who came pouring into town during the War and they quickly had four children. Looking for a home of their own during the housing shortages of the 1950s, they decided to buy the Victory Garden plot on Tenth Street. They built a small ranch-style home within spitting distance of Ruth’s parents. The Hardwicks, who lived in the house between them, never minded when I cut across their backyard to my grandparents' house just as my mother had done.

When we moved in, the refrigerator was out on the back porch. There were only six ancient glass fuses in the electrical box and no central air-conditioning -- only the old attic fan that sounded like a freight train and made you feel like you were floating when it sucked all the air up into the ceiling. The driveway was unpaved. The light switches were black push-buttons. My parents spent all their savings updating the place, even renovating the only bathroom while my mother was hugely pregnant with my brother in 1983.

But the wallpaper in my bedroom never changed. It was the same toile paper that had been on the walls when my Nana slept there, faded from it's original color to a dingy taupe on a yellowed background. The kitchen also stayed the pea green color that my Uncle Karl had painted it sometime in the ‘70s.

The headboard in my parents' room was stained by John's hair oil. I tried on my mother’s jewelry at Elizabeth’s dressing table on the stool with the needlepoint seat she stitched herself. We put up our Christmas tree in the same corner of the living room by the fireplace where it had always stood.

On rainy days, I played on the wide porch where my mother once fell and split her forehead open. My parents put up a swing set under the big magnolia tree by the back stoop where, according to my Nana, disheveled men had come up from the alley to the back door to beg for spare food during the Depression. Also the town bootlegger would come in that way to deliver your hooch if you called him up on the telephone and left the light on.

I went to the same elementary school as my mother and grandmother. My music teacher had been my mother’s teacher. We also had the same Sunday school teacher at the First Presbyterian Church where my Nana was an Elder. Same choir director, too, although different minister.

And then things changed, as they do. My father was transferred by his company to another small town north of Tulsa. My parents had to sell the little bungalow on Tenth Street, and it passed out of our family for good.

We came back regularly to visit my grandparents down the street. The new people kept the old place looking nice, but it was disconcerting to see the changes they made. It felt odd not to run back and forth between the two houses anymore. I never asked my Nana how she felt, living two doors down from her old home without being able to pop in any time she liked to commune with her memories there. I can’t imagine it wasn’t painful at times, especially after her mother passed away.

I myself have only driven down that street a few times in the last decade, especially now that Nana doesn't even live there either. It’s still surreal and melancholy, even though so much time has passed. I'm sure the Creeks could tell us exactly how impossible it is to kill that sense of longing for your lost home.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


A rather amazing number of great (primarily country/folk) musicians have come out of my home state of Oklahoma: JJ Cale, Wanda Jackson, Gene Autry, Vince Gill, The Flaming Lips, Leon Russell, Patti Page, and of course, Woody. So many greats, in fact, that I can't even list them all here.

However, because I didn't listen to a lot of pop-country music as a kid, there really weren't a ton of local acts that I followed when I lived there. We mostly had to go to Dallas to see shows, and Austin was just heating up as a premier music hub when I was in college. It's somewhat of a shame then that I'm missing out on this recent boom in amazing acts that are pouring out of Oklahoma.

One of the handful of Okies who are currently getting a lot of attention in Americana circles is John Fullbright. His second and most recent album, From the Ground Up, was just nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album. He's a talented lyricist, and I find the stories and places in his songs very compelling.

"Satan and St. Paul" is my favorite song off the album at the moment. It's such an Okie kind of song, full of fatalism, self-recrimination, religious paranoia, and escapist fantasies: I can relate.

"Well it took me twenty years
Just to find myself a pen
For to write down all the words
Just to scratch them out again
I could use another twenty years
To fix the last fifteen
But it never seems to work to my advantage"

He performed this song, "Jericho," at the Americana Music Awards, where he was nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year and Album of the Year.

And if you're playing along at home, you'll know that I've written here before about JD McPherson. He's just incredible. My favorite song is still "Signs and Signifiers" off his album of the same name (which I already posted last time, along with "Fire Bug" and "North Side Gal"). Here's a couple more songs:

*Ten bonus points if you can name that Oklahoma landmark!*

And rounding out the Okie triumvirate is Parker Millsap, another bluesy, Prairie Gothic voice, but coming out of a face that seems much too young and sweet to know about such dark things. His first album, Palisade, is available on iTunes, and the band is working on another record right now.

Collect all three artists' albums and have the complete set for the win!

Besides just making music that's really great that I love to sing along to in the car, these guys make me feel something... it might be... I think it's possibly... Pride. I hope they write the name of our homeplace large across the face of the music industry, just like those old greats did. You're making me proud, boys, and I'm not really quite sure what to do with that strange emotion.

Hopefully now people will stop asking me where Oklahoma is... "Isn't that somewhere near Iowa?" *Sigh*

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December?! I'm still not caught up from October!

Uh, I think I forgot to update my blog. Oops. I got sidetracked with a few (hundred) other things, and then we went to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. Here are the photos from a post I started and never finished about the girls raking leaves with Mike. Happy Fall in New England, everyone!

I always wear a dress when I do yard work. How about you?


Not helping.


She said she was pretending to be a tree.

At least they had a good time. Well, if memory serves. It seems like I remember that they had fun. It was kind of a long time ago and I'm getting old.

Anywho... Oklahoma. We flew in to Tulsa last Wednesday and went straight to Okmulgee to stay with Grandma the Great. It was much, much too short, but we did see most all of my family on both sides, and I ate a LOT of pie. The girls were very upset that we had to come home on Sunday. Maggie demanded that we make Oklahoma and Massachusetts be the same place because she wants to live in both places at once. You and me both, kid.

Everyone had their dogs with them, so the girls got to love on a bunch of dogs all weekend. So far they haven't demanded one of their own, but I was worried!

We played a lot of Chinese checkers. With Uncle Alex...

... with Auntie Jasmin...

... and with Papa. But it was Great Aunt Annie who finally put an end to Maggie's winning streak/Reign of Terror.

Hanging out with Nana, Papa, Uncle Ev, and Aunt Sandy.

This is how I spent my Thanksgiving vacation.

I also got to hold my newest little cousin Eli, son of Brad and Natalie and grandson of my Aunt Ann and Uncle Tom. He's a mere six weeks old and the cuddliest little guy. Holding other people's babies (and then going home and getting a good night's sleep) is one of the best things about hanging out with family and friends. I do love to borrow other people's babies. Especially the handsome and smart ones like Eli. Too bad I didn't get any pictures with him!

Ridin' in the Gator with Uncle Karl.

Kate insisted on wearing her seat belt. Safety first!

Rock n roll hay bale with Karl and Ann

Getting a little boost

Smize. What a couple of cheeseballs.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


In honor of the one-week birthday of our new niece, Caroline Virginia, born last Tu(n)esday, November 5th, in NYC, here are a couple of great songs called "Caroline" (No, not that one. Different ones!):

Brandi Carlile, with backup vocals by... Elton John!

and Old Crow Medicine Show

Welcome to the family and the all-girl band, Sweet Caroline!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

As Promised...

A few more Halloween photos:

Ready to GO!!

And afterwards, organizing their loot, of course...

Despite a little drizzly rain, which fortunately brought a much warmer temperature and let the girls go out without coats over their costumes, we did the rounds of our neighborhood for about an hour. Some of the houses were decorated to the max and lots of porches had their lights on. The girls got plenty of candy to keep us all in sweets for several weeks, so they declared the holiday a success.

The next morning, I ate a bowl of fun-size candy bars for breakfast and then apparently slipped into a sugar coma and forgot to go to my dentist appointment. How's that for irony?! Pro Tip: never schedule dentist appointments for November 1st.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Norah Jones and Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong are putting out an album of Everly Brothers' cover songs. I can't tell you how much I love this! They sound amazing together.

Halloween Pre-Gaming

Halloween is still two days away, but we're already well into the thick of our celebrations. Last Friday afternoon, we went to the business district trick-or-treating in our town square.

Maggie is a black cat (of course) and Kate is Merida from Brave. I think she looks pretty good with red hair!

They got a half ton of candy and balloons and pencils and spider rings and stickers. I know some people try to minimize the candypalooza sugar-gluttony of their kids' Halloween, but I find myself thinking, "Knock yourselves out, ladies. Load up on those mini Snickers while you still can!" I guess I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Halloween candy myself, so I'd be a terrible hypocrite if I didn't let them indulge in a little festive candy hoarding. They're going to be vacuuming up holiday treats and birthday cakes from now until March anyway, so we might as well hunker down with a pumpkin bucket of Reese's cups and get this show on the road.

Not to worry though, it hasn't all been an insulin carnival. On Sunday, Mike carved their pumpkins for them. Kate's is the orange one with the scary face and Maggie's is the white one with the creepy smile.

We've decorated the house and put up lights on the porch. We watched Coraline on TV and then Kate slept with us because she had nightmares. Maggie painted this picture of pumpkins in art class, which I think is really quite good if I do say so myself.

It's been a scary good time already.

Kate's outfit might actually be scarier than the pumpkins.

We're still planning on hitting up the neighbors for MORE CANDY on Thursday night, so hopefully I'll have additional pictures this weekend.

May you all have an extremely dreadful Halloween!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm Breaking Up With You, Skinny Jeans

After several months of internal debate, I've come to realize that this thing between us is never going to work out, Skinny Jeans. I've known it all along really, but now I'm finally ready to admit it to myself - and to you. And you know what else? I blamed myself. I came here prepared to take responsibility for our failure. If only I could stop eating all those bagels, you might look better on me, you know what I mean? But now that I'm here, I'm just going to say it: It's not me, Skinny Jeans. It's you.

You're kind of skeevy. You molest my thighs in public. You caress my upper knees in ways that make me feel uncomfortable. At first, I tried to tell myself that it was just because you thought I was so attractive. I hoped that your blatant and lascivious affection for my calves would convince other people that I was highly desirable. But then I noticed that you routinely betray me at the worst possible moments; flaunting my butt crack to the neighbors whenever I have to bend down to pick something up and refusing to hold my soft mom-belly in, even for just a few minutes while someone tries to take my picture. Would it kill you to help me out here a little? Nope, it's just all about you, isn't it, Skinny Jeans.

Because you think you are so cool, don't you? I know your ego is totally out of control because everyone tells you that you are the best. All my friends say you are a real catch and I'm lucky to have you, but they are in denial and covering for their own unsatisfying relationships with their Skinny Jeans. Well, I don't even care any more. Because really, this is just another iteration of that classic story about women and their self-destructive relationships with denim. As a whole, we just can't seem to avoid the lure of those bad boys.

But I'm pulling the wool from my eyes. I know in my heart of hearts that, if this were a relationship worth investing another hundred-and-something dollars in, you would support me. You would care more about MY happiness. If I had more self-respect I would least make you buy me dinner before I let you squeeze my bum like that while I'm trying to walk down the street! But no, you would never buy me dinner. Instead, you give me the stink eye from under the table while I eat and say cruel things to me like, "Pie? Really? Do you honestly think that's wise considering you just ate seconds of mac and cheese?" That hurts, Skinny Jeans. I don't need you tearing me down like this anymore.

So I'm throwing you out. It's over, Skinny Jeans. Go find some other poor self-conscious girl to fondle. I'm not going to take your abuse any longer. I'm going to go find myself a nice, cozy pair of boot-cut stretchy corduroys in a dark, flattering color that doesn't attract so much attention. A pair of pants that loves me just the way I am. From here on out, I'm going to be good to myself, and I'm going to demand that my trousers do the same. And I'm having some pie, goddammit.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Me and My Dad in the Grand Canyon at Sundown

I think I must’ve been about fifteen years old. The fields alongside the highway were spring green with new wheat. The sun through the window was blazing even though the chilly air outside was keeping the glass cold. It must’ve been February or March in Oklahoma. The car was growing increasingly stuffy, so my father flipped on the air conditioning, probably for the first time that season since I remember the smell of Freon filling the air. Dad had checked me out of school early, and we were headed for an orthodontist appointment in a nearby suburban town.

My memory of that afternoon is nearly photographic and enables me to recapture the exact feeling of being the young teenage girl I was then. The brilliant green wheat, the vibrant blue prairie sky, the hot sun, the cold air, the chemical smell of the air conditioner, the exact location on the old back highway we always took where the road rises up to cross the railroad track, the angst and irritability of my teenage self in the passenger seat next to my father.

We were on our way to get my braces tightened. My sweater was too warm and my head was achy. If I could have seen my own face, I’m sure I would now also have a vivid vision of my scowling eyes. I can remember the feel of my frown. There’s no doubt that I was a lovely travelling companion.

My dad reached over and punched the button for the radio. He had been listening to one of the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series tapes before I go into the car, and the middle of a song jumped out of the speakers with no introduction as Bob wheezed away between shrill harmonica screeches.

I can feel myself roll my eyes in the hugely exaggerated way that only teenage girls can. I can feel the irritation rise in my chest and burst out. I can hear my snarky voice taunting my dad about how terrible this music is and why must he torture me this way? Isn’t it bad enough that he’s dragging me to the dentist? He has to assault my ears as well?

Bob and I were having a whining contest which I initially won, but what happened next changed me.

My dad turned the stereo off. He sat beside me in silence for a moment, but I could sense him gripping the steering wheel, seething, collecting his anger and his words. I waited for the backlash. Quietly but fiercely, he told me that I disappointed him. He told me I was too smart to not be able to understand what I was listening to. He had tried and tried to tell me that this music was important to him because it had a realness to it and an old soul. It had the Truth. He said that very few people in my whole life would ever just offer me the truth straight out. Most people want to tell you what they want you to think, some version of the truth that suits their own purpose. He told me that when I came across the Truth, I needed to be able to see it for what it was. I needed to learn to accept it from whomever was there to give it to me. I had to learn to hang on to it. I had to smarten up and recognize that this music was offering me the Truth and I was refusing to hear it because the delivery wasn’t as pretty and soothing as I liked. He told me to stop acting like a silly little teenage girl; he knew I could do better than that, be better than that.

My hot anger froze into indignant silence. I sat stunned, staring straight ahead, watching the highway disappear under the hood of the car.

I will play one more thing for you, he said. It’s not really a song. You should try to actually listen to it for once, and if you still don’t like it, I won’t make you listen to any more Bob Dylan. He fast forwarded the tape until he came to the beginning of Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie. Bob’s shy speaking voice explained about being asked to write a short piece for a book about Woody and how he ended up writing five pages which he had with him and wanted to read aloud. I listened, really listened, as the words rolled out of the stereo speakers and washed over me.

The words said everything I had ever thought or ever felt. Bob spoke to me about all the things that lived inside my mind and heart. He went on for seven minutes describing life exactly as I experienced it, and I knew that these things I had thought must be true. My mind cracked. My understanding of everything shifted. I grew up in that car in that moment on that day.

It might seem silly to place so much weight on a song (or a poem) or on a change in my taste in music, but that experience of a piece of art sharpened my worldview. Today I am a fierce fan of Bob Dylan because his words describe the world in a way that I can trust.

I’m also grateful to have had the opportunity to sit next to my father, listening to music, knowing that for a moment we were both experiencing the universe in the same way, together.

And there's something on yer mind you wanna be saying
That somebody someplace oughta be hearin'
But it's trapped on yer tongue and sealed in yer head
And it bothers you badly when you’re layin' in bed
And no matter how you try you just can't say it
And yer scared to yer soul you just might forget it

Read the whole poem here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I first heard about J.D. McPherson back in the summer when he did a song with Pokey LaFarge to benefit the Oklahoma City Community Fund's tornado relief endowment. The song is "Good Old Oklahoma" by Bob Wills, and I assume McPherson was chosen to partner on it because he is from Broken Arrow.

When I was born, my parents were living in Broken Arrow, which is a suburb of Tulsa and not far from their hometown in Okmulgee County. We only lived there a few years, so I don't really consider it to be home, but when I found out that McPherson is from there, I felt a connection. He's also an OU grad, a former school teacher, and a fellow fan of '50s rockabilly and rhythm and blues - so we're practically twins. Sure.

Since then, we have seen J.D. and his band on NPR's live stream of the Newport Folk Festival and on the Americana Music Awards show. This guy is obviously on the move. If only we were going home for Christmas this year instead of Thanksgiving, I'd definitely want to catch his show at Cain's Ballroom on December 27th. Be there or be square, daddy-o.

And if you can't make it to Oklahoma, just throw on your saddle shoes and have yourself a little sock hop in the living room. This cat's the real deal.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Maggie: Mom, do I have gym today?

Kate: I have gym today!

Maggie: (skeptical) You do? You have gym at preschool?

Kate: Yes! And computers! I have gym and computers today, just like you!

[Maggie looks at me questioningly. We've talked about this several times already. She knows Kate just wants to seem grown up like her big sister, and it really hurts her feelings to have it pointed out that she doesn't have gym or music or computers or library at her "school." I do a little silent head shake behind Kate's back.]

Maggie: OK. Computers and gym. I only have gym today.

Kate: And spy class! I also have spy class on Fridays!

Maggie: MOM. Make it stop!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


An oldie but a goodie... the Raconteurs with Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Notes From the Nightstand: MaddAddam

Wendy friend, librarian, bookworm, and giver of lit-gifts sent me my copy of Oryx and Crake, the first book in Margaret Atwood's Maddaddam Trilogy, as a Christmas gift several years ago. It's even signed (to me, personally!), which makes it that much more special. Atwood is one of my favorite authors, which is not so surprising because she's simply one of the best writers currently publishing. Some of her books, like The Handmaid's Tale, are already classics. And her more recent work like The Blind Assassin and this current trilogy are brilliant and visionary.

I was immediately swept up in the world and the characters in Oryx and Crake. Atwood is often called a science fiction writer, but I have read that she prefers to call her work speculative fiction, in that everything she writes has already happened, has already been invented, or could easily occur based on current events and research. She simply imagines modern day conflicts carried out to their possible (speculative) logical conclusions, rather then inventing technologies that don't currently exist for a fantasy future world.

The MaddAddam world, for example, is fairly recognizable: it's an America where gated, elite biotech research corporations rule a society that has relinquished it's democracy and public safety in exchange for consumerism and technology. The environment is in serious trouble, the food people eat is barely even food anymore, and god forbid you ever express any dissatisfaction with the status quo. Just play some "reality" computer games and go have your epidermis resurfaced and you'll feel fine!

However, in the very beginning of the beginning of Oryx and Crake, a plague wipes out most of humanity and it's ethically destitute civilization. One of the survivors, Jimmy, tells the story in retrospect of his best friends, the Aspergers-y genius Crake and beautiful but damaged Oryx, in the time before the collapse.

The three books do not have a typical series-style storytelling arc. Most of the criticisms I have seen of this final book, MaddAddam, have to do with people's disappointed expectations that it did not contain some dramatic grand finale plot event. The entire arc of the story is outlined in the first book, which could stand on its own without the other two (and probably was originally intended to). But there's so much more to the story, and I assume Atwood just couldn't put it down without telling the other parts. If the first book is Jimmy's Version of the Story, then the second book is Ren and Toby's Version of the Story, and the third is mostly Adam and Zeb's Version of the Story.

The second book, The Year of the Flood, revisits the catastrophe now known as the Waterless Flood from the viewpoint of a few other survivors. Toby, Ren, Amanda, and Zeb are members of God's Gardeners, an environmental-religious group led by Adam One who come from the urban wastelands that lie outside the walls of the corporation compounds where Jimmy and Crake grew up. The book is fascinating as it gives a view of the world before and after from the other side of the tracks and shows how other people managed to survive the meltdown.

In this new third portion of the story, the recently released MaddAddam, you get all the survivors coming together to try to start putting the world back together. Once again, there's a lot of backstory for some of the characters, particularly Zeb. You also get to see what happens after the point where most apocalypse stories have the hero ride off into the sunset. It's basically all denouement (the resolution portion of a story after the climax wherein all the loose ends are tied up), which is unsatisfying to some people. I, on the other hand, am so in love with the characters that I wanted to see just exactly how they got on with the rest of the world happily/unhappily forever after. It's definitely not a perfect book and not as good as Oryx and Crake or The Year of the Flood, but it served a very specific and important purpose for me, who had read and loved the other two. But it isn't really all tied up neatly in a perfect little trilogy package.

My copies of these books, on the other hand, are tied up neatly in a perfect little trilogy package, because this book is also signed by Margaret Atwood, a matching bookend to my copy of Oryx and Crake. My friend, Amy, to whom I had given The Blind Assassin as a gift - ah, the literary karma! - invited me to go see Margaret Atwood speak in Cambridge last month. Atwood is deadpan and hilarious, both when reading from her work and when answering questions from the audience. She also wore her purse on her shoulder the entire time and had to borrow reading glasses as she had forgotten hers, which cracked us up. She reminded me of Agatha Christie's author character, Ariadne Oliver - a little scattered and eccentric, but very likeable.

So, like author, like book: MaddAddam is also deadpan and hilarious, scattered and eccentric, but very likeable. If you haven't read any of them, start with Oryx and Crake, of course. And if you can't put the story down and walk away from it afterwards, keep going. It's worth it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Today's To Do List, while the government is shut down:

1. Cut the tags off all our mattresses.

2. Only come to rolling stops at stop signs.

3. Plant marijuana garden in the backyard. (Don't worry. I'm embarrassingly bad at gardening. They'll all be dead by the time the government is back online.)

4. No tip!

5. Mess with Texas.

6. Place cell phone calls during the movie.

7. Stay ON the grass.

8. Cut in line.

9. Park in front of hydrants.

10. Open all the neighbors' mail, then throw it away.

11. Studiously ignore desperate feelings about the state of our political system.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fight the Power

Everybody in America these days is so good all the time, so self-improving. All you have to do to be avant garde is refuse to use organic toothpaste. Here's a list of things I do to live a bohemian lifestyle:

1. Never floss.

2. Never run any charity foot races. In fact, don't jog AT ALL.

3. Don't wax or dye anything.

4. Wear shoes with poor arch support.

5. Eat carbs.

6. Lean out.

7. Just say no to daily sunscreen. Stay indoors instead.

8. Massages are creepy. Don't let strangers rub you.

9. Don't "upcycle." Never use the word "upcycle" again.

10. Grow an unironic moustache.

Remember kids, being flawed is the new perfect.

You're Auntie Amanda :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Last week, Shovels and Rope won Emerging Artist of the Year and Song of the Year (for "Birmingham," below) at the Americana Music Awards. They are a husband and wife team who perform Americana folk-rock (or whatever you wanna call it) as a duo. I can't stop thinking about Dolly Parton when I listen to Cary Ann Hearst singing. I wish I had half her sass. She's amazing.

Sometimes Michael Trent plays guitar and drums at the same time.

Sometimes they even swap instruments completely.

Their voices blend beautifully together.

Buy their album, O' Be Joyful. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

So Then This Happened...

Last weekend, Mumford and Sons descended on my little hometown for one of their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover tour dates and I wasn't there. Tears!

The State Capitol Publishing Museum

Downtown Guthrie, OK

Between a great line up for the two-day GOTR concert stage (Mumfords! Alabama Shakes! Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros! Justin Townes Earl!) and a street festival that brought in local bands and some heavy-hitters like the Del McCoury Band and T-Bone Burnett, the town was expecting 40,000 people and hundreds of thousand of dollars of revenue. By all accounts so far, it was a very successful weekend for my little town on the prairie.

My mom and dad's 38th wedding anniversary was on Friday, the 6th, so they went downtown for the street festival and got to see Marcus Mumford perform with the Del McCoury Band! I think they were glad that they didn't have tickets to the GOTR concert on Saturday, though, because the temperature got up to 100˚F. Oklahoma weather is brutal.

Mumford and Sons donated $109,000 (ticket sales from the first 1,000 tickets) to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

They auctioned off a signed-by-the-Mumfords Deering banjo with the Guthrie Stopover logo on it for $5,200 to benefit a local Logan County charity, Logan Community Services.

They hung out with Grammy-winning fiddler and Guthrie resident, Byron Berline at his Double Stop Fiddle Shop.

And in the spirit of a festival which is meant to bring musicians and fans and small-town communities together, the show closed out with all the bands on stage together singing "With a Little Help From My Friends."

This may go down as one of the big regrets of my life. *Sigh* Rock on, Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Monday, September 9, 2013

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Well, we had quite a busy weekend. On Saturday we hit our favorite orchard in New Hampshire for the first apple pickin' of the season with cousin E. The best way to celebrate the bountiful harvest of the new season is to put the children to work in the fields like migrant laborers, I always say.

When our apple bags were full, we went over to the farm stand to buy peaches and ice cream and feed the ducks.

Later that afternoon, Grandpa put up a tent to play in and then we had dinner and cake to celebrate his birthday.

THEN, on Sunday we had Mike's company picnic. It's usually held at a place called Kimball Farms, which has ice cream and mini golf and bumper boats and pony rides, etc. The girls always love it, so it was worth scrambling to fit it all in.

This was a simulator ride in the arcade. They chose to do the runaway mine car ride, so Kate felt it was both fun and scary as "old mines" are one of the things on her short list of scariest things ever.

Gotta do the pony ride.

Now they both want a pony for Christmas. "Just make the house bigger," Katie says.
And finally, today was Kate's first real day of school. When Mike and I walked her into her classroom this morning, all the kids yelled, "Kate!" and she ran off to sit on the rug with them without even saying goodbye to us. This evening she sang us a song she made up that goes:

I love school.
These are new friends to make.
I love my teacher.
I love my friends.

So I guess that's all good. Yeah. September is moving right along. Now I just need it to get chilly enough so that I can wear jeans all the time and stop shaving my legs. Then I'll be all set! Bring on the sweater weather!