Sunday, March 1, 2009

livin' on a prayer

Vermont is still freezing cold with nights back near the single digits. They are calling for snow all week, making me roll my eyes everytime I look out the window. Listen I love winter, I do, but enough is enough. All relationships need some space and I think winter and I need a solid six-month separation to keep things healthy. The silver lining to all this ice-coated misery are my peas. My flower pot here on the kitchen table has seven four-inch sprouts and seeing them every morning with my coffee has been an answered prayer in a very very cold winter. (Which goes to show you can create small miracles with the winning combination of patience and seed catalogs). Oh, and before I forget, someone emailed me this photo of their peas from their phone, and I have no idea who's they are, so somebody better fess up. That's a fine set of sprouts you have there. Be proud.

You know you're a blog person when you're annoyed you can't update. Maybe "annoyed" isn't the right word, because I wasn't upset or anxious, I just missed my daily sit down with the laptop to unload the farm news. It's just that the last few days have been really busy. I actually had some company up here at Cold Antler. My friend Kevin took a train from Philly and together we lived it up like the old days, junkin' around antique malls and catching up. Not to brag but Kevin found me a hideous porcelain decanter in the shape of the state of Tennessee (which I of course bought). It now sits on my mantle. Oh, Tennessee.

The real focus of the trip was going to see Sarah Vowell in Massachusetts Friday night, which was fantastic. If you're not familiar with her, Sarah's a regular on my favorite radio show, This American Life, and she's the author of a pile of books talking about history, pop culture, and us. For a good time, pick up her travel bit Assassination Vacation. It's a hilarious book about visiting the history and locations of the assassinations of Garfield, McKinley, and Lincoln. Sounds dark, but I promse it's hilarious. And if you dig history half as much as I do you'll lap it up like the tall sarcastic drink of water that it is. I also gave her a copy of Scratch, and never felt lamer in my life doing so. But hey, how often do you meet Sarah Vowell?

I have some big personal news...I played the fiddle at an open mic night last night! My bandmates Steve and Phil and I played at a small comfy bar called Kevin's in North Bennington (no association to the previous Kevin, for there are many), and I even had friends show up to support me, which in all honesty, made the night. There is profound comfort in knowing I'm starting to make friends with people who'll sit through a guy in a bathrobe playing a flute behind a pair of congas long after their meal was spent to wait for me to play. Dedication from saints like that is proof positive I'm getting somewhere socially.) As for the playing, I wasn't nervous, but mostly because three bow strokes in I realized there was no way anyone (including me) could hear my fiddle over the noise of the bar and electric instruments. So my performance was really just me pathetically miming with two guitarists... Regardless, I still got up there and I'm proud of myself for taking that step as a homegrown musician. I've been hoping to do this for a long time, and just like planting peas - sometimes you need to be a little proactive about your big plans. It's amazing what we call make ourselves do with some potting soil and a few Guinesses in or bloodstream.

Okay, coffee is done on the stove. You know me.


Blogger Mama said...

Your much braver than I ,even with the Guinness.I love your uplifting attitude,I wish I was so steady on my feet at that age.

March 1, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was beginning to worry that Maude had invited you to have coffee with her :)

Re the open mic - good for you. Sometimes we need to push ourselves to go outside our comfort zone; glad you did it.

March 1, 2009 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger kate said...

Jenna, I could tell you are a blog person, so your absence worried me. Thanks for explaining.

March 1, 2009 at 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved today's morning sense of humor! I was out gettin "flea bit" yesterday too. :) No great finds to report, but it was a nice outing.

March 1, 2009 at 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you call yourself hippy chick with hay in her hair it strikes me as a bit rude call one of the other musicians a "guy in a bathrobe".

March 1, 2009 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

he was in a bathrobe! and he was a guy!

he was a really good musician though, i wasn't ragging on him as much as I was illustrating the scene my friends were sitting through while they waited for our turn.

and you can call me a hippy with hay in my hair, i don't care. we'll all be dead in 50 years.

March 1, 2009 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

that sounded morbid, what i meant was life is too short to get hung up on passing references. i'll put my foot back in my mouth now...

March 1, 2009 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Fantastic about the open mic night! It takes guts to get up and play in front of people.

If you wouldn't mind, I would love to hear some of your fiddle tunes. When you have time would you put some on your blog?

March 1, 2009 at 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Ann said...

Cool beans, as my daughter says. I love reading what you are up to. It's always something new: "You did that!?! Wow, maybe I should get off my butt and do something I've been meaning to do!"

March 1, 2009 at 1:23 PM  
Anonymous wildallium said...

this is me, fessing up.
Sara Spgs

PS...three of my peas tried to grow upside down. That's how you know you've got a bad winter on your hands...haha.

March 1, 2009 at 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the dad of three little kids, I know Sarah Vowell as the voice of Violet, the older daughter in the "The Incredibles."

March 2, 2009 at 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Congrats on taking that step! And I second what Stacy said - do you think you'll ever post some of your own playing on the site? That would be awesome :)

March 2, 2009 at 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Toni D said...

I'm a wee bit late on the comment, but, isn't it amazing what a couple of Guinness can do for a fiddler? I started an Irish session at the local only after a year of playing and a few of the black pints under my belt.
Bravo to you!

July 8, 2009 at 1:28 PM  

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