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Archive for March, 2007

Knut, das Eisbarbaby

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

OK, I speak approximately two words of German, but photos of baby Knut, the polar bear cub, need no language. The video is so adorable it just made my day.

I’m not into “cute” as in cartoony things. However, real baby animals are authentically cute in a way that agrees with me wholeheartedly.

Thanks to Alda of Iceland Weather Report who found the link from Timbo. My second day of spring is better with a bear cub in it.

First Day of Spring

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Today is the first day of spring! I’m so happy we are taking strong moves toward warmth.

I feel fully myself in the summer, my favorite temperature is 84F (29C). I love it when I can let my skin be enveloped in the air without feeling vulnerable to cold. We are not there yet, but the first day of spring is a promise.

Last weekend the Fenner Arboretum had its Maple Syrup Festival. Warmth is definitely returning to us, one day at a time.

Here is a photo I took last year of the first blooming daffodil in our yard. Dream on, my friends, it’s coming soon!

Kalamazoo, here we come!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Last August, Brian and I (as The Fabulous Heftones) performed at the Coopers Glen music festival in Kalamazoo. It was wonderful, and the crowd really responded to our act.

Well, this Saturday (just a few days away) we will be performing in Kalamazoo again. We will be at the Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival, at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

The event is from 10-4, and we will be singing at 2pm, followed by a basic ukulele workshop at 3pm. We will bring a few instruments for those who do not own a uke of their own, first come, first served… of course bring one if you have one.

I am tickled pink that our photo is on this poster next to Joel Mabus. Joel is such a master of so many musical things, and he has been prominent in the music business much longer than I’ve been playing bass. I regard him highly as a musician, songwriter, and human being.

It is an honor to play at the same event where Joel will be found. He will be doing a talk or two in the workshop rooms.

Also pictured on the poster is the Royal Garden Trio. We know these guys and jam together when we are lucky. And then there are all sorts of other folks who will be there but who are not pictured. It will be a great time, I’ve heard it was great last year and the organizers are great.

We have been interviewed by both Mark Wedel for the Kalamazoo Gazette and Andrew Kroll for the Western Herald (also in Kalamazoo, the WMU student newspaper). It seems that Kalamazoo is ready for a musical party of sorts. I really am looking forward to the day.

Perhaps someone out there will want to come? It turns out that Karla and I will be connecting there that day, as her hubby will be assisting at one of the workshops. Anyone else? Bring your instrument or your knitting, or both!


Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

pinkflag.jpgDoes anyone know what this means? It’s not as cute as a flamingo, though it’s brighter. It appeared sometime today on the corner of our lot, when I was looking the other way.

I think it means construction noise and a hole in my yard. Drat.

Youtube Videos of Friday’s Benefit Concert

Monday, March 19th, 2007

fourchairscookingbreakfaststill.jpgDrew Howard (also known as Captain Midnite) sent me an email this morning. He is often the “bringer of good news” and today is no exception.

There are now nine new videos (songs from the Four Chairs Benefit) on Youtube. They are posted under the user bucqui (Drew’s wife Bonnie) or you can link to them individually from the below links. Bonnie is really good at this, she does a lot of videotaping, she seems to be at many local events, behind that camera. (Oh, if you see a guy on pedal steel or “dobro” in the background, that would be Drew.)

For these shorts she used two cameras and put them together into one edited film for each song. She makes us look good, and I am very appreciative.

My favorites? For Rachel and Dominic I love If I Needed You (Dominic in a rare performance singing and playing guitar rather than bass). Laura and Brandon are particularly electric in Under the Pines. And for us, I’m delighted with Cuddle Up….

Rachel Davis & Dominic
– If I Needed You
– Shine On
– Please, Please Poppa

Laura Bates & Brandon Foote
– Shenandoah
– In the Pines
– Hard Times

The Fabulous Heftones
– Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine
Bye-Bye Blues
– Cooking Breakfast for the One I Love

White Stuff

Monday, March 19th, 2007

snowmarch2007.jpgWell, the weather guys were right this time. Snow.

The porch is just wet, but the grass is white. As are all the houses on my street, or so it seems…

When it snows, there is so little color that the sky can look pink. Our eyes strain for any hint of color. Hmmm, maybe noticing the subtleties of nature is a good thing.

Priscilla’s Flowers Keep us Warm

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

priscillacrocus.jpgPriscilla sent me photos of her yard on March 14. She even had flowers blooming! We may get snow Monday, but I’m celebrating the promise of spring by showing you her flowers. (Of course, I did get her permission.)

I love bulbs. When I take the time to plant them, I make sure I purchase the ones that come up in early April or even March. If I have to dig in dirt (not my cup o’tea), I want flowers every year for a while, and I want them aspriscillasnowdrops.jpg early as possible.

I once planted grape hyacinths in our yard.  They are starting to peek out, but Priscilla’s plants are really ahead of mine.

Thank you for sharing the hope and promise of warmth, Priscilla!

A Return to Happiness

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

At least Saturday night, right now, I am feeling very happy. After a week or two of sadness I am delighted with this development. I know all emotions are appropriate at times, and a normal day will have many emotions in it, but this happiness is hanging with me and it’s wonderful.

After the Friday night concert we crashed relatively early for us. Saturday I helped Rae out and watched her store so she could go to a class at LCC.

I’m a teacher first and foremost, and I rarely work the shop alone (only when five others ahead of me on the list can not do it), but I did fairly well. I only had to tell a few people to come back/call again because they needed Rae. We were busy and that means I was not bored at all. It’s all good.

I went home for less than an hour to change into “Lynn Heftone” stage garb for our performance at Altu’s restaurant. I love singing there! We had a different crowd than is typical, but some new fans (can I really use that word? I think it’s accurate) came and that was delightful.

We have a few children who really enjoy our music and one of them was at the restaurant when we started playing. They totally get the joy we feel when we play it. How fun it is to sing for a child.

Playing music on stage with my beloved is the most fun I can think of right now. Of course, there are many fun possibilities but this really made my weekend special. I am appreciative.

Next Saturday we perform in Kalamazoo, and Brian also does a basic ukulele workshop. I’ll post about that again in detail soon.

Now I am totally exhausted and that is just fine with me. Sunday I teach my Watercolor Bag (see photos) at Threadbear, which will be great fun. And then I will be able to have a quieter evening on Sunday than I have had in a while.

We did not get photos at Altu’s tonight (I did have my camera out but the friends I might typically ask to take photos were gone… no doubt because it was St. Patrick’s day which means there were a lot of performances to choose from tonight.)

What a Concert!

Friday, March 16th, 2007

joshdavis.jpgWe had the MOST fun you can have playing a concert on Friday night. The lineup was some of the hottest (mostly young) musicians in Michigan, and us. We are just getting to know this crew and they are great, both as people and rachaeldavis.jpgmusicians. I’m proud to be on the same stage, and in the same circle, as they are.

Here are some photos. 1) Josh Davis solo (he is also in Steppin’ in It and Shout Sister Shout). 2) Rachael Davis with just her voice and her hands as instruments, a wonderful combination… and no, Josh and Rachael are not related although they both are in Shout Sister Shout.

3) An artful but slightly blurry photo of Brian and I on stage, showing the incredible woodwork and heftonefourchairsbenefit.jpgwindows in the church where we were playing. Photo taken by Rachael Davis, thanks a bunch.

4) The Finale, where most of the musicians who had played that night got up and played together. (Photo by Katie, thanks.)

Drew Howard usually doesn’t sing much even at jam sessions, he often prefers to back up others on stage. However, he has this great song “Love-a-rama” or Love-o-rama” and it’s great and easy for folks to just join in and play easily if they don’t know it well. So I suggested we have Drew do that song for our last number and we could all play. I’m glad I made that fourchairsbenefitfinale.jpgsuggestion, it was a great time and an energetic way to end the concert.

They raised $1,200 for the classroom, a wonderful thing. And the musicians had fun, the audience was great. Everyone came out ahead on the deal. I loved every minute.

Benefit Concert Tomorrow/Friday

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

fourchairsflyer25.jpgWe (The Fabulous Heftones, Brian and I) are honored to be in the company of some very fine musicians Friday. We will be performing for the Four Chairs Benefit (for a classroom serving autistic children on the south side of Lansing, which is short four chairs for the students assigned to the room).

Somehow our name got placed first on the poster. Some of the others on this stage are full-time musicians and I’m honored to be on the poster with them at all. It is an incredible lineup, some of the hottest young musicians in Lansing will be there, you’ve heard me mention several of them here.

Do consider joining us. It’s at the Methodist church next to the Capitol building in downtown Lansing, a beautiful old building in good repair, with a great performance area.

Creating a Good Day

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

The sun is trying to make its way through the filmy clouds this morning. I have sunshine through my windows but although there are shadows I wouldn’t call this “sunbeams.” Any light is welcome, in any form.

envelopebyizzy.jpgBrian and I talked more this morning than we usually do, I went to bed early so I got up a little earlier and we had time. Usually I’m still mostly asleep by the time he leaves.

Well, the result of being in a waking-up state while chatting meant that I kept hearing words we said and associating them with song lyrics tucked into my subconscious. Once it was a pre-disco 1970’s song… and then a 1920s song I learned from a Tiny Tim album or two.

Now, most people remember Tiny Tim from seeing him do one or two songs on Laugh In or Johnny Carson in the ’70s. He was a “strong flavor,” for sure, but nobody makes it in show biz by being vanilla. I never met him personally, though now we do the Ukulele circuit where he also performed and if we’d been around two years previous we surely would have found ourselves at festivals with him.

I decided to pull out our “Tiny Tim Live! at the Royal Albert Hall” to revisit the song “Livin’ in the Sunlight, Lovin’ in the Moonlght” (having a wonderful time). I am really enjoying this concert.

I would like to go on and express my opinions of Mr. Tim’s work (most of which I genuinely enjoy as pure entertainment) and how so many people have opinions based on not enough information… but I would be distracted from the point of this post. Which is about creating an enjoyable day.

I have a lot of work to do and I’m writing this instead. Dang.

But I leave you with one final happy/good day note: Isabel drew me this picture on the back of an envelope yesterday. Her drawing illustrates a clear understanding of the concept of “ColorJoy” at the age of not-quite-three years old. The envelope contained a thank you note from Isabel’s mommy, April. My friends are very good. This is something to celebrate.

And with that I must leave the computer… next appointment? Lunch with my friend Altu. Then CityKidz Knit, a Toe-Up Sock class at Rae’s, dinner with Brian and a music rehearsal.

Yes, it will be a good day.

Another Lynn Blogger (with a Cat)

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

My Cat, MuffettOnce I had a cat named Muffett. I got him at only 5 weeks old, he fit in the palm of my hand. He was always a tiny runt of a cat but he lived to be 17 years old.

I have only ever had one pet, and I was very lucky it was this fine feline. My cat was so gentle and sweet and people-loving that my friends cried when he finally died.

Old animals get wise, I think. I have a special fondness for them.
I just accidentally found myself on the blog of another Lynn. She has an old cat. She also has a young human around… and the photos are excellent

Photo: added later in the day by request, my cat Muffett in one of the few photos I have of him. Black cats do not photograph well.

From the Porch

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

It took me till almost dark to get on that hammock. I did take a lot of photos (for my web shop) from the porch and I hung up the hammock in the very late afternoon. I sat in the hammock for a few seconds at that point.

After taking today’s mail packages to the Post Office just before 8pm, I got on the porch. That sun was hanging very low at that point but it still gave off some light. We decided what we would eat for dinner but I decided to get out on the porch for a while first, while it still was warm enough for that.

So for the record, I am typing this blog entry from the front porch, in the hammock, on March 13. Thirteen was a lucky number this time. (I realize this is a short spurt and we are going back into snow in just a few days… that makes this warmth even more wonderful.)

Yes, I’m wearing a hat and 2 somewhat light sweaters, two pair of wool socks, and wrapped in my good Ethiopian Gahbi (cotton blanket). But I’m not wearing gloves or even wristwarmers, and it’s March. No coat, no earmuffs (and I am very big on earmuffs until it’s quite warm, dorky or not).

I was colder sitting at my desk inside the house just two nights ago, also wrapped in my Gahbi wearing 2 pair of socks. Life sure can be funny.

This is the life!

Woohoo! Warmth!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

temperature.jpgLook at this thermometer in my kitchen. Can you see why I want to dance and jump up and down? (Um, 73.8F  would be 23.2C for the non-US readers out there.) I am trying to figure out how I can get into my hammock on the porch and still do constructive work for my business, since Tuesday can be the only truly productive deskwork day I have all week, and last week I did not get much done.

Brian rode his bike to work today. I see people all over wearing short sleeves and shorts. Kids are on their bicycles. April and little Isabel and I went on a quick walk around the block, and Isabel showed me her adorable bike with training wheels. She is timid to get on it, but she loves how pretty it is.

I am the first one on the block to open windows and doors on days like this. I can smell neighborhood barbecues lighting up already. I hear kids go by on bicycles, talking by yelling forward or backward as we did when I was that age. A realtor is scrubbing the front door of a house just put up on the market this week. Squirrels are running at full speed across the street, narrowly missing (so far) the traffic which is a little faster than usual because of the general spring rush.

springwagon.jpgThis mom in the photo went by our back door with two toddlers in a wagon. The child wearing the hot pink hat was waving back and forth as if she were the Queen of England. Too cute.

It is still too early for flower photos, but two days ago there was no sign of violets and today their leaves in the yard are maybe an inch or so (2-3 cm) across and very green. Violets are typically the first flower in my yard, and I await their arrival eagerly.

There was a pile of snow in the back yard yesterday, crusty but still hanging in there. It is gone today.

I have perhaps never been this ready for a little warmth. I think I will head for the porch with my laptop as soon as I post this, and I will figure out which work I can do out there at least until the battery goes dry.