July 31, 2006

Home from Ashokan again (Northern Week)

Where has this month gone??? Sorry I haven't had time to blog in a couple of weeks. Lets see if I can get you all up to speed. So, after I got back from Ashokan Swing Week Sarah, Dan and I headed to the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. We worked with the Kids Academy in the morning and I did a fiddle workshop in the afternoon but the evenings were free. It was really hot as you might be able to infer from my photo. Like majorly, unbelievably hot. We did find a state park where people were swimming so that helped (although we did have to get a little creative for Ziegi's sake). Lots of great music everywhere. I might as well take this opportunity to talk about Abigail Washburn. She was the highlight of the weekend for us. Her CD Song of the Traveling Daughter is creeping it's way into my all-time favorites list. She plays banjo in Uncle Earl and also writes a lot of wonderful songs. Her music is kind of a mix between early Solas, Dirk Powell and The Silk Road Project. In other words, blending Appalachian and Chinese with a Bluegrass-tinged, Celtic mentality. In still other words, it's pretty hard to describe. Anyway, I got to jam with her (and the rest of the Earls, Redsticks & who-knows-who-else) until sunrise which was pretty cool. Okay, moving on. The only thing I can remember about the following week was that it was really hot again. For the first time ever this year we have a working air-conditioner in our study (yay!) so that's definitely helped. Then I was in the Adirondacks for a couple days playing bluegrass with ol' Johnny Rossbach and the band. Got to see my buddy Dave Kiputh again; fun as always. Then we all headed to back to beautiful Ashokan, this time for Northern Week. It was my sixth year at Northern Week over a seven year period; I've kind of grown up there I guess. This year I taught beginning mandolin and helped out with Molly's accompaniment class and Scandi Band. Good jamming, good dancing, good food, good friends, etc. But I think what you all really want to know about is my hair. Yeah, I don't really know how it happened but I found myself surrounded by a teen drum circle in some kind of sacrificial shaving ceremony. Hair flying, people chanting, cameras flashing, six or seven different sets of hands all on my head at the same time. But what's done is done. So I got back just in time to really freak out Alan (girlfriend's dad, thankfully a very cool guy) before he and Anna left for Montana. Then on Sunday Sarah and I went out to the Wampsville Wal-Mart Supercenter (gag, choke, gasp, I can hardly make myself say those words) where we had great looks at a single Snowy Egret that has been there for a couple days. Kind of a stupid bird to fly all the way from the ocean just to hang out at a Madison County Wal-Mart. But who am I to judge. Unfortunately I forgot my camera but I'm planning on doing more birding in the up-coming weeks so hopefully I'll get some decent shots of something soon. Okay, I should get going. A parting photo of Dress-Up Night at Ashokan (too bad you can't see my pink and yellow poka-dot skirt)...

July 05, 2006

Home from Ashokan (W&S week)

Howdy-doo everyone. Now I've already written this post once and then I got kicked off line before I could save it so this is my second try. Hope you all had a good 4th of July. Great Bear played a set in Batavia yesterday afternoon (west of Rocheser). It went okay but I came down with a little cold a few days ago so that made MCing a little difficult. By the time we got home Sarah and I decided to watch a movie instead of seeing fireworks. Noah went to the ones in Manlius and he said they were pretty lame. But our movie was really gross and boring so we didn't finish it. Still, it was a nice day. I just got back from Western & Swing week at Ashokan. It was wonderful of course. Ashokan is such a great place, I just love it there. Jay and Molly are such wonderful hosts. I was on staff as the ukulele instructor which was kind of weird but ended up working out really great. I also taught begining classes for fiddle, guitar and mandolin. The first couple days were a total wash out. Tons of rain, lots of flooding. But toward the end of the week things cleared up a bit. It was lots of fun to see the Red Stick Ramblers again. Chas, Eric, Linzay and I had a couple nice jams. Check out their website here. I also learned how to swing dance! I think. Sort of anyway. It was so much fun though. The rest of this week should be a little more relaxed. Hope to hang out with friends and spend some time with Sarah. By the way... have I ever mentioned that my girlfriend is the most amazing person in the entire universe? No offense to all the other people in the universe but that's just my opinion. Love you honey. Okay, I guess that wraps up my post for now. I'm tired. Haven't had a full night's sleep in a long time (can you tell?). So I'm going to get started on that right away. Good night!
PS This is kind of random but I found these really awesome photos of a flock of starlings on birdingonthe.net this afternoon. Check it out here.