Working people’s problems

I title this post that way because I know darn well that Eric and I are lucky, blessed, fortunate beyond measure with the status of our collective employment. We both have jobs, and thankfully, they are relatively well-paying jobs for this area.

But I want to complain. I want to complain because I have been married for three years, and right after I got married, Eric got moved from day shifts to evening shifts with this statement: It’s just short-term, just a few months while we get through this push.

He has been on evenings for over 2 years.

He recently got a new group leader at work and she seemed like she was really going to move some things and get him moved to another shift. He has been working 11 a.m.-7 p.m. this week, but he told me today that it’s not going to stick.

That although he has some seniority, he probably doesn’t have enough seniority to work a day shift.

So, I go back to seeing my husband for 30-60 minutes a day, max, if we both come home for lunch. And saying goodnight on the phone, and going to bed alone in the stupid dark house.

I knew it was too good to be true. We have spent our evenings lately cooking together, cuddled on the couch drinking tea and talking, listening to music… you know, normal married people things that we usually try to cram into one day of the weekend. And don’t get me started on weekends. When he works evenings, we only get half-day weekend days together because of his sleep needs from staying up so late.

I’m just a little upset and frustrated. I hate when things seem like they are finally lining up and then life hands you an “Oh wait, never mind. You don’t get to have this after all.”


Reason #17,555,778

This fine Friday evening, enjoy a rare peek into my personal correspondence with my husband.

Mr. Thor:  Maybe I will call you a bit later, babe. Got any fun plans for tonight, hun?

me: Nope…I’m a loser! Lol

Mr. Thor: Don’t feel sorry for yourself, you are AWESOME! What a cool chick you are! What are you doing right now? XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXO

me: eating egg salad and pretzel sticks and texting anthony and checking facebook.

Mr. Thor: Awesome! Sounds nice and relaxing! I’ll give you a call later on, babe! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Yes, I came home and weighed out 99 grams of hard boiled eggs and 38 grams of mayonnaise and 28 grams of pretzels. And parked in front of my laptop.

And now …I am about to mix crystal light with a diet sierra mist, and then drink it all! with a straw!

Look out, world! Next thing you know I will be on the couch, reading!

Just Like the Old Days.

Today, I had a really bad, terrible, razor-bladey and boiling blood rage kind of day. Not even a little bit good. Well, OK, there was a little bit. But mostly, the day just left me feeling alone, a bit incompetent, and almost like a loser at life. Gross feelings.

On top of all of the gross feelings, I got a little bit mad at my husband tonight, too. While we were on the phone, he said, “I still love you” and that made me mad, because “still” means “even though you can be a real shit sometimes.” And I can. And I was.

But tonight, he kept me on the phone until I was giggling instead of crying. He made me go outside and he steered me around the sky, naming stars and planets as I turned and bent my head back.

When we first started dating, it was February. He used to take me to his favorite star-gazing spot on a hill near a waterfall in the city. It was freezing and I had this giant, crazy, fake-fur lined camel colored coat. He would stand behind me and put his hands on the sleeves of my coat, rotating and baby-stepping around with me until he had me right where he could point up at a star and name it. He would put his head almost on my shoulder and look up with me. He pointed me toward planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies. There was a total lunar eclipse just a few weeks after we started dating, and we watched it at the same time, each of us holding a phone to our ear in our own houses, saying “wow” what felt like every couple of breaths.

Tonight, while we were on the phone, he navigated me toward what looked like a perfect equilateral triangle low in the western sky. He guessed, correctly, that two of the points were planets. Without my husband’s influence, I might have seen that triangle and said, “cool, those stars make a triangle.” Not, “wow…Saturn and Mars!”

And that’s what I owe my husband. He has enriched my life in many ways. He has opened up new horizons, new adventures, new possibilities. If I had not met this man, I might never have known I was looking at planets instead of stars.

The tables have turned.

I have spent the past couple of weeks researching two of my newer favorite bands – Railroad Earth and The Infamous Stringdusters. This morning, I am holed up in my office looking for new live shows online (listening to this one as I type this.). I have been scouring the internet for relevant articles. Looking up School of Dobro with Andy Hall and watching sample videos. Reading Chris Pandolfi’s website. E-mailing the guys from Railroad Earth just to tell them how rad their show was. Googling “railroad earth blog” in hopes that any of those guys keeps a blog I can read.

It’s funny, because I didn’t think I had this obsessive thing. Mr. Thor is a maniac when he gets interested in something. He will spend weeks telling me the minutiae of the lives and careers of the musicians in his favorite bands. Last night he didn’t believe that I had been researching so he gave me a band member quiz. Please! Amateur. Has he been on facebook looking through Andy Falco’s pictures yet? I didn’t think so.

I say the tables have turned because now it’s Mr. Thor coming into my office to invite me downstairs to have coffee with him this morning. Mr. Thor who is thinking, “my god, can you pull yourself away from your imaginary musical friends for two seconds to talk to me?” OK, maybe he’s not thinking anything that dramatic, because that’s my job. But I think it’s funny, now, to see myself absorbed in something that would normally be “his.”


So, what is it? What is it that makes the music not quite enough? Why do I need to read articles and look up live shows and photos and read blogs?Am I some kind of creepy stalker?


(that’s where we all laugh.)

I think, honestly, it’s a search for context. This stuff is so different for me. I am new, as of last September, to anything even related to or served with bluegrass. And I am amazed. And, suddenly, I find out that there are people who have already been here for YEARS. and it’s their passion. for some of them, it’s their livelihood. And how did they get there? Why don’t more people understand this music? There is an entire universe that I had never even brushed up against, and now I find that I want to live there.

So, maybe, I am looking for my bridge over. My doorway, the connection that tells me I am not so different from these people living in this other world, that I am welcome there as much as anywhere. Anything. Words on a screen that tell me how those guys got there, what moved them, what continues to move them.

Last night and this morning I got some words in an e-mail from a couple of guys in Railroad Earth, saying welcome aboard, hope to play for you again soon.

The door creaks open. 🙂



DelFest 2012 Recap – Day 2

Wakey wakey…

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 7 and decided to try out the showers. I was so tired that I forgot to grab my towel! I wound up drying myself off with a tank top and a fistful of paper towels. The showers were just fine for what they were – cement stalls with a small curtain and a barely-there soap shelf that was almost too high to use.

I went back to the tent and back to sleep after my shower. We both woke up a few hours later to the sound of stoned people talking loudly about nothing much right outside our tent. We decided to get going for the day. I really wanted to see Sleepy Man Banjo Boys at 11:35. Mr. Thor decided to try his luck with the showers while I stood in the unbelievable line for coffee.

The coffee problem

This is pretty much the only semi-negative about DelFest. The fairgrounds has a permanent concession stand that can make all kinds of food as well as coffee – but they don’t make it during the festival. Instead, a coffee truck comes in that serves lattes, iced coffee, smoothies, and frappes. A cup of regular coffee was $3. Sure, it was organic, fair trade, but honestly? When you are already covered in sweat at 10:30 am, the last thing you want to do it stand your exhausted self in a slow-moving line of 20 people and wait for $3 iced coffee that is going to last about 20 seconds because you’re so hot you barely taste it on the way down. Eventually, they did make a sort of “express line” for just hot coffee, but maybe in the future that could include iced coffee. I would have wasted way more money on iced coffee if I didn’t have to stand in line for 25 minutes to get it!


We were so hot by the time we got the coffee and Mr. Thor bought some breakfast that we didn’t make it into the main music stage. Instead, we sat in a large, open-air grandstand that overlooked the stage from a distance and had speakers. After our experience in the heat the previous day, we decided to pace ourselves in the sun to make sure we could last the entire day. We caught the very end of the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys and then Greensky Bluegrass. We decided to stay in the grandstand as long as we could.


Lunch was amazing, and we both ate the same thing every day: lamb gyros. The Mediterranean booth served what I thought was the best food there. The first day, we carried the gyros 15 minutes back to our campsite to eat them.

More music, and Thunderstorm #1

We started watching Keller Williams and the Travelin’ McCourys but quickly started to overheat and decided to head to the car for a few minutes of A/C. While we were there, I tuned into the DelFest radio station so that we could catch more of that set. A few minutes after we watched some nasty clouds roll in, the MC, Joe Craven, made an announcement to take cover because storms were coming. He actually said, “looks like there is a spritzer heading our way.” We decided to stay in the car and wait out the storm. After a storm and a trip back to the tent, we headed back to the music meadow to catch a Keller Williams solo set followed by another Del McCoury band set.

I admit, I was completely exhausted and I was ready to skip the Keller Williams set. I was so hot, tired, and cranky that I picked a fight with my husband. I accused him of disregarding my needs (he pretty much had to force me to go to the KW set). He asked what my needs were, and I snapped at him that I really needed to be pushed off a cliff at that particular moment. He, frustrated, snapped back, “ok, fine! where’s the nearest cliff?!” hee hee. I can laugh about it now, but I was a holy terror in the moment.

My mood perked up instantly upon hearing “Kidney in a Cooler” coming from the music meadow, and I practically ran to see the remainder of Keller’s set. Fun, fun stuff!

The last of it… for now

My last musical set of the night was Del McCoury band. I was completely exhausted, but my love for Del is strong. The first thing he said when he came on stage was something like, “Don’t worry now – it won’t rain… it won’t.” It was just what I needed to hear, and he was right. At some point they welcomed Doyle Lawson out as a guest… the man can wear a jacket, let me tell you. The bedazzler has nothing on this guy’s jacket. Or, maybe it has everything on this guy’s jacket.

Leftover Salmon closed out the evening, but I was asleep before the set ended. I left a flashlight with Mr. Thor and headed back to camp to get some sleep.

Only one more day!

DelFest 2012 Recap – Day 1

Checking in

We arrived at DelFest without incident. The first step was to head to the off-site box office to turn in our tickets for wristbands. Once we did that, we drove a few minutes to the Allegany County Fairgrounds. The festival volunteers were just awesome. Everyone was very nice and very helpful. We were directed to a parking spot and decided that the best thing to do was to grab our tent and go stake out a camping spot.

Setting up camp

Neither of us had ever had to find a camping spot before, so we were both pretty nervous. By this point (about 12:30) it was already Very Hot. I was sweating within moments of leaving the car. It became instantly apparent that most of the nearby campsites had already been claimed. So, we walked. And walked. And walked.

We saw tents as far as the eye could see, packed very efficiently. And then we saw a beautiful, open spot of grass – but it was on a slight incline. I felt like this wasn’t a great spot and really wanted to find a flat spot, but a quick glance up the path revealed walls and walls of tents. We were going to walk for a few more minutes to continue the search for the perfect spot, but I was suddenly overwhelmed with frustration and declared, “I am about ten minutes from going back to the car and driving to a hotel right now.” Knowing that we were about a ten minute walk from the car, Mr. Thor implored me to take the inclined spot. After a quick consult with a hemp-bracelet-making hippie two tents down about what he thought about the spot, I decided that his expertise was enough to go on.

We set up the tent and the canopy and then schlepped back to the car two more times (at least!) to finish loading in our stuff. Some people had hand carts, radio flyers, even collapsible wagons. Those people, my friends, are geniuses. One of the volunteers remarked on our “West Virginia luggage” (trash bags) that we were using to carry our pillows.

The bathrooms.

After lots of walking, lots of sweating, and lots of water…I had to pee. I mean, I really had to pee. There were some permanent restrooms on the map, but they were quite a hike. There were porta-potties everywhere, but, well, I have an irrational fear of them. I decided that this would be different, I was just going to fling open the door, and GOOD GOD WHAT IS THAT THING POKING OUT AT ME?! I slammed the first porta-potty door and tried door number two. Just as bad. I started retching and cursed myself for thinking that I could ever do something like this. The phrase, “why do you have to be such a special snowflake?” may have crossed through my mind a few times. Devastated at what a wimp I was, I started dragging myself toward the spot on the map that represented a flushing toilet. That was the last time I tried a porta-potty, and I spent the rest of the weekend leaving camp and walking a solid 15 minutes before I got to the restroom.

The music… finally.

We didn’t make it to a show until just before 8 pm. don’t ask me what we were doing for those 7 hours. I was probably having a nervous breakdown in the tent. I kept wondering how on earth I could ever make it through one more day. But I also had a slight feeling that maybe, just maybe, dragging myself out to watch the Del McCoury band might make everything better. I was thrilled to watch them. I love Del, Ronnie, Rob, Alan, and Jason. I love watching their style, hearing their harmonies, I love it when Del holds his guitar up to the mic. Love it all. And It did make things better, for a little while.

Yonder Mountain String Band was set to go on next, but I was so exhausted. Mr. Thor likes the band a LOT, and I like them enough, but I decided to walk back to the tent and rest. We had tickets to Friday night’s late night show, which included Greensky Bluegrass and Railroad Earth – and the show didn’t start until 12:00. Midnight. Remember, I got up at 4:30 that morning to drive 4.5 hours to be traumatized by a porta-potty log, then to sweat out half of my body weight before I had ever heard a note. I was exhausted. I considered telling Mr. Thor to go to the late night show without me.

As I rested on the air mattress, I could hear Yonder Mountain playing. I decided that I would suck it up. I was at a music festival, after all. Sure, I saw them in September, but they are good. So I hiked 15 minutes, bought a cup of coffee, wandered up to the grandstand and sat down. I decided that we would get to the late night show early and be right up front. After all, the late night was sold out and we had our tickets in hand.

Friday’s Late Night show – AKA the moment I entered the festival with my whole heart

We were in the very front and almost center for both acts of the late night. Like, holding on to the railing, fighting off hippie girls who were trying to steal our spots, FRONT of the crowd. It was a little stressful to battle for my spot, but suddenly I remembered who I am. I might be a total wus who almost pukes when I see a poo in a porta-potty, but am also the girl who has ALWAYS been able to get to the front and stay there. I love music. It means so much to me. It speaks to me the way nothing else can. So I dug in my heels, grabbed the railing, closed my eyes, and danced.

Those bands were GOOD. They were fun. And, honestly, I knew one song by one of them going in. I went because Mr. Thor loved them both. I didn’t really care, and I only went because I had a ticket. At some point, even though I was exhausted, and tired, and also, exhausted, I realized how truly lucky I was to be in that little room with all of those people, right in the front. I cried. I laughed. I danced until I was sure my feet and legs would just give out. And when Todd Sheaffer finally yelled out, “now go to bed, you crazy motherf___ers!!” sometime after 4 AM, I felt an incredible sense of loss. I couldn’t believe it was over.

We headed back to the tent and went to bed. I couldn’t wait to get up and try it all over again the next day.

DelFest 2012 Recap – Introduction (Getting on the road)

This past weekend, Mr. Thor and I did something completely different. We went to a weekend-long music festival. And camped. In a tent. In 90+ degree weather and thunderstorms.

We chose DelFest because it wasn’t too far to drive – about 4.5 hours each way. We also decided that the lineup was too amazing to miss. We could easily spend the price of admission over and over again trying to chase some of our favorite bands around to catch good shows.

Also, I completely adore Del McCoury and the Del McCoury Band. I saw them for the first time at Mass MoCA’s FreshGrass last fall.

A lifelong fan was born from the first second I saw Del.

Del McCoury at FreshGrass, September 2011

Here is the thing about bluegrass music. It might not sound like much when you listen to an album. It might not be your style. But there is a true magic that happens when watching a live show. It’s just one of the best things I have ever experienced. The good-vibey, collaborative, and appreciative spirit that happens on the stage is enough to give me chills every time. Add to that the absolute perfection of skill that’s required to play truly great music and well – the perfect storm created a true live bluegrass junkie right here.

Mr. Thor and I decided that a festival bearing Del’s name must be awesome. We bought our tickets on February 28th, bought our tent (we have never camped before!) and waited anxiously for the festival to come.

On May 25, we left the house at about 6 am. Our first plan was to gas up the car and buy some ice for the cooler, and to make a quick stop at to grab some rain boots “just in case.” When we pulled into the gas station, I asked Mr. Thor if he had his cell phone – he did not. After putting gas in the car and ice in the cooler, we stopped and picked up our boots, then turned around and went back home. After retrieving the cell phone, we hit the road around 7am.

DelFest, here we come!


One of my favorite parts of being married.

I got up just after 8 am this morning to get started on my chores for today. I have lots of things on my to-do list and I just woke up naturally at that time, so I went with it.

I worked for a few minutes in my office, and then went back to the bedroom just to give the still-sleeping Mr. Thor a quick hug before I left the second floor.

I crawled into bed, gave him a hug, he said something sweet like, “you’re the best.” Then he pointed his pointer finger out into the air and said, “JAMMIES.”

me: jammies?

him, now poking my arm: “jammies, jammies, jammies, like jay leno. they like to jam. he likes to play the bass.”

me: “the real jay leno? how do you know that?”

him: “bum-bum-bum-ba-bum-bum-ba-bum-ba-ba-bum!”

me: …

him: “it’s just like rallyists. bum-bum-bum-ba-bum-bum-ba-bum-ba-ba-bum!”

me: “rallius?”

him: “RALLYISTS. People who start rallies. bum-ba-buh-bum-ba-buh-BUM-BUM!”

me: “why?”

him: “it’s like, even if I told you you wouldn’t know how to start a fire. it would still be a secret to you. like bum-ba-buh-bum-bah-buh-bum. bum-ba-buh-bum-bah-buh-BUM.”

me: …

him: “i got cold. i didn’t have enough… room to work with. don’t get too bored here, OK?”

me: “why would I be bored?”

him: “asphalt.”

me: “what’s so boring about asphalt?!”

him: “it’s all gone.”

me: “so we are at the end of the road?”

him: “yep. dead end. (holds up his fingers about 2 inches apart) I only have THIS much left. (moves his two held-up fingers over to my face and jams them into the side of my face) annnnd now it’s on your face.”

at this point I decided to stop engaging Mr. Thor, because, clearly, we were at the end of the road.

Speaking of focus…

So, I may have mentioned that my theme for this year is FOCUS. It’s in my makeup that I can’t think of the word FOCUS without thinking of the movie Mallrats. But that’s my problem, not yours.

Are you starting to see that I have a focus problem? I do. I always have.

However. Thanks to help and support from the wonderful Mr. Thor, I am on the road to recovery. Let’s not tell him that I have started working on two other websites when I am not even updating this one on a regular basis.

I do have a point. My point is that I have been attending Weight Watchers meetings since October 20th. I was following the plan online, but I was not having much luck with the whole “sticking to program” aspect of things. I figured that some external accountability could revitalize my weight-loss journey, and I was right. I love meetings. I like the social interaction during the meeting, I like the celebrations at 5-lb loss intervals, I like the Bravos for behavioral change… it just works for me right now. I have only missed one meeting since I started, and that’s because I was Very Sick. But I still went to weigh in!

I have also been focusing on my office. Craft room. Studio. Whatever I decide to call it. Things have been sorted and tossed. My sewing table is in action, and I have taken a sewing class (and I’m signed up for three more!). I’m sitting in the office portion of the aforementioned room RIGHT NOW, as a matter of fact, hammering away on my new computer.

Now, for the third and final focus: writing. Blogging, too. It’s got a few things that go with it, like photography, maybe a little web design…who knows what else.

Basically, I just want to do what I want to do. That shouldn’t be too hard to focus on, right?

Happy Birthday, Mr. Thor!

Today is Mr. Thor’s birthday. We will be in the same age decade for at least another 5 years.

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you already know that Mr. Thor has been an overwhelmingly positive force in my life.

He continues to blow me away with the amount of love and support that he offers, continually and unconditionally. Before Mr. Thor, I didn’t really understand what a healthy friendship should look like, I don’t think I knew the true meaning of love, and I definitely had some gaps in my self worth.

To say that he has  been a healing force in my life would not be an exaggeration. He is at times a coach, a therapist, or a cheerleader. He gives me a reality check when I’m going off the deep end and a nudge when I doubt that I have what it takes.

He is hilarious, and I love our inside jokes. We do impressions to make each other laugh. We watch old SNL skits over and over again and laugh hard every time.

He is caring, brilliant, fun, and he has a heart of pure gold.

I wish that every person on the planet could feel the way I get to feel because I know this man.

Happy birthday to the best husband, ever.