My brother and sister-in-law love travelling around to music festivals, especially bluegrass shows. They have made lots of friends and met many of the bands and finally decided to have a show themselves. Last weekend, we traveled to their place in MD where they had gathered 6-8 bands to come play in their barn over the course of 2 days. They don’t have a typical nasty old barn but rather a large, modern facility that happens to have a stage area built in! It was perfect for the bands to play upon! Between musician friends and their own collection, they put together a first-class sound system and had an all-around great party.
I took some pics and videos of some of the bands so you should definitely check out their websites to hear what they are all about. I wish I had gotten info on everyone. Oh well, next year you will have to come to hear for yourself!
The David Mayfield Parade was there.
In between bands, there was much time for frivolity. Of course, even when they played, there was much opportunity for dancing and acting up. Many people were fueled by a common liquid wheat-based fuel source which added to their courage levels and self-determined dancing skills! It was a ton of fun.
The barn…story about the firetruck in another post
The view from the barn
Abigail played on stage some and out in the yard some and collected a few tips
All told, there were 150-200 people that came. Some folks camped on his property, others “fell asleep” in the beds of the pickup trucks and some never slept at all. We opted for the hotel a few miles away. I think that worked well for us. Anyhow, we had a really great time and heard some really great music…some was bluegrass, some was folk, some was hard to describe but that’s what makes music so much fun, isn’t it?This entry was posted in Fun and tagged Family, Liquid courage!, Music by warren
Last weekend, Abigail and I ventured to Pennsylvania to share the celebration of my Uncle Bill’s 80th birthday. He and my aunt are wonderful folks and have been a huge part of my life as well as that of my brother and my parents. We had a great dinner with close family and friends and then went to tour the “marvel of Northwestern Pennsylvania”…well, that’s what I call it anyhow. You see, there are apparently 4 working lighthouses in all of Pennsylvania. It’s a good-sized place but not a typical lighthouse state. Three of the lighthouses are on Lake Erie and one is in Tionesta, PA, my hometown.
A local family that owned a very successful business built the monument and now donates proceeds from tours to the local Lion’s club. There are 76 stairs leading to the top of the 75 foot tall lighthouse. Form the top, there is a great view of the Allegheny river and the surrounding mountains. It’s simply beautiful. It’s also cool because it is framed like a house would be rather than being made of stone, brick or concrete. All that really means is that the inside is decorated much like a house could be and it is well apportioned. Anyhow, my aunt and Uncle had a party and then arranged a private tour for everyone to go up inside the lighthouse and see the sights. It’s been in place since 2003 but I had never had an opportunity to see the insides.
We all climbed up and got to the actual lantern room of the lighthouse…the part where the light resides. We wanted to walk around the outside of the lantern room which is a proper way to tour any such monument. The door was locked so Abigail marched back down the 76 steps to the bottom to ask for a key. I felt a little bad but the older lady giving the tour climbed back up with Abigail and unlocked the door. It was absolutely wonderful to check out the river and the valley and the party-goers who didn’t make the climb. Also, I got the chance to lick the exterior of the lantern room. You didn’t think I would climb 76 stairs, enjoy a breathtaking view and not lick something did you? Consider it done. I am also going to lay claim to the title of “the first person to lick the Tionesta Lighthouse”.
Abigail and her aunt were a trip as always. They joked about the shortcut to the bottom and wondered whether a paper airplane would be noticed by anyone. All-in-all, it was a proper tour of the lighthouse!
It was a perfect day for Abigail especially as my brother earlier had requisitioned a golf cart at the golf course where we ate lunch. I mean requisitioned in the same manner as Hawkeye from MASH requisitioned a jeep on date night…without permission. She rode around on a “hot” golf cart, climbed a lighthouse twice, and got to walk around my hometown with the wind in her hair. This was a great party for my uncle but I think we all got a gift in time spent together!This entry was posted in Adventure, Awesome, Family, Fun and tagged Family, Fun, Lighthouse...in Tionesta!, Pennsylvania by warren
Something occurred to me this weekend. In a way, I am a story teller, telling the day-to-day nonsense that goes on in our lives here on this blog. I know that’s pretty much what blogging is all about and it’s pretty cool how I get involved in other people’s lives and how (I suppose) some of you, dear friends, become involved in our lives. I enjoy telling our stories, for, like sands through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives.
Anyhow, this realization came to me while at an actual concert put on by a real, professional story teller, Lorna MacDonald Czarnota. My friend Granny Sue held a house concert where both she and Ms. Czarnota told several diverse stories and sang ballads. I don’t know if you have ever heard a professional story teller, but if you ever get a chance, go and listen.
Granny Sue is our neighbor so I knew her house. She has a fantastic house in the woods surrounded by trees and birds and flowers. Her home is incredible, filled with antiques and mountain heritage and beautiful glassware and books. She invited us to walk about her house and drink sassafras tea and enjoy a variety of snacks. It was a beautiful arrangement and truly an awesome experience. It’s what story telling was at its beginning…friends and neighbors getting together to tell stories and enjoy each other’s company.
Abigail and I had a great time and she re-told the stories we heard the whole way home. I am not sure I am really much of a story teller, but I am delighted that Abigail had so much fun listening and re-telling stories. I hope she will learn some mountain stories and make up some of her own. However she wants to communicate, the wonderful imagination that will be fed from these mountains makes me happy!This entry was posted in Fun, Thoughts, WV and tagged Appalachia, Family, Fun, Mountains, Not a soap opera!, WV by warren
Last weekend I went to an auction that benefits the FFA in Ravenswood, WV. I heard about it sort of accidentally so I didn’t really have any sort of a plan together but I heard that there were several different qualities of junk available.
I have heard people say that at flea markets and auctions, you can only get junk…you can find your plain old, run of the mill junk up through first class junk. As I wandered around the Jackson County Fairgrounds, I was surprised. To be sure, there was a lot of junk available for a few dollars per ton. There was some really great stuff too, and since I really like stuff like this, I spent a few hours perusing the piles.
I think what I enjoyed more than anything was the sound of the auctioneers. Most everyone knows the general sound of the auctioneer’s call and most people wonder how anyone knows what price they are paying for something. If you have never heard a real auctioneer calling, take a listen to a recording I made of my favorite guy.
From the recording, it is hard to tell what is going on I suppose, but I have to tell you, in person, I was never really in doubt about what he was selling (even if he just named it a big box of junk) or what the current bid was when he was calling. If you have never been, go to an auction some time!
I think next year I will go again to this auction and this time, I will have a plan!This entry was posted in Audio, Fun, WV and tagged auctioneers are cool, Audio, Fun, My lips would be numb by warren
In addition to licking Abe Lincoln’s leg, we did a few other things on our recent Cincinnati trip. Since the kids were less old than they are today, we have always enjoyed visiting public aquariums. It just so happens that Ohio has a pretty cool aquarium. It’s in Kentucky, but Ohio’s aquarium is pretty awesome! I am always happy that the kids seem to enjoy wandering around aquariums. We often see repeating species but it never grows old. I guess it is a testimony to how incredible nature is. I always stand amazed at the variety of creatures that exist and it makes me sad when I hear how so much of the diversity that exists is in jeopardy due to global climate change, habitat destruction or other abuses of nature.
Anyhow, we very much enjoyed touring the Newport aquarium and spent several hours enjoying all there was to see. We also spent a bunch of time at the Contemporary Arts Center. We had a great time touring the exhibits and what made it especially cool is that we got to interact with the art pieces on two entire floors in the ON! Handcrafted Digital Playgrounds exhibit! When we walked in, I didn’t realize that the place was set up for kids but it couldn’t have been more perfect. Of course, most art is regular museums is hands-off, but the kids and I both enjoyed playing Smash Pong (Ping pong on an artsy table where extreme hitting is encouraged), flying paper airplanes and rocking-and-rolling a patchwork quilt camper at the CAC.
At the Contemporary Arts Center
I think the place that was the most powerful during the trip was the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. I am not sure why it sort of touched a nerve with all of us, but seeing the “slave pen” when you enter the building spoke to us immediately. It’s a simple display but when we walked into the wooden cabin, we all stood with our mouths open, not saying a word. Seventy or so people were warehoused in a a room not much larger than a typical school classroom. They were forced to live in terror, filth and shock until they were sold.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Most displays within the center were simple and straightforward but I think that made it easier to understand the horror that faced slaves each and every day. It seems so simple to see how wrong it is to take someone’s freedom and civil rights. We learned so much about the economics of slavery, the politics of bondage and the bravery of people who worked to protect others. I understand the economics of slavery I guess, but for the life of me, I cannot imagine how people can be so cruel to other people. I cannot imagine treating animals as badly as slaves were/are treated, let along talking, thinking people!? Both the kids and I continued onto the discussion of modern slavery and we were shocked at how extensive modern slavery is around the world and even here in the United States. You know, it is one thing to read about what people did a long time ago…it’s easy to write off as how things were when people didn’t know any better, but now…how can people still enslave other people? I don’t understand it and am pleased that the kids were equally shocked and disturbed.
Despite the tone of this writing, these places were each pretty incredible in their own way and I was pleased to visit and learn something in each place. I suppose it is fairly uncommon when you can experience powerful imagery with your kids and even more powerful when it changes how you see the world!This entry was posted in Family, Fun, Thoughts and tagged Cincinnati, Freedom, Learning...is fun?, Underground Railroad by warren
We have been married for 18 years. I don’t want to say we are post-romance but things are definitely different than they used to be. The last few years, I have gotten Emily some interesting gifts. I guess I just figure that we ought to get practical if we are going to be forced into consumerism. In recent years, I have gotten Emily a muffin pan, a vacuum and a frying pan. We needed each of those things so I naturally figured that there was no better way to show how much I cared than to give something we need.
For some reason, Emily doesn’t see it that way. Anyhow, this year I decided to express my affection in a different way…Emily loves ice cream cakes from Baskin Robbins (and nowhere else) so I got her a cake all for herself. We also lost our local source of Smucker’s apple jelly. There is no apple jelly like Smucker’s so I ordered a six-pack online and had it shipped. Here’s where I get extra credit…I ordered both gifts before Valentine’s day! Anyhow, I think I hit it on the head this year. What do you think?This entry was posted in Fun, Thoughts and tagged Ahhh...romance! by warren
When I was a kid, I remember my Grandma talking about Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. I always thought it was pretty cool that some days got special names in the lead up to Easter. I never really knew where the names came from but I loved to hear my Grandma say them. I have no idea why I remember her talking about the special days leading up to Easter, but it just stands as a really cool memory I keep. Before I forget, she also used to pronounce April as Ape-rile. I can hear her talking and using all of those various words!
Anyhow, for some reason tonight, as I was thinking of her, I decided that after 41 years of not knowing what Shrove Tuesday or Maundy Thursday meant, I decided to look them up.
The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of Confession and doing penance. Thus Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is the last day of “shrovetide”, somewhat analogous to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe.
Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian feast, or holy day, falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles
I also learned that Maundy means foot washing. I really hate anything related to feet so I am out on Maundy Thursday. Shriving doesn’t sound like much fun either although shrovetide is a really cool word.
I decided to go with the other name for today…Fat Tuesday which comes from the French which comes from the Latin for “act like a fool and eat a lot of crap you know you shouldn’t”. Yes, that sounds much more up my alley. Today, I decided to honor the fine tradition of Fat Tuesday. I have had 4 donuts, 3 liters of Mountain Dew, 5 Cadbury Creme eggs and a small piece of chicken (because it was doused in spices and stuff).
Come to think of it, maybe I do need to shrive a little…I shrive that I have eaten very badly today and that it was probably not the best idea…tomorrow I will need to find absolution…from my stomach!This entry was posted in Fun and tagged Sugar rush!!! by warren
Pudding is one of those things that is a real delight and one that I do not enjoy often enough. I worked pretty hard on a few things this weekend and I took a couple of ugly falls, climbed under cabinets for a few hours and even broke a fingernail. As always, I had to harass Isaac a little also, and with his size nowadays, that is no small feat. So, as I browsed the pantry the other night, I saw, peeking around the box of saltine crackers, a package of french vanilla cook-and-serve pudding.
Now truth be told, there is nothing finer than made-from-scratch vanilla pudding (like we put in creampuffs), but barring the real thing, I am pretty happy to make it from a mix. Here is the important part though…I only eat it when it is hot/warm and it is best with the lumps and skin that develop. The skin turns instantly nasty when it gets cold, so I am not talking about that skin. No, the warm skin and lumps are the ones that make pudding perfect.
I mixed up a 6-serving box right before bed and ate half of it, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get the lumps. Emily and the kids will eat the cold pudding later…eeewwww. Anyhow, with all of my bumps and bruises, it was just perfect and just what the doctor ordered. Pudding fixes things, my friends. It’s sort of magical and the real magic is in the lumps!This entry was posted in Fun and tagged Fun, Mmmmm...pudding! by warren
If it has to snow, I guess we might as well do something to enjoy it. We didn’t get too much snow on Friday but Abigail in particular decided to make the most of it. I bribed her brother to go and sled with her and it worked…he fell for it.
I had decided earlier in the day not to wear any pants all Saturday. Before you think me too creepy, I wore shorts all day, even out in the 25 degree weather. I wasn’t cold for some reason and it had nothing to do with Uncle Bill’s special cold weather elixir.
Anyhow, hills in WV are plentiful but hills that won’t kill you are somewhat harder to find. The kids spent an hour or so rolling up and down the little hill out back with sleds and without. It was really a pretty awesome time. The kids had a lot of fun together and any time we get that chance, I will take it.
While standing out in the snow, I also discovered the my phone can take really awesome panoramic photos. I took a few pics of the area from different angles. I sort of hate to admit it but the whole scene was sort of pretty.
I guess I might have had blood flow issues though as my body tried to warm my legs so I do not want to fully commit to claiming any part of winter is nice.
I had the opportunity to enjoy my favorite holiday of the year with my kids and that was pretty cool. I know you are thinking that Groundhog Day can’t possibly be Warren’s favorite holiday but, friends, I am here to tell you it is! It means the days are starting to feel longer, the maples will soon be blooming and winter is soon to be over! This year Phil was very kind also. And just to go on the record, Punxsutawney Phil is the one true seer, the prognosticator of all prognosticators. The others are all impostors!This entry was posted in Family, Fun and tagged Family, Fun, Snow still sucks by warren
Friday was the end of the semester for the kids and they finished with pretty good grades. We usually do something sorta special when the semester ends so we decided to go get some hibachi/sushi. We all get pretty much the same thing every time we go. The other three in my family always get the cook-in-front-of-you-shrimp and I get sushi. Abigail and I always share an order of edamame and Isaac snarls at his salad. We slurp our soup and laugh when only Isaac (and his big mouth) can catch the shrimp the chef tosses at us. It’s great fun!
A new hibachi place opened up in town so the one we usually go to remodeled a little and printed a new menu with higher prices to cover the new paint job. I don’t usually look at menu covers much but for some reason, I decided to read clear to the end. It was there that I found a little gem. Take a quick read and you will see what I mean.
I was delighted to find that the age-old challenge of men (and women) was so easily solved with a simple trip to the local hibachi restaurant. Now that I know the secret, I figure we will eat hibachi a little more often…This entry was posted in Fun and tagged Engrish, Funny by warren