First Snow

Yesterday was the first snow of the season, unless you count flurries…the band was in Marion, Illinois doing our first show and luckily the drive home was easy enough. I want some pictures or video of the show to share with you, but I don’t have anything good right now. Suffice it to say that I rocked out.

Other than this fabulous shot of us messing around in the dressing room pre-show.

Oh, and this selfie from sound check. Yes, we as a band have to set up all the lights and everything. The advantages of playing acoustic instruments and not having lighting to distract the audience abound in untold ways!

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And nothing says rock like a floral sweater. You’re welcome :)

Today the Illumine Ensemble had our second (last for now) show of Fractured Fairy Tales. Here’s a link to a video clip—Friday’s show was great fun and today’s was nice though the crowd was small. We could blame the snow but I think we didn’t have enough marketing either. It’s a tough show to market, because it’s sort of geared towards kids, but then aspects of it might be better for adults…but it was a fun show and I think with some tweaking we can really make it one way or the other. (Tweaking, not twerking. Please don’t get confused.)

Tonight we are checking out a new Mexican Restaurant and seeing a movie at a film festival. I know, it’s cold and snowy and really I should hibernate, but it’ll be nice to have an evening to NOT work. Though an evening hibernating on the couch would be lovely too, but I’m determined to not become a potato.  Unless it’s a sweet potato, and then I’ll consider it.

Stay warm my friends! Sweaters, boots, snow, hot drinks…winter is here!

Throwback Caturday

I detest “throwback Thursday” because…honestly, who says “throwback”? What happened to flashback Friday? People actually say “flashback” I think?

In the interest of better SEO though…I thought I’d use the word. People always say your titles for blog posts need to take SEO into account, since pageviews and clickbait are all that matters today…rather than good writing, ACTUAL content, and using lots of…

Picture time! If I don’t post a certain amount of cats I get angry comments about it.


And baby pictures!


Somebody is very tired…probably she misses her aunt Hannah!

My cat still weighs more. Winning.


Oh, and here’s a picture one of the singers in my band took and made fancy:


Our “tour” starts tomorrow. It’s not a tour, but that’s what we call it for some reason. If you live in any of those areas, it’s a fun, cheesy Christmas Show for the whole family and I recommend it if you want something light.

(Self-promotion, you see?)

I’ve been really into soup lately. I made a 15 bean soup with sausage and tonight is beef stew. The crockpot is my friend, because you just add your ingredients earlier in the day when you have time, and then when you’re done working dinner is ready AND your house has smelled like dinner for hours so you are really hungry!

It’s cold here. It turned cold a few days ago and everybody started to freak out. Then there were snow flurries and you cannot even imagine how folks were reacting. It might actually snow tomorrow and I think most of the people I follow on twitter will actually self-destruct because there is nowhere else to go. I’ve run in the cold a couple times and I forgot how it isn’t fun to be both cold and sweating at the same time.

I’m finally a bit more relaxed. Rather than dreading the busy holiday season, it’s finally here, but I can relax on my practicing and everything, since all I have to worry about now (well, after two other shows this weekend with the Illumine Ensemble, ha) is the band stuff, which we have rehearsed so much that I don’t even need to think anymore. I’ve been waking up NOT feeling overwhelmed, which is fantastic. I’m looking forward to the “tour” being over and really being relaxed though…but that’s over a month away.

Oh, and I started watching Doctor Who. I’m pretty confused because I started partway in, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Time travel is pretty fun, eh?

I feel like I should use an old picture for the throwback part of my title, but I don’t think it matters…and I realize it’s not Caturday yet either, but I’m busy all day tomorrow and HEY maybe you are reading this on Caturday anyway?! Or maybe you read it on Caturday years ago? Or you just feel like you did?


Have a wonderful weekend! Come see me play my purple violin! Or my brown violin, OR whatever! Don’t just sit around all weekend watching Netflix, okay?


Deep Thoughts on Self Promotion

Not really deep but…

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As a self-employed musician who wears many hats, self promotion is a big part of my job.

But it’s not always just about ME. I have to promote my different groups. I am not alone…if I don’t promote shows and concerts I’m letting down other people too. It can feel like a lot of “me me me”. But I also believe in what I’m doing and think that people will enjoy seeing my groups play!

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(especially when we play with a white piano! from Thursday’s Perseid Quartet concert…)

Now I am self-promoting a CD my friend and colleague Jen and selling to raise money for the St Luke’s Life and Hope Fund. Granted, it’s a bit of ME ME ME because we are selling a CD of us playing the concert in October, but it’s for a good cause!  At this time we are accepting preorders and hope to have the CD’s to you by mid-December. Is anybody interested in more information? Bach, Brahms, Prokoviev, Vierne, a live recording, it’s like being there! ($15/$5 shipping/handling if you can’t get it from me in person.)

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But the self-promotion never ends, does it? I have band concerts coming up…, a choose-your-own-adventure style concert appropriate for children of ALL ages (meaning adults too) with the Illumine Ensemble… and then in the spring there will be more and more. I guess this is why bigger groups have marketing departments!

Anyway I apologize if you feel overwhelmed. On the one hand, I want people to know so they can attend if they want! On the other hand, I want to be more than just a marketing department!

Then again, this is a blog about my life, isn’t it?

Unrelated to my upcoming performances: We went to dinner and a concert Friday night. It was an unexpectedly free evening (rehearsal got canceled) so I was thrilled to see Alex Klein perform with the Arianna String Quartet out at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Louie gets free tickets on occasion so the price was just right.

I’m finally recovering from my cold, so I’ve been running again. Running is hard, isn’t it? I am publishing this post and then heading out again. Good to get a run in before spending all day rehearsing.

Is it December 27 yet? That’s when my vacation really begins :)

I voted!

This is the first I’ve mentioned it on social media though. If this counts as social media, which I suppose it does due to the fact that I always post my blogs to twitter and usually facebook.

I have to say, I wasn’t as prepared for the whole “voting” thing as I might should have been. I knew a few amendments that were up for a vote but I was surprised by some of the other questions. I left some stuff blank when I had no idea. I guess next time I should try googling “sample ballot” or something? How do you figure out what will be on the ballot and what or who you want to vote for or against? I do my best to keep up on the news, but I guess I do that more on a national or international level.

Halloween ended up being really fun. During the day Louie and I took a hike through Castlewood State Park. This was the #3 in my new book of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of St Louis. I’ve run trail races in Castlewood Park, back in my more serious running days, but never gone just for hiking. It was gorgeous! And I’d like to add that hiking trails is far easier than running them, and that hiking in Missouri is far easier than hiking in Arizona or the Great Smoky Mountains.

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(I don’t remember if I mentioned this, but on a recent hike in Arizona my fear of heights got the best of me and I had to stop and turnaround. I felt like such a loser but I just couldn’t go forward at that time.)

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I wore my Castlewood Cup hoodie for good luck. We passed another hiker wearing the same shirt. Awkward. (We were going DOWN the stairs, he was going up. Winning.)

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Fall in Missouri really is beautiful.

I was coming down with a cold, so we took the hike easy, and then we headed to a friend’s house for a trick-or-treating party. In St Louis the kids have to tell jokes before they get their candy. Here’s a great example: What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground Beef.

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We make an attractive couple. Yes, those are tiger pants.

The rest of the weekend was mostly devoted to house stuff, being sick, and watching ridiculous amounts of the Walking Dead. I don’t really like the show but have gotten hooked because I want to know what happens next. I guess that’s pretty normal?

Now I’m thinking about beautiful fall foliage, being outside in crisp winter air, and running. It’s nice to get out of the violin world for a bit…so much practicing and music to play!

Happy Halloween

I’m not dressing up this year. I have in the past but I didn’t feel like making the effort this year to find a costume. Maybe all my creative juices have been sapped!

I had a great trip to Phoenix to visit my niece Athena. She’s a darling, must be the genes…

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Why yes, I was wearing shorts. It was nearly 100 degrees in Phoenix. How people live there I don’t know.

We also got to see Cheyenne Jackson perform with the Phoenix Symphony. It was so not my cup of tea but I suppose it was different. The audience seemed to love it though. And we had a lot of good take-out from various places around Phoenix. They have great Mexican food there.

Since getting home it’s been business as usual—I have a few more concerts coming up that require rehearsals, plus new music with Jen (we are looking at a bunch of French Sonatas) and new music with the Quartet. Oh, and Jen and I are working on the details of producing a CD of our recital—we want to sell copies of it in order to raise money for a charity. I’ll tell you more about it later, but basically as a breast cancer survivor she wants to give back to those who helped her and as a friend of a breast cancer survivor I’m all for it. Currently I’m debating over how many memory slips/mistakes are acceptable on a live CD…I know I’m not perfect, and performing is one thing, but I’m trying to decide if I want everything on the CD.


This picture cracks me up. I look like I’m playing side-saddle or something..and while I WAS it was as part of a short demonstration of the opening chord of Mozart’s Dissonance Quartet. I was standing to talk and then sat down briefly to play the chord.

Side note: I currently have ANOTHER cold. I guess all the stress, traveling, and germy students are catching up to me. On the bright side, this year I won’t be getting the flu since I got my first flu shot ever a few weeks ago!


Target knows how to put on band-aids! That sucker stayed on through a run AND a shower. Another side-note: I haven’t quite gotten used to having health insurance that actually pays for things. I couldn’t believe my insurance covered the flu shot!

Plans for the weekend include hiking, maybe a bike ride, and lots of work around the house. This is the last weekend before my band tour really gets going and I want to take advantage. Of course, being sick is putting a damper on things but I’m trying to ignore it for now.

What are you doing for Halloween?


It’s amazing how much time you have when you decide to take a day off practicing the violin. I’m taking the next few days off because I’m traveling and it’s just lovely to be able to do other things. My house is a disaster…how DO people other people keep up on life with full schedules? But this morning I’ve managed to deal with some trash, recycling, kitty litter, vacuuming, quick trip to Target, short run, and I’ve painted my toenails. It’s supposed to be hot in Phoenix so I’m bringing a pair of sandals and figured I’d better paint my nails. The things we ladies do…now I’m letting them dry and then it’s time to finish packing. I feel like I’ve done more this morning already than most bloggers do in a day ;) and yet it really isn’t that much.


She has an uncanny ability to find any amount of clean laundry and sit on it. It’s one of her favorite things.

I find it difficult to go to Target these days being a new aunt. All of the baby stuff looks so cute! I had to get a few things of course…heaven forbid my carryon bag not be packed full of adorable baby clothing.


I’ve been collecting these things for the blog for awhile, but hadn’t had the two minutes required to blog. (It is more like 5 minutes. I’ve said it before but the trick to writing a blog post quickly is to not proofread, edit, or do anything fancy with your pictures! This tells you how busy I’ve been over the past few months, I didn’t have those 5 minutes.)

And don’t get too excited. I’ll likely be too busy again, but I’m so thrilled that last night’s concert is both over AND was a great success. I had a wonderful time playing Schumann Piano Quintet (I’m not a huge Schumann fan but that piece is just so much fun) and Mozart’s Dissonance Quartet. We have a lot of plans for the spring but things are settling down for the group, and mostly because my band is getting into full swing.

Okay, I’d better get lunch and get going. Have a great weekend, readers!

thoughts about violin, teaching, running, life.