What I Learned In April

Taking a cue from several other bloggers who wrap up each month this way, I am sharing things I learned or re-learned in April.

We are fragile alone and stronger together.

I’m recovering from two weeks of back pain and a cold, both of which left me physically weak and tired, and emotionally worn-down. The drive I wake up with every morning had abandoned me and I felt like I was in a fog of uncertainty, low confidence, and non-clarity. You know what helped me most (after extra sleep and rest)? Seeing the faces of my friends!

On Friday, one friend came over for lunch, shared what’s new in her life, transformation and personal growth that’s happening, her thoughts and feelings on work and family, her struggles and successes. It was so good to listen to her story and to share mine as well. And on Saturday, another friend came over, we discussed ideas for a class we are collaborating on, she shared her latest creative work, we talked about parenting, spirituality, relationships, and more. I felt inspiration returning as well as a renewed desire to keep going with my creative and business endeavors.

Muscle spasms are intense.

As I wrote about in this post, I just had one of the most painful experiences of my life: muscle spasms in my upper back. I couldn’t breathe, and could barely so I thought I was dying of something. The pain was so intense–no position standing or lying down would ease it. My greatest sources of relief were Alan’s massages every few hours and applying aromatherapy pain relief blends I made. The recipes are here. Two weeks later, I am still moving very carefully, walking, doing gentle yoga, and light resistance training.

A few days away from home can do wonders for rejuvenation and recovery.

A sweet couple whom we met last summer on one of our music gigs gifted us a two-night stay at their cabin on Keuka Lake. Since Alan had a cold and I was in a good amount of back pain at the time, we spent the time sleeping, reading, watching old movies, and taking life slowly. We visited a winery one afternoon and walked down Penn Yan’s Main Street. There was a lovely kitchen in the cabin, so we mostly made our meals and ate on-site, and went out to eat only a couple of times. It felt so wonderful to have no responsibilities of home and work and family. This time away was just what we needed! I will be sharing more about our stay at this cabin in a future post.

I’m still trying to figure out if I belong in a church.

On Easter Sunday, Alan and I visited a local church. In my imagination, the service would contain beautiful music and ritual and the minister would share an inspiring and challenging message. Instead, as what often happens in public places these days, there was an ill-behaved three or four-year-old boy that whined and cried and yelled and talked over the top of everything. His mother and grandmother just let him go on and on, ruining the service for everyone else. Finally, after most of the music and all of the readings were finished, and the minister was about to begin her sermon, the mother had enough and took him out. I couldn’t get my mind or emotions to focus for the brief remainder of the service. It was super frustrating!

I love film-noir.

Recently, Alan and I watched Murder, My Sweet starring Dick Powell and Anne Shirley. This 1944 film is one of the Philip Marlowe mystery series that included The Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. When we paused the film to get drinks, I said, “I love film-noir,” and Alan said he did too. The black and white low lighting, the suspense, the hard-edged crime the Some of my other favorites are Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, Key Largo, and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

What did YOU learn in April?


Finger Lakes Wines I’m Loving

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I seem to be on a foodie trail lately, so I’ll just go with it. I wanted to share my current favorite local wines with you. If you’re lucky enough to live in the Finger Lakes Region, you already know how much fun we have here. New wineries seem to spring up overnight around these lakes.

Last year, for Mother’s Day, we went over to Keuka Lake to Hunt Country, Dr Frank’s, and Heron Hill for a tasting at each. That was my first time at those wineries and I enjoyed interacting with the staff, tasting their delicious offerings and the views of Keuka Lake as well.

So here are my late winter picks:

Wagner Vineyard’s Vintner’s Riesling is one I picked out at Trumansburg Wine & Spirits about a month ago and immediately fell in love with. Sorry, out-of-towners, but you can only purchase this at local stores. Which means you will have to come visit! It’s a great price and easy to pair with light meals.

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Six Mile Creek Vineyard’s Ithaca Red is all berry jam and spices. Yum. This wine was one of the only things I could sample at last year’s Downtown Ithaca Chili Festival. It’s a fun wine to share with a friend on a cold day.

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Hector Wine Company’s Soul White is a semi-dry blend that I enjoy drinking anytime. Alan and I brought a bottle to the first Big Mean BBQ that we attended together to drink along with our fare from the Silo Food Truck. So it brings back happy memories for me whenever I taste it.

Hector Wine Company’s 2016 Riesling is their semi-dry wine that Jason served us after our show there a couple of weeks ago. Cheerful, fruity and perfect for a celebration.

There you are, dear readers! It’s Friday, so pick up a bottle of fabulous Finger Lakes wine, make a delicious dinner and enjoy your evening.

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At Home in the Finger Lakes

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A few days ago, I spent an hour or so on Instagram adding several hundred accounts to the list of those I follow. The photos from Europe and the UK in particular have me itching to pack my bags, cross the ocean and immerse myself in the beauty of otherness and be thrilled with whatever is new and foreign to me. I’ve been waiting to travel my whole life, but refuse to give up on my goal. Trying to be patient in the meantime is tough, but at least I can see through the eyes of other world travelers any minute of the day on Instagram.

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Do you ever feel discontented about where you live and wish for some fresh landscapes to inspire and refresh you? But as I wait for my opportunity, I will be thankful for the wildness, drama and variety of this region I live in. I’ve visited unremarkable places, but the Finger Lakes region is not one of these. Waterfalls, gorges, wooded hills, valleys, lakes and streams, farm fields and meadows stretch in all directions. Small town life definitely still exists and I live it. Small villages and towns are to be found every few miles. Biking, hiking, boating, fishing, skiing, and plain old walking can yield an abundance of breathtaking beauty.

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The leaves are mostly off our trees, the fields are either harvested or being harvested, squirrels are collecting their last store of food for winter. We’ve had a dusting of snow and have woken up to frost-covered cars several times already. The wind has taken on a cold and blustery Northern edge.

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We are discussing Thanksgiving recipes and preparing for the Advent and Christmas season. Wooden angels and pine trees already decorate my mantel and I’m researching where I can get some evergreen shrubs for the front door. In a week, I’ll be getting an evergreen tree for the library as well. Here is where I live and love, so I will notice the goodness all around me and be grateful.

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What do you love about where you live and where would you like to travel next?

 

Local Wines I’m Drinking Lately

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Photo credit: http://www.winemaps.com

I am privileged to live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Specifically, to live between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. I can drive to a winery in ten minutes or less. They’re so close and there are so many.

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Photo credit: http://www.glenora.com

This summer and fall, I’ve been into whites and Rieslings in particular. Here are a few of my favorites:

Glenora Lake Series Riesling

 

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Wagner Vintner’s Riesling (only available in stores)

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Red Newt 2016 “Circle” Riesling

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Heron Hill Ingle Vineyard Riesling

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Although they are all from different vineyards, they all are easy to drink, medium-sweet, go with lighter fare and are inexpensive.

(I buy my wines from Trumansburg Wines and Spirits or from Northside Wine & Spirits in Ithaca.)

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Photo credit: http://www.fingerlakeswinecountry.com

Do you have a favorite wine you are drinking right now?

Day 27: Stranger Things, Wizarding Weekend and Wagner’s

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Stranger Things Season 2 was released this morning at 12. I’ve been counting down the days. My daughter and her friend have probably finished most of it by now. As soon as this blog post is done, I’ll be watching episode one. I’m neither a sci-fi or horror fan, last September I binge-watched the entire first season one Wednesday when I was home nursing a cold. Winona Ryder’s portrayal of Joyce Byers, a woman on the verge of losing her mind because her son’s gone missing, plus the great cast of child actors and the creepy plot line all fascinated me. And like everyone else who’s fallen in love with the show, we’ve been impatiently waiting for the next season. I’ll let you know what I think.

This morning I wasn’t watching Stranger Things because I worked out at the gym. Alan and I are members of Seneca Fitness in Interlaken and work out there most mornings. My friends Penny and Doug McGill are the owners. Anything the McGills do is top-notch and the gym is no exception. The color scheme is teal, purple, white, magenta, and lime. The bathrooms and shower areas are downright luxurious and there is an ample supply of cardio and weight machines and free weights. On top of all that, it’s always spotlessly clean, you can come and go whenever as it’s a 24 hour facility and the membership fee is very reasonable. So, we had a good sweat session, went home, showered, ate and drove to Ithaca.

We were supposed to be visiting Wizarding Weekend, which Facebook told me started at 10AM. We got there around 12:30. The side streets, Press Bay Alley and The Commons were their normal everyday selves. No vendors. No music. No people in cool costumes. Our whole reason for going was so that we could see who sells what and if Alan or I should consider applying for a vendor space next year. I guess we’ll have to go back down on Sunday afternoon. As we were already downtown, Alan said, “Should we go into Autumn Leaves?”, which is the used bookstore on The Commons. So we spent twenty minutes perusing the shelves, but left empty-handed. Honestly, we both have a boatload of books we need to read.

 

Back at home, we are doing some work and getting ready to go to Wagner’s 20th Anniversary Celebration tonight, where Mutron Warriors, one of Alan’s favorite local bands, will be playing. It should be fun. I’ll take and share pictures.

Happy Friday! What will you be doing this weekend?

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Day 16: Pierre and Co.

 

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This Saturday I’ll be have a vendor table at the Searsburg Community Church and Grange Fall Craft Sale. It’s from 9-2pm. As usual, I feel like I’m not ready and have so many things I want to make if I can find the time.

Today I cut out and sewed little felt dolls. The original is named Pierre. He’s cute and a little creepy and he likes to hide.

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It’s fun to hide him and let someone discover him in a cupboard, their dresser drawer, the refrigerator, the shower, etc. Alan and I hide him on each other and it’s just a little way to say, ” I was thinking about you today”.

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Anyway, I’m making more of these little people and they’ll be available on Saturday at the craft sale or through Facebook and eventually Etsy.

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If you craft, what are you making this time of year?

 

Day 13: Behind the Scenes

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It’s nearly noon and I’m still in my pajamas. The gym is calling me and I hope I’ll be able to go, or at least do some yoga and Pilates here at home. This morning has been full of preparation and planning. I feel like I’ve been unproductive because I have so much on my To-Do List, but all I’ve done has been necessary.

At breakfast, I sat at the kitchen table and caught up in my Bullet Journal. Honestly, after using it the past year and a half, I feel quite lost when a few days have gone by without me opening it up. It’s a great way for me to connect with all the pieces of my life, to review what I’ve set out to accomplish, my ideas, little incidentals from my days and where I’ve wandered and what I’ve forgotten. I felt very centered when I went through the past few weeks, made a list of upcoming tasks I need to complete and crossed off what I have completed already. That boosted my outlook. If you’d like to learn more about Bullet Journaling, here is a link to The Lazy Genius Collective’s in-depth blog post about it.

I went on to my Morning Pages and let my thoughts scrawl through my three pages.

An then it was time to do social media posts for Alan and me because we have a gig tonight at Ithaca Bakery between 6-8pm. Plus, I updated The Inner Crazy website with some of our upcoming shows and I printed out the song list for tonight.

Does all of this make a difference? I believe so. If I don’t stay current, I’ll lose what ground we’ve gained. I have a goal of two gigs a week eventually. To get there will take many hours of posting, updating, photos, songwriting, recording, and doing it over and over again. I willingly accept the challenge and will work toward my goal.

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What behind the scenes preparation have you worked at this week?

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