SamTheDrummer got married today...

...and I was a wreck.

I showed up at the wedding with every intention of being the consummate professional harpist for my friend's wedding. And it worked for a little while. I unloaded the harp, greeted Marti and Martha, we warmed up, I conferred with the priest...and then Sam came out in his tuxedo.

And I lost it. LOST it. Couldn't even hide the tears, the sniffles, the sobs.

It didn't get any better once the ceremony started. I was so flustered I even forgot to play the Celtic Alleluia (the Celtic Alleluia, of all things). I quickly blew through (no pun intended) the only ragged tissue I could find balled up in the bottom of my purse. A very kind woman from the congregation passed me her embroidered handkerchief. It was soaked through in a couple of minutes.

Beautiful ceremony. So much love. Happiness.

I was just thinking, "I wish I had a photo of the girls from the Celtic Band performing at the wedding," but then thought better of it. When I cry, it's not a pretty sight. You know those romantic movie heroines who can sob and sob and look delicate and vulnerable? Not me. Nope.

I managed to pull myself together by the time we performed Sam's original composition for the recessional. Which was based on a tune from a video game...which was just fine with his wife Jess. Good woman. And for the postlude, we sneaked in a few rounds of "I Buried My Wife and Danced On Her Grave" just for fun. (Jess doesn't know about this, though...hee hee).

The Celtic Band, with Sam as dressed up as you'll ever see him.
Handsome bloke, no?

I do have a photo that will shock you, though. I felt like a National Geographic photographer when I captured this rare occurrence...

...SamTheDrummer TALKING.

Already got in a good cry, and it's not even 9:30 a.m.

A bride and her mom came over early this morning to hear the harp and see if they'd like me to play for the wedding.

Are they here yet?
Harry loves it when ladies come over.

Four measures into Pachelbel's "Canon in D," and the mom was tearing up. Eight measures in, and the bride was sniffling, too. By the time I got to the end, all three of us were wiping our eyes (sympathetic waterworks — I can't see someone cry without matching them tear for tear myself). I got us some tissues and we all had a good cry that turned into an even better laugh.

I'll be playing at a wedding next June. "Canon in D," for sure.


Spring comes and goes

Spring in Minnesota is a fickle thing, a tease, a come-hither wink and then a cold shoulder. Last week, I had the heat on in the house. Last night, after a hot and windy day, I slept with the air conditioner on in my bedroom. Tomorrow the high will be 55 degrees.

But despite the ups and downs and the winds and the heat and the cold, my garden is persevering. Only a week ago, it was a bare, monotone, skeleton-scape of last year's stalks and dead blossoms and leaves. Today, there was hope all around.

The old, giving way to the new.
These are "Angelique" tulips.
I hope the rabbits don't have them
for lunch before they bloom.

There was a kiss of green on all the bushes.

The bleeding hearts were leafing out.
In a few weeks, they'll hang their little
pink and white bloomers out on the line.

And some long-lost friends.
Crocuses I planted years ago,
making a welcome reappearance.

Bring it on, Mother Nature. Bring it on.


New faces in the garden

With the departure of the Garden Cats last summer, some new faces have appeared in my garden.

This healthy-looking, well-fed little guy,
blending in with the dead leaves left in the garden...

...and his equally well-fed friend.

Dang. They're so sweet. I'm reluctant to wish them harm (as my Mom says, "I hate those damned rabbits but they're too cute to shoot."). But when I see them stretch out their front feet, lazily roll onto their sides and turn their heads to munch on a tulip leaf...not so cute. There's a whole world out there, bunnies. Go eat it, not my garden.


Simple Gifts

Sunlight and the first 60 degree day of the spring. A church full of people celebrating a new season, new life. Children squealing during an Easter egg hunt outside.

And a choir was singing to us about what a gift it is to be simple, free, where we're supposed to be.

It was Dale Warland's arrangement of "Simple Gifts"
with harp accompaniment and it was lovely.
Happy Easter.


Two sure signs of spring

We don't mark the beginning of spring in this household with seeing the first robin hop through the yard or the first tulip poke through the garden debris. Oh no. We know it's spring...

...when the catnip pops up by Ethel's fence...

...and when Harry lets go his winter coat.
This is the result of one brushing.

It was worth the half hour of crying, hissing, scratching, biting, dramatic escape attempts and many promises of treats. He's walking through the house now, trailing his gorgeously brushed tail and stopping to pose for maximum silky fur adoration. Beautiful boy. How about some of that catnip?


Spring walk and I didn't bring my camera

It's finally been fairly warm and I've finally felt like going on walks again. I put on my new walking shoes and hit the sidewalks. The neighborhood was almost Rockwellian, and I spent every other step kicking myself for leaving my camera at home.

My neighbor Shawn was out raking with a vintage implement he got at an auction. You should have seen this thing. It looked more like an instrument of torture than a rake, but it was getting the job done. I told him for the 100th time to keep an eye out for more important things at auctions, like Jadeite. "Is that the green stuff?" he asked, for the 100th time. Funny guy.

Brutus The Great Big Black Cat and his person, Rich, were also out for a stroll. Brutus hunkers down in the dirt, eats grass, gets tangled in the shrubs, stretches out on the sidewalk, rolls in the gutter. Brutus is getting up there in age and doesn't do much walking anymore, so Rich just holds the leash to Brutus' harness and reads a book. Rich thinks this summer he'll delve deeper into Louis L'Amour. Perfect cat-walking literature.

Two other neighborhood cats — the fluffy calico who lives in the house with gingerbread trim and the little silky black cat with the white bib who lives down the street — came running up to rub on my legs and send greetings to the Kortuem Cats. I got a good sniff-over when I got home. We're glad everybody made it through the winter.

And the sidewalks. This wasn't just your regular hopscotch and scribbles. This was high art. There was a solar system, a bunch of things I think were Easter bunnies and eggs and a whole village of little kids in outline.

Spring is here. Happy Easter.


My hands

Whenever I play, one or two people come and stand nearby but not too close, arms folded, staring at my hands. "Mesmerizing," they say. I've done and said the same when I've watched other harpists play.

But I so rarely get to see my own hands in action from any other perspective, obviously, than behind the harp where I sit. I used to try to practice in a mirror when I was unlearing my self-taught "technique." Impossible. It's like trying to read upside-down and backwards. A couple of times I've seen myself perform on a video of a concert, but rarely close-up.

This photo was taken at an open house I played at last month.
The nice photographer emailed me some great shots.
I love the close-up, the motion, the way you can see
how my fingers are really working.

My hands are very strong after all these years of playing the harp. Especially since I've had the concert harp, which has quite the tension. I remember shaking a man's hand once and he said, "Whoa! Do you milk cows for a living?" Funny.

I'm off to change THREE broken harp strings (this changing weather), and then will put my hands on the strings for a little personal harp therapy.

Keep warm and dry out there, everyone.