Mad Marchness

Last winter seemed like it would never end. By the end of March 2011, I never wanted to see a snow shovel again.

This year, March saw us reaching the upper 70s, low 80s. We've broken high temperature records all month long. So instead of yet another 6" of snow to have to shovel, I'm looking at this...

Crocuses in the garden.

Shrubs and trees leafing out.

Forsythia, rivaling the sunshine.

Ethel's magnolia tree, ready to burst into pink bloom.

Next, I suppose, I'll be complaining about mowing...


The world is his perch

There are comfy, soft, fluffy cat beds all over this house. And Sam The Cat decides to perch...


and here...

(good grief)...

and here...

 and here...

and here.
(OK, this place is pretty comfy and soft...)


I survived the "back from the dead" St. Patrick's Day gig

I wasn't sure if the luck of the Irish would be with me. After posting a few days ago about having lived through a variety of viruses this winter and coming back from the dead...I got whopped with an influenza strain that left me feverish and coughing in alarming fashion. Right before St. Patrick's Day. So sick of being sick. So not sure if I would make it to the Wine Cafe to play, let alone be able to play the entire time.

So I rested. Drank hot whiskey (honey, lemon, Jameson, hot water, mug, ahhhh). Slept and slept. Got Tamiflu (that stuff is a miracle).

I made it.

I even sang.

Martha and Sam from my Celtic Band joined me on a few songs.

I was happy. Very, very, very happy.

It was strange, not giving an Irish concert this year. I felt like I should have been hauling harps and music and CDs and tickets and cleaning my house and baking Guinness chocolate cake to serve at the after party. I should have been advertising and promoting and writing news releases and being on the radio. Instead, it was this lovely evening. A lovely crowd, just like an Irish pub.

After I was done, I drank a little more hot whiskey, danced a quick Irish reel to "Pinball Wizard" performed by Fish Frye and then I went home and crashed my Irish self on the couch and spent some time snuggling with some Irish cats.

(Photos by Joe Tougas and Ann Rosenquist Fee)


Ireland's voice - Happy St. Patrick's Day

A harp in the wind becomes a mystical thing. Ringing, singing, a voice of its own.
A harp in the Irish wind, on the Irish shore, becomes...well...listen:

My good friends Kevin and Lori live in Ireland in an enchanted spot called Mermaid Isle. When I told him I was missing Ireland, this is what Kevin wrote to me and shared on Mermaid Isle's Facebook page:

According to legend, thousands of years ago, when the Gaelic (Milesian) Druid, Amergin, set foot on the beach in Kerry, he subsumed all that was Ireland within himself. He became Ireland. With his harp, he sang:
I am the stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers. 
 So too, Amy's Harp subsumed all that is Ireland within itself by touching the same Kerry beach near Mermaid Isle that Amergin had touched. It should play Irish music like mad.
Kevin took some beautiful photos of me (see them in this post) when I was visiting in the summer of 2010. Of the harp on that very same beach where Amergin landed.

A mystical, magical, musical St. Patrick's Day to you.


News flash: Harpist breaks with St. Patrick's Day tradition!

 We're talking Amy Kortuem, The Harpist.
 And Fish Frye, popular local acoustic duo, made up of
The Harpist's friends Ann Rosenquist Fee and Joe Tougas. 
Photo by Nicole Helget (taken of Amy pushing wine at Ann's Bad Mother Music performance)

We all knew there would come a time when we would meet up on the performance schedule. We all kinda dreamed it would be at some big-stage events with a light show and a tour bus and stuff. We certainly knew it would NOT be on St. Patrick's Day, when The Harpist is usually performing her Irish harp concert with her Celtic Band.

Well, it turns out that this year, The Harpist is NOT giving a St. Patrick's Day harp concert because she's managed to contract a series of bad viruses over the course of 7 weeks and she's been thinking solely about naps and tea and various over-the-counter remedies and what she can eat without suffering...repercussions...instead of thinking about Irish music. Sadly.

Then it turns out that this year, on St. Patrick's Day itself, Fish Frye is scheduled to sing at the Wine Cafe in downtown Mankato as the evening band. A band that needs a warm-up act, a happy-hour gigstress, somebody who plays Irish music...

And that was that. The still-weak, pretty-tired and really-sick-of-sitting-on-the-couch Harpist will be performing her all-time Irish favorites from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Using the Fish Frye sound system to boost her still-scratchy voice on some emotion-filled Irish songs. It will be hailed as her "back from the dead" show.

And then Fish Frye will take that warmed up crowd, add some whiskey and some Zevon, and shenanigan it into the warm March night.

Both The Harpist and Fish Frye hope you can join them. Wear green. Practice your Irish jigs.



"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life...
...music and cats."
- Albert Schweitzer

Except when the cats are ON your music and you're trying to transpose The Parting Glass down a fifth so you can actually sing it. After shooing Harry and Sam away several times, I gave up. And poured another glass of wine. And indulged in all sorts of eye-to-eye kitty love.

 Music can wait.


It's hard to find a white cat in the snow

 Harry, looking longingly outside...

It was juuuuust a second. My friend Sara came over to talk about music and as she left, we hesitated at the front door for truly just a second and Harry saw his chance. Darted between my feet and flew off the front step and disappeared in the direction of the neighbor's house.

It was dark. But Harry's usually easy to find. That white fur fairly glows in the dark. I told Sara to watch where he went while I ran back in the house for some shoes. By the time I got back outside, she'd lost track of Harry. I tiptoed into the neighbor's yard, sing-song calling for Harry so he didn't bolt. Nowhere. No patch of furry white snarfing up dry grass. No fluffy white creature rolling in the mud. No happy little kitty "mrrrow" he makes in his freedom.

Then I saw a shadow. I slowly crept closer and there he was, sitting in the only patch of snow on the block. No wonder we didn't see him. He was busy licking what was left of the little neighbor girl's snowman. I think he thought he'd found his twin.

I picked up Harry, waved goodbye to a laughing Sara, and took The Hairiest and his racing heart back inside. Freedom over, man.

(Remember the last time Harry escaped? 80 degree temperature difference!)