Thursday, March 05, 2015

This Blog is Moving!

After over ten years of being a grateful Blogger blogger, I am moving to WordPress. Please click here to find all future posts. This site remains as an archive. Thanks, friends, for reading!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Radio Play

The Nields - XVII
WRSI Springfield MA
WXRV Haverhill MA
WUMB Boston MA
WERS Boston MA
WMBR Cambridge MA
WMVY Martha's Vineyard MA
WRIU Kingston RI
WMWV Conway NH
WCLZ Portland ME
WERU Bangor ME
MPR Bangor ME
WMUD Burlington VT
WNCS Montpelier VT
WKZE Sharon CT
WWUH W. Hartford CT
WCNI New London CT
WFDU Teaneck NJ
WNTI Hackettstown NJ
WBJB Lincroft NJ
WFUV New York NY
WXPK White Plains NY.
WEHM East Hampton NY
WDST Woodstock NY
WYEP Pittsburgh PA
WQBR McElhattan PA.
WDIY Bethlehem PA
WAMU Washington DC.
World Café Syndicated
WXPN Philadelphia PA
WLVR Bethlehem PA.
Sirius Satellite
XM Satellite
WRNR Annapolis MD
WTMD Towson MD
WOCM Ocean City MD
WTYD Norfolk VA
WHRV Norfolk VA
WNRN Charlottesville VA
WCNR Charlottesville VA
WVMP Roanoke VA
WRRW Williamsburg VA
WHEE Martinsville VA
RadioFreeAmericana Internet VA
WOXL Asheville NC
WVOD Manteo NC
WNCW Spindale NC
WGWG Boiling Springs NC
WSGE Dallas/Charlotte NC
WUIN Wilmington NC
WCOO Charleston SC
WWNU Columbia SC
FolkAlley/WKSU Kent OH
WMLB Atlanta GA
WUSM Hattiesburg MS Internet
WZNN Birmingham AL
WZEW Mobile AL
WMS Internet AL.
WIKX Charlotte Harbor FL
WFIT Melbourne FL AAA Internet Amer.
WRLT Nashville TN Comm
Billy Block Nashville TN Amer.
WSM Nashville TN Amer.
WUTC Chattanooga TN Noncomm
WETS Johnson City TN Amer.
WFIV Knoxville TN Comm
WDVX Knoxville TN Amer.
WEVL Memphis TN Noncomm
WFPK Louisville KY Noncomm
WMKY Morehead KY Noncomm
WUKY Lexington KY Noncomm
WNKU Highland Hts. KY Noncomm
WHAY Whitley City KY Comm
WMMT Whitesburg KY Amer.
WJCU Cleveland OH Noncomm
WCBE Columbus OH Noncomm
WYSO Yellow Springs OH Noncomm
WOUB Athens OH Noncomm A
WTTS Indianapolis IN Comm
WFHB Bloomington IN Noncomm
WGCS Goshen IN Amer.
ACOUSTIC CAFE Syndicated Noncomm
CIDR Detroit MI Comm. AAA
WDBM E. Lansing MI Amer.
WYCE Grand Rapids MI Noncomm
KUNI Cedar Falls IA Noncomm
KFMG Des Moines IA AAA
WBSD Milwaukee WI Noncomm
WYMS Milwaukee WI Noncomm
WMMM Madison WI Comm
WORT Madison WI Noncomm
WJMQ Clintonville WI Amer.
KCMP Minneapolis MN Noncomm
KTCZ Minneapolis MN Comm
KAXE Grand Rapids MN Noncomm
KMMS Bozeman MT Comm
KDTR Missoula MT Comm
KRVO Kalispell MT AAA
WXRT Chicago IL Comm
WLCE Springfield IL Comm
KOPN Columbia MO Amer. A
KCKC Kansas City MO Comm
KDHX St. Louis MO Amer.
KCLC St. Louis MO Noncomm
KTBG Warrensburg MO Noncomm
KROK DeRidder LA Comm
KSLU Hammond LA Noncomm
KDRP Dripping Springs TX Amer.
KPFT Houston TX AAA/Am
KTRU Houston TX Amer
KHYI Dallas TX Comm
KKXT Dallas TX Noncomm
KNBT New Braunfels TX Comm
KUT-FM Austin TX Noncomm
KGSR Austin TX Comm
KSYM San Antonio TX Noncomm
KCCT Corpus Christi TX Amer.
KBCO Denver CO Comm
KGNU Boulder CO Noncomm
KFMU Steamboat Spgs. CO Comm
KSPN Aspen CO Comm
KSMT Breckenridge CO AAA
KYSL Frisco CO Comm
KUNC Greeley CO Noncomm
KRCC Colorado Spgs. CO Noncomm
KRFC Ft. Collins CO AAA
KSUT Ignacio CO Noncomm
KVNF Paonia CO Noncomm
KDNK Carbondale CO Noncomm
INDIE 1015 Internet
KUWR Laramie WY Noncomm
KMTN Jackson WY Comm
KPND Sandpoint ID Comm
KSKI Hailey ID Comm.
KRCL Salt Lake City UT Noncomm
KXCI Tucson AZ Noncomm
KBAC Santa Fe NM
KTAO Taos NM Comm
KTHX Reno NV Comm
DMX Noncomm
DMX AAA National Noncomm
KCRW Los Angeles CA Noncomm
Folkscene Los Angeles CA
KCSN Northridge CA Amer.
KFOG San Francisco CA Comm
KZSU Stanford CA Amer.
KRCB Rohnert Park CA Noncomm
KWMR Point Reyes CA Noncomm
KPRI San Diego CA Comm
KPIG Monterey CA Comm
KFJC San Jose CA Amer.
KRSH Santa Rosa CA Comm
KOZT Ft. Bragg CA Comm
KHUM Humboldt CA Comm
KVMR Nevada City CA Noncomm
KKCR Hanalei HI Noncomm
KPUR Forest Grove OR Noncomm
KINK Portland OR AAA
KRVM Eugene OR Noncomm
KLCC Eugene OR Noncomm
KSMF Ashland OR Noncomm A
KLRR Bend OR Comm
KBCS Bellevue WA Amer.
KOHO Leavenworth WA Comm
KEXP Seattle WA Noncomm
KNBA Anchorage AK Noncomm
WVGN St. Thomas VI

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Treadmill Studio: Yes, I Know I Am Ridiculous

The snow, oh, the snow. One must have a mind of winter, to paraphrase Wallace Stevens (as a certain folk-rock band once did), not to think of the inherent misery of the extreme cold, the extreme inhospitableness, the extreme annoyance of snow. But I am pretty sure Mr. Stevens was not a working parent who had to stay home with stir crazy, and often ill, children who have tasted of the fruits of Good and Evil (AKA ipads and other screens), and who have been given a deathtrap (AKA a mini tramp) by their foolish parents, and who are screaming for blood, (AKA more Harry Potter movies, especially those way above their Screens Guild Suggested Rating).

As I type this, my 6 year old just got up from his fever-induced nap. My 8 year old daughter is bringing me her 5-6 sheets of "homework" I discovered this morning in her knapsack. She watched Harry Potter 5 this morning while my son slept. Now she wants to watch HP7-A, but I insisted she do her homework first. And I? I am trying to write, even just a little fluff post on my treadmill. I am trying to care for my dear ones, while at the same time working an album release schedule replete with radio interviews, press set ups, and gigs. I have a retreat in Florida next week THANK GOD!, and I need to send out an email to the participants to see how many are vegetarians and how many are cave people, or whatever you call those paleo-types. (I am one of those, which is why I can hurl slurs around like this.)(Speaking of cave people, my kids turned me on to the movie The Croods, which I love! It's by John Cleese, Monty Python alum, but I digress...)

My big insurrection against the winter was the vision and eventual purchase of a treadmill so that I could create a treadmill desk situation. My friend Gayle Huntress came over a few weeks ago and gave me a major organization consultation for my small office space. As we poked around my ridiculous amounts of stuff, I mentioned, almost off-hand, that my dream was to set up a treadmill with a desk so I could shuffle my feet and be standing for more of the day. Though I am a regular runner (AKA "plodder") and visit the gym three times a week for weight training, plus do my daily sun salutation, I am extremely sedentary otherwise. I work from home, so I don't even have a walk from the parking lot to my office. The most exercise I get outside of my 20 minute a day workout is when I go to the co-op for groceries. Since the weather's been so horrible, I haven't even gone out for my run. Instead, I've been trotting up and down my stairs for 20 minutes, usually while talking on the phone or texting to people, but also listening to audiobooks on my iphone (I am re-listening to Cheryl Strayed's wonderful "Tiny Beautiful Things" right now. Highly recommended.)I should also say that for the past 6 years, I have bundled up and run in every kind of weather, doing my 20 minute plod no matter what. This year I began to wonder if this behavior had any correlation to my tendency to get sick and stay stick for six weeks each time I caught a cold. I am happy to report that, with the new stay-inside-and-climb-stairs regime, so far I have had only one cold, and it has only lasted for 10 days.

Gayle looked alarmed as I told her all this, mostly out of concern that in my stair-climbing workout I would take a tumble while texting. "Go on Craigslist," she said. "You can get a great treadmill there." And together we made an algorithm of the steps I would need to take to get from where I was (a hugely cluttered office with two desks, two desk chairs and a closet full of clothes I never wear) to the office of my dreams, with treadmill and treadmill desk.

I searched craigslist for a few weeks. My eye caught on an affordable NordicTrack c900 that seemed the right balance of serious and...well, affordable. I consulted with my sister Abigail, expert on both treadmills and buying stuff in general. My husband warned me that, while he supported the purchase and general concept of a treadmill/desk set up, he would under no circumstances participate in getting the behemoth into our house and up the stairs to my office. Fair enough; his back is as valuable to me as it is to him. So I re-checked the Nordic post and saw that the poster promised "may be able to help with transport." So I called him. Long story short, the treadmill of my dreams was...right next door. My neighbors have recently moved out of state, and they left all their stuff in their house for this guy I was on the phone with to sell. Top of his list was this gigantic treadmill.

All that was left was writing a check and trying to figure out how to get it up the stairs. My poster immediately rescinded his offer to help, citing a hernia, and I called Smooth Movers. After about three days of moving the treadmill incrementally closer to my office, it's finally here. And today, I found a loose board in the attic that fits perfectly into the odd armholes.

A few words about treadmills, that I should have voiced before I let my kids on it. Treadmills are NOT for kids! This caused a lot of tears and consternation. Both kids had been huge cheerleaders of the treadmill as it rose on our horizon. But on day one, Jay shot backwards right into the door jamb and got whacked in the buttocks. An inch or so to the right and he would have jammed his spine. This is unfortunate. The kids really do need exercise, and I wish there were a safer way to get them moving when it's so cold out.

A few weeks ago, they started a snow shoveling business. Maybe I should hire them again. When they get well. Anyway, Abigail tells me that treadmills' belts go, and they will need to be repaired. I will keep you posted on my progress. Do you have a treadmill? Do you use yours? Since it took three entire days to get the thing up the stairs, I fully intend on ponying up and making this thing work––before the snow melts. Next up: I am going to buy a keyboard and practice piano as I plod!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SNOMG! And Our Traumatic Ecstatic Day

I discovered yesterday that Patty, our longtime manager, doesn’t believe in indoor heating. I figure this has something to do with her obsession with women's basketball and subsequent wardrobe of extremely thick Connecticut Sun sweatsuits. Or maybe it's because she drinks so much hot coffee that she is inured to the cold. This was the only explanation I could come up with yesterday, as I sat on her living room floor with my fingerless gloves and my polar fleece balaklava and my filthy yellow parka, addressing envelopes, stamping envelopes with Katryna’s super cool woodblock stamp that says “XVII”, signing copies of the new CD in one of the mirrors of the mirror barn that lays out on the booklet as one opens it.

I put a CD into an envelope, sealed it, and looked at the address. Fans from Missouri. Fans from Texas. Fans from Florida. Several from Seattle. One from Wisconsin. Many from CT, NY, MD, VA. Too many to count from MA. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for these fans, some whose names I knew well; some whose names I’d never heard, though perhaps if I saw their faces I would recognize them. I saw names of friends, and names of cousins I rarely see. All four of my aunts pledged, and to see each of their names on our packages warmed me to the point where I almost felt like I could take off my balaklava. And in that cold living room, with Patty’s daughter and granddaughter (one helping, one charming) and Katryna, my kids (also helping, charming) I felt a solid completion, even though we didn’t get every label onto every envelope, and there are still boxes of CDs, a few books and bags scattered around.
It had already been A Day. Jay’s first cavity filling that morning had gone from bad to worse. He has a gag reflex, and is not such a fan of dentist in the best of times, but having been assured by Elle and me that fillings were no big deal, he was not prepared for the horror he encountered. “They are actually DWILLING MY TOOTH!” he wailed, putting his hand up to stop them, to take the horrible beige laughing gas mask off his sweet little tear-stained face. “Don’t cry!” the dental assistant kept saying. “The gas can’t work if you get all stuffed up and breathe through your mouth instead of your nose!”

I wanted to hit her. Instead, I held his two hands and kept murmuring, “Mama’s here. Mama loves you,” as he became incrementally traumatized. Having read Peter Levine’s Waking the Tiger, I suggested he shake himself off like a dog when he finally got up, trembling, from the dentist’s chair, but all he wanted to do was be held. So I held him.

When we arrived at Patty’s, I was starving, having had to take my kids to both Berkshire Yogurt (closed) AND GoBerri, because of the dentist (naturally, if one has cavities, and then fillings, one needs more sugar to get over the affront). But just as I heated up my meal and was sitting down to eat it, both Katryna and Patty’s daughter Ashley took one look at Jay and shouted, “He’s having an allergic reaction to novocaine! Go get him some Benedryl!” I hesitated, fork halfway to mouth. But these two Supermoms had no mercy. “NOW! Get him Benedryl NOW!” So, I gave one more reluctant glance at my warm food and made Jay put his coat back on (well, actually, given Patty’s no heat rule, he’d never taken it off) and we set back out to the van.

Couldn't there just be one less thing to worry about? Here we are in the midst of Blizzageddon, trying both to get our Pledge packages out AND prepare for possible power outages. We have no fireplace, wood stove or any other way to stay warm should we lose power. I was planning to get my van filled up with gas and make it to Radio Shack in between the PO and Elle’s violin lesson, plus the requisite trip to the grocery store for extra bananas. So in the van, out of sight of the Supermoms, I decided to call the dentist before driving to the Rite Aid.

“Is it just on one side of his mouth, “the receptionist asked immediately. “Take a picture and email it to me.” I did so, while still on the phone with her.
AH! The joys of a smart phone!

“No worries. He’s bitten his lip because he’s numb. Tell him to stop.” She said, and I brought my traumatized son back into Patty's cold house.

Even with all of us signing, stamping, stuffing, we had to dash to fill Patty’s Prius with the boxes of envelopes to make it to Patty's appointment with the Easthampton PO for 3-5pm. As we were loading up her car with boxes full of stuffed envelopes, she discovered that her Prius's latch was broken, so she called AAA. Finally, latched fixed, Elle and Jay and I helped Patty get the boxes into the small car. We got to the PO at five of, only to find that they were closing because of Snowcapolyse. The four of us stood there with huge boxes of stuffed envelopes in our arms, Jay holding the “special” ones as Patty had instructed him to do. The employees were all refusing to make eye contact with Patty, who was fuming. But we prevailed. I'm sure the kids' cuteness didn't hurt. Who can resist a couple of kids in snow parkas being helpers? So finally, the Postmaster General of Easthampton had no choice but to accept our many (like 500) packages. They might sit there until Snowgas Khan has retreated, but at least they are out of Patty’s Prius.

Snowgas Khan, or SNOMG! turned out to be a bust. Just as well. I am going to close this almost pointless post with a couple of observations.
#1.Patty totally rocks, and we won the jackpot in tricking her to be our manager lo these 20 odd years ago.
#2.My dear friend Anne emailed me this picture to prove that we were smart in our choice of album cover. Cool People, a piano, a tree. Nuff said.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

New Year's Fire Pit and The Basement Tapes

Last night, we lit a fire in our backyard fire pit and huddled around it, jostling each other to find the back end of the breeze. It was a crisp 19 degrees with a waxing moon, clear and solemn in the star speckled sky. We don't have a fireplace or a wood stove, but this backyard pit has its advantages (though one can't hang stockings around it.) Jay and Elle found sticks and persuaded us to haul out the marshmallows. So on January first, we inaugurated a new tradition: the New Year's Fire Pit Intentions Ceremony.

Sitting in the cold, taking much solace in the warmth from the flames, I couldn't help but think of how these evening fires created our civilization. "Mom, who invented fire?" Jay asked. "Or, who discovered it," Tom wondered. "Prometheus," I offered, and told them the story of the demi-god sacrificing his liver (daily) in recompense for sharing this element with humankind. "Gross," said Elle. "Yes,"I agreed. And then I commenced to stare into the fire. How exactly has the TV improved on this practice of gathering in the evening and spacing out, transfixed, on this vision of flames dancing, receding, expanding to frightening levels that threaten to lash out of their container, and then finally diminishing again into brilliant red edges along blackened bits of wood? This is where story telling began: around a fire. Same with songs, I am sure. (Probably the first stories were songs, and/or vice versa). How did the expanding and contracting of the flames influence the storyteller as she spun her tale to her fire-bound audience? Did the leaping flames have an effect on the character's actions? Did dying embers offer an alternate plot twist?

Perhaps my favorite Christmas present this year was a copy of the revised Bob Dylan/The Band Basement Tapes (the "raw" version which is substantially shorter than the deluxe version.) Huge Dylan fan that I am, and Band fan too*, I never cared for the Basement Tapes, at least not the version that came out in 1975. It struck me as a bunch of pot-influenced drunken music. I am embarrassed now by that assessment, as I am completely obsessed with the tenor of this new release. It's like being in the living room with these guys as they surround us with the sounds of carnival. (How I love Richard Manuel's piano! And voice!) I can't stop listening to this record. I feel as though I have discovered gold. How could I not have known all of these songs before? Well, many I did, and many I sang ("You Ain't Going Nowhere," "I Shall Be Released,") but others I am just discovering ("Open the Door, Homer," "900 Miles from Home," "Apple Suckling Tree.") They seem already like old friends, and I am looking forward to delving into the layers of lyric Dylan always provides.

A couple of days ago, someone flamed me on Facebook. I won't get into why; suffice it to say that it was unexpected and strange, and while I took in the criticism and tried to see my part in it and how I could make amends to this person, I also just felt burned. When it happened, I sat, powerbook on my lap, and felt the heat infuse my body. This is what shame feels like to me: hot, consuming, total. Because of years of therapy, I was able to do this: to just feel the feelings apart from the story of who said what. I concentrated on the raw feeling. As Thich Naht Hahn says, "When your house is burning down, put the fire out. Don't go looking for who lit it." After a few minutes, I noticed the heat abating in my body. I pictured the person who flamed me; fortunately I had known her when she was a young girl, so I pictured her sweet adolescent face. I thought about the pain she must be in today to do something like what she did. I lifted a prayer to her. Then I got up and told my husband about it. "Why do you even go online?" he asked. "People are insane."

Maybe. But they're also wonderful.

Back at the intentions ceremony, Elle announced that hers was to help her cousin William get a dog. Tom's was to accept more the daily things he has to do. Jay's was a long speech about how he hoped people would be less greedy and recycle more. Also that they would be "mostly happy." Mine was about commencing to outgrow fear. I know I will never be successful, but I'm digging in my heels this year and trying a little harder. I am tired of being afraid of what others think of me. I am tired of my greedy little inner bean-counter who thinks perpetually she's getting the raw end of the deal. I am tired of that cold metallic pinchy feeling I get when I sense I am losing control of my kids. (Which happens hourly.) I am going to experiment with faith. I am going to play with trusting and relying on a much more generous spirit than the one I possess on my own, cut off from the rest of you. I'm going to embrace my age--47 at this moment--and try to act like a wise, confident grown up, and also let loose more often and play like a kid. Or my dog. I want to channel some of that joyous non-sensical spirit of those Basement Tapes and make some fun music with my friends. I am going to practice my piano, and use that growth mindset everyone's talking about to stick with it when it gets hard.

*We opened for the Band in 1995 at Mass MoCA. Though we did not get an encore and we sold a pathetic 1 (one) CD that night, more folks than I can count have come up to us since and told us they discovered us at that show. "The Weight" was one of the first songs we covered as a band.