Fall Concerts: Seattle, Lopez Island & Decatur Island

It looks like we’re going to have a busy October!

We get to play a house concert on Thursday October 3rd in Seattle, up near the zoo, at our friends Karen & Dick Seymour’s house. RSVP to me. Karen is busy this month with her glass art, which is spectacular!  www.seymourstainedglass.com.  I can’t remember the last time we played a Seattle concert; I think it’s been a while. Lots of new songs, and if we miss an old one you like, just ask. We’d love to see you there!

And just a few days later, we’ll be headed for Lopez Island in the San Juans. Kay & George Keeler are hosting us.

We will be leading a free sing-along for the Lopez weekly Wednesday Senior Luncheon on October 9th. Zeke and I have been running through songs dating from about 1800 through the 1940s, revisiting our favorites and thinking about which are easiest to sing along with.

The next evening, Thursday October 10, we’re playing a full-fledged concert at the Center Church. Songs and instrumentals. Traditional, Contemporary and Original Folk. I’m planning to take the Twangoleum along. We are having a good time thinking of what songs we should definitely sing. Like Zeke’s Noah’s Rabbits song, because the bunnies in that song originally came from the San Juan Islands back in the 1940s.

It’s still up in the air, but we might get to teach a workshop on Ergonomics For Musicians the next day. That’s one of my passions! How to play an F Chord Without Pain for the guitarists. How to practice for less time and still learn more. Sustainable musicianship.

We’ll go back to the islands in mid-November for a visit to the tiny Decatur Island school. The school kids from Shaw will be joining us. Last year we got to go out for Pi Day on March 14 because it’s 3.14. For the mathematicians among you, we toasted Euclid at 1:59 PM. Our host teacher, Joann Wester, had made pies with the kids the day before (weights, measures, kitchen chemistry, life skills). Along with the Shaw kids, teachers, parents and pies – real science ensued. A bunch of interesting round objects and string to measure with, ratios, and discussions of what to do next when results aren’t what you expect. And we offered Zeke’s Pi Day song, and a bunch of traditional American PlayParties for adults and children together. I can’t wait to play with all of them again!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU2SpHgXZYs

We’re planning a trip to Oregon in March, and would love to play house concerts along the way if anyone would like to host. We may go all the way to Eugene!

Impromtu Birthday Concert In Bellingham


Tuesday August 27, 2019, 5:30 – 6:30 PM

Elizabeth Park Gazebo, Bellingham WA

I’m turning 69 on Tuesday. I used to throw a birthday concert every year for decades, until I got too caught up in caring for family members five years ago. I decided this morning that it could be fun to throw an impromptu mini-concert at the gazebo, and give myself the gift of friends and neighbors to sing with.  If there are enough of us, I’d love to lead a few Traditional American Playparties (simple singing and motion games). No PA, just everyone’s voices together. No seating unless you bring your own. Probably even no cake unless someone else shows up with one. No set up, no expenses, no logistics, no prep except running through some songs with Zeke today. But great sing-along songs, old and brand new. If nobody shows up, Zeke and I will sit around and sing with each other for half an hour or so, so no obligation either. We’ll bring the Celebrated Twangoleum as well as my Columbia guitar. We’ve been invited for dinner at 7:00 so this won’t be a long event. You’re all welcome!

Road Trip Report

We’re home and glad to be here. We learned lots, including that even 3 hours a day of driving is too much for real pleasure. But it was fun to visit with people and see them in their spaces and get to know them better. And see new vistas. Visit museums. Many of them had workers who were really happy to have us play a few songs. We took our instruments in to put behind the counter for safekeeping, which led to songs. Relevant songs. Fun to find the right song for each group.

And we ate at interesting places all along the way. On the way home I got into searching the internet for Mexican bakeries along the way, seeking a particular kind of cookie I like. It was interesting that the bakeries were clustered – none in Umatilla but three in nearby Hermiston. None in Kennewick but lots in Pasco. I was looking at the demographics of racism, and clustering of cultures as well. Good cookies too…

I brought a bottle of wine from Paul & Mardi Portteus’ winery in Zillah for a friend who has a restaurant. Dickensons (?) in town distributes their wine. Paul would love to see some more people be interested in Bellingham. We had an interesting story from him when we sang the Walla Walla Waltz. In the early years, 3 of the first four Walla Walla wineries bought their grapes from Paul. He is proud of that, but annoyed he didn’t get the credit. They built their reputation on his grapes. Anyway, we don’t drink but thought our friends might be interested so Paul sent along a couple of bottles.

I took some of Mom’s ashes to her family’s graves. And visited the ranch house where she grew up. The current renter had gathered her sweetheart, her best friend, and her young landlord, who has worked hard to restore the place. I brought old photos and stories, including one of the big vinegar factory that was right across the irrigation canal from the back door. And I took away new photos, and friendships, and pebbles & flowers from the locust tree the yard to take with Mom’s ashes to the graveyards. And had tears at the graveyards. Tuesday I will mail hollyhock seeds from our back garden and California poppies from the front to be planted at the ranch house. I have a sweet photo of Mom and her Mom (Alma) with Alma’s hollyhocks blooming along the side of the ranch house. There’s nothing there now but weeds and rocks, but Crystal has been working to restore the garden. They found some of the roots of Mom’s birth tree buried deep beside the road out front.

Zeke and I came out of it all closer to each other. A week of no internet didn’t hurt. And prepping for concerts.

And with an amazing gift! An offer from some retired videographers to record me and Zeke for free, to put on this website or do anything else we want with the tapes. They are coming here from Kennewick on June 8 & 9. Zeke and I are practicing up a storm till then.

I think our next tour will be MUCH closer to home. Seattle, Olympia, maybe Bellevue or Woodinville or such. Whatever we can figure. Once again to visit folks we know and do house concerts. And another tour to the Olympic Peninsula and maybe Victoria on the way. We think we’d like to take a train with an overnight berth to the Bay Area. Maybe not till next year. It’s nice to be home.

Tri-Cities, Boise, And Mom

We’re crossing the mountains next week, headed inland. It’s a big road trip for me and Zeke, and a bit of a pilgrimage as well. We get to play house concerts in Tri-Cities and in Boise on May 17 & 19. We’ll play tourist of course, and take a spoonful of Mom’s ashes to several places she loved along the way. Maryann Wood Breskin was an Idaho girl who grew up in Ustick and Boise. And since we get to play house concerts (thank you Micki Perry & Susan Elliot!) I’ve been thinking about songs I wrote for Mom. I’ll bring a few of those along to share. Here’s the chorus from the first song I ever wrote, for Mom’s 60th birthday. If you want to hear me sing it, click here:

I watched in your youth from a child’s point of view
Till I noticed that as I grew, you grew too.
Lately I’ve wondered if you really know
What a pleasure it’s been, Mother, watching you grow.

Zeke has written several new songs in this last period. There are politics to comment on of course, but now and again some new and unexpected viewpoint gives rise to a quirky, hilarious Zeke Song that could never come from any other mind.

Trip To Boise, Idaho

We’re headed to Boise next month, to take some of Fl!p’s mom’s ashes (Maryann Wood Breskin) back to the farm where she was raised. We’re playing in Tri-Cities and then in Boise. We’re working on setting up more house concerts and workshops along the way. We’d even be delighted to come to YOUR house if it’s not too crazy far out of the way.

Her dad planted two Sycamore Maples to celebrate Mom’s birth in 1923. The photo below is of mom with her tree over 60 years later.