Planning a Trip

We have been talking about traveling to Europe or Canada for quite awhile. Other trips have come up, too, in our discussion. Yosemite, skiing, Hearst Castle have also been discussed but we haven’t really acted on anything because Alan’s mother is approaching death with all the encumbrances that our culture put on the elderly. Although she is in a great care home, she still needs to be ferried to doctors, dentists and given consideration before making any but the briefest travel plans.

We went to a brief workshop in Tahoe taught by Fred Morrison at the Brockway Springs Resort. It was a bagpipes and whistles workshop so, although I brought my fiddle, I didn’t attend classes. I was along as a birthday present from Alan. What a treat! Lake Tahoe is always beautiful. I had never been to King’s Beach and had the pleasure of going shopping, horsebackriding and a little hiking and swimming in the pool. It was the best birthday I remeber having, ever.

Our other travel plans are on hold until we can determine where we want to go with more certainty and Alan’s mother’s care is less demanding of Alan’s time.


Following our Hearts

Alan and I had been playing music together for about two years when the fire hit. After the fire, we were together more and, as a start, we recorded some fantastic tunes for a demo of our band, Plaid Menagerie. One of the things we both enjoy doing is going to music camps. It was a natural for us to start our adventure into our golden years with music camps. Our first trip was to Celtic Arts Foundation Winter School in Seabeck Washington. If you’ve never been to a music/art/hobby camp, it is probably the most fun you’ll ever have when traveling with another person. You are out of each other’s hair most of the day and then can spend meals and the evening enjoying each other. You’ll have lots to talk about, comparing notes and sharing anecdotes. For me, it was more than wonderful waking up next to my love, spending all day in workshops with world class folk musicians and then the evenings in good jam sessions with old friends from my fiddling and bagpiping years. We had great companionship and food. And nights of intimacy. The workshop teachers were Gary West, Finley MacDonald, Mairi Rankin and Ewen Hendersen.

We also visited some of Alan’s friends who lived in the area. A little bit of sightseeing was good, but too much of good thing when Alan’s headcold got worse. Alan spent the afternoon in Casey’s workshop drilling a C natural hole in his smallpipe chanter and after that we settled in front of the woodstove and played more music with friends and went to bed early. Thanks to Nancy for wonderful food and putting up with us.

Our second camp was Redwood Music Camp in the lovely Boulder Creek area. It was a nice mix of older people and young. Our instructors were David Brewer and Rebecca Lomicky of Fire Scottish Band. Unfortunately we had to leave when Alan’s elderly mother had an episode. Alan was broken hearted that we had missed a day. All for the good. His mother was in the hospital when we arrived and she was soon sent home in decent condition.

Stay tuned to hear about more camps, far and near.


The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

It started with a phone call I got in Egg Heads restaurant. “There’s been a fire, Tonia. I don’t think we have a house anymore.” The Sonoma County Tubb’s Fire had raged through our property the night before. The brave and wonderful firemen had used our front yard as a firebreak, cut trees and then run for their lives. It only remained for me to go visit what was left and start a new life.

I fell in love the night Alan handed me a whiskey. I was shaking from what I had seen and he just smiled kindly, sat me down and handed me a whiskey. The fires were like a waking dream flashing before my eyes. Everywhere I drove, stark chimneys and the charred skeletons of trees replaced the beautiful Sonoma landscape that I had been familiar with for twenty years. Ten days later, my home where my family had grown up, was still a smoking heap of ashes.

Alan and I wanted to honor our vows. We were both married, but our spouses weren’t there. Whatever their reasons they weren’t there and hadn’t been there for a long time. Terrible things had happened to us both. And now, finally, we each had found someone who had been through something worse. With a fresh tragedy forcing choices on us, we were given another set of blind alleys to choose between. We chose each other, to love, to get the gold from our golden years, to travel, to make music together – until we were no longer able to.

Grabbing the Gold in Life While it Lasts

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