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I am midway through this tour, and I’d give myself about a B-/C+. I’m still getting worked up about little details (when to check in, how to stay current with emails, where to eat…). But I’m quicker at noticing unwelcome drama and nonsense and am able to reset fairly quickly.

By setting an intention to enjoy what’s going on around me I believe I have invited some truly exceptional experiences. Like our Indian Buffet in Indiana:

A few highlights:
Lawrence, KS: great coffee and thrift stores (Matt got a distortion pedal and I got two dresses). And the show was absolutely awesome, which was a very auspicious way to kick off this BEYOND DRAMA and NONSENSE tour.

Fairfield, IA: had to go straight to the gig (not ideal), but we rolled with it and had a GREAT SHOW!! Our friend Carol bought Matt three kinds of throat lozenges for his sore throat. And our new friend Dave agreed to set up a show in elephant-rich Kanchanaburi this January.

Chicago, IL: We arose SUPER early on this day off and drove to Chicago, excitement mounting all the way. Marathon fever was coursing through our veins as we hopped on the train to see our neighbor from back home cross the finish line. He qualified for Boston with a minute to spare, we went out for fish and chips, and then collapsed at Clare and Dan’s place with beer and Wes Anderson’s classic film “Rushmore.”

Ann Arbor, MI: This night kicked off a series of five collaborative shows for the Celtic Roots Revue (with stellar Lissa Schneckenburger, Bethany Waickman, and guests Nic Gareiss, Liz Carroll, San and Laz Slomovits, and others). A dose of traffic, an unexpected long commute to meet our co-bill pals, and a bevy of special guests to accommodate meant that I never took time to warm up and get centered. As soon as I recognized that I was getting in my own way, I was able to just let go and enjoy all the amazing musicians/dancers on the bill. High highs, low lows on this day.

Evanston, IL: Driving to Chicagoland with two more people changed things up. We shared snacks and ipod hits. Pre-show felt a bit like the previous night (giving other people time and taking care of special guests when what I really needed was time to tuck in). But my friend Clare perked me up by bringing tall white boots and a yellow paisley 60s-style dress in JUST MY SIZE!!! I felt like a super hero onstage.

Lansing, MI: Our pal Rachael invited us over for Indian food on our way to the show. I was coming down with a cold (worry and fret about other people takes its toll). I assumed Rach would order take out… but when we arrived she had four pots on the stove and was cutting and dicing. The house smelled like being taken care of, and she put me to sleep while everybody else chilled out. One long nap, some olive leaf extract, and a home-cooked Indian meal later, it wasn’t too tough to float into the venue and just enjoy the nice venue and night of music.

Bellville, OH: Not knowing what to expect at all from this venue/presenters, we arrived with a heart for any fate… what a deep treat that the home, food, company, and gig were truly wonderful! Our host Melanie shared a paw paw with me—I had only ever heard of this fruit (in a folk song, actually), but it turns out the fruit is native to Ohio. With a mango texture, and a floral coconut-meets-banana flavor, the paw paw was my takeaway for this night… that and the COMPLETE WORKS of FROG & TOAD that Matt found for me!!

Bloomington, IN: What kind of food could we expect to find on the way from Cleveland to Indiana? With signs on sticks galore, we thought the best we could do would be a Subway attached to a gas station. So when I saw a sign for “Truck Wash and Indian Buffet” in Spiceland, IN (no joke), I took it for a desert mirage. Fortunately there was a follow up sign, and fortunately we followed it. Happy Divali! Happy saag paneer! With bellies full of dal, we hit Bloomington. The show was HILARIOUS—a great cap off to our co-bill shows with Lissa. I served paw paw in the middle of the show, and I learned that Indiana also lays claim to the paw paw. They call it the Indiana Banana.

St. Louis: Back to the duo show format, today’s highlights included Honeycrisp apples from a farm stand, reuniting with our music pals Brian and Eileen and Shannon’s Aunt MaryAnne, and seeing Matt’s family friends from childhood. It feels good and easy to be a duo again.

I’ve got five more shows to go on. Glad to have checked in, since I have another week to put my new perspective in play.

Leap, Little Frog

a musician's musings on nesting, being creative, traveling, and parenting