Category Archives: Hitting The Town

Father’s Day Fun

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I love my Dad. I love my grandpa. I love my boyfriend.

These three men are all fathers. They are good fathers, and I enjoyed celebrating them yesterday. I appreciate the men in my life. We did not do anything extremely special. We did not host a huge bbq party or take a trip. We simply went to church, then a Chinese buffet for lunch, passed out cards and watched a movie. It was simple. It was memorable. I think that a lot of folks try to overdo certain “special” days, attempting to make up for the rest of the year. The truth is, in my family, we are pretty alright to each other most every day of the year. We spend a lot of time together. We talk a lot. We share laughter, and consider how blessed we all are to have each other. To be able to include my precious boyfriend in a family affair was wonderful. His son was there too, and it felt like I had brought my own immediate family to the mix. It is these simply things that I like to dwell on during “special” days.

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Tribal Seeds at the Gas Monkey Bar and Grill

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Tribal Seeds at the Gas Monkey Bar and Grill

Thursday night, Tribal Seeds was at the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill in Dallas, Texas.  My little brother asked – a few days in advance – if I would like to join him and a group friends at the concert, knowing I live in the area. With tickets being reasonably priced and the bar only twenty minutes away, I accepted his invitation. Although I have enjoyed reggae music for a long time (Bob Marley being a signature voice on my iPod since I first got my player), I had never heard of Tribal Seeds. I could not be more grateful that my little brother introduced me to this group who’s vibe is similar to my favorite icon.

The music was amazing, but, most notably, the artists put on a great show. I do have to admit that I have a favorite from the group. His name is E.N. Young, and he plays on the keys as well as a variety of instruments. Outside of his involvement with Tribal Seeds, he produces his own music. I enjoyed watching him perform throughout the concert, but what sealed his fate as my favorite was his kindness to fans after the concert. Our small group was leaving the bar when we noticed a crowd of people gathering by the front parking lot. Interested, we walked over and there was E.N. passing out free CDs of Tribal Seeds’ summer sampler. He was sweet enough to hug people and stop for photos, and my brother and I were able to take a photo with him – finishing the night with a sweet experience.Ben&Me

Folk Music Festival – Discovering My People

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Folk Music Festival – Discovering My People

Have you ever been to a folk music festival? Oh you haven’t?? Well, let me tell you about a place you should go to pop your cherry in the folk music festival world. Quiet Valley Ranch is nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country circled by thick crops of Oak and Cedar trees that build a grove around this hippie play ground. Since 1972, Quiet Valley Ranch in Kerrville, TX has been the treasured location of the Kerrville Folk Music Festival that runs for 18 consecutive days on the ranch. Folksy folks from all over camp out for the festival on the ranch’s camp grounds. They set up camp, sell their wares and listen to soul-soothing music and enjoy life together in an atmosphere centered on natural living and community. As sad as it is to admit, I did not know this gem existed practically in my backyard until this year. I was sitting at my desk clacking away at the keys on my keyboard and making business-related phone calls when a woman in the office sparks up a conversation about the festival. My ears always tuned to pick up random information, I heard her explaining that she had been going for years (she’s much older than me) to hear her favorite folk artists sing, and how each time is a great experience.

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I was interested. I had never been to a folk music festival before and knew that I had to change that sad fact about my life. Sooo, I got a ticket from work. I scored a free ticket which is rad, but mind you, the festival is not free to attend. The Texas Folk Music Foundation that hosts the festival at the ranch is nonprofit, so what you pay for the ticket goes to maintaining the camp which is used to educate kids during the summer about music and the arts or host festivals and other special events. The ticket is definitely worth it. I was able to get two and so I brought a friend with me to experience this new adventure. Music is played throughout each day, but we did not arrive till after eight. It was a small trek to the main camp and along the road beyond the fence, we saw tents packed like sardines all the way from the very back of the property line.

When we brought our tickets up to the VIP counter which was just a lean-to with a tin roof and two hippies collecting tickets as they sit on a beat up couch in front of a folding table confirming names on an ancient laptop, we saw people milling about all over the property. We had not walked to the main gathering about the stage and shopping cabins yet, but there was plenty to see. The grove swam with tie-dyed life and dreadlocks and the tickling of ankle charms. Somehow, we had found ourselves plopped into a world designed for us – especially for me. I swear, if I had known about Quiet Valley Ranch awhile back, I would have been going each year. I felt like I had found my lost people as we hiked up a sloping trail to the main gathering. The center stage was semi-circled by benches littered with people listening to folk artist perform. Beyond these benches is a nice patch of grace where I saw a group of guys and a couple gals playing hacky sac. Throngs of children would run past chasing bubbles. Individuals were dancing to the rhythm of the bluegrass and sultry voice of a poet humming lyrics about a dying Native American warrior.

Beyond this patch of free-spirited grassland, a half circle of vendor from the Texas Hill Country were selling their goods. We wandered from booth to booth checking out organic soaps and lotions and healing herbs. Another vendor was selling his surreal, southwestern art, and many others were selling dream catchers and healing crystals or tie-dyed clothing mingled with peasant skirts and blouses or hand-crafted leather sandals. crafts_village_cropped

I had three favorite vendors while I was there. A lot of people selling items are trying to make a living from what they make with their hands so their prices are rather high which I can understand, but when I stumbled upon a little old man who was selling crystal and stone necklaces for five bucks each, I had to buy one. A gorgeous green stone with golden and silver metal wire weave over it to resemble lightening caught my eye. I grabbed for it immediately while my friend started up a conversation with the vendor. He had been selling his five dollar necklaces since nearly the beginning of the Quiet Valley Ranch camp opened up to the festivals. He explained that in the late 70s and early 80s, hippie folk would show up to his booth and close their eyes as they slowly ran a hand beneath the hanging gems. Whichever of the gems they felt drawn to, they chose. I did that exactly, of course. I closed my eyes and slowly ran my hands beneath the array of colored or colorless stones and grasped for the one that I felt drawn towards. To my delight, it was still the heavy green stone with lightening wire across its belly. The old man explained to me that the gem was a traveling stone meant to protect those headed someplace new. Five bucks lighter in my pocket, I walked on to the next vendor with a smile on my face.

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The next vendor I fell in love with was a woman who produced clay art. She would mold the tiniest strips of colored clays into a scene and fire them till baked and solid. I bought two magnets from her with a scene depicting a male mermaid and a violin, guitar, flute and a dragonfly. Finally, I stumbled upon a vendor who does pottery work and she had a wide selection of handmade coffee mugs. If I had had more cash, I would have gotten one of her ten dollar mugs. One in particular had a series of scorpions on it that shifted in texture from smooth to rough. I loved it.

So if you have not been to a hippie festival centered around the good vibes of folk music, your first trip needs to be to Quiet Valley Ranch in the early summer. Go full out by camping for a week or weekend and truly absorbing the atmosphere or step into the water gingerly by going for the evening to relax with good music, shopping and vibes. Either way, you will not regret the experience. I will be going back next year and the following until I can’t stand it anymore which will probably be never!

Kerrville Folk Festival website –> http://www.kerrville-music.com/

Live Theater Production: Les Miserables!

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Live Theater Production: Les Miserables!

“Les Miserables” – a musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo. Directed by Jim Weisman. With a riveting score and a memorable story, Victor Hugo’s masterpiece is brought to life as ex-convict Jean Valjean, who becomes a force for good in the world, cannot escape his criminal past.

Couple weekends ago, I went to the Fredericksburg Theater Company’s live production of Les Miserables. I LOVE this musical and the book by Victor Hugo from which the story originated. I had seen the film versions of Les Mis, and honestly, had some very high expectations when arriving at the theater on opening night. The atmosphere of the tiny local theater is modern and comfortable. They served us local wine (which unfortunately was not good) and a selection of hors d’oeuvres including bacon wrapped asparagus and bite-sized cake delights at intermission. My high expectations of the event and production were tapered with the knowledge that this was only a local play with local, volunteer thespians. I knew there would be quirks that stemmed from a lack of professionalism in some manner, but what I did not expect was to be blown off my feet by the talent that walked out on stage. I feel ashamed, honestly, of the low standard that I immediately placed on the production. Each scene was phenomenal with actors whose voices exploded on stage and captured the entire audience. I was left with goosebumps after numerous solos, and have not regretted purchasing my ticket for opening night since. Here are some pics from opening night. “Les Miserables”, a musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo. Directed by Jim Weisman. With a riveting score and a memorable story, Victor Hugo’s masterpiece is brought to life, as ex-convict Jean Valjean, who becomes a force for good in the world, cannot escape his criminal past.” Take a chance at browsing their website [ www.fredericksburgtheater.org ] to find future shows (I hear they will be having auditions for Fiddler on the Roof soon!), and getting your ticket in advance. It won’t be a waste of money and you will discover a secret world of talented locals with voices to share with the world. Enjoy!

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Pierre works as a chef at a bbq dive called Cranky Franks in Fredericksburg. He is well-known in the local theater world and was caste as the lead for Jean Valjean! Vocals were outstanding and robust. Enjoyed every moment he was on stage.

 

Caffiene Induced Mental Labors:

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Caffiene Induced Mental Labors:

The coffee shop is bustling with the typical faces one would see especially in a city such as this. The busy little shop is full of chatty voices minus my own. The absorbent crowd flows like a living creature – a spiritual combination of souls seeking an unanswerable question, but in the meantime, they swell their bellies with lattes and benign conversations. I am unsure why I wandered into this establishment. Perhaps there is a certain familiarity in the sea of ever-changing faces; a comfort in not truly recognizing any of them – a security.

Why do I feel safe among strangers?

The unease of their throbbing presence puts to rest personal anxieties and for a moment, I am capable of becoming anyone. There is the sudden realization that I am now a character in a novel that is unfolding. I am the heroine that breaks the molds and sits in solitary contemplation at a table in an unfamiliar coffee shop in a strange city awaiting a particular creature to approach in order for her story to truly take off. For what is a story if it is lacking an equally unique hero to defy the odds and break the barriers of prescribed behavioral decorum? I realize then that I need someone to enter my life who, like an alien on an adventure, recognizes something unusual in me that must be explained and thusly approaches my table to ask that unanswerable question that would connect our souls in a defining moment considered a spark of love. But love is a silly notion because it lends itself towards acquiring flame too quickly and ardently and so fizzles at the nearest contact of ice. I rather seek a budding friendship into which would bloom an un-ending affection. The word affection assumes the role of care, and in the end, that is all I can hope for in the truest relationship- someone to care. Because love does not always need to care in order to be felt. With caring comes the understanding that feeling is not always quite necessary to endure.

My alien would understand this. His subconscious culture will have birthed him into such knowledge and it is there – in the subconscious – where we will meet and no longer be alien and subject but partners on the most sublime level. There are levels to human interactions and as of yet, I have found not one fellow creature that has dug to the level of subconscious yearning I discover within my own person. Now, are we, as creatures of base nature, capable of exploring and discovering every level that comprises our personal humanity or that of another? If we are not, then I must consign myself to a fate of celibacy. Love will not be in my cards if this proves true. More than everything I crave in this life, it would be this connection with an alien on every level that makes us individuals for in an individual is the empty slot awaiting the portion of another to fulfill and bring a soul toward completion. I fear reaching “wholeness” without someone to share in my accomplishment. Those who claim to have reached completion of self must not need what I need, or they have learned some secret of the universe that I have not. Secretly, I envy them. But I know that their happiness would never leave me content. Is being content even possible? Is wholeness attainable? Is attraction always satisfied to begin on the surface? It is these questions that I would ask my partner, and he would answer me in the best way because it would not be the answers themselves that I would want but just his voice caring enough to attempt to satisfy my childish curiosities of the surrounding world.

Volkswagon Classic Car Show – Fun Times with my Brother

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Volkswagon Classic Car Show – Fun Times with my Brother

I am in LOVE with all things Volkswagon circa 1957-1976. That said, you can’t even imagine my excitement when VW classics started rolling into town for the car show a few weekends ago. I mean, they were everywhere! I felt like I had gone back a generation which was spectacular. My brother and I went to the car show together and cruised through all the open market style vendors selling their junkie wears. 6

I saw this epic travelers case. It was one of those old school hard square cases that looked like it could have been made of wood, but I doubt it because it was not too heavy to pick up. The front of the case had this awesome design on the front and I was sooooo close to buying it. As I think about it, I wish I had but other special opportunities will come along. But check this out: I figured I could turn it into a hope chest of sorts. The case wasn’t very big, but it would be perfect to store postcards and small souvenirs and other trinkets from travel. Don’t you think?

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As we walked through the rest of the park, my brother and I took snap shots of our favorites. The best part of the day, however, was when I got to actually take pictures inside my dream yellow bug! We were headed out of the park when I saw it. The whole park had been so packed with vehicles of all colors and sizes that I nearly missed it, but we had to walk right past in order to get to my brother’s truck. It was just sitting there looking completely adorable, so I had to try to snap a picture of myself with it. Taking a “selfie” with VW bug is not as easy as it would seem especially when the sun is glaring off your phone. I was having a bugger of a time when the owner of the car asked me if I wanted to just sit inside and he would take some pictures of me with my own phone! I mean, how could I pass that up?? I didn’t. 8 It was the perfect way to end a perfect day of hanging out with my brother, but then it got better! I’m not saying that our departure was more spectacular than being able to sit in my dream car for a moment of pure bliss BUT as we were leaving, all the VWs were lining up along the edge of the road that leads out the park. We were able to drive by them all real slow, and I took a video. We got to see some of our favorites as well as others we had missed on the first walk about.

4 This retro van was my brother’s favorite. It looks rusted and a bit worse for wear, but there was nothing about it that was uncool. The entire van had been treated with a clear coat of sealant to keep it from rusting any further. Instead, it just kept up its retro appearance without the worry. What was totally funny is that the owner was sleeping in the back while people were milling about snapping pictures of it. We saw him crawl up to the front and pull out on to the road to line up with the others. Doesn’t it just look like it belongs near the beach? Love it.

The guy in the green van was super cool, and his ride happened to be my second favorite in the park. The colors reminded me of the Scooby Doo Mystery Van because the green was just so spot on, and the blue stripe accented too well. The owner was cool enough to let me snap a photo of him flashing up a peace sign before he wheeled away. 3

After the show, VW fanatics didn’t limit themselves to the park. I saw them all over town! A lot were parked along the streets checking out Main St. or sitting down for a drink or two at Cultures. We had to fill up for gas, and to my delight, a bug schooches its way up to a pump right beside us. If I couldn’t have a yellow bug, I would gladly settle for a teal one because there is something sexy about that color. Mhm. Anyways, all in all, the day was spectacular. Sunny, hot and full of 60s vibes. I seriously can’t wait for the next show to roll into town.

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