I had a really good weekend in which I got a lot done and had fun. There was a nice rainy Saturday in which I alternated reading, writing and cooking. I made a wonderful beef stew. It turns out I'd been doing it wrong, but when I followed a recipe, it came out so much better. I may have to make it again, since I've got some stock left and some more chuck in the freezer. Then Sunday, some of my friends were hosting Heather Dale for a house concert.
Heather was the music guest of honor at FenCon last year, and I barely got to hear her but instantly clicked on what I heard. I'd say if you like Loreena McKennett, this is along the same lines -- Celtic/folk sound with some twists and updates, and new songs in that style, but based on legends and folklore. And she's on pitch (can even do whole songs a capella on her own and stay on pitch). That's an issue I have with a lot of folk-style singers, but I can sit right in front of her and not even twitch at all. I came home from the concert with two new CDs that I haven't even played yet because I like to just sit and listen to new music and I haven't had a chance. I've learned not to play new music for the first time when I'm driving (especially at night) because I never know if some ballad will make me cry and blur my vision.
Since I ask others to spread the word for me, I'll return the favor here and mention Heather's current crowdfunding project, Celtic Avalon, which is going to be a stage show, DVD and educational project about the King Arthur legend. I'm particularly intrigued by her vision for using those stories to interact with kids and do some character-type training, since it seems like teaching chivalry would be an excellent way to combat bullying. Good behavior sounds a lot less "goody-goody" when it's something badass knights do.
One other thing from this weekend (well, Friday afternoon) was that I may have found my dream house. There's a house I pass on one of my routes to the library that I've had my eye on because I liked the outside (it has a very Victorian-style front porch). A couple of weeks ago when I was heading to the library re-opening, there was a for sale sign in front, and it had a bin of flyers. When I got home, I checked out the Realtor's web site for a virtual tour and decided that the floor plan really wasn't right for me. But there was another house on that Realtor's listings that seemed to have the perfect interior for me (I realized later that it's essentially a larger version of my current house with an extra bedroom, but since my current house works aside from being a bit too small and not having that extra room, that's okay). This house was under contract, but I'm nowhere near ready to buy anything. Since it's in a subdivision, I figure there's likely another house with the same floor plan that might come up when I'm ready to buy. I couldn't remember the exact address, but the street is about a block from where I live, so on Friday I walked over there. I was hoping that maybe the sign would still be up (the listing was gone) and I might be able to figure out what other houses might have the same plan, based on the exterior layout. It wasn't, but I did spot a house that instantly spoke to me. It looked rather different from everything else on the street, like when the subdivision was first built, those owners had customized it. This house looked like a half-timbered Tudor manor. I fell in love. It's not for sale now, but who knows what may happen in a couple of years. I'll keep an eye on it. I figured out once I got home that the street address for the house I'd been looking for was in the name of the web site for the listing, so I tried typing that street name into my browser, found the address, and learned that this house is next door to the Tudor. The layout looks different, though, so it's possible that I won't love the interior, as was the case with the Victorian front porch.
But this gives me something to visualize and aim for. It's good to have an extra incentive to sit down and write. I find that I'm more productive when I'm at least a little dissatisfied with something and writing is the key to getting what I want.