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Holiday Jams & Poetry Slams

I hope you are doing well and not too stressed out from the holiday hub-bub. It can be a little much at times. I am generally upbeat, but I’ve had some moments lately, mainly thinking about the past and how things have changed. I remember the early years after Dave died and being alone as I finished wrapping presents at 1 a.m. Christmas morning. The kids were looking forward to Santa coming, and in the morning they were elated. But it was such a lonely place for me to be. Time has changed and things are different, but if you know any single parents, maybe offer to give them a hand wrapping gifts and getting ready for the holidays. I’m sure they will appreciate the offer in any event.


Now for my latest adventures! My Ladies Rock Camp friend Jenny and I went to Mineral Point to see the sights and our guitar/bass/vocal teacher Helen Avakian. We spent some time checking out the local downtown which is a cute artsy community. We met a local artist and poet, Keith Huie, who gave me some inspiriting advice and then had lunch at Café 43. We went to Helen’s (and her partner Dave) house and had a long lesson for both of our individual songs (mine was an original – Meet You at the Sun) and then the one we were going to perform together (The House of the Rising Sun) for our Guitar Party a couple of weeks later. After our lesson we went on a beautiful walk to see the last of the sunset followed by a tasty dinner at Popolo.

The week before our guitar party we went to see the Ladies Rock Camp performances at the High Noon Saloon in Madison. I’m always amazed at the talent and positive energy that this group exhibits. It was a fun night out!


The guitar party was another group of amazing talent! We convened at Helen and Dave’s house and played for about 90 minutes. All ages played mainly guitar and sang. Helen has cultivated a wonderful group of students. I got the chance to help arrange mics and music stands for performers and Jenny and Paula helped on the sound board when Matt, Helen and Dave played Hotel California by The Eagles. We socialized for a bit afterwards and a good time was had by all!


This last week, I had a chance to go to another elementary school and have a Poetry Slam with three 4th grade classes at Thoreau Elementary School in Madison. Lisa, the librarian, had arranged the event in the library. I told them about myself and read some poetry. Then I answered a lot of great questions! After the Q&A, brave students read their wonderful poetry. I’m always amazed at how thoughtful these children are and grateful to be a part of their day. I hope I inspire them like they inspire me.  Thanks again to Lisa Hempstead, librarian extraordinaire, Mr. Tim, for the wonderful introduction, and all of the staff and students at Thoreau. I hope I can come back next year!


While writing this blog I received a text and a picture from my cousin Maureen. Ten years ago, she offered to have me, the kids and my mom over to her house to decorate gingerbread cookies. I can’t tell you how many dozens of cookies there were, but we had a lot of fun decorating and eating them! It’s a forever memory for us and I’m incredibly thankful for thoughtful people like Maureen that have been in our lives.

Let’s chat soon.


With affection,

Carrie VS

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