Happy Holidays everyone. It’s Christmas morning….still Hanukkah for the next few days and Jorma and I sit across from each other, cappuccino in hand, glancing up occasionally to acknowledge our love and gratitude for this amazing life. Truly…this has been a blessed year. Both kids are still sleeping and Eli, our newest family member (Yorkshire Terrorist…I mean Terrier) is running around cuter than words can describe this morning.
2011 has to have been one of our best. It was filled with so many life lessons, grace and challenges that we had to wonder what it would be like had we not moved to Ohio 20 years ago. We don’t spend time thinking of the what ifs….but we do express our gratitude often. Zach (age 14) continues to be an amazing young man. As you know he lives with his Mom in Virginia but we have seen him here ion the farm and on the road with Jorma a lot this year. Jorma bought him a Yamaha TTR230 for his 14th birthday. As excited as I was for him, I was a little nervous. Jorma bought him all of the proper body gear like the padded jacket, boots, gloves, full face helmet, etc. He looks like Robo Cop when he rides. Well, my worries were for naught. This kid got on the bike and just rode it. He sat on it as it idled, Jorma doing his flight check, calmly explaining everything that could happen…with a positive spin. Zach replying, “OK, OK, OK”. Then he pulled in the clutch, put it in first gear and that was it. We saw him a few hours later…periodically riding by us at the Ranch never taking his eyes off the road in front of him. To say that Jorma was proud…well…does not truly express Jorma’s feelings. If you don’t know this about Jorma, motorcycles and guitars are his two favorite things in this old world. Of course, Jorma will tell you different…that those are just “things”, but I know he found his freedom holding one and riding the other so to see his son with that same look on his face………….nuff said.
Izze started kindergarten this year and it has transformed her. I know we all say this….but she is a really smart little girl. We have never spoke to her in baby talk so her vocabulary is amazing. My favorite of all her comments is when we think the same thing at that same time and she comments, “You’re clairvoyant. ” She received her yellow belt in Tai Kwon Do this year after an hour long test with the entire class. When she broke a board in two without hesitation and spared with another student trying to land as many moves as she could before the timer went off, there was a sense of pride in her stance. We will move on to the next level after the holidays. She also completed here first semester of piano classes that ended with a recital last week. My mom, my sis, Izze’s cousin, Montana and Jorma and I were all there as she performed in a group song with classmates, Oliver and Sam. Each of them took turns playing a song without the tab in front of them…from memory. Izze performed the song in perfect time flawlessly. She is pretty tall for her age so to look at her she does not look like a five year old. But that was just my eyes. I saw her in a full concert recital on stage in front of 2,000 people. We were in a room with 10 or so other parents at the School of Music at Ohio University. Sigh…….
OK…..so all I talked about was our kids. I have to say, that the love we feel because of their existence is unlike anything I would have thought possible in this world. There is more…….
I celebrated 18 years of sobriety this year, Jorma celebrated 15. The Fur Peace Ranch is celebrating 15 years in operation and it continues to be the beating heart that sustains us much of the time. We recently shifted gears with the Ranch and have a created the Fur Peace Ranch Center for Art and Culture. It is a non profit leg of what we do and more will certainly be reveled with where it takes us. We have plans for a Lecture Series, a museum, yoga and art classes and more On the Road Music sessions. The Allman Bros will be hosting their annual music festival called the Wanee Fest in Florida in April of 2012. The promoters have asked us to be a part of it all and we will…providing workshops, Q&A lectures and more. When we opened the Ranch 14 years ago we had no idea where it would take us. I am happy to say that the life force behind the Ranch has strengthened my body, mind and spirit. It has provided a continual interaction between souls through the language of music that inspires spiritual and emotional growth.
Jorma continues to write beautiful songs and he will be traveling far and wide this year. We will be in Maui teaching for 2 weeks in late January and he will be in Japan and China in the early part of this year. More touring for Hot Tuna as they continue to promote their latest CD, Steady As She Goes.
I had the extreme honor of marrying my friends David and Lindsay this year on the Vineyard. It was life changing and after it was all over I realized that I must be living my life well because that experience was a gift for just that. I have never been to a wedding more beautiful and honest and the love shared that day among all that were present was life transforming. I am attempting to go back to school (on line) and finally get my degree. When I left Connecticut in 1988, I left behind an unfinished degree in Civil Engineering. Though I have no plans to complete that program…I am moving toward a degree in business and the arts. I keep telling myself, “I must be crazy”. We’ll see how this all plays out….I am really excited about it.
So…there you have it. We laughed, we wept and we continue to dream…..
Love you all….Happy Holiday and have a blessed New Year