Chattanooga Rambles

1. I have a new sister: Christie Burns. I am pleased. We didn’t really spend any time together when we’d both been at the Upper Potomac Fest, but both times in Chattanooga we’ve enjoyed each other’s company. She feels like a sister to me, somehow; maybe it’s the New Jersey connection, or maybe something else.

2. Two excellent salads: Blackened chicken at the Big River Grill, with perfect greens, the kind of bleu cheese crumbles I actually like, sunflower seeds, and so on; Citrus Salmon at Tony’s, also with perfect greens and with a citrus aioli dressing I was nervous about (I don’t really know what aioli is except it has garlic) but was perfect.

3. Cute dessert idea: Also at the Big River Grill, little mini desserts for a buck-fifty served in glasses — bigger than shot glasses, smaller than juice glasses. The berry trifle was fabulous.

4. Rick Davis and Christie Burns moved to Chattanooga with the help of the ArtsMove organization. They live just about across the street from each other. Their neighborhood is a handful of quiet streets lined with mostly three bedroom single-story homes, mostly new construction. Yes, the train goes by very close, but seriously the window glass is so good I never heard the train while I was inside with the windows closed.

5. Buddha Board: Rick and Brandy had one of these on the counter. It’s a large board that looks like some kind of stone — actually it seems to be some kind of paper or plastic film attached to plastic, but the original one is finished so nicely that it doesn’t look like paper or plastic. It sits on a water-filled base that holds a brush. You paint with plain water and get black marks that gradually fade — they stay long enough to draw a pretty complete picture, but fade quickly enough to draw another in several minutes. They kindly got me one of the little ones; it’s red instead of black.

6. Depression: I found out that several dulcimer folks I know also deal with depression and anxiety and some of them are also medicated. It is always good to feel less alone.

7. Anxiety and sleep: I got one hour of sleep Wednesday night before traveling to the festival. That’s not really a good way to start such an event. I continued to sleep rather poorly during the festival, even though I tried to get into bed at a reasonable hour and faithfully took my anti-anxiety medication. I didn’t usually feel all that anxious, but just agitated; festivals are busy places with lots of people, and even good stress is stress. Saturday morning I woke up feeling miserable enough that if I’d had my own car, I would have gone home. But as the day went on I actually found energy and enjoyment, and it was a better day than Friday was.

8. People. I met Bruce, John Bob, Ted, Rosalind, and several other folks but didn’t get to talk to them much. I saw a bit more of Larry, who I knew from Everything Dulcimer but hadn’t met in person until this festival, and of Dawn, who I met last time. I saw many folks I’d met before, but again didn’t get to spend much time with: Ann and Darlene from Virginia, Lisa, Dan and Angie, Mark, Bob, Randy, Stephen, Garrett, Jerry, and I’m sure several others. And of course I saw a lot of Shelley, Dave, Rick and Brandy, Christie, and Kitty.

9. I tuned my dulcimer Wednesday morning. I haven’t tuned it since — I’m supposed to play this evening, so I need to at least check it before I go out, but it was so stable despite different air conditioning and outdoor conditions, I expect it’ll still be sounding fine tonight. I discovered that Shelley takes just as long to tune as I do. I’m not alone!