River Footprint

I’d like to kick this Texas heat wave into the next galaxy.  We had a great time frolicking in Montana and Washington, where it was usually in the 80’s as a high.  Here in Austin the low at night is about 77, and it’s been 105 – 111 during the day.  Our air conditioner can barely keep the place at 85…but the AC works and the electricity bill is paid that’s the important thing.

In a couple of weeks the fall session for Rubicon Artist Development begins.  Folks will start or continue on their paths through the program to gain momentum and fulfillment in their musical lives, and I’ll be assisting Daniel Barrett with things around the studio.

I will also be participating in Rubicon’s krav maga class twice a week…Dan is implementing this as part of the Rubicon Year course of study, because great music comes from great people, and part of being a great person is being well-rounded, balanced, and of sound mind and body.

According to Wikipedia, Krav Maga is a “noncompetitive eclectic martial art system developed in Israel that involves striking techniques, wrestling and grappling, mostly known for its extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks, and is taught to regular and special forces in Israel.”

GRAPPLING.  COUNTER-ATTACKS.  I can’t wait.  I’m sure I’m going to get my arse handed to me the first few weeks, but I hope to grow into it.

Strong like ox.


Found this in a pile of papers. It’s from when I was an administrative assistant for the 4-H program with the county. Obviously, I needed training. I wore dress pants every day (sorry, no skirts, but I had work flip flops!!) and did stuff and I don’t remember one thing about this training except maybe there was food there. It was in Luling or San Marcos or somewhere agriculturey. It paid the bills and I liked the people but I never really figured how this whole 4-H thing worked. I did make a blog. Then I quit and the roof caved in over my old desk, right where I would have been sitting.


So 54,000 people told us to go to Voodoo Donuts while we were in Portland, and we had time, and who doesn’t have time for a donut anyway? As we drove by the place we thought we might not, actually, because the line stretched down the block. On a Monday afternoon. Weird. We decided to go for it.

Voodoo Line

After perusing the menu from their website, I had decided on the Memphis Mafia, described as “Fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon sugar covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top!” Sometimes you make simultaneously poor and excellent choices when traveling. I was not prepared for the size of the thing when it was handed to me, however. It took me 2 days to eat it.

Memphis Mafia Donut from Voodoo Donuts

I enjoyed everything about the place…their quirky marketing, their bright pink boxes (also marketing), their menu specificity (donuts…not scones, not muffins, not danishes…donuts). If I had a 4th life with a little coffee shop I’d shoot for the same…but probably with scones. Memphis Mafia scone anyone?

Sitting in a Hastings in Amarillo. Dropped off for the afternoon. Trying to look busy. Actually just want a nap. I think we will take off after the gig tonight and see where that goes. It’s a trek, but after 30 days gone you do things to see your own abode sooner than later.

I got my first offer to perform some sort of stand up comedy routine somewhere. The thought cracks me up (not in the stand up way)…and I won’t lie, I’ve always had a pipe dream of doing something like that. The offer from the venue booker who is very supportive was for a 45 minute set, which in 2 months time…I know I cannot do as a novice. At least as a musician if your joke bombs, you just start playing a song. If your song bombs, you tell a joke. If you’re doing stand up and you bomb a joke, you tell another one, and I imagine if you’re a newbie that might spiral downward really fast.

What I am considering doing is working up a few bits to emcee the show that night. It would be a good chance to get my feet wet. I’d have to do a lot of work. I’ll probably be heading to comedy open mics in Austin if anyone wants to join me…just to see how this all shakes out. I have my Maria Bamford videos ready…she’s my main comedy guru.

This is a big venue and flopping is not an option, so the very initial reaction would be to say thanks but no thanks. But there are a few folks who are very encouraging, and I don’t think this is beyond my realm of “things I can do.” It will take work, but what worth doing doesn’t?

This is my nephew Philip – he definitely makes me laugh!


We had a good time and a few days off in Montana. The Gibsons have a cabin on Flathead Lake, and we played right around there, so it was a hop skip and jump back to the cabin. I played a lot of banjo and SG showed me some licks. If I practice really hard for the next 6 months, maybe I’ll get them down!


I did have some fun baking while we were there…there were raspberries growing in the yard and I used some to make oat scones. They turned out quite good, I do say.

Moon on Flathead Lake

I’ll be straight up, I’ve found out that while touring is fun, meeting new people all the time or just getting reacquainted with folks I don’t know well anyway wears me out. I got to see a niece of mine in Montana on a fluke collision of travel courses, and then I saw my sister and her family in Seattle, including 4 of my nieces and nephews. It was a good check-in.




We played the coolest winery in Walla Walla. The town itself is lovely, and the show was super fun. Lots of nice folks showed up. The winery is called Walla Faces…and the faces on the wall are painted by Candice Johnson, whose brother Rick owns the winery. Each year their wines get a Face that Candice has painted, and each has a name. Candice gave us a bottle of “Jane,” which we will give to our favorite Jane that we know…perfect!

Anyway, the winery plus the gallery plus melding the two arts together really made sense to me…fusion in its finest form.

Susan Gibson in Walla Walla

Walla Faces
Some of the Walla Faces.

Hotel in Walla Walla
Our SWANKY hotel room thanks to the Inn at Walla Faces.  Whooo!

Powell's Books - Portland, OR

We had a day off in Portland, where I hadn’t had a chance to spend much time before. It was sunny, which I hear is rare, so maybe that is affecting my impression, but this town is cool. Everyone we encountered was super nice, we found some excellent Thai food, and POWELL’S BOOKS. Oh my. I’ve been in big bookstores but this one went beyond.

The neatest thing I have ever seen in a bookstore – they have bought 7000 books from Anne Rice’s personal collection and are selling them. When I encountered this shelf I thought surely everything would be expensive…but not the case and I scored a book about selling your songs (she had quite a few lyric writing books as well as theology and history). The cool part is it’s annotated with all of Ms. Rice’s notes in the margins. So cool! I’m not a huge Rice reader, but it’s neat to own a book from someone who is a successful writer and have a peek into her world.

Anne Rice Collection