Bucket lists and finding Joy in the Ride!!!

Hi Friends,

It’s hard to believe it’s September already and I have not sat down to write a new blog!  We’ve been all over and zooming along but with the Fall season arching upon the horizon, I am delighted to sip some tea and catch you up a bit!

Last we left of was in March.  We released a new EP “Joy in the Ride” and have been in such gratitude for the positive feedback on this little self-produced disc. 

April we took off to Austin.  We’ve always wanted to check out that town as it’s been on both of our bucket lists!  What a beautiful city.  It reminds me MUCH of Boise yet bigger.  Even the river running through the city was nostalgic of our home here in Idaho!  We had a great time visiting with our friend and checking out the sights AND partaking in some amazing BBQ from the “Salt Lick”!  OMG! They give a new meaning to “smoked”!  Wow!  I’d go back just for that!

 Yum!!!! 

Yum!!!! 

 Fabulous Music City!  Austin TX!!! 

Fabulous Music City!  Austin TX!!! 

People wanted to know if I liked Austin better than Nashville.  I honestly don’t know how you’d compare these two.  They are so different.  I thought I would be an Austin girl, but truly, Nashville had my heart. So perhaps there is more country in me than I thought! 

We then spent a bit of time in Zion and went for an epic hike up to Angels Landing.  Also on the bucket list!  This was a quick trip that begged us to stay longer but we had to press on as local shows called us home AND we needed to prepare for our tour through southern California! 

 An epic hike to Angel's Landing (Zion UT)

An epic hike to Angel's Landing (Zion UT)

Mid May we joined a musician friend in Quincy CA at the West End Theater.  Mel Wade and Gia put on quite a phenomenal act and the people in Quincy were truly warm hearted folks.  Again, if time availed we would have tooled around the town a bit more or caught a fresh stream to space out at in the lovely wooded mountain range. 

 Mel Wade and I being goofy!  Who's that in the marquee?

Mel Wade and I being goofy!  Who's that in the marquee?

We made tracks for wine country California!  Hitting some major wineries we were well received which is a true complement, as California is a Mecca for good music!

Morro Bay, Ojai, Camarillo, Escondido, Encinitas…there were some lovely towns and people in them!  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and met some amazing musicians too in our travels.  We did have some car troubles (transmission) and that was a bit deflating but part of the risk you take being on the road AND being far from home.  These challenges were met with positive attitudes which got us home unscathed.

 The wind was whipping at Eberle Winery, so we kept our hats on. A beautiful sunny breezy day! 

The wind was whipping at Eberle Winery, so we kept our hats on. A beautiful sunny breezy day! 

June had us playing many local gigs and catching up with friends and also a trip to Oregon.  We were in Halfway OR for a wonderful concert series, got the chance to check out the Weiser Fiddle Festival and came home played some shows and then buggerd off to the OR coast for a two day Festival and private house concert in Sisters & Lincoln City!

 Surf Dog! 

Surf Dog! 

 These guys met us between Halfway and Baker City OR!  What a sight to see!!! 

These guys met us between Halfway and Baker City OR!  What a sight to see!!! 

Those were some fast days and it makes me tired just thinking about all that travel.  It was absolutely fantastic, but when we landed home, we were delighted (as most people are after a trip). 

 Even dogs get tired of driving!  "Dog tired"  Juno-Bug on the road!

Even dogs get tired of driving!  "Dog tired"  Juno-Bug on the road!

We had to gear up because after all that travel we had some high profile shows with a BAND!!! Yes!  An ALL GIRL BAND actually!  We got together with Meghan Watters on Cajon (box drum) and Bonnie Johnson on electric guitar and found the “rock” in our “roll”.  It was quite a time to prepare for it all and yes, we were moving fast but it was a thrill to play with the accompaniment of others.  We rocked the town of Twin and Mtn. Home and found our way back home for more local shows and then out again to Twin Falls, Sun Valley, Stanley and various shows in those regions.  It was SO NICE to be in the mountains! 

 Home away from home!  (Our "tour bus"- an 11 foot Shasta trailer 1970's)  

Home away from home!  (Our "tour bus"- an 11 foot Shasta trailer 1970's)  

We made a little “home” for ourselves by a lake and ran out to play when we needed to.  It was time to hit the pause button and we did.  I bought a paddle board with me and a mountain bike.  I was on both every day. Oh and I chopped my hair short in July.  MUCH cooler!!!  

There was a moment I paddled out to a smooth as glass lake and just laid on the paddle board for an hour.  I felt the depth of the lake under me and I swear, it was the most rejuvenating thing!  I needed that after all the running around we had done the previous months! 

 Juno and I paddle boarding on the lake.

Juno and I paddle boarding on the lake.

Isn’t it amazing?  You don’t have to be famous to literally exhaust yourself ha ha!  It was in those moments I decided I’m going to re-evaluate and set my “cruise-control” to a slower more manageable pace, which is how I’m writing to you now. 

Sure, by others standards we may still be going 90 mph but by ours it’s knocked down to 75.  And through this winter it will probably feel like 35 and that’s ok.  It’s ok to go slow.  “Too much hustle is a lonely road” (Find My Stride –nb  ha ha!)  

My mama always said, “Niccole, don’t cram 10 lbs of ‘shit’ in a 5 lb bag”.  She was so right!  Quality over quantity any day, there was SO much good with this summer!  Truly!  I want to frame it and come back to its warmth when my compass gets a bit off course and the days become short and cold. 

I feel Mo and I both derive so much meaning and value when we are playing, home or on the road. Yet it is so valuable to have down time too.  We all need time to go inward and rest; just be and let yourself day dream. This is so hard in today’s culture.  We are pulled a thousand ways!  We are all bombarded with thousands of e-mails, messages, social media, phone calls, musts and shoulds.  Our own expectations of what we think we should be able to do gets in our way. Drowning in the midst of detail we can lose sight of what is important. 

I found myself like a little kid the other day, needing a nap but not giving it to myself.  I finally spun out and crashed on the couch.  Woke 30 min. later and was so refreshed.  Why did I resist that?  We live in a society that says, “busy equals good”.  Honestly “more” is not better, someone told me (thank you Tim), “better is better”.  If you can have better without having MORE…good for you!!! 

Anyway, Lake Alturas really gave me a unique gift.  It stopped time for a moment.  It made me be IN the song, “The Sun Runs”.  I treasured every minute and I wanted my mind and my outlook to stay there.  I wanted to bottle that perfect state of mind. 

That state of mind where you don’t need to add more or take anything away.  All is as it is and the heart is full and the mind is clear.  There is SO MUCH MORE I could write!  Yet “more is not better –better is better”.  All the in between moments we experienced between all the epic travel, touching shows, heart-felt hugs.  I truly feel so fortunate! 

We can make our lives into a daily grind, whatever we do (for a living or for fun).  Our outlook and busyness can truly get the better of us.  It is nice that the seasons change here in Idaho and outwardly become a reminder to go inward.  But what of you down in beautiful ever green sunny California?

 Yoga dog, "Hey Juno...you are on my mat!!! "

Yoga dog, "Hey Juno...you are on my mat!!! "

How do YOU find a way BACK to yourself?  I leave you to ponder.  Maybe it’s good music (ha ha!)  I hope this finds you, making time for one of your most important relationships in your life…yourself!  Be well!

Much love,

Niccole (and Mo in the Spirit of this note).