Birthday Storm Goddess and River Otter

The cacti were separated for the weekend, although we continued to be caught together in the beautiful whirlwind that is our kickstarter campaign.  In the style of storm-naming I’ve decided to name our “whirlwind” Millie, in honor of David’s grandmother whose centenarian birthday celebration coincided with our previously humble (now auspiciously sparkly) campaign.

131019_002You couldn’t name a storm after a more elegant centenarian. (Birds is the angelic figure in the background—you’ll learn why this is important later)

You may have guessed where Birds and I were this weekend.  We flew to Illinois to sing for Millie, and luckily we didn’t have to keep our repertoire down to “Happy Birthday”  (David did play that number with lots of frills and 1920’s showmanship that would make any grandmother’s toes curl.  In happiness.)  A few more lucky things: we also got to play for Millie’s family and all of her friends!  Also, the venue, the very comfortable and elegant foyer of the Regency, was the most acoustically perfect room in which either of us has ever sung.

Over the past few days we’ve asked ourselves why it sounded so good in there.  The acoustics were definitely amazing (the ceiling was tilted just right, so that all the little trickles of sound dripped perfectly into our audiences laps) but there was something almost magic about it too.  For instance: all morning we’d been practicing and our voices were sometimes gooey, other times sharp and whistle-like.  Blowing out here and there, squeaking and rasping.  It was really gross.  But as soon as we started singing for the crowd at the Regency it was like two very tiny angels had taken our vocal cords captive, and made them agents of beauty against their wills.  Thus the angelic post-show photo of Birds above.  It was nothing short of miraculous.

Meanwhile in Albuquerque angels were also capturing things and inciting goodness with them (or “miracles were also happening”).  Stef and Samuel were taking Orson on a walk in the Bosque.  That wasn’t the miracle!  Wait for it…  As every experienced Stef knows, walking a dog by a river comes with certain risks, and she was prepared for all of them.

Something must have peaked Orson’s interest: a silvery gleam in the waters of the Rio Grande, the scent of a beaver wafting across from the other bank, some kind of waterfowl announcing its presence (one thing we know it wasn’t: a skunk, Orson has learned to avoid those stink badgers).  For whatever reason Orson jumped happy and headlong into the unpredictable waters of the Rio Grande.

Stef had been watching and probably even waiting for this to happen.  She ripped off some of her clothes (just some!) and threw herself after him into the brown freezing river.  The waters were high, she couldn’t touch bottom and the river was flowing fast.  She’d observed previously that Orson was having trouble with the current, and was consequently swimming in the wrong direction.  In order to cope with this difficulty Samuel was darting around on the bank, nimbly announcing Orson’s trajectory. “He’s up here!’  Stef swam in the direction of her husband’s voice, found Orson and grabbed him around his muscular chest.  She hauled him to the bank and pushed him up until he was able to clamber out on his own, wet, shaken, and ready to do it all over again! (…Just kidding).

Here’s what the river may have looked like:


Here is a picture of Orson, but I imagine that he probably looked a little more alert in the midst of his wet adventure.


Orson looks like he’s related to an Otter, but maybe Stef is.

Luckily Stef was able to extricate herself from the freezing quick-moving water without the assistance of a second, very-prepared rescuer.  She also happened to find a small minnow in her shirt (that is how I know that she was wearing some clothes).

There were several other miracles over the weekend including an incredibly generous donation to our Kickstarter Campaign from David’s uncle and aunt: Gord and Deb.  We can probably thank the architect at the Regency for that, or maybe we should just thank them!  If you haven’t yet seen how fabulously campaign Millie is doing, please do check out our Kickstarter page, and please don’t take an exploratory fun dive into the Rio Grande.