Returning to NH: A Word From Ross

Common Man family photo, Concord, NH I Ross and Jamie Adventure

A post from Ross this week:

When you leave your hometown for whatever it is you’re looking for, you accept there are things you will miss. Jamie and I left the familiar behind for something new, something unknown. We left behind green summers and cold white winters. We left favorite haunts like Amphora and Maia Papaya. We left behind students and friends and family. There are so many things to miss about home but our focus was on the adventures before us. And what adventures we’ve had! This year alone we’ve spent an excessive amount of time at Disney World, adopted an amazing fuzzy travel companion, visited New Mexico and extensively explored Fort Collins. We met new friends, ate delicious food, and played our music all along the way. We never stopped missing all the things we love about New Hampshire but there is so much to see in this country. It’s almost overwhelming (in a good way) to think about how much we’ve done in such a short time.

As we approached New England in late September the landscape grew more and more familiar. Reliance on GPS lessened as I found myself on roads I’d driven time and again. There’s comfort in the familiar – even the places that drove me nuts when I lived here. Coming home is a reset – like going to sleep allows the brain to process all the information of the day, spending time with friends and family, sharing our stories and taking part of all our favorite parts of home cleanses our minds in anticipation of what is to come.

The next leg of our adventure is just around the corner, but right now I’m focused on visiting the coast, eating a bunch of seafood and hanging out with friends as long as I can while I’m here. You know, all that stuff that I’m going to miss.

Common Man family photo, Concord, NH I Ross and Jamie Adventure
Ross, Jamie, Mom and Grampy enjoy NH’s favorite chain, Common Man, in Concord, NH.
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Theater And More In NYC

Hi friends! I recently got to spend an entire week seeing shows and friends and family in NYC. It was really amazing, and I thought you’d want to hear about it! I’ll be talking more about the shows themselves on our Finishing The Season podcast, so subscribe wherever you get your podcasts if you don’t want to miss that.

Day 1:

Day 1 of my adventures began with a pre-dawn outing to the bus station (driven by Ross) and then making an Amtrak connection in Boston. When I arrived in NYC, I immediately headed toward the ferry and then walked for about a half hour to get to my (free) apartment for the week in Hoboken, New Jersey. It was a pleasant and largely uneventful trip, and I was delighted to see my host and tour my lovely home for the week. (Fifth floor walk-up = quite the workout!) Exhausted from my trip, I participated in my group’s mastermind call and then relaxed for a few before heading back into the city. My destination? 54 Below for Jonathan Larson’s “The Jonathan Larson Project”. Five years of research went into this history-making concert, conceived by Jennifer Tepper, and I got to experience its closing performance in all its glory. (I also had a tasty burger and greens and followed it up with some delicious gelato! There’s a food/drink minimum at the club, but the food is great.) As planned, I then called a Lyft after the late show, and I swear the driver was there within seconds. Perks of being in a big city! I returned “home” uneventfully.Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 2:

Day 2, a Monday, saw me sleeping in, getting a bit of work done and then heading out to a local market for food supplies to get me through the week. I had brought most of my own snacks from NH (much cheaper) but I picked up a couple of vegetables and yogurt. My only frustration was that they stole some money from me, charging me for fish I didn’t buy. And for once I didn’t look at the receipt before I left the store. 😦 Oh well. When I got back, I prepared my vegetables (spinach and butternut squash) for breakfast. Then I packed dinner and headed into the city to enter the lottery for Once On This Island. Lucky for me, I won (and another single person and I had teamed up, so he won as well), and for $49.50 I got to see this Tony-winning revival. Besides one slightly pitchy cast member, the show was stupendous, with an incredible set and an understudy for the lead who was really transformative. Circle in the Square continues to be a favorite Broadway house and I loved it, and although there aren’t bad seats there, my seats were really awesome. Afterwards I learned how to take the NJ Transit bus back to Hoboken (thanks for the encouragement, Google!).Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 3:

Tuesday was an earlier morning, and I woke and packed my lunch and snacks for later. This morning my goal was to get to Come From Away in time for a rush ticket. I was about the seventh person in line, which meant no seats were left, but I was the first to get standing room for only $32.50. What a deal! After I got my tickets, I met my host and friend for lunch at Dig Inn (outstanding), got ice cream at Van Leeuewens (best in NYC I think) and then made my way downtown for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Google first directed me to a different museum that’s been there for a while and maintained by the families and friends of the victims, so I visited there first. The first visit was good. The Memorial was really pretty and the museum next to it is extremely well done. After a powerful afternoon, I headed back toward the theater…the real reason I came here. Wow. Come From Away is a gorgeous score and an absolutely stunning production, with a stellar cast (I saw a few understudies but mostly the original cast) and incredible direction…This show is just outstanding. A highlight of my trip, for sure, and possibly the highlight. I took the PATH train back to Hoboken afterwards.Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie AdventureVan Leeuwens, New York, NY | In Search of a Scoop

Day 4:

Day 4, a Wednesday, was another slower start. I still had plenty of work to attend to in the morning, but doing it while lying in bed was a treat. I also attended to entering lotteries and deciding on my show priorities for the day. When I didn’t get my dream shows, that set my course for the day. Then I set off on a mission – to check out Torico, the closest homemade ice cream place to my apartment. This Jersey City location is OUTSTANDING and I was blown away by the service, the prices and best of all the sesame seed and peppermint candy ice creams. Follow my In Search Of A Scoop posts if you want the full write up! After ice cream (which I walked a half hour for), I took the train into NYC and then took the subway to Midtown for my first show of the day: Head Over Heels! I hadn’t done a ton of research on this one, but the reviews were great, the music was The Go-Go’s and wow, am I glad I chose this one! It’s set in Elizabethan times with gorgeous costumes and sets and lots of rhyming couplets but it’s a decidedly now musical, with a wonderful score and a plot worthy of today. It was also a thrill to see Alexandra Socha of NH originating a major role in a Broadway musical. For this one, I got to see the entire original cast, and I’m so glad, because if there’s any rhyme or reason to the world, this one will get some Tony recognition next season. Go see this now, while there are plenty of seats available and you can get digital rush seats for cheap through TodayTix! I saw this from the literal front row center. Amazing!Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie AdventureTorico, Jersey City, NJ | In Search of a Scoop

After my first show, Google told me where the best gluten-free bagels were in NewYork, and I do believe I found them! I had a gluten-free bagel with lox and scallion cream cheese and I remembered how wonderful New York is. 🙂 And then I headed to Renascence, a weird and wonderful show about Edna St. Vincent Millay with a small cast of extraordinary singers and actors, including Jason Gotay, who I’d loved in Bring It On. The location on the Lower East Side was the only one that made me really nervous during my NYC visit, but I kept my wits about me and got home safely without panicking. Also, rush tickets for this were super cheap – $25!Musicals and Broadway, NYC | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 5:

On Thursday, after again losing the reach lotteries (alas), I settled on Desperate Measures, a cowboy Western off-Broadway take on Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure. I got tickets to the evening show, which gave me time to visit the Met for a donation. I also returned to Torico for another cup of ice cream. Yes, it’s that good!

Unfortunately for me, I learned when I arrived that the Met changed their policy in March, so now if you aren’t local, you can’t set your own rate for tickets. 😦 But after a quick visit to Central Park and a consultation with my brother, I headed to the natural history museum, which still lets you pay what you like and was an easy walk from where I was! I had a fun and really interesting lesson in museums and sociology and such as I observed not only humans and animals but also the historical exhibits and what they did and didn’t highlight. It was fascinating. After all that, it was time for a dinner stop at Shake Shack (yayyy for gluten-free buns! Delicious chocolate custard!) and then I caught Desperate Measures. Which you should all go and see before it closes. So much fun and a truly talented cast of characters and a super fun plot I wasn’t familiar with before this.Museum of Natural History, New York, NY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 6:

On Friday, I woke up bright and early, tended to emails and headed out to spend the day visiting MoMa for the first time. The Museum of Modern Art has been on my list for more than a dozen years, and it was such a thrill to finally visit! (Tickets are $25 but they are totally worth it.)

I had no guide or plan for my visit, except that I knew I wanted to see everything before I left. Luckily for me, the very first exhibit I went to was my favorite, so I had lots of time to see it. “Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done” was an astonishing exhibit that I will absolutely never forget. I should explain that not only am I dancer first before a theater artist and musician, but I’m also a geek about dance history in the same way I am a geek about theater history. But like theater, dance is an ephemeral art form, and although I’ve read a lot about companies like Judson Dance Theater, I’ve very seldom gotten to see any of their work.Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

So this exhibit was a dream come true. I saw dance work recorded for film as well as tons of clips from dance productions, and I listened to audio interviews with members of the company. I read a ton and geeked out over pictures. And when I finished my exploration, I happened to wander in and catch a modern dance performance by a few dancers from the company.

I then explored the rest of the museum. I love modern art and art of the 20th century, and I really love impressionism, and all of this was well-represented at the museum. They also have a beautiful sculpture garden, so I enjoyed the sculptures while I had lunch.

When I had completed my visit, Ross let me know his bus into NYC was running late, so I got into place to view a dance performance by some of the founders of Judson Dance Theater! Deborah Hay and her dance partner revisited a work that they’ve been performing for more than fifty years, with two different video screens, audio recordings, their own dance and their own voice. The company featured about twenty dancers and it was unlike anything I’ve seen live. The exhibit explained that their work was heavily influenced by twelve tone music and the other art of the era. It was incredibly special, and it was all free with my ticket for the day.

Unfortunately Ross’ bus was super super late to NYC, but eventually he made it into Port Authority. Then we headed to the Museum of the Motion Picture to join my brother for a free night focused on an incredible Jim Henson exhibit. We followed it up with ice cream at a new to me place, Ice & Vice. (The story of that visit will be great fodder for a future post, so follow In Search of a Scoop if you like a good ice cream adventure!)Fun with family | Ross and Jamie AdventureMuseum of the Moving Picture, New York, NY | Ross and Jamie Adventure

It was wonderful to see Scott, and we got home uneventfully on the bus.

Day 7:

Saturday with Ross we were bound for his choice of adventures, which focused on the Nintendo store! We also visited another newto me ice cream place and met a really sweet couple, their child and their two service dogs in training. We also went underground at Rockefeller Plaza for the first time, and I found a wonderful place for a casual and affordable gluten-free meal (I went with soup and salad), Ross visited GameStop and we both fell in love with their bookstore full of quirky stuffed animals, puppets and adorable books.

We were pretty worn out, so we relaxed on a bench for a while before grabbing a coffee (for Ross), a treat to share and made out way to the theater for the reason for our trip: The Band’s Visit!

The show was absolutely outstanding (we’ll discuss it much more on Finishing The Season), and we relished every minute of it. It was a wonderful way to conclude my week of theater.Fun stuff | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Day 8:

Our final day was pretty uneventful. We took the ferry into NYC (Ross loves a boat) and then took our time walking uptown to meet our bus. Along the way we found lunch for each of us, including pizza for Ross, and our luxury bus ride back was refereshing with included snacks and drinks (including lots of gluten-free options) and a comfortable place to sit.

We are incredibly thankful to our host and to Scott and to everything and everyone that helped make this trip possible. And I’m truly thankful that Ross supported me making it happen!

p.s. Subscribe to our podcast, Finishing The Season if you want more show details and follow In Search Of A Scoop for all the ice cream reviews!

Return to Boulder

We recently returned to Boulder. We visited some of our favorite spots, including the bookstore and a delicious fast casual Brazilian restaurant called Five on Black where almost the entire place is gluten-free.Boulder, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Unfortunately our yoga class was canceled due to rain, but we did visit a tasty chocolate food truck to sample drinking chocolate and a truffle, and we still had a fun gig at The Laughing Goat.Ice Cream Social, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

We also got to meet Shack, a wonderful blues performer who opened for us. He’s extremely talented and will be representing Colorado and competing at the international competition this year! Ice Cream Social, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a ScoopWe’ve only got a few weeks left here, so we are doing our best to make the most of it and not get stressed about the silly stuff. We are also continuing to work on booking gigs in our free time.

We are excited to return to New England. From visiting family and friends to eating at our favorite places and cooking with local produce, there’s a lot to look forward to. And we have tons of teaching and performing to do too!

Thanks for following our journey, and let us know if you have ideas for us this fall.

A Day in Denver

Last week I had a dentist appointment for a cleaning, twenty minutes north of Denver, so Ross and I used it as an excuse to spend the day in the area.Denver, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

We first headed to the Denver Zoo, which was Ross’ top choice for the city. While there, we had a wonderful conversation and catch up with Katherine and Morgan, our bosses at Musicalarts, the studio we taught at in Exeter. Denver, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureWe loved seeing them, even if it was way too short, and then we spent the rest of the afternoon seeing animals, including an elephant presentation, and eating BBQ and ice cream (from God Save the Cream, a Denver company).Denver, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

The zoo is really wonderful, and being there brought back memories of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and of course Animal Kingdom at Disney World.

After our zoo adventure, we headed to a gaming store for Ross, where he found a Gameboy game he’d been looking for. Then we headed to the Denver Botanic Gardens, which are definitely the most stunning I’ve ever seen. Here we met up with Melanie, a classmate of mine from high school. Melanie and I hadn’t seen each other in about sixteen years, but our conversation was easy and natural, and after closing down the gardens, she agreed to join us at our next destination, High Line Creamery, for some ice cream. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of Melanie.Denver, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureDenver, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Denver, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureMelanie and Ross each got a (reasonable) double scoop, and I got a (not so reasonable) ice cream flight. In fact, the two of them wanted some real food, so I sent them next door to grab burgers (closing time was approaching) while I finished my epic flight. (You can subscribe to In Search of a Scoop for all the ice cream details.)

It was an awesome night, and it reaffirmed a) that we have awesome friends b) that RVing is a great way to see them and c) we love the Denver area.

It’s so strange to realize the summer is quickly coming to an end. And with it, the end of our time in Fort Collins gets closer. We will definitely miss this area, and we know we will be back, but we’ve got some wonderful ukulele classes to teach and performances to share, and lots of family and friends to visit with.

I hope you’re all had a great week and find your own adventure too!

Denver, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventure

Knowing When To Say No

I’ve been struggling recently with knowing when to say no. When do we say no to a job opportunity? A networking opportunity? A discount for a thing we wouldn’t have done otherwise?

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on articulating what is essential and what is flexible in my life. The answers are constantly evolving. What does it take for us to settle down? Is there a perfect job? A perfect location? When does it get close enough to perfect that the difference isn’t of much consequence?

We are truly in love with Colorado. Yesterday we visited Greeley and Windsor; two more great communities in the corridor that we could envision ourselves living in.

And yet, we are nowhere near being able to afford a house here. Is that okay? Will we ever buy a house? Is living in an RV (or maybe a pet-friendly apartment) and renting a small studio space good enough? And if so, how long will that be true?

There are more questions with every answer. For now, we’ll keep the faith and do the work and trust that if we build it, they will come, whether they are clients or job opportunities or a clear next step or location.

Five Coffee Shops Worth A Visit

When you’re traveling the country in an RV, you don’t necessarily need to stop at coffee shops for a latte or an espresso. But it’s a fun way to discover the local scene, and we’ve really enjoyed visiting cafes across the country.

I recently wrote a blog on this subject for Outdoorsy. Enjoy reading about five coffee shops worth a visit across the U.S.!

We’re looking for contacts for the upcoming fall and winter. Whether you know someone at a school, library, senior center, cafe or other live music venue or anywhere else that might enjoy a workshop or some live music, please let us know! We’re currently seeking connections in Raleigh, N.C. (and nearby), Washington D.C. (and the surrounding area), northern New England and the Boston area, New Mexico and Austin, TX. Thanks in advance for any leads you can provide!

 

Live Updates and Live Music

Life! What an incredible gift this life is. Every day I am so thankful for all of the incredible blessings in my life, from our family and friends, to able bodies and minds, to passions and skills and privilege and the courage and freedom to pursue our dreams and use our gifts as we do.

This week, I’ve had tons of thoughts running through my head. I’m happy to be taking a lot of time to myself today and yesterday, because it’s really been a roller coaster. In addition to working at the recreation center, I was given the task of hiring new employees, and that has easily added at least five hours a week as long as significantly more responsibility into my schedule. On top of that, I’ve applied for a couple of jobs, written my weekly blogs, taught music lessons (Conducting is now in my repertoire) and provided social media work for my clients, and Ross has started editing another podcast in addition to his existing work for other clients and ourselves. We are busy! But I’m so thankful that we have so many income streams, and we’re steadily chipping away at saving money and paying off debt acquired in the leaner times.

We’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming year, and we’ve got some great goals that we are working towards. Our major goal is achieving financial independence, so that we have enough work employed online that anything extra, like music gigs or workcamping or a local part-time job, wouldn’t be needed, and if we took it, it would just be gravy. We’re lining up wonderful opportunities in New Hampshire this fall. I’ll be directing a reading of a new musical. Ross will be recording a demo CD for the musical. We’ll be performing, of course. And we’ll be teaching a (free!) ukulele class for older adults in both Lebanon and Haverhill, NH.

We’ve got some additional goals for ourselves. We are planning to get enough work while we’re in NH to keep us afloat this winter, which would in turn give us more time to build up our businesses and even build a few sources of passive income through a few projects we’ve got up our sleeves. We’re hoping to book some work in the D.C. area as well as Raleigh in early December, which would finance both a mini-vacation in D.C. and a visit to see family before we head back out west.

We’ll be in the Southwest for the winter (seeking any and all gigs or shorter-term workcamping arrangements in New Mexico and Tucson, AZ), and in April we’ll be in Austin, TX. By June, we’ll be in northern New Mexico, including Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM.

We’ve got big hopes and dreams, and we’re still figuring out how to finance it all. We pursue great opportunities and trust the universe to lead us. And thank you to all of our friends, family and followers who reach out to us with opportunities and suggestions. Your help is greatly appreciated.

I’ve spent yesterday and today decompressing, and I took a fantastic six mile walk yesterday across Fort Collins, including some of the gorgeous Poudre Trail. Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureWe also performed at an open jam at Scrumpy’s (our favorite cider bar), Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie Adventureenjoyed watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor? at the Lyric Theatre (with delicious gluten-free eats) and finally visited one of the Fort Collins libraries (best wifi we’ve found in Colorado so far). Fort Collins, CO | Ross and Jamie AdventureSometimes you need to really take a break, and I’m so thankful I forced myself to disconnect yesterday.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t read it yet, you might enjoy this blog on how to find live music while you’re on vacation. I hope you’re enjoying your summer, wherever you are.

Spins on S’mores and more!

We’ve been truly enjoying our time in Colorado. We keep falling deeper and deeper in love, to be honest. But it’s not all fun and games out here. We’re both working full-time jobs and also continuing our variety of remote work to make a solid income.

We’re continuing to actively book work for the fall and winter too. We’ll be in New Hampshire in October and November, and in the Southwest (mostly southern New Mexico and hopefully Tucson) beginning in December. We’re also looking for work in Austin and en route from there to Austin in March, April or May. Let us know if you have any leads or ideas for venues!

My latest blog for Outdoorsy explored five tasty variations on a classic s’more. Enjoy, and have one for me!