Something Personal / Another Pastime

I already had today’s post all figured out, but by about 10 pm last night, I couldn’t just sit there and not talk about what’s been going on in the past few days. This is a dark time for our country, so, while my original post follows, first I need to say something about the “Muslim Ban.”

When I started this blog, its purpose was to talk about the story behind the work that I do. That is, everything that goes into the making of the work that I sell in my Etsy shop is explained here – in this blog. It’s the story about me and everything that inspires my work. However, I’m afraid I picked a terrible time to start a blog about myself and my work because right now, there are more important things going on right outside my door.

Each day that goes by, I’m faced with more bad news, ridiculous events that sound like a circus than actual reality. It’s frightening.

After the carnage at the airports across the country yesterday, I keep thinking about all the families, professionals and students who are legally trying to get into our country, and they’re stuck in the airports, some forced to go back to their countries, many kicked off the planes, through no fault of their own. I’m thinking about how miserable and frightened they must feel.

I’m also reminded of a family our church hosted maybe 10 years ago. They came from Ethiopia, and everyone in our congregation helped them settle in. Each one of us did a little something to help them out. I drove the mom and her baby to her classes in the morning so she could learn English. It took several years but now they have three beautiful girls, all growing up American, all bright and wonderful. They are a good family, standing on their own feet, taking care of each other, and are part of a community here.

And then I think about what’s going on right now. It reminds me of so many other similar events in history, like the internment of innocent Japanese after Pearl Harbor, and the persecution of anyone Iranian during the hostage crisis. There are countless other events just like this in our history, and we all know them.

Fear just makes people do irrational things. And here we are again: all this chaos was caused by the stroke of a pen from a man who acts without thinking. But what really bugs me, after all we’ve been through and all we know, is that not one person in the White House has the guts to say “no – you cannot do this.” This is not America.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the airports to show your support to the detainees. Thank you to the judges who struck down DT’s executive order just to let a couple hundred people in. Thank you to everyone who is protesting this insanity. You are America.

This is a picture of my mom and dad. Mom is a blonde, blue-eyed American from Connecticut. Dad came to this country from Iran in 1956 to study at University of Missouri in Columbia, where he met my mom a few years later. He came here for a better life. His mother soon followed and lived the rest of her days on American soil.

This is my mom and dad. Mom is a blonde, blue-eyed American from Connecticut. Dad came to this country from Tehran, Iran in 1956 to study at University of Missouri in Columbia, where he met my mom a few years later. He came here for a better life. His mother soon followed and lived the rest of her days on American soil. This photo, and this post, is in no way representative of anyone’s opinion but my own. My father supports the current president and agrees with the temporary ban. — LSS

What follows is today’s original post – thank you for reading…
This week, I didn’t have a whole lot to write about – in terms of LSS Luscious Knits. But instead of being lame and writing about writer’s block, I’ll tell you about another big part of my life.

Holy Smokes – this is the name of our band. We (my husband Mitch and I) started out many years ago (I want to say 2010, but I think it was even earlier than that), playing a few “bluegrassy” gospel songs for my church. That went over pretty well with the congregation. We have a friend who attends the same church as us, and when I found out he took bass lessons, I asked him if he wanted to join our band. I figured, he’s a friend, we all like similar music, and what a better way to learn how to play your bass than to be in a band. So Bill joined us. We continued to play more songs in church. We also got our first “gig” at an outdoor summer fundraiser for a local organization called Hands to Help Ministries. Not long after that, our friend Yaz invited us to his birthday party. He surprised us all by performing with his friends in an impromptu band called “Yazhole.” Yaz was playing the drums. No lessons. Just learned them for those few songs they played. Mitch looked at me and said, “We found a drummer!” And Holy Smokes was complete.

Since that time, we’d played a lot of shows and we’ve played a lot of preludes and offerings at Sunday worship services. I have to say that we’re very lucky that people enjoy us. We’re pretty amateur but at least we play with feeling! Also, we’re lucky to live in a big city with plenty of people who love local music, where a there’s plethora of opportunities for regular people to play out.

This last month we’ve been feverishly rehearsing for a show we’re doing on February 4th – the night before the Superbowl. It will be at the local Independence Tap, just a few blocks away from our church. I have a feeling a lot of people will be there. Our bass player got bitten by the music bug after our first big gig and started moonlighting with another band from his workplace, the Hipster Highwaymen, who’ll be opening for us next Saturday. Friday night they came to our house and we all rehearsed a collaborative hit (no, I won’t tell you what it was) in our basement studio. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how these young people (the other 2/3 of the Hipsters, literally hipsters) would receive us old folks, but I had no reason to be nervous. It turned out to be quite a fun night! We finished the evening by sitting around the kitchen table drinking beer…the same way we always end our Holy Smokes rehearsals. I guess some traditions just can’t be broken.

I love being in a band. It can be stressful at times, especially when you have a lot of other things going on, like kids or a day job, or anything else. But being in a band is a pastime I highly recommend. It’s therapeutic, you meet a lot of nice people, and in a way, you’re fulfilling a dream without sacrificing all the other things you love to do. I think a whole lot of us are like that. We’re complex people. We need lots of things to do. An artist who makes a living from his art has a hard job because it’s his or her whole life. A professional artist has to give up a lot of the simpler pleasures in order to independently survive on his or her art. But the rest of us either don’t have that kind of discipline or commitment. However, I believe we all have an artistic side that needs to be released from time to time, and I’m glad that we live in a world where we’re encouraged to share it with others, even if it’s just a hobby.

Clockwise l to r: Dave drums; Bill belts it out with Ryan on guitar; Mitch guitar man; Yaz, Ryan and Dave enjoy stimulating conversation over beer.

Clockwise l to r: Dave drums; Bill belts it out with Ryan on guitar; Mitch guitar man; Yaz, Ryan and Dave enjoy stimulating conversation over beer.

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