Looking South.

Home.

…to get where you want to be.

So we moved to Vermont.

The Northeast Kingdom, more specifically.

We finally did it. Years of vacillating between staying put and moving where we really wanted to live.

Actually, I wish I’d put it like that to myself years ago, but sometimes clarity comes in hindsight. Definitely, in this case. Obviously, we would want to be where “we really wanted to live.”

For us, that was up here, within easy driving distance of our northern neighbors. Out where there’s space, where the neighbors are nice, but far enough away for our hermit tendencies. No neighbors with crying kids or parties. Just the loons (there’s only one pair, the lake’s too small for more) and the occasional turkeys coming through to eat apples that fell from the tree in the backyard. Acres and acres of wildlife refuge with dirt roads barely suitable for cars, but perfect for Princess Penelope (the CB500X) and KLaRa (the KLR, of course). Sixty mile rides on dirt roads and under power lines where you only see three people – on a Saturday. In September.

We live here.

Every day, one of us says this to the other – and there’s a dazed giddiness, a feeling that we put one over on the man by managing to pull this off. So let me tell you how it went down:

Back in the spring. The Spousal Unit (hereafter referred to as SU because DH drives me up the wall and seems way too cutesy for me to use with a straight face) and I finally had that conversation about “where should we move to and can we afford it on our budget” and ran the numbers….and they worked. I’ve read that Gen Xers are the last of the generation that will probably benefit from this whole boom and bust cycle of home ownership that’s coming around again – and I’m the exception that proves the rule. Or maybe I’m not an exception. But either way, I realized I could sell the house we’d fixed up and sell it for more than I paid for it. And have money left over for moving and settling into a new house.

This led to over two solid months of tackling a slew of projects around the house neither of us had been motivated enough to complete (or even start, in some cases). We replaced a utility sink, a bathroom vanity, a bulkhead that had rusted away and the crumbling concrete around said bulkhead. I painted so many rooms – rooms I’d never painted since I lived there. I joked to SU more than once that our house would have been much nicer to live in if we’d done that stuff sooner.

We put so many of our belongings in storage – all those boxes of records and CDs, books, extra clothes, tools….so many things. We ended up needing a second storage unit after we filled the first. There were also two dumpsters that we filled – and I mean filled.

Then there were the house listings. Combing the ones in Vermont, this time. I started in the central part of the state, but kept not finding what we needed to find – a solid house, in our price range. Nothing fancy, but with a little bit of land. A few acres. Some privacy. Hopefully with high speed internet to the house. After a while looking there (and a couple of trips north in February and March), I realized we needed to look further north. SU concurred and we found a few possible candidates for our new home. I had a hilarious first call with a realtor who ended up getting us into our new house and even coming over to help me scrape the eaves on the garage when we were painting it….but I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, we wind down our activities in the house where we were living, and then picked a few houses that were likely. We cleaned the hell out of our house and got the pictures taken to put it on the market. Then we cleared out of the house with our dogs and put the house on the market while we went up to the NEK to look at our candidates. We weren’t sure any of the houses for sale would work out for us, but we were hopeful. We arrived in northern Vermont on Friday afternoon and stayed next to a river in a beautiful house with such a clear view of the nighttime sky that I could see the Milky Way.

On a Saturday in mid-May, we went to look at our first house. It was the one we’d felt had the best possibility of working for us, and when we drove up and saw the view from the yard in back of the house, we were amazed. It’s really a beautiful yard with a million dollar view. Only 4 and something acres, but so private. The house was built in 1968 by the seller’s father. It’s a solid ranch with an open kitchen and living room floor plan and a walkout basement. When we finished walking through, we got outside and told the realtor we didn’t need to look at the other ones.

But what we’d also just found out was that we had a full price offer on our house. It had actually come in on Friday night, and I think it was the first or second person who actually looked at the house. All those years of our game of “what’s the catch” when looking at all the real estate listings paid off in making sure our house was clean and set up and had nothing that “wasn’t in the listing photos” because we knew what we wanted to see when we looked at houses on the real estate listing sites.

We accepted the buyer’s offer, and the seller accepted ours. The next month was a crazy blur, but I managed to finish all my loan paperwork and jump through all the necessary hoops to get the loan done.  I’d started the application process in February – so grateful to my loan officer and processor at NFCU for all the help, and a special shout out to the VA for their guaranteed loan with no down payment. I’m still surprised that there are so many veterans who don’t know about it – but if you’re a veteran (honorably discharged), you can likely get a VA loan. It’s not a benefit unless you use it, kids.

On June 20th, we sold our house in Massachusetts. Two days later, we bought our house in Vermont. That view in the header up there? That’s the view out our living room window. We’ve got a garage with the same footprint as our former house, and a house that’s even bigger. No stairs to the bedroom, and the bathroom’s on the same floor. It needs a metric fuckload of updating, new shingles and windows and a real bathroom because this tiny one isn’t going to do it for us. Who’s doing all that work? We are. With the skills we had and those we also learned making the addition on our last house (and all those repairs before we put it on the market), with a judicious usage of licensed plumbers and electricians for the things we’re not able to do ourselves, we’ll make this house our home.

But first, we’ll take some time to live and enjoy now that we can breathe again. So much rushing around, but we did it. We’re still not sure exactly how two people like us managed to pull this off, but we’re here and we’re staying. Come visit.

Love,

DJ Muse

 

PS – everything here is under construction. on the website, i mean.

12.04.2015

Nope. I try, but really I just get sidetracked.

There were some decisions to make about where we wanted to be long-term. Many considerations, and the world is just so crazy these days. It made me question a lot of things, and I had to decide where I wanted to be for my own well-being and long-term stability. Yes, the idea of picking up and moving away to the country is crazy, and the idea that I could even do it is an indication of how fortunate I am in many ways. Most people live where they are as a result of circumstances of family, of employment, of “that’s just where I ended up.”

Family. My family is all married and found – so many people I chose to be part of my life because they were someone I wanted to have in my life. Again, I’m fortunate. I choose well these days, the result of so many errors in discretion and judgment when I was younger. Luckily, I eventually learn from my mistakes. I chose music as part of my path, and writing as the other – and there are so many amazing people in those areas who became part of that circle I call friends and family. We support each other. We cheer each other on. We share information and inspiration and music.

So, I’m trying to set up my life so that I create more, noodle more, play with music more. Write more. My husband thinks he’s the only one who reads my page, and he might not be far from right. But I’m going to try writing here every day or as close to it as I can get. Expect things about my life, the projects I do around the house, and my music. Fun stuff about the music I’m encoding from vinyl, that ongoing, never-ending process. Maybe some links to the songs, especially when I have trouble finding them on YouTube (those end up on my Facebook page a lot of the time when I find something I want to share). Basically being more forthcoming with what I’m doing on a more regular basis.

Right now, I’m still doing the Seven Hills Slam on the first Sunday of each month. There’s talk about expanding the reading to more nights (like making it biweekly) and I’ve verbally committed to adding those nights when they happen. I’ll try to keep the gigs page updated accordingly.

So, let’s see where this goes! Feel free to drop me a line at my djmuse address. I’ll write back, I promise.

06.29.2015

…to update.

Got the Seven Hills Slam coming up again. There’s also a fundraiser in the works and I believe I’ll be doing something for that, as well. The slam team has been chosen and they’re going to nationals in Oakland, so they need to raise money. There’s a regional slam the first weekend in July and that should be fun, also.

Here’s to summer, friends and music.

06.09.2015

So, I’ve been doing the monthly poetry DJ thing at the Seven Hills Slam, and it’s been great to get out again.

I’ve also been encoding vinyl and finding things I’d totally forgotten I had. With hundreds of records in various crates and bins in my house, that’s not surprising.

I’ve also been cleaning up my music files and consolidating from three different computers over the years. One of my discoveries in that process was an old mix I did probably around 2002. I don’t even remember what the release name was, but its working name was “Boom.” Lots of breaks and some old gems from the Chems and the Propellerheads that still make me want to dance. No matter what I do, I’m never quite satisfied, but I have to say that mix came out pretty damned good. Going to post it up on the Mixes page and post a link on r/breakbeat because the kids need some good “old” music.

xoxo
DJ Muse, aka Grandma Funk

10.19.2013

I find myself wondering about the nature of communicating online. Years ago, I had a blogger account. Then I had a LiveJournal, and I actually used that fairly regularly (for a while, anyway). But this website, which I envisioned (and for a long time, used) as a DJ-centered platform for musical musings and keeping people up-to-date for gigs, has languished. I’ve also gotten away from writing on a regular basis (see: annual post).

So I’m thinking about using this space to ruminate on anything that comes to mind, fit for general consumption. Sometimes people stop in, far-flung people from the many and varied places I’ve been, and I like that. We’ve all moved on with our lives, and even though music may still be a part of it, a lot of us have gone in different directions. We don’t go out every week and dance, and that’s a shame. I don’t do a radio show every week, and I definitely miss that. Yes, it was a hassle to load up all that gear – especially in the KRSC days when I had the six-foot DJ coffin (two 1200s, the RM-100 mixer and the Denon Dual CD deck) and all those crates of records and CDs. Turn of the century, kiddos. Back in the time of the dinosaurs.

But I miss being “in” music in a scheduled way for three hours every week. It was fun – and I often think about how different it would be now, with all the ways of communicating instantaneously on the internet that are more easily accessible to any barely-tech-savvy person (as opposed to the old days of IRC and the like). At the very end of my time doing a live show at KRSC, I was “talking” online to people on the old Mid-South Raves message board, and that made it a lot of fun. These days, there are some people who do weekly internet radio shows, but the costs for bandwidth can be prohibitively expensive, it seems. I wonder about making it work, and sometimes I think I might go down that road again. Where I live, there’s a community radio station, but finding a three-hour chunk of time for a radio show is pretty much impossible unless I want to do it at the ass-crack of 3am.

So then I think about musical projects – again. The past year has been pretty much consumed time-wise with the deck/porch project, but I’m actually on the home stretch of it now. The spousal unit and I basically built a 12×14 cabin stuck to the side of our house – complete with a wood stove and ten windows. I had to learn how to do roofing (yes, I put those shingles down myself), electrical wiring (all the outlets, light fixtures and all the way back to the main breaker box by yours truly), drywall (I’m great at it now, but I will never like sanding the stuff – what a damned mess) and tiling (which I really already knew how to do, but had to add to my repertoire). Carpentry I sort of knew – but got a lot better at it – practice. There was also a lot of staining and painting, and I’ve still got to finish the surround for the stove and lay down the wood floor. But it’s almost there, a year and three months after we broke ground on the first footer (dug those suckers by hand myself, all twelve of them).

What I’m hoping for here is a start. A place to check in every so often (I won’t say every day), to mention whatever’s on my mind, and hopefully get to the music part of things. It’s been a while since I made a mix, and I’m toying with the idea of a few vinyl-only mixes. Mark Farina does that on the regular in addition to his busy touring schedule, and he seems to do okay – and I definitely miss mixing the old-fashioned way. I’m still encoding my whole CD library to my computer, and recently moved from a Mac platform in the studio to a Windows-based system. Live was surprisingly painless to cross-grade, and now I have plenty of space and computing power for a fraction of what it would have cost to buy a new G4 or whatever they’re at these days. My inner tinkering nerd won out over the cool-kid factor, I guess.

So, that’s what’s up with me. so there you have it. If you’re interested in communicating back, you know who I am – djmuse. This nice little doman, djmuse.com has email too, so you can drop me a line there if you feel so inclined. Let’s see what I can get up to, and maybe there will be some interesting mixes in our future!

08.13.2009

Yes, things are happening here in Muse-land. I’ve got two gigs during the Floating World event.  I’ll be playing downtempo/chillout sets as part of the “AfterCare” parties from 3-5A on August 22 and August 23 (late night Friday and Saturday).  For a long time now, I’d hoped to find a way to combine my fascination with fetish and my love of music and being a DJ.  This is the first chance I’ve had to put my own stamp on an event, and I feel like it’s a perfect fit.

This event is closed to registration – they actually sold out all 1200 admissions (yes, it’s that big) two weeks before it started.  Sorry!  But if this goes well, it might lead to something else in the future.  If you’re going to be there, some see me in the pool area of the Sheraton (private party open to Floating World attendees only) and enjoy the laid-back, lovely grooves.

Don’t forget, I’ve got Atman – a DJ Muse Mix for you to listen to as you’re going about the last of your summer.  It’s great music for an evening relaxing on the back porch or with your sweetie.  Personally, it makes me think of Germany.  *smile*

As always – thanks for listening!

~ DJ Muse

08.08.2009

…I’ve actually finished a new mix.

I’ve also got a new gig, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.

I realized today that it’s been a very long time since I sat down (or stood up, really) and recorded a new mix. Today there is a new mix for you to listen to, and I’m very happy with it. Consider it a gift, a meditation on the way life is complex and beautiful and how the life force that animates all of us is inside to be found if only we’ll be aware of it. If you don’t want to be so hippy about it, then you can just say “enjoy life.” I’d like to thank Todd for reminding me that life is meant to be lived with open arms and heart.

Enjoy the music!

Atman – a DJ Muse mix

So this summer has flown by. Last night I had a wonderful party at my house with friends. The Cantab’s been wonderful fun as always, and I’m exposing people to new music every week.

In the next week I will finish a new mix – be sure to check back for your fix of warm grooves for a perfect summer afternoon with your sweetie.

Now get out there and enjoy your summer!

07.09.2009

Welcome to my new website…

Yes, if you’ve even been on in the last long while, you’ve probably noticed something. Specifically, that I haven’t really changed a thing in a while.  But that’s changing – starting now!

Present status: working on mixes, collaborating, and doing the duties as DJ for the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge which allows me to get my jazzy-weird mix on with my writer friends every Wednesday.

Take a look around and download/listen to some mixes if you’re so inclined. Drop me a line if you have something you want to ask or are looking for a crazy, strange and wonderfully eclectic DJ to play your unique event.  I’d love to hear from you!