It has been quite a year. Robin lost her stepfather in May 2016 but we felt so honored, while he was on hospice, to be at his side the day he left this physical realm - and to have been at his side for months as he declined so quickly. After a long time on the road, bringing him from Seattle back to Illinois to be buried next to Robin's mom, we went back to Montana. We played a few shows this summer, while mainly enjoying the peace in the backwoods in Trego, MT and soaking in all that had happened...finding peace in the most peaceful of settings. Back to the Olympic Peninsula we went in October once more....staying in an rv park right on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.....just beautiful! Will be here until returning to Montana in May 2017.
Made it to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula in Washington State this month. So much to explore, see and do. Reminds us a bit of Flathead County, with each small community having its own spirit, energy and personality. Actually not too far from seeing LIVE MUSIC - looking forward to that. Also hoping some of the venues we are contacting might take these "strangers" in to perform a night or two while we are here! Fingers crossed..........
Back in Montana again after a long stay in Illinois. Even had to leave the rv (our home) as the universe gave us another experience to learn and grow from. We spent eight months working toward closure on many levels. Robin's stepfather became too ill to live at home alone, so off we went to Arlington Heights, Illinois. Room by room, we said goodbye and sorted memories from estate sale items. Had the house painted, cleaned. Had endless garage sales and finally was able to successfully sell the house and relocate her stepfather to a beautiful assisted living apartment in the Queen Anne area of Seattle, WA. We drove all of his items across the country and set up the apartment ourselves as well. All in all, we arrived in Illinois on October 8th, 2014 and left in the middle of May 2015 -driving to Seattle. All was done by mid-June and that was when we got to come back to our little rv in the woods. Saying goodbye to Illinois and to the house was not easy - but it was closure since Robin lost her mother in 2012. We will continue to rv full time, but will be staying in the Pacific Northwest from this point forward. Found a beautiful place on the Olympic Peninsula to call home October 2015 - April 2016....so a new adventure begins.
HOME SWEET HOME - We arrived back to Montana on June 1st. Crazy
beautiful as always. We've said to each other many times that if every
person would just experience a few weeks in NW Montana, what a happy
world it would be...all of your "troubles" just seem to disappear with a
glance at these mountains or the sweet smell of pine in the air.
survived our Amazon experience last winter - then traveled to North
Carolina to visit family for two months - then to central Illinois to
see family as well.........then we headed home. We have about 5 shows we
know of for certain this summer and we hope that, like last summer, we
will be busy with private parties as well. But music is for your own
spirit, so whether playing for ourselves or fans, we're happy to be
jumping back into it.
This rv lifestyle, as you can imagine, requires a little moolah to get from point A to B...so we became temporary, holiday Camperforce RV workers at Amazon in Kentucky! Exhausting, yes. Mentally stimulating? Uh...no. But we wanted to try something new...and it's just for a short time...so what the heck, right? So this is where we will be through December 23rd...wish us luck!
THE UNIVERSE KEEPS TESTING OUR STRENGTH - LOSING MY MOM 1/27/2012
FINDING PEACE, LOOKING AHEAD AND APPRECIATING MY MOM'S GIFT OF MUSIC WHEN THE WORLD FEELS UPSIDE DOWN
On January 27, 2012 my mom unexpectedly passed away at the young age of 66. I would have to start a new website to say everything I want to say about her here and how much I miss her every single day. But I'm going to honor her memory on my music website, where she belongs, by focusing on her true life passion...music.
Before I start, I want to say a few things. We've been flooded with calls, emails and cards full of care and concern - wondering how I am coping. This experience has changed me in ways I can't explain. There is sadness I've never known, but peace and clarity as to what really matters in this life. Good has grown from despair. I've always had an idea what life was meant to be, but losing my mom has cemented my faith in who I am and the life I was meant to lead. As an only child, with parents who are only children, all I can say right now is for such a small family how extremely lucky I am to have such amazing and beautiful parents and stepparents. I will always feel my mom's love, until my last breath and beyond, because I do believe love never ends. But I still can find peace, joy and comfort each day in the love from my wonderful father and stepparents, Pat and George. How lucky I am to be so loved. In addition, my husband and my daughter are my life. So in a chaotic and often painful world, with such a small family, I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Quality of love is what truly matters - not quantity.
So my mom and music. Ahhh, music. I love music and love performing it as well - but no one loved song as much as my mom, Holly. How many 43 year old "children" have to tell their parents to turn down the volume on the CD player? If the CD player wasn't on, blaring loudly, music came from her sitting at the piano. Just this past Christmas, Jim and I sat downstairs and harmonized along with her in the key of "C." My mom played piano by ear, and played it beautifully...but only in the key of "C." So we always had to stretch our voices to join in with her...and it was the theme of much laughter. Cheyenne played duets with her grandma, too, this past Christmas. What gorgeous memories.
ME AND MOM
My mom also performed barbershop, winning a championship one time that took her to Hawaii for competition. She was so witty and bright, too...always writing poems and stories for her friends and family, writing jingles and entering competitions for commercials. She was even on YouTube a few years ago for a Cubs song contest she and her dear friend Patti wrote together, hoping to win it big. Let us not forget her most treasured recent singing event where she and Patti were Salvation Army bell ringers, drawing crowds as they harmonized Christmas songs out in the cold. They raised more money for the Salvation Army, I am certain, than anyone in bell ringing history. Even in the end, she wanted her headstone to read "Just One More Song" - which it will. She didn't just "like" music - she was music. In addition, her heart was bigger than anyone I have ever met. At her funeral, they had to open up the next room to accommodate all of those who came to grieve. In her honor, we had an upbeat keyboard player keep things light because that is what she would have wanted. At the luncheon, Jim and I joined her sweet, life long singing friends, in an Everly Brothers tune (her favorite!).
On the day she passed away, Jim and I were packing up to perform at a little coffee shop in Effingham, Illinois. We, of course, never made it there. To be honest, I'm not ready to jump back into music just yet. But we are performing at that coffee shop on March 9th, to finish what never took place on the day my life changed forever. I'm doing it for her, because music was more than entertainment - it was a way of finding beauty in a chaotic, sometimes ugly world. It made her smile, disappear for a little while - and that is what I need, too. I know that music will only grow inside of me now, more than ever, in her absence - and more songwriting will take place in my future. It is innocence, therapy, purity - even as I am choked up writing this, we have our favorite music playing in the rv to help me get through this post. Music was more than sound, it was her spirit.
In closing, as many of you know, Jim and I made the decision a few years ago to simplify our lives - to let go of materialism and just "be." We wanted time to appreciate the beauty in this world, have more time to be with those we love and just breathe and feel alive. Though we've known it was the right decision for us, we have never been more certain. In our lifestyle, we can grieve and celebrate my mom's life, find solace in spending time with others, find peace through music and, most importantly, let love fill us up every day without modern distractions. At a time that it would be easy to feel angry, cheated or bitter in this life - I feel peace, serenity and see beauty everywhere.
Thanks, Mom, for giving me your gift of music...I will cherish it and will love you always - Love, Robin
ONE LESS KAREN NEWS - UPDATED 7/7/2011
Dear friends, family and fans...as you might have noticed, our website has not been very active these past 12 months. Without turning our website into a diary, we will just say that this past year has been a time of changes, transitions...basically, "life."
We spent 20 months, beginning in 2009, living a simpler life on the road in a 30 foot travel trailer. A very wonderful experience, slimming down to just life essentials and parting with the other "stuff" including our house. We performed here and there, even in North Carolina, Illinois and Montana. But we pulled off the road after Robin lost her grandfather in May, 2010.
We wintered 2010-2011 in Whitefish, Montana in our travel trailer (THAT was an experience!) and basically took a year of reflection and adjusting. We also recently lost our beautiful yellow lab "Clementine" (the infamous beauty on the cover of our "Clementine's Bedroom" CD) and are dealing with that loss...she would have been 13 this year and was a great RVer!
Our musical future is, once again, looking brighter and we are getting ourselves back into the groove...it is therapeutic and our passion...time to get back on the horse. We have a few gigs this summer, which you can see on our calendar page.
Please keep checking back...any future plans will be popping up in the future. As always, email anytime! Thanks for your support and hope to see you at some 2011 shows.