Posted by: Maggie Ross | June 18, 2011

Of Ducks And Forget Me Nots

Just back from St. Joseph’s Hospital for my bi-weekly “baby bottle” disconnect, following last Thursday’s chemo. I guess I get lazier all the time about my postings here since it occurs to me there was no blog whatsoever following the treatment before that, which is usually when I do these things.

Truth is there’s nothing huge to report. Although here’s something curious: we have a pair of ducks that visit the parking lot that our apartment windows overlook. The parking lot’s probably a bit smaller than a basketball court and tends not to be terribly busy most of the time. Often we look out the window and there they are, two ducks standing idly in the middle of the lot, staring duck-like at pretty much nothing. Occasionally they waddle from point A to point B 10 or 20 feet away. There doesn’t seem to be much food foraging involved. They just like standing around. Approached, they’ll waddle off but don’t seem to be panicked. Once or twice I’ve seen kids toss breadcrumbs or popcorn kernels at them but they seem more interested in escaping the kids than in the food offerings. Maggie thinks they actually live in a marshlike area beyond the trees that border the parking lot. Of course she worries endlessly about them but, thankfully, has refrained from giving them names.

Speaking of Maggie, it looks like she’s about to become a tour guide. Saint John handles a lot of cruise ship traffic (80 scheduled dockings this year) and she applied to a company that conducts bus tours. She did an audition the other day, taking a couple of the company’s employees on a short walking tour near their offices, offering commentary on various landmarks along the way. She was extremely nervous but needn’t have been; they proclaimed her to be “spectacular.” Must be the British accent. Now she has to take some training and procure a period United Empire Loyalist costume but it looks like a go. Which is good of course. We can certainly use the money, I think she’ll find the job interesting and will shine at it, and, let’s face it, she and I spend a lot of time together in this rather small apartment! I see no down side to this at all.

As for me, the usual. Lots of guitar noodling, a fair bit of songwriting, much of it on Skype. One thing that’s new is that I have reinstated my home studio. When we fled Nashville like a pair of refugees we got rid of a lot of stuff, even several of my instruments. But I did hang on to a few things. My trusty K. Yairi acoustic of course. I’ve had it since 1980, have written many hundreds of songs with its help, and can’t imagine being without it. I also kept the key ingredients of my compact recording setup: a Korg 12-track digital recorder, a little Presonus preamp and an AT-250 condenser mike, inexpensive but surprisingly good. I’ve probably owned this stuff for five years or so. I used it a fair bit in Nashville to make “unplugged”-style demos…vocals and harmonies, a guitar track or two, maybe a mandolin or Dobro part, perhaps some light percussion. It was always a love/hate relationship between me and the gear: I drive myself nuts at times trying to create perfect parts that belie my instrumental limitations. That’s probably why I’ve avoiding setting it up this past year. Everything sat in a suitcase in the closet up till a couple of weeks ago when I assembled everything onto a table in our computer room/office/spare bedroom.

Anyway I had the lovely Melissa Hunt over the other day to put down a vocal on a song we wrote called “Forget Me Nots.” It’s in memory of her maternal grandmother who died very suddenly several months back. It’s a sweet song and Melissa sings it beautifully. Listen for yourselves–it’s the first song on the “Listen To My Music” page.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts!


  1. Hi Larry, hope all is going well with your treatment. I see and do feel the same way about the frustration of getting the sound you want when you wear the technical hat recording. I am always learning new things everytime I plug a mic in to the recorder! Hope to record the song you helped me in the near future and will send you a copy. I have used the pencil you helped me sharpen with our sessions songwriting wise quite a few times. All good and thank you for that!

    Its amazing how nature can find its way into a busy city scene eh. It would make my day seeing the ducks doing their thing.

    Very nice song you co-wrote with Melissa. She does have a nice voice. When I have a few pennies aside I will be contacting you for a full song session. Things don’t always go the way you planned. Take care

  2. glad your treatments go so well. I’m about to get adjusted to the heart meds. Just got back for a 2 week family trip. Saw 2 new babies, buried tim’s sister, took tim’s mother to doctor (she is ok), attended nephew’s graduation. Got er done. In process wrote a song from a lyric my sister wrote. Before I left I finished my 4th book and now I am working on a play and a book. I need a wife.
    Keep on keeping on, my friend

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