24. November 2014 · Comments Off on Jacob the Cellist · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,


Jacob took up cello at his new middle school. It’s been a joy listening to him practice: the 4 years of piano has helped him get a leg up on reading bass clef and understanding things like tempo, dynamics, and rhythm. Here he is playing at his winter concert on November 11th.

27. July 2013 · Comments Off on West Navarre Primary 2nd Grade Patriotic Performance · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

This is from June 5th.

I’m just sharing some You Tube videos I had taken of Timmy’s class’s “Patriotic Performance”. It’s a tradition with the school’s 2nd grade classes. Sadly, the school is so large you can’t get all the 2nd grade classes to perform on the stage at once…nor can you get that many kids’ parents/grandparents into the room to see it. There are four classes performing in these videos.

I think there were over 300 second grade students at Timmy’s school. Nearly 1000 students in all for grades K-2.


More »

19. July 2013 · Comments Off on The Boys’ Piano Recitals · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Enjoy these videos from the boys’ piano recitals at the end of May. The boys will definitely miss Miss Ashley.

We haven’t found a piano teacher here quite yet…but we aren’t looking quite yet either.










18. December 2012 · Comments Off on A Holiday Post to Let You Know I’m Not Dead…. · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

This has been an insane holiday season!  But let me just toss up some You Tube videos showing off the kids. These were all taken with our new camera…with the telephoto lens zoomed in as far as it would go.

I promise I have so much more to write about this week, bear with me, thanks!

The first four are from the boys’ piano recital last Friday night.  The first two are Timmy, the second two are of Jacob.

And this is Jacob this morning reciting a poem he wrote himself at the school’s “Peppermint Parade”, in which each student from four of the classes recited a poem about winter, Christmas, or any other theme from this time of year. I apologize for the zoom sounds in the first 15 seconds or so…I had a hard time seeing whether the image was zoomed in or not.  I need to learn to adjust that manually so you can’t hear the motor.




I’m only putting text here because otherwise those colorful “Share This” buttons cover up the controls for the Peppermint Parade video.

31. May 2012 · Comments Off on Spring 2012 Piano Recital · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

The boys performed at their Spring piano recital this week.  Most of Ms. Herbstreith’s students are beginners, so we had perforances as simple as Old McDonald, but she also has a couple middle school students who play more advanced sonatas.  The songs are short, but you can get an idea of the skills the boys are developing!

Dave has been very busy this week: wildfires just north of base came very close to the north end of the base and the hazard caused the Air Force base leadership to have to prepare for evacuations from housing and nearby neighborhoods.  Dave was able to break away from work just long enough to come to the church and watch the boys, and then had to leave right away to return to the base.

Enjoy the videos!  First is Timmy, then Jacob.

06. March 2012 · Comments Off on A Brief Family Update · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Hello friends!  I have a lot to talk about — but I need time to sit down and just do it.  Things have gotten pretty busy here…between my involvement in the base Spouses’ Club and Cub Scouts, I’ve been spending more time with community work than ever before!

The boys started baseball a couple weeks ago (both boys), so that’s been keeping us busy too.  Their season will start after spring break.  No pictures yet, but I’ll get some soon, I promise!

Both boys earned their Cub Scout badges in February.  We are so proud!

Timmy’s face is painted as part of the ceremony for earning the badge.  The orange square badge is pinned on upside-down until he does a good deed.

Jacob’s face is painted too, but you aren’t really see it.  Jacob’s light-green badge is upside-down until he did a good deed.

I added one more layer to my already-crazy life, which I’ll write more about later.  Here’s a teaser for you:

Dave’s back surgery recovery has been continuing.  He was cleared at the beginning of February to resume exercise and he’s been slowly working back up to his Air Force fitness running requirements. I think he and Jacob could run a 5K together by May!  I’m hoping they can do the Sunset Stampede!  The boys and I did the run last year and it was a great time!

If you are either Dave’s or my Facebook friends, you will already know about our latest diversion — a new car for Dave!  For those who might not have realized, not long after we moved to Florida, Dave began looking at a “fun” car to enjoy on his 15-mile U.S. Highway 98 commutes between Navarre and Hurlburt Field.  I had convinced him that our household budget would appreciate his waiting about a year, which he patiently did.

Now that his back is feeling better, Dave is back to wanting to go out and explore the Florida panhandle.  I’m so excited to have my Dave back (no pun intended!)

So we spent much of February shopping for a convertible.  Between a nearly $10,000 trade for the Prius, and Dave keeping his search to a used model, this turned out pretty reasonable.

We looked at used BMWs, used Ford Mustangs and new Mini Coopers.  I want to thank my sons publicly for their tolerance of road tripping all over Pensacola, Crestview and Fort Walton Beach, test driving and sitting patiently while the grownups talked to the car dealers.

And here’s the new car:

Dave was particularly interested in a 2011-or-newer Mustang V6 for its exceptional mileage.

The very next day, Dave let me drive the new car with my friend Stephanie to Walt Disney World to run a half marathon (for another post), and after that weekend, the weather was absolutely LOUSY.  San Francisco-type fog rolling in waves from off the Gulf of Mexico for FIVE DAYS!  Starting this past Sunday, it’s been BEAUTIFUL and worth while to have a convertible.  We can’t wait till this spring!

So there’s a brief update on our lives — keeping up with our jobs, the kids and our community.


20. December 2011 · Comments Off on Holiday Piano Recital · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , , ,
Our boys after last night’s holiday piano recital.  Their teacher is in the upper right…

Last night my boys had their holiday piano recital.  In Nebraska Jacob only had one recital per year (May), but their teacher here in Florida puts on a nice holiday recital also.  They will have a bigger one in May.

This time I brought a tripod to take the video, which helped things out in two ways:

  1. The video isn’t wobbly at all.
  2. I could actually watch my sons play, instead of watching them through the viewfinder of the camera.
The boys’ piano teacher likes to give a somewhat-elaborate introduction for each student, which I could cut from Timmy’s but couldn’t find a nice place to cut from Jacob’s.  Miss Ashley is saying some nice things about Jacob and his playing, but if you want to skip ahead (and believe me, I’m not offended, Jacob starts playing at about 1:00 into the video).
Timmy’s “Jingle Bells”
Jacob’s “Jingle Bell Rock”
16. October 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
Dave Navarro, me, Perry Farrell, Steve Perkins, & Chris Chaney.

I’ve seen other friends do it — they post pictures on Facebook of celebrities they’ve seen at airports, or on their flights, or at a store.  The pictures are taken from afar, zoomed in, etc.  I have a couple of Michael Franti from this past summer.

This time, I was waiting this morning for the Pensacola-to-Atlanta leg of my trip for my next AF Reserves trip.  The girl at the Delta counter checking me in said that I had just missed the members of Jane’s Addiction checking in ahead of me, and that I’d be able to see them upstairs.  I was excited; I’ve always enjoyed their music, although I’m not like a super-fan or anything.  I have a few songs on my iTunes library, including a wonderful live version of “Jane Says” with extra steel drums 🙂

Eventually they came in as a group into the gate waiting area, and I guess they looked incognito enough that only one other person walked up to them for pictures.  None of them were in makeup, which makes a BIG difference.  After that individual finished, I walked right up to them to say “Hello” and eventually ask for a picture.  I was in uniform, and wondered if they were going to treat me funny because of it.

I said “Hello” and Dave Navarro immediately picked on my camouflage uniform, claiming for about a minute that he heard a voice, but couldn’t see anything.  After a few minutes of dialogue about the De Luna Fest concert they played last night, and some inquiries about what I did for the Air Force, we posed for this picture.  The band members (and their managers) were all VERY VERY nice and it was a pleasure talking to them.  They all thanked me for my service (which I always feel funny about hearing from folks).

Well, that was fun, and I’m now back in reality, sitting in the USO in Atlanta Airport among dozens of tired soldiers and Marines getting ready to head back to Afghanistan.

08. July 2011 · Comments Off on Road Trip 2011: Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
This is our just-finished-packing-on-the-first-warm-day-of-our-campout-pooped picture. 

Meet Megan, who was my college roommate for my last two years at PSU.  She has a son about Jacob’s age.  Every couple of years we try to get together to hang out.  We aren’t formal about it or anything, but in recent years we’ve been able to take turns with visits and the last time we spent time together was at Dave’s family reunion in 2008 (I think it was 2008….).

So this time it was the Vollmers’ turn to make a trip up a bit closer to Megan; we discussed getting together for a mother/son campout somewhere between Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.  The Poconos and Catskills came to mind.  Megan found out that her favorite music group, Michael Franti and Spearhead, were headlining the Wanderlust Yoga Festival near Stratton, Vermont at the same time we were planning to get together.  We decided to go!

Michael Franti’s uplifting music is a lot of fun to listen to, his most recent album, The Sound of Sunshine, is so full of fun and happiness.  His band is well known for their Top 20 hit “Say Hey (I Love You)“.

We met up at Bald Mountain Campground near Townshend, Vermont.  The weather was pretty rainy and cool most of our time there, with high temperatures near 60F.  I wrote more about the camping itself earlier this week.

I will be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest yoga enthusiast!  I have gone to classes before, I know the basic moves, and I guess I’m okay at it.  When I saw the other music groups involved there turned out to be a couple of bands that my sister really likes and have heard before and cinched even more that it would be a good time.

Because of the kids (and our lack of enthusiasm for yoga), we didn’t sign up for any yoga classes but there was still plenty to do before the music.  I think it was in part due to the rain, but the concert went later than we thought, and I have to admit my kids were pretty tired by the time it started.  And they were wet.  But when they broke out several dozen beach balls to toss around the crowds during the song “Sound of Sunshine“, the kids suddenly got pretty happy!  Enjoy some pictures from our day!

The festival was held at the Stratton Ski Resort village, these stilt-walkers were roaming the festival.

I thought these pop-up recycling bins were cool.  One of the openings was actually for compost!

A circus performer was teaching the kids to spin plates, use “diabolos“, and juggle beanbags 

An acrobatic act was going on right in front of us while the kids were enjoying their juggling lessons.

Another stilt-walker.  Note the low clouds coming over the mountain — it rained off and on all day.

Michael Franti led a yoga session.  We stood at the back of the tent and listened.

These are the Mayapuris, a Krishna-inspired kirtan band from Alachua, Florida.  Their music was so wonderful!   

I only had my iPhone camera on this trip, so it was working extra hard to capture concert pictures after sunset!  Here’s Michael Franti himself!
16. September 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

“Woman, you did it again! Where on earth have you been?”

Yeah, even those who IM me haven’t seen me around much. And definitely no e-mails…

I’ve been on a mission since last Saturday evening.

“What happened Saturday evening?”

I had a couple “friends” contact me through Facebook. Friends from a life I’d all but forgotten.

“Okay? This doesn’t sound like it’s going in an appropriate direction…did you do prison time?”

No, not at all! I was a strolling violinist as a teenager.


(Can you find me in the picture?)

My former school system in Norfolk, VA, has a pretty elaborate music education program. Definitely one of the perks of public school (Music Education: that’s for another discussion). One of the programs offered was The Strolling Silver Strings. They had rehearsals once a week and played about 200 shows per year. You got into the group by audition, and each year there would only be about 7-8 positions available to be filled.

And the group sought more than just a skilled musician — the directors also assessed personalities and showmanship. Now, I guess most of the time my talkativeness can get on folks’ nerves, but in this case it was a plus…I’m not afraid of people, that’s for sure!

My freshman year of high school, I took a plunge and auditioned. I remember the audition being in the fall, and I found out I made it the same day as my first swim team practice in late November or early December. And the two weren’t going to mix one bit. I remember that being a rather tough decision, and I even remember writing a letter to my Dad (who I believe was out to sea at the time, or he might have been at a school in Newport, R.I. — Dad, where were you in Fall of 1987?) about the decision I was facing.

So before the holidays in 1987 I quit the swim team and started rehearsing with the Strolling Silver Strings (from here on out I’m calling it SSS). It was tough! You had to learn a repertiore of not-always-for-strings-music (such as Glenn Miller or John Phillip Sousa) and not just play it well, but play it well from memory.

And not just play it well from memory, play it well from memory while walking around your audience.

I remember my first concert in Jan 1988…it was for a Norfolk Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, we were expected to stroll throughout this HUGE grand ballroom playing while the participants were eating at a luncheon.

Our director, Frank Rodgers, was a very talented music arranger and had the best time transforming all sorts of music into something whimsical for violin, viola, cello and bass! It was so amazing!

Over the 4 years I spent with the group, I got better at the music and more comfortable playing while strolling. I’ve played throughout Virginia (including Virginia Governor Doug Wilder’s Inaugaration in 1990), along with Walt Disneyworld, and a small tour in the Mont Blanc valley in France. This link tells a little more of the story of how we got to go to Europe in 1991.

Even our cellos strolled! It was a sight to see!

I made some of the most wonderful friends, about a dozen of whom are now new friends on Facebook. A couple of them I’ve kept in touch with off and on since high school, but now we’re even finding some of our musical directors and they’re helping us find other former members. It’s pretty neat!

As you saw from the link, the group still exists today. If you’re in the Norfolk/Va. Beach area, don’t hesitate to consider the SSS for your next official function if you are looking for fun entertainment. Best of all, they’re FREE (so long as it’s during the school year).

If you’re on Facebook, check out the Strolling Silver Strings — Past and Present group. If you’re a former Stroller — especially in the first 10 years of the group’s history — reading this blog, head on over to Facebook to see more.

So my mission that’s kept me off the blog all week till now? To find, scan, and upload to Facebook the 100+ photos I have of our group from my 4 years with them. I’ve found about 2/3 of them so far, I’m still seeking my pics from Walt Disney World in 1989.