Monday, August 31, 2009

The One Where She Explains it All

Having posted two songs last week, I could probably call it Music Week. If that is true, then this week is going to be Food Week. I’m going to try to post a recipe most every day. If you have some requests, please let me know. I think I have some old requests that I need to honor. The picture here is from the blog Tartelette, which I look at just to admire the beautiful tiny desserts. I almost never am dying to actually eat the desserts pictured, let alone actually make one. But this one… it has been calling me. I have gone back and looked at it about six times. Even when I thought that was actually ribbon on top. Then I read and found out it was pulled sugar, and now I really can’t stop thinking about it.

So, Food Week. But first I have to take care of business. Sad But True left me ten questions to answer, and I can’t just leave that hanging over my head. So here goes…

1. Your husband calls. He is on his way home with unexpected company. What do you make for dinner? Answer: My fall-back is homemade pizzas, where everyone gets to make their own. I have a gorgeous Williams Sonoma eight-piece bowl set that all fits together, and I put different ingredients in each. My personal favorite is shrimp, pesto, fresh tomatoes and pine nuts. The kids like pepperoni or barbecue chicken. I will post that as my first recipe tomorrow.

2. You are stuck on a deserted island with everything you need but internet and reading material. What books do you wish you had taken along? Answer: Book(s) plural? Sweet. Okay, definitely Pride and Prejudice. Little Women. Angle of Repose. Princess Academy. Seventh Son, Alvin Journeyman and Enchantment, by Orson Scott Card. Shadow Spinner, The Count of Monte Cristo, My Antonia, The Little Prince, Sense and Sensibility, the 7th Harry Potter Book (I have to see how it ends (again), Where the Red Fern Grows, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Scarlet Pimpernel… I have to stop. There are too many.

3. You have to add a new color to your wardrobe. What are you thinking of trying this fall? Answer: What’s wrong with black, again??? Okay, if I have to choose, I’m definitely feeling purple.

4. It will be your husband's birthday this Saturday. What would you like to get him for under $100? New clothes to wear on date night that were not purchased at Costco.

5. Tell me about your favorite teacher and why he/she is your favorite. Answer: Miss Olsen, in the sixth grade. She totally got me.

6. Soft or crispy pb cookies? Answer: Always soft.

7. If you could eat dinner with five famous people, who are dead, who would you pick and why? Answer: Five of them? First, Dan Fogelberg. He is the musical entertainment. Anne Frank, whom I love, and who definitely deserves a good meal. Joseph Smith, also because I love him. Robert Jordan (that is his pen name), so he can tell me what was supposed to be in his final book sequel before his untimely death. And last one... hmm. Gabriel Dante Rossetti. I would get him to paint us.

8. You are on a plane with the Brady Bunch when it crashes in a remote part of the Andes. Who do you eat first? Answer: That’s an easy one. Marcia. I would like to say it is because she is selfish and self-absorbed. But maybe I just can’t take the competition.

9. Jack Purcells or Chucks? Answer: I’m going to refrain from Googling here, and just admit my ignorance now. I don’t know what either are. I’m going to guess they are sports-related and imagine they are shoes, or golf clubs or something.

10. What is your favorite scripture? Answer: That changes all the time. For today I’m going to go with a favorite story about Jesus. Luke 7:36-50.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The One With the Prodigal

And now for something completely different.

A new song. And yes... I know, I know... this song is actually kind of country! I am more an alternative rock girl, but listen. This song has all of my blood, sweat and tears in it. When I wrote it, the order went: first music, then words, then title. That is pretty much the opposite of how I usually do it. But I wrote the music months ago. It is so difficult to just come up with words to fit music. One night I finally decided, either I come up with lyrics for this tonight, or I am just going to have to throw the music away. Well, I got the words that night... one verse at a time. I finished it, and then thought to myself, “What is the title?”

And then I read back over the words as though they were a poem. And I saw it. I had written my own version of the Prodigal Son. It was a revelation. I love the story of the prodigal son. It is funny though... when I was younger, I identified with the brother. The one who never went astray. I thought that was who I was in the story. I guess I identified with him, and with the unfairness of a wayward sibling that sweeps in after all of the bad things he has done, and everyone makes a big deal of him, even though I have been here all along, trying to do the right thing. Do you ever think that? But as I got older, it hit me. We are all the prodigal! Every one of us. The story of the prodigal is the about the Atonement.

I tried to find some art to go with this post, and everything was too sad looking to go with my upbeat song, so I borrowed Brian Kershisnik’s beautiful Father and Son Dancing once again. I just think it is beautiful, and it has its own story.

Prodigal Son

I’ve been walking this path for far too long
I feel weak
It’s harder and harder to breathe
I know
It’s just a case of choosing right or wrong
But in this dark place
Sometimes I can barely see.

Show me
The way I can finally be free
There’s a fire that’s burning inside of my soul
I am ready now
To give all my sins and hurt to thee
Take my troubles
I’m giving them all away.

You have had the perfect answers all along
You tried to tell me
But I didn’t have ears to hear
Now there’s music where before I heard no song
And when you sing
The message becomes so clear

Will you show me
The way I can finally be free?
There’s a fire that is burning inside of my soul
I am ready now
To give all my sins to thee
Lay my troubles down
At my Savior’s feet
I’m giving them all away.

Please forgive me for the times I turned away
How’d I forget that
I was my father’s son?
I let temptation lead me so far astray
That it left me
No other choice but to run.

I think I see
The way I can finally be free
There’s a fire that is burning inside of my soul
I am ready now
To give all my sins to thee
Lay my troubles down
I’m giving them all away.

Lay my troubles down
I’m giving them all away.

Still, it’s not enough to say that I’ve come home
I’m your servant
Yearning to do my part
Father, as long as I live I’ll never roam
Just look inside me
You’ll find a disciple’s heart

Now I finally see
How to live and be free
There’s a fire that’s burning inside of my soul
I am ready now
To give all my sins to thee
Lay my troubles down
At my Savior’s feet
I’m giving them all away.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The One Where She Was So Desperate She Started Throwing Out Random Facts

Do you know...?

I can do an L.A. Times full-size Sunday crossword puzzle in 45 minutes with no cheats, but I don’t know what pi is (or even if I just spelled it right… I think it has a Greek character). But here’s the thing… I don’t really know why that would matter.

When someone asks me for advice, I seem to find it impossible to sugar-coat anything… but give me some pecans, and I can candy those like nobody’s business.

I have never tasted coffee in my life… not even in ice cream, but I did, however, have a Hershey’s bar for breakfast this morning. It is not really my fault. I have all these leftover chocolate bars from the wedding I catered last week.

I read the 7th Harry Potter book in a day… but I don’t really remember what I read, so I have been able to read it twice since then, and be surprised each and every time. I’m pretty sure one of the Weasley’s died, and another lost an ear… I may have to read it again to be positive. Don’t spoil it for me…

I don’t really love animals. At least not like Skippy, who thinks that puppies are about the most awesome thing in creation… but I can’t abide abuse or neglect of animals. That commercial with Sarah McLachlan, has completely ruined her song “Angel,” for me.

If I got to choose a concert to attend, it would be that guy at the top of the post.

My only pet peeves are bullies and people who say mean things with the excuse that they are “just telling the truth.”

If someone gave me $50 that had to be spent on something indulgent, I would spend it in the iTunes store. $100, I would spend at $500 would find me at $1000 I would spend at Or maybe Or Okay, I can’t be trusted. See… all that money, and I didn’t even replace my broken dishwasher.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The One With Strings Attached

Okay, so Shelley Johnson is seriously amazing. I sent her a roughly-written cello part last week, and this morning she came to record it. She is so professional that we did it in one take. It was cool cool COOL. And then we had a nice talk about artists and finding balance. If you know me, you probably know that I am not the “artist type.” Neither is Shelley. And we like it that way.

I’ve got to tell you, this music thing has really been bugging me. Every since I went to a workshop early this month, my idea to make a CD has been pretty much on hold. I found out that the market for what I am doing is too small. There is no money in it. The songs that are used are mainly churned out by writers in Nashville who write three or four songs a day.

That leaves me wondering what on earth I am doing. But for now, the answer to that is easy. Finish up the songs I have started, and make them as good as I know how. It has been harder than I would have guessed. But I am happy with this one. The song is “The Moments Between.” Sung by Garry Pfile. (click here to read the words). I added orchestration, and Shelley has added her beautiful cello. So… how do you like it now?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The One About Nobody

A post a day. Why did I say I would do that? Crazy talk. Dillon registered for school today. Do you realize I have a child in elementary school, one in middle school, one in high school, one in Marines music school, one on a mission, one at BYU, and one at UCLA law school? Holy Hannah Montana… do you think I missed anything? But that is not what I wanted to post about today.

I wanted to mention that I finally caught up my photography blog a bit, and put in some samples of some of the photos I have taken this summer. You can click on the link on the left side of the blog to check them out. You will have to tell me which ones you like. But that is not really my post today either.

I actually wanted to talk about reading today. I haven’t read much this whole year. I have been focusing on music, and have mostly deprived myself of my usual entertainment. Yes, I can’t lie. I love TV. But the books… I have been avoiding them, because I know I neglect other things when I indulge. I have decided to change that, and I am looking forward to it.

I read a book by Neil Gaiman this summer called The Graveyard Book. I don’t always love his books, although I really enjoyed Stardust. My only problem with his books is that I don’t always connect with the characters. My favorite books are those where I love the characters, and feel like I know them. For instance, Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite authors, writes characters that become part of my family, practically. Now, I am not a huge fan of sad books. But there is this one book Card wrote, called Lost Boys. You read along, falling deeper and deeper into the story, and all of a sudden a couple of chapters from the end, there is a twist. Suddenly, everything you thought you knew has changed, and your heart breaks into jagged shards and you sit in the bathroom with a big wad of Kleenex for an hour. And then when you have stopped sniffling, he very carefully patches you back together so that you can finish the book and find out how it all turns out. An author who can do that… well, it is a gift.

Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book really worked for me. It is a story of a boy named Nobody who is adopted by ghosts, and I admit I shed a few tears over him as well.

Next up, there is a new Shannon Hale book I want to read. Question: If you could pick just one book for me to read, what would it be?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The One With the Old-School iPod

I know, I know. I have been a really poor blogger this summer. I am repenting. A post a day, for the next week. That is my pledge. So... this Wassily Kandinsky print hangs over the computer in my office/studio. It is from 1925, and is entitled “Yellow, Red, Blue.” Why? Anyone’s guess, people.

I do a lot of pondering while I sit at my computer and work on music. I have always liked this particular painting, but over the last few months, I have realized that it has a lot of familiar, comforting things about it. I see an old-school iPod Nano (I used to have one in that very color) sitting in a dock on a pedestal, two Rubik’s Cubes, chopsticks, most of a solar system, a question mark, stairs, an X-acto knife, a flag, cat’s whiskers, musical staff and a blue moon. What do you see? And what is hanging in your special place?

Note: The X-acto knife was invented in the 1930’s... Rubik’s Cube in 1974, and the iPod... well, you know. Do you suppose they all owe a little something to old Wassily?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The One Where She Screamed and Held On For Dear Life

Even Ethan asked me last night, “Mom, where have you been for the last month?” The answer: I’ve been on a rollercoaster. The same one y’all are on. I know you are… you don’t even have to tell me. How are you enjoying the ride? I’m usually really good on rollercoasters; I’ve never had a weak stomach. But this time I found myself on the low end a few times, and a little disoriented. But it’s all part of the ride. Here are some scenes from my rollercoaster summer:

Spending way too much time staring at the computer:

Taking some fun photographs of fun people... love these guys. Check out their band at Sad But True.

Hanging out in my sister’s backyard in Salem, Utah. Hers is the backyard that all backyards wish they could be. This was taken right before the mother of all barbecues, which was followed by a weird cross between frisbee, football and skeet shooting (don’t ask me how to explain that better), and then that night over the pond... the best, closest, and scariest fireworks EVER.

Did I mention, camping at one of the most beautiful places I’ve been: Glacier National Park in Montana.

Blowing in the wind:

Hanging out with some favorite people:

Throwing rocks at stuff:

Catching a few winks (best line from Twilight: “I like to watch you sleep.”)

Starting a bug collection (thank you, Montana). Seriously... you know you can click on any of my photos to see them full-size... click on this one if you want to be really grossed out:)

Hanging out with my adorable grandson, Jif... and his very cute mom and dad.

Watching DK be a grandpa:

And finding a little time in between to play games with my peeps.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a summer. How is yours going?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The One Where She Tries for a Little Simplicity

Sometimes I overthink things. I overtalk them. I overdo them. Throw in one too many instruments. One too many flourishes. One too many side dishes.

But not today. Today here is “Did You Know?” Uncluttered. Unadorned. Simple. Click on “Did You Know” on the playlist at the upper left of the blog. I have posted this song before, around Christmas… but the recording was very poor. If you would like to see the words and a little background explanation on the song, you can go to that earlier post, here. The vocals are by Garry Pfile.