Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Interesting Enough?

I can't blog every day. I'm sorry, I tried. I'm just not that interesting.

Well, I'm fairly interesting, but I don't do something interesting on a daily basis.

Then again, maybe I do. Today, I played at the Lutheran Home, got a pedicure, taught 3 piano lessons, and bought two pair of shoes (I know!). Interesting? Not so much.

OK, how about this: I went back to the Home at 6:30 to play a hymn sing and drew quite a crowd -- 34 of my fans were there to sing along.

Sweet, but not so interesting.

I think I have it. This will sound a lot conceited, but it is interesting to me: if I stop to think about it, I don't even know where my music comes from. Why I am able to sit down and play any hymn in any key? How do my fingers know which chords to play? Why am I able to listen to a song and play it? (Well, not Baba O'Riley yet, but it's coming along.)

If I do take a moment and think about what I am doing, and wonder how in the hell I can do it, I usually mess up. That's kind of interesting, isn't it?

And my horrible confession is, I never, ever practice. I show up for church about 15 minutes early and just do it. I show up with the band and just do it. OK, sometimes I practice with a singer if they want to, but a lot of the singers I work with are a lot like me, and just do it. I'll make up a song list before a performance or service and run a few chord changes so I am sure of the key, but then I just wing it. Almost every single time.
In truth, I am lazy. If I'd actually sit down and practice, maybe I could make something of this music biz.

Please don't tell any of my students or my nursing home fans this. It only proves my piano teacher, Mrs. Ernest, was right when she told me that I was her worst piano student/pianist ever.

But curiously, when I see her now and she hears me play, she likes to tell people how I was her favorite student.



Monday, June 21, 2010

Food for Thought . . .

This morning, I looked at the laundry, looked out the window at the weedy garden, looked at the pile of papers on my dining room table.

I had a bit of a meltdown, thinking of all that had to be done in the next few days. (Good grief -- convention is in 4 days and I still have to write my speech and find shoes, among about a million other things!)

I started to cry a little and whined, "Why do I think I can do all these things?"

Clay said, "The better question is, why do you think you have to?"


Who needs a counselor when you live with Mr. Smarty?


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Somethings

Only because I promised to blog every day do I give you the following snooze-worthy update:

- Finished a nice book today -- La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith. Now, back to Outlander #4.

- We watched three interesting movies this weekend: The Book of Eli, Gigantic and All About Steve. Very different, but my reviews in order of appearance are "wowsa", "hmmmm" and "tee-hee-hee." Clay assured me I would like Eli, but I was so ticked at him after the first hour; post-nuclear war dramas are not exactly my favorite genre. But he begged me to keep watching, and my Father's Day gift to him is to admit that he was right.

-Finished a little embroidery project -- pictures soon.

- Cuban themed dinner last night -- pork on the grill, black beans and rice and mojitos. Pretty fancy for our house, where cocktail hour is usually a beer and a glass of Oliver Soft Red.

Busy week ahead!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another No-so-Important Life Question

Although I seldom go to the McDonald's drive-through, why it is that I am always behind the car full of people who have apparently never been to McDonald's before and just don't know what to order?

Just wondering.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Hey Look!

I changed how my blog looks! But I don't really think that should count as a daily post, so here are some quilt blocks to look at, too.

Tommy and Nate really love the stories of Little Red, The 3 Bears and The Little Pigs, although Clay and I tell them much differently -- I leave out the violence, and he adds it with gusto. You can guess which version the boys like best!

So I poked about on the Internet and found these free vintage patterns from Pattern Bee.

I just printed them off, then taped the copies to a window and traced the pattern. I like to use the DMC variegated floss; I used it on these dishtowels, and on the squares, as well:

(They look a little wonky, as I had to take these pictures from an odd angle to avoid my own shadow. They are mostly square, I promise!)
The log cabin-style strips around each square are from the Moda American Jane Collection -- a jelly roll in each of the Wee Play, Look and Learn and Recess. (Unfortunately, I don't think they are making this series any longer.) This was the first time I had used a jelly roll, but it won't be the last -- such a great way to get a lot of different fabrics in the same color family, plus, they are perfectly cut and ready to sew.
I have 3 more squares planned/in the works -- The 3 Bears, Jack and Jill (which I am going to have to draw out myself, as it's not part of the collection) and Will Willie Winkie, just because. (Have to draw him out, as well, but it's worth it to get Will on this quilt -- he was WWW for his kindergarten graduation!)
My original plan was to have this done for the fair, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen, at least for this year. I hope to have something for the fair, but it's going to be here before I know it, and I have a lot of stuff going on between now and then. I could finish my XOXOXO baby afghan -- it's mighty cute. Probably not 1st place cute, but that's not what it's about (she kept telling herself over and over as she dreamed of the purple rosette!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Musical Mayhem

A new goal for my 50th-51st year: to learn the keyboard part to Baba O'Riley.

(I know I am late to The Who party. But in 1971, I can assure you that I wouldn't have been allowed to listen to them; my appreciation of The Who comes via Will's discovery of them via Clay's long-time devotion to the band.)

Yesterday I really listened to that keyboard part. Good grief. Variations on fancy little F arpeggios over and over and over and over. No matter where the melody, bass line and drum go, that keyboard part is relentlessly consistent through the whole 5 minutes (except for one little part in the middle where the arpeggios stop and there is a constant 16th single note run.) I started wondering how the keyboard player did that, night after night, concert after concert.

Then I read a little about the song and watched some YouTube videos; I was just a tiny bit disappointed to learn that much of that part was created by a special effect on an electric organ, and now in concert, it's a recording. Bummer.

But I still want to conquer it, just like this kid:

I don't want to sing it, just play it.

That part is like my life: constant repetition at a dizzying speed.

Peace. Rock on.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


So many things. Things to make, things to clean, things to write, things to bake. So far, it's been a summer of things. (It's also been a summer of thunderstorms, but let's not talk about that.)

I made a summer resolution that I would clean/straighten one room/thing/place every day. Organize, clean and pitch out old/unuseful things. So far, the computer desk is clutter-free, the basement looks awesome (if I do say so myself, although that took me a whole week!), the cabinet in the downstairs bathroom is empty of all kinds of barrettes, hair ribbons, curlers, 1/2 full lotions, potions and sprays that no one has used for several years, and my knitting bags are straight and neat. Today, my car is getting the royal treatment.

But one thing I haven't been doing is blogging -- I guess it's been low the priority list. And, I guess there are some friends/family who miss my posts. Nice. So, I am adding that to my summer resolutions -- blog every day. For a little quiet and peace, I've been avoiding the news, so I don't have any complaints/insights on BP, World Cup Soccer or Lindsay Lohan.

But I have been making things, and I think that's what my peeps want, anyway.

So, here is summer blog post #1 : Cake, Cake, Cake
My sweet friend, Pam, asked Sarah and me to bake cakes for her nephew's wedding -- one for each table! 2 chocolate/chocolate, 2 coconut, 2 red velvet, 2 lemon, 2 carrot, 2 German chocolate, 3 strawberry, 1 raspberry, 1 yellow/chocolate and one small wedding cake!
It was fun, but I think if we ever do that again, we should open a bakery first!
See you tomorrow!