Sunday, April 29, 2007

It Would Take a Village

My next door neighbor's just had a baby. And I mean JUST. They're not even home from the hospital yet. It's their first kid, so I'm sure they'll be freaks for a while. I'm suprisingly excited at the thought of having a baby next door. And the thought of seeing it grow up into a toddler.

This new development in my 'hood got me thinking of something I've thought of before. I've come up with this great idea for raising a child that would suit me, as well as a few other people I know who are a little too afraid of the responsibilities of having one of their very own. Okay so here it is:

You could go into it with a group of great, wonderful friends. One friend, let's say, LOVES infants, but toddlers...not so much. I, on the other hand, am freaked out by infants but am pretty wild about a 3-6 year olds. One of my other friends sort of specializes in kids around 3rd-5th grade, because she was a camp counselor of 4th graders. Then let's just pretend I know someone who is great with 'tweens. And another who loves teenagers. (???) So, we would all be the kid's "family" and support them emotionally and all as best we could, but we'd each take a few years of main responsibility according to our area of "expertise". So, for example, I'd occasionally babysit when the child was an infant, I'd come over for special events, etc., but the kid would LIVE with the person who loves infants. Then the kid would come live at my house during years 3-5, the other "parents" would still be involved during that time, but I would be head honcho during that phase. Maybe we'd all live on the same street or something.

The other reason I like this idea is that I can devote myself without worry to someone for about 3 years, but the thought of 18 or whatever it is, is pretty overwhelming.

People are brave. Courageous. They have children and raise them either alone, or with a partner. I think I'd do better with the help of a whole village, so to speak.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


A friend of mine told me she had boxed up about 100 hundred pounds of self-help books to donate. Being a glutton for the self-help genre I asked her if I could come over and look thru them.

Proudly, I will say I only walked away with a few. And actually once I really sat down to look thru them once I got home, there was only one that I will read. AM reading, actually. It's an older book. You may have heard of it. Wishcraft.

The books goal is to help you determine WHAT you want, and then it lines you up to get what you wish for. Sounds easy enough. I'll bite.

It has lots of exercises you're suppose to do. Which I like. But I found that when I'm in reading mode, I'm not in writing or project mode and I think to myself "...yeah. Uh huh. Good idea. I should go back and do that later." But then I'm not really doing them. However, I've been thinking a LOT about one.

And this was it: Think back to when you were a very young child. WAY back. As far back as you can remember. What did you just naturally love to do? The further back the better because once you got a little older, say school age, what you like got beaten out of you and you conformed to what was the "right" thing to do instead.

My gut reaction as I first started thinking about it, above all else was, "DAMN...I wish I could call Mom." She would help me brainstorm, and she'd probably remember it better than me. Especially memories of when I was a teeny kid. After sulking and feeling sorry for myself that I can't call her, I just started thinking on my own.

And one memory led to the next. And all of the sudden, I had a mental list of lots of stuff. Singing into a tape recorder. That thing was my best friend. I sang into it, I interviewed my family and friends. I did weird experiments with it like I'd record myself eating different chips and see if it sounded different on the outside. Cheetos, Doritoes, etc. Fascinating stuff. Once I got strong enough (and determined enough) I loved re-arranging the furniture in my room. I loved organizing even tho I was typically a slob. I couldn't keep things neat, but I loved the process of organizing! I also loved coloring and making pictures out of my light-bright. I never played with Barbies, but I loved giving any doll I ever found a haircut. All dolls I had wound up with ultra short hairstyles very quickly.

And it's true, as the book said, those are some of the things I'm really interested in. The crunchy noises chips make most of all.

Anyway, I'll keep thinking about this stuff. It's fun to reminisce, even just inside my head! And maybe I'll figure out some deep rooted talents and passions that I had forgotten I had.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Last Quickdraw Class

Yesteday was my final class of the "Quickdraw" (a.k.a. Sketching) class I have been taking for the last 7 weeks. I am so glad I took it. I learned that I don't suck as bad as I thought I did. Rather then thinking, "I can't draw", I just realize, I haven't spent much time practicing and getting better.

That is true for most people. As my teacher said, "When people say they can't draw, I tell them that (instead) it just hasn't been important enough to them to spend the time to get comfortable with it." He has drawn his whole life. He is passionate about it. He thinks there's absolutely no better way to learn about something than to draw it. You notice all sorts of things you otherwise woudn't have if you hadn't drawn it.

So I've been drawing things. Almost daily. And it's fun. And it's sort of meditative. And my journal is looking cuter all the time. The class is over, but my practice isn't. I am so glad I took the class!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Parenting Continued..

Yesterday I watched an episode of "The Dog Whisperer"-which by the way is a great show! Cesar is the dog whisperer,and he can solve any dog "problem" anyone has because he understands dogs- They DO seem much less complicated than people and when they act out, there is a reason and a way to solve the problem. He says he rehabilitates dogs and he trains people.

ANYWAY: They did a little story on Virginia Madsen (the actress from the movie "Sideways") and her son. They've had two dogs but recently had to put one to sleep. I fast-forwarded thru this part because it was making me feel so sad. But I watched the part of the show where Cesar was talking to her and her son, who was around ten years old I'd guess, about how to pick a new dog to join their family. They still had one dog, who is about ten now so it was important to pick a good match for him. They looked at a few dogs and two in particular stood out. One was a little bitty something and seemed submissive but not scared toward their other dog. The other dog they were considering was a little aggressive towards their dog. The son really had a preference for the more aggressive dog, just because something about that dog clearly attracted him. But after Cesar had said the other dog would probably be a better match, it was time for them to make a decision. It seemed the boy would pick the "wrong" dog. But Virginia did the coolest thing. She said to her son something like, "Well, you know a lot about dogs and you're smart about these things so I know you'll make the right decision." And I really think she would've gone with which ever dog her son decided on. And it probably would've turned out fine either way. But the ten-year-old dog might have had to go thru some challenges and at this point, his life should just be nice and easy!

After really thinking it over and spending a little more time with his two choices, the boy picked the little bitty dog that seemed to be the better fit for the family. It was such a cool example of giving your kid your trust to make good, educated decisions. Not just giving them choices, but letting them know how much you respect their opinion...

Big variations on parenting skills demonstrated by celebrities the last few days...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Alec Baldwin SUCKS

Not to use my blog as a celebrity gossip page, but WHOA...

I heard the recording of Alec Baldwin's out-of-control rant he left on his 11-year-old daughter's voicemail. He calls her a "rude, thoughtless little pig." But that is just the main soundbite the media is using. Listen to the whole rant. It's even worse than that. Is is absolutely outrageous how hateful he sounds. Towards his young daughter!

I then read his pathetic "apology" in which he says he is sorry, but also "equally sorry" for the alienation as a parent he has suffered over the past several years. As if going thru a difficult divorce/settlement battle with his ex-wife somehow explains his behaviour.

It's embaressing for him that the tape was leaked to the public, but can you imagine how his daughter feels? Not only to be treated that way by her father, but to then have everyone know (some of) her business?!

A week or two ago, Dick Imus was all over the news for 3 words he used that were thoughtless and sexist and racial. However, I don't think he is a really mean man that I would be scared of. Alec has really put that whole thing into perspective.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Keeping an Illustrated Journal

I think I mentioned before the book I was reading by Danny Gregory called Creative License.
I've been trying to add to my currrent journal- spicing it up a bit by making it more of an illustrated journal. You don't have to be an artist to do it, but it's a great way to artistically express yourself. Danny says if you really want to SEE something, draw it. I need to settle down often and try to be more "in the moment" and I think this idea of drawing would help me with that. AND, what a great way to capture interesting moments, and notice the beauty that surrounds me all the time that I often take for granted.

One thing I intend to do that has felt challenging is to take my journal with me wherever I go so when I have some extra time to jot something down, I can. The other day I went to a day-time concert perfomance and I had my journal with me. But I felt so self-concious about other people looking at me, or worse-my journal, I did just a tiny little fast drawing that really didn't capture much of anything. Just an odd sense of embarressment.

I'm working on getting over that. So last night, I facilitated my group I meet with on Wednesday nights and told them all about my enthusiasm over the illustrated journal- or at least the idea of it. I gave the "assignment" of carrying it around and jotting things down in it for one week. I gave them the assignment not only because I think it can open up all sorts of creative ideas, but because I wanted the assignment as well.

Friday, April 13, 2007

What Scared Me

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, my husband told me "do something scary!" as he was saying goodbye as he left for work.
So let me know tell how the day turned out.

First of all, the night before I dropped my glucometer in the toilet at Zuzu's. Being a diabetic that is insulin dependent, being without that meter REALLY sucks as I realized yesterday. In the morning when I ate my breakfast I had to just guess at how much insulin to take. Then later, I was feeling a little funky, but without a meter to check, I couldn't be sure it had to do with my blood sugar. Until I looked in the mirror and had no color in my face, other than dark circles under my eyes. I decided to eat an apple, and then I was fine. Eventually, I got a meter replacement. But it was a scary first half of the day without it.

Then I went to SMU to see a performance by some "throat singers"- I wanted to know what "throat singers" were. I still don't. All I can say is these men made the most extraordinary sounds with their throats! It was one of those sounds that is fascinating to see at a live performance, but that I wouldn't want to hear just a recording of. If it was just a recording, I would think instruments other than the human voice were involved. I simply cannot describe what I heard. But I'll say they sounded like deep, scary voices with some kind of a flute mixed in with the whole thing. (But there WAS NO FLUTE)

Later that evening, I went to Sons of Hermann for their weekly song circle. All sorts of musicians show up and everyone plays. I don't typically play with others and its something totally out of my comfort zone. I figure it would be good for me tho. Except when I got there, I realized there was a lot of smoking... And I just can't stand smoke. I'm not afraid of it, I just hate it. And so I didn't stick around as long as I otherwise would have. So that didn't really live up to my expectations of me jamming out with a bunch of strangers and feeling a huge sense of accomplishment. BUT, maybe I'll try it again somewhere else soon.

And now, here it is Friday the 13th. What a great day to do something that scares you! But DO be safe about it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Do Something Scary"

Most mornings, my husband reliably says, "Have a good Thursday (or Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri.)!" as he heads off to work. It's his standard farewell to me each day.

Today he switched it up and said, "Do something scary"...

By "do something scary", I'm pretty sure he didn't mean something like, "Try crystal meth" or "Drive your car right thru the red lights" or anything else that could be harmful and also scary. I don't think I'm going out on a limb here to interpret it as the type of scary that's an invigorating challenge.

I love it that he said this. It made me think. What's my scary thing I can do today? It's probably very important to make sure I do that most days. Maybe even every day! And what's really the worst thing that could happen? (As long as I don't interpret "scary" in the wrong way) It could only add to my life. And I think in saying those words to me, he must have figured that applies to his day as well.

I've got a few ideas of how to heed his advice. Its a great beginning to the day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I'm reading a book about time management, mainly as another tool for avoiding anything I should be doing.

Reading it has reminded me of what I already think is probably true: That we all have "peak" times- for heavy thinking, for being physical, for being creative, etc. The author of this book suggests doing things at different times and seeing how you are the most effective. Then, you won't be wasting your "peak" times on mundane tasks.

I so want to get out of my creature-of-habit mode and actually attempt to flip my daily "stuff" around in different time slots because I don't think I'm really serving myself so well with the way I have it now. I'd LOVE to be more productive. I'd LOVE to feel like I'm accomplishing more and I guess something's gotta change in order for that to happen. It's probably a good thing to do every now and then- Change up your schedule. See how it effects you. You might find you can accomplish something in the afternoon in only an hour that might take you two hours to do if you attempt it in the morning...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Thrill of the Hunt

I buy cds on a weekly basis. Some people buy shoes, some buy power tools, I buy cds. I subscribe to a few magazines that have lots of cd reviews and artist interviews. So when I hear about something that sounds interesting, I either go browsing at CD Source on Greenville and Lovers, order on line, or occasionally buy some new release from Best Buy or Target. (Altho they are super limited on what they carry.) Occasionally (and I mean rarely) I download from iTunes. But that's just for a single. Except for one Jason Mraz cd that could only be bought from iTunes. I just love the whole package of a complete cd. I love reading the lyrics, liner notes, seeing the pictures, etc... In fact, I miss album packaging. I am SO not ready to just download and have nothing to hold in my hand. But I digress...

When I go to CD Source, which is by far the most fun, I love going thru the newest cds that haven't yet been alpabetized and catagorized but are just put out by the date they arrived. I've discovered all sorts of new stuff for myself there. The rummaging is the most fun. The thrill of the hunt, and the excitement of an unexpected great find. Sometimes I'll see a cd I already own that I just love. I'll caress the cd in their store and think, "Someone is in for SUCH a treat!" and I wish I was just discovering it for the first time myself.

So its funny I don't write more cd reviews on my "reviews" blog. I love music, talking about it, sharing it, etc. for some reason, I don't post there often. I INTEND to post more often and just tell myself I don't have an obligation to be real thorough with my reviews. Even if all I say is "Here's what I'm listening to..." maybe just putting the name out will get you curious enough to check it out for yourself. I know I love it when I get a new name in music that someone has mentioned. I also know, you gotta check it out for yourself no matter what someone else says because everyone's musical taste is so different.

Anyway, check out my posts under the "reviews" section of my website. (I actually review not only cds, but books and movies too.) and then... Happy Hunting!

Friday, April 6, 2007

My Interview!

I had completely forgotten that Sandra, the writer of the Sunshine Scribe ( had posed these interview questions for me. I think interviews are so cool. I use to go around with my tape recorder when I was 6 years old interviewing family and friends. Oprah ended up with the job that just may have been intended for me. Anyway, since there are 5 whole questions, I will keep my answers short and to the point. Here goes:

1. What is the best part of being a music writer?
The process of songwriting and being able to have a great way to express myself on many levels. Very therapeutic for me.

2. Who in this world do you respect the most and why?
A person doesn't come to mind just this minute. However, another little friend of mine does. My dog Zoe. She's always happy, always sweet, if she does anything "wrong" its simpy by mistake. She seems to have the good life all figured out more than anyone else I know.

3. If you were told you could eat only 1 food for the
rest of your life, what would it be?
Hm. I sort of hate this question. I love food. I'm picky tho. Well, I LOVE cinnamon toast and I make it better than anyone I'm pretty sure. So there's my answer. Cinnamon Toast.

4. What was your very first job?
Working at "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt". I thought that would entail the simple task of being friendly and handing out yogurt. But I learned I had to make chicken salad sandwiches as well. And so because the ingredients involved in that (actually, the mayo- ewwww) was so grotesque to me, I quit after the first day. But then I was a cashier at Banana Republic soon after. Back when they had the whole "Out of Africa" look going on...

5. What sound would you use to define "beauty" and
As far as an instument...the cello.
And as for a nature sound- the sound of rain. Soft rain or hard rain with thunder- Either way, I love the soothing sound of rain. It's cleansing. I guess we all need that pretty regularly.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

It's Ok To Wimp Out

Today I started off on my run and it just felt crummy. But I tried reminding myself that once I'm just 10 minutes into it, I'll feel totally different. But I didn't. And so at 15 minutes, I cut the run short and I think for the first time ever, I turned around and began walking my way home. And even still, NOT FUN. I felt funky. And all the thoughts I was turning over in my head seemed negative.

I decided to start running again. This was all just a mental thing I was going thru. When I got to my spot that I usually start walking to cool down, I was glad this run/walk was over. And I was feeling like a failure of sorts. I shortened my run. I walked part of it. I had a crummy mental attidude. It was a beautiful day for a run, but I killed it.

When I got home and checked my blood sugar, I realized it was pretty low. Too low to be running. This perhaps explained why I never got to feeling better as time and distance went further. I also realized that even on a bad day, I had knocked out about 3 miles. So I don't suck so completely after all.

Maybe some days, its okay to wimp out of a run. And maybe its even ok to just blow off the run altogether until its something you WANT to do. Like AFTER you eat blueberries and strawberries and the blood sugar is back UP!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Moonlady Night

This weekend I went to the Moonlady night at the Bath House. I actually went to see my friends, David and J, performing during part of it. I thought I'd show up for their part and then leave right after. But I stayed for the whole thing. It was so cool and such fun.

I had never been to a Moonlady event but after this weekend I am a big fan! The Moonlady pulls together different talent to perform a few times of year. It inspiring, spiritual, and a blast!!!

All of the performances were very entertaining. One that stood out and completely blew me away was guitar god, Rhett Butler. He labels himself an obsessive-compulsive guitarist, which he IS. Altho he didn't play two guitars at once the night I saw him, he CAN. You can see it on YouTube. But whether he's playing one guitar or two, he plays it unlike any guitarist I've ever seen. He plays it sort of like a keyboard. You have to see it to get it. Oh My God. I'm sure just listening to his performance would be great, but seeing it makes you just say "HUH?!?!?! HOW?!?!?!" Really, really impressive. So if you've never seen Rhett, get out to see him.

Another performer there that night was Lu Mitchell. Oh MY! She's an 83 year old folk singer. And she is probably not what you'd expect from an octogenarian folky. She sings really funny songs about politics, sex, religion...Whoa!

Altho this was a date I took myself on, it was one of the best times I've had this year! I got to see my friends do a beautiful performance, and then had so many other unexpected great suprises by the other performances.