Friday, August 31, 2007

Portable Instruments

I took both piano and guitar lessons as a kid. But it was the guitar that I was most drawn to. For many reasons. One of them being I love that you can carry it from room to room. House to house. You can even take it outside! A piano, on the other hand, has to stay in ONE room.

Now that I'm a KnitWit (previous posts), I realize that this "portability" is also playing a role in why I enjoy the knitting. i took some sewing lessons and bought a sewing machine a few years back. But I never really got that into it. It seemed such a hassle setting up the machine, getting out the material, the matching thread, etc and I was sort of confined to one room, and had to be sitting at a table. Knitting, on the other had, can be done it anywhere and all I need is 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there. And then PRESTO: a scarf!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sing It, Girl!

I played at an open mic last night. Actually, it was the first open mic I've ever played at. Still, it seems odd that I felt so nervous. By the time I played, there weren't even that many people there.

But it was a bar. With smoke. And they had mainly "rock bands" so my sound was a big change of scenery. Maybe I was afraid they'd throw beer bottles at me. Instead a very drunk woman stood in front of me for at least two of my songs sort of yelling, "SING IT. YEAH. SING IT, GIRL." And then she'd yell over to who was in charge of sound, "TURN HER UP." She just kept saying it. So he finally told her to just stand right in front of the speaker. I thought that was so funny! She was an awkward distraction to my nerves I guess.

After I finished I sat down beside my husband and said, "I was nervous!" and he gave me this almost humiliated look and said, "Yeah. I could tell." But the crowd was very cool to me and I was really glad I did it after all was sung and done. And getting to see and hear all the other musicians was such fun too.

So even tho smokey bars are NOT my scene, this helps me realize, I should probably get out and do more open mics just for adventure. I figure something that gives me nervous energy like that is something I should do more often until at least other people (like my husband!) can't tell I'm nervous about it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Afternoon Delight

Hey, don't get the wrong idea based on my post title! Do you remember that song from the 70s? Well, I'm not talking 'bout THAT kind of Afternoon Delight. As the picture above suggest, I'm talking about the massage I got today at Nordstrom SPA.

Nordstrom Spa is located in, you guessed it, Nordstrom at Northpark Mall. But it doesn't feel like you could be in a mall at all. It's sort of dark (in a great, relaxing way with lit candles) and very quiet and very slow paced. Quite the dichotomy to the rest of the mall.

Everyone's appointment time there starts 15 minutes prior to their treatment time so there's time to put on the cozy chenille robe, drink tea and soak your feet in very warm water in a copper bowl. Yum. After about 15 minutes of sitting in the "relaxation room" my masseuse came to fetch me. (I think I can use that word today. It seemed appropriate, altho prior to right here, right now, I've never used that word to anyone besides a dog.)

My massage today was so relaxing that I unfortunately missed what I wanted to experience the most: Apparently I fell asleep during the foot massage. I think I even snored, but when I asked if I did, my masseuse was nice enough to lie and say, "No, but I could tell you were sleeping." I told her next time to punch me and wake me up because I missed my favorite part. Boo Hoo. But that's a sign of a great massage I guess- complete relaxation.

But that's almost a dangerous thing to do yourself at 3:00 in the afternoon. How am I suppose to be anything but worthless after that? But I enjoy being worthless every now and then and today is that day!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Anti-Contagious Laugh

There is a very fine line between a good hearty contagious laugh, and a laugh that is so loud and obnoxious NOTHING is funny anymore.

I had a very clear demonstration today of a laugh that was far over the line. I went to see "Death of a Funeral" (visit my movie blog here to read my review!). I love a packed movie theatre when the movie is either funny or scary. When the crowd laughs or screams, it just heightens the mood. Usually.

Today however, there were two guys directly behind me howling like banshees any time something even remotely funny was said during the movie. Urgh. It got to the point where I almost dreaded the funny lines in the movie, knowing that the banshees would take over and I would miss tons of dialogue that they would drown out.

It became so uncomfortable. A few people around me kept leering over at the out of control laughers. It seemed to make lots of people kind of edgy. And the crowd wasn't laughing. They just looked annoyed. But it wasn't the movie's fault. The movie probably WAS funny. But oddly, the laughing took away the funny.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Bad Way To End Your Day

Whenever my husband watches the evening news I get out of the room as fast as I can and usually take a bath. I'm not sure why, but I've noticed he's even started recording the news, in case he misses it. I think he is crazy.

Tonight, I just decided to watch. He's asleep on the couch, and I wanted to see if maybe I could understand WHY he not only reads the paper each day, but then watches the news each night. "Maybe I'm wrong about the news. Maybe it's not as negative as I had thought."

Uh uh. NO. Within the first 5 minutes, I started to feel unsafe, uneasy, and actually fearful! I think my blood pressure went up. I cannot believe how many bad news stories they can pack into only a few minutes. Everything from shootings, to break ins, to West Nile virus, to hurricane season- All bad, all scary. The reporters seem to relish in delivering the bad news. It's actually pretty sick.

I realized I was physically starting to feel different while watching. No wonder. How can hearing about and watching all this doom and gloom possibly be a good thing? And this close to bedtime? I know this is just WRONG! I think I know why lots of people like the sports and weather portion of the show, which I realize is saved for the last few minutes. It's because they're virtually the only thing that isn't violent, scary, or depressing on the news. Altho, I guess even sports and weather can occasionally fall under those categories.

Anyway, it's back to the bathtub or my music room during this time. I can think of a thousand better ways to spend my time. And they all bring a much nicer end result...

I AM a Knitwit!

Who remembers "Knit Magic" from the 70's? I remember the commercial jingle, "The faster you turn, the faster you knit...." and was enthralled. I begged Mom to get me my own Knit Magic. I loved it. The only thing I knew how to make was wristbands so I made several pairs for my brother. That must have been when I first got interested in the idea of knitting. Little did I know you could do it by hand, with knitting needles and that you could make more than just wristbands!

I went to the KnitWits meeting yesterday. First let me tell you what you KnitWits are famous for: Last year they donated 1800 knitted hats for the babies at Parkland hospital. 1800!!! Some of these ladies have been knitting for years. Anbd by years, I mean more years than I've been alive!

Tee Tee said she's been at it for something like 50 years. She didn't even look much older than that herself so she must have started very young. She told me to pick out some yarn and she gave me a pair of pink knitting needles and she showed me how to "cast" and how to "knit". As soon as I got into the groove of how to do it, I found that I couldn't talk. Or even listen to the conversations around me. I was having to concentrate so hard. Tee Tee told me to practice more when I got home and then tomorrow, she'd show me how to "pearl". Once I got home to do it, I immediatly made a mistake I didn't know how to fix. So I called Alice, my 80-something year old neighbor across the street, who seems to know everything. (And I mean that in the best way!) I thought just maybe she'd know about knitting. And of course, she did. She told me to come right over and she'd help me sort out my screw up.

Alice got me going again and I felt pretty confident as I left her house. But then, soon after I was cut loose, I did something wrong again. I tried to fix it and only made things worse. By then, it was too late (and too humiliating) to bother Alice again.

But now, it's almost time to leave to meet up with Tee Tee again. But I am not ready to learn how to pearl. Clearly. I need to stick with just knitting. And learning how to back up and correct a mistake.

Yesterday I set out to become a Knitwit. And I think I clearly achieved that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Want to Be a Knitwit

In a few minutes, I'm leaving for my first Knitwit meeting. I've wanted to learn to knit or crochet for quite some time now. I don't know why it appeals to me so, but for now, it does. I can just imagine myself sitting in front of the tv (not) watching football on a cool day knitting myself or a friend a little hat, a scarf, or maybe some mittens! It seems like something I could really get into.

A few months ago, I heard about a knitting group that meets at the library once a week. Pretty cool. Once I found out they called themselves KNITWITS, and I knew I belonged there! Supercool.

So, here I go. I have nothing to take with me this time. No yarn. No knitting needles. I just wanted to LOOK this time and then come back prepared with my knitting supplies next time. So I'm off...and soon, I'll be able to call myself a KNITWIT!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007


When I was a kid I was enthralled by people who could balance on their bicycle with no hands. I can remember there was a boy who would ride around our neighborhood writing on a little pad of paper while he rode his bike and I thought ( and still think) that was such a talent. But one I have never mastered. On a good day I can take one hand off the handle bars for a few seconds without hurting anyone, or myself. I'm a spaz that way.

Even more skilled are the bicycle riders who don't hold on to the handle bars are the UNICYCLISTS!!! Oh my! Now THERE is talent. No bars AT ALL. Just one wheel and two peddles. That's insane.

Today I saw a unicyclist at the intersection of Knox/Henderson and Central Expressway (A well-trafficked intersection). Brave. Or stupid. I was wondering, "How is he going to stop?" Well, I got to see what he did when he came to a red light. He just grabbed on to a pole and hung on until the light changed back to green and then he took off again. I want to know about the getting on and getting off now.

You don't see many unicyclists. Is that because it's difficult? Or because it's just weird looking? Or both? If I thought I had it in me, I think I'd buy one. I'm sort of fascinated...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Just Show Up

All week long, I've been at the Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC. It's a great songwriting "camp"- no camping involved tho or I wouldn't be here. Today was the last day of all the classes and all the concerts.

I think I listened to so many people, that at this point, I don't even know what kind of stuff I learned! Now it's just time to sort of sit with it, and process it.

One practice I began this week, you can apply to just about any area of your life. It's something I already "know" but it was so good to be reminded and then to be sort of forced to practice it for a week. And it was this: To approach a project you want to work on in small increments of time. So for me, each day, I'd sit with my guitar for 20 minutes and just PLAY around with my songwriting. I sat with the same song each day for 20 minutes during a portion of one of my classes. Some days nothing was really happening. Some days I came up with something stupid. And some days I came up with some stuff I actually liked. But the thing is, I SHOWED up. Each day. And that is a great habit to form.

Typically, I sit down with a song and spend long stretches of time on it. So when I don't have a big block of time, I think I don't have time to write at all. But a little 20 minutes here, and a little 20 minutes there, and all that time in between when your subconcious creatively works on things you don't even know about--and you've got yourself a song. Or a novel. Or a series of sketches. Or whatever it is that you like to create!

So consider trying it yourself. It can be just 15 minutes. And it's okay if all you do is SIT THERE. Your only job is to show up. Doesn't that sound easy?