Monthly Archives: May 2010

A Blessing and a Curse

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So I was playing my guitar this morning.  I revisited a lot of older songs that I wrote so long ago.  I was surprised that I remembered the chords and the words to some but it was a lot of fun.  I played the two newer songs that sort of spurred on this idea of making a CD.  I played a few things that aren’t finished sort of hoping that new inspiration would hit and by some miracle I would finish one or, dare I say it, two.  That didn’t exactly work out.  Instead, a familiar and not so pleasant problem , reared it’s ugly head.

When it comes to music I feel a little schizophrenic.   I have a song that I have working on for some time now (really it’s been a few years)  that isn’t done.   I really love the concept but it definitely was born out of that part of my brain that creates blue grass tunes.   I’m not so sure how to fit it into this concept that I have been carrying around for this CD.  Musically it just doesn’t fit.   I have always felt this way about the stuff I write.   Because I am influenced by so many different kinds of music,  I write the same way.  My  love for music and my desire to write somehow collide.  It’s a blessing and a curse.   How can I make a CD that is cohesive and pleasant to listen to (all the way through) when I jump through all these different musical hoops.   I am all over the map and that might be a little hard to listen to not to mention produce.

I sometime try to convince myself that I am the common denominator and maybe that is enough.  If the song writing comes from an honest heart and tells and authentic story, the listener will connect no matter the genre.  It doesn’t really work that way.  The human ear and attention span and individual taste all comes into play and maybe my wanderings will lose the people I am trying to reach.   It’s really hard for me to live in a box or a musical category.   I love it all and it all comes out in my song writing.   Can all these questions be answered in production.   Can you take what was written with a blue grass heart and dress it up for the red carpet?   You get the schism   write?   I really don’t know.

So maybe the answer is to finish the songs and get them recorded and do more than you need so that the finished product will just sort of rise to the surface.  Try and record 15 songs so that 13 of them stick together and just make sense.   Maybe the answer is make 3 different CDs with fewer songs so that each one is musically cohesive?   I think I need a producer on board in these early stages to try and make sense of my ramblings.  I will have to keep thinking about that one.  Would love to hear your thoughts.   Thanks for stopping by.

Circle of Life

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I was recently asked by some friends of mine, to sing at their 25th wedding anniversary party.   I will actually be singing at a small ceremony that they have  put together where they will renew their vows.   It struck me the other day that this is sort of trifecta of sorts.   I first sang at one of their family ceremonies when their grandchild was baptized.   About  a year or so ago I sang at the funeral of the husbands mom.   Now I will be singing at an anniversary celebration.   At all of  these events I was privileged to  sing songs that were written by  the husband/son/grandfather of the family.

It really struck me that music is really the common thread.  How often in our lives, we celebrate and morn or come together over music.   We are musical people.  Each  of our lives has a very unique and special sound track.  I can be immediately transported back to the summer of 74 every  time I hear “Rock the Boat”  quite possibly the best summer of my life.   I spent the whole summer in my friends pool singing that song at the top of our lungs.   That following year my world would be rocked when her mother died suddenly and most certainly unexpectedly and now, in hind sight, that summer has become all the sweeter.    I remember Tony Orlando and Dawn and hot buttered popcorn after a full days swimming.  It was blissful!!!

Most of my memories of my Dad involve music.  I was caught off guard the other day when I was listening to music and the song “You’ll Never Know” came up and the tears came just as quickly.  They weren’t sad tears mind you but the kind that come when you have that feeling that really can’t be summed up by just one emotion. I can still hear him singing that song and loving to press my ear to his chest and feel him singing.   That is still one of the most comforting things I can think of.   The feeling, when you were young and still sitting on someones lap, and leaning in to their chest as they hummed a song.   I sometimes wish I could still feel that on nights when it is hard to sleep.

I sang a song at my wedding that I had written for my husband and I think he is a part of every song I have written since.  Of course there has been about a million lullabies since I have had my children.   Songs of praise and worship and doubt and struggle round out the group.   There is no way around it…..singing and writing and  music is like breathing.   I’m not sure I could live without it.   It has been there when I was celebrating and when I was sad or uninspired or scared or restless.   It is the one constant and my assurance that there is a God.  God has used music to connect and communicate with me my whole life and lets face it…..we are all tapped in.   Can you imagine your life without it?   We all have a list of CD’s we are going to take with us to that “deserted island” should we ever need them.   It is our expression of who we are and no matter the language we can be connected through music.   It’s all good!

I wish I knew how to post a song here but I have yet to figure that one out.   Go to you tube and find Rock the Boat.  I promise you you will smile.  It’s still the best.   Dance if you want to.  You know I will.   Stop for stopping by.

Thoughts on Giving Birth to a CD

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I have found myself feeling  a little anxious of late.   I have had that feeling of needing to move (we have done a lot of that) or wanting to have another baby…….YIKES!   I have identified that feeling as really just being in  need of something new, something exciting.   You know that feeling of the unknown and the anticipation of what things are going to be like when you get where you are going.   For the last 10 years or so we have either been moving (5 times to be exact) or we have been having a baby (5 times pregnant with 4 babies) and I think my body and my psyche had fallen into a rhythm.  Now it has been 4 years since I have done either and I have been feeling a little lost.

Don’t get me wrong, those things also have brought a lot of stress into my life.  There was the 6 months we had no where to live and the 5 of us slept in one bedroom at my sisters house with all of our belongings in her garage.  The new baby came early and they oldest had just started school in another city while my husband  had to drive about 27 miles to work everyday.  We had one car…..you do the math.   It was actually a lovely feeling to no that my sister was REALLY there for us when we needed it.  Lets face it, prayers are wonderful, but when you actually need a roof over your head (and some place to celebrate Christmas) and someone can provide that….well words are not enough.  O.k.,   back to the other side of the coin.

I  get a bit antsy from time to time.  I love to paint the inside of my house and to reorganize.   It keeps things from getting stagnant.    I love to create and have a deep need to do so.    A new house, a pregnancy,  it’s like a clean slate.   I think that is why I loved teaching as well.   Every September was a clean slate, an opportunity to do something new and different.   As a stay at home mom I have to search for things (and time) to be creative.   I have been saying to my husband ” I need some really good news,  something really exciting.”   I want a change.

So it hit me this morning  DUH!   Your CD is your new baby.   I think right now, as I haven’t been in a studio in about 6 years, I am in the first trimester.  With all of my pregnancies, the first trimester was never good.  It was full of doubt and nausea.  I remember thinking ” Why did I do this again?   I don’t know if I have the stamina.  I don’t think I can do this.”   After my miscarriage,  my third pregnancy, was fought with fear and anxiety.     Maybe my body wasn’t  cut out for this.   I realized today that I have the same fears about  making another CD.  Maybe I am not really cut out for this, I don’t think I can do this.  Somewhere in the deepest parts of my being, I know that it is what I am supposed to do.  Just like having my babies,  I know that it is right and good and I am in the right place!   I just have to keep reminding myself that.   It is those early weeks,  when the finish line feels like a lifetime away,  that are the hardest.   I do know, from experience, that the time goes by pretty fast, and we always manage to land on our feet.   God always provides and it is always an adventure getting there but we always arrive.

So for now I will do what it takes just  to hang in there (with pregnancy #1 all I could keep down was snack pack chocolate pudding.) and keep in mind that the process is at work even if I can’t see the progress yet.   I am not showing to the world yet  but that little being is growing and thriving inside and will come to full fruit when it is ready and the time is right.   I will try not to stress so that it doesn’t come any sooner than it should (like #4) and will be healthy and well.  I may suffer some losses along the way (God bless little Dot) but even they will have something to add to the finished product.   “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him” Rms.  8:28 and so I can confidently move forward.   I think I will play my guitar today and take what comes.   I know it will be good.   Thanks for stopping by.

The Road less Traveled

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Sorry I was gone for a few days but I was really in a slump.  I was really tired and definitely uninspired.  I did get my guitar out for all of about 5 minutes, just until number 4 fell off his bike and skinned his elbow pretty badly.  Imagine me running down the street guitar in one hand, bleeding child in the other.  Looking back, it does paint a funny picture but in the moment I was a bit exasperated.

So, my new approach to such difficult times, do something ultra practical.  I decided today, that I am going to look into setting up a bank account so that I can start saving for studio time or what ever financial needs that present themselves in my attempt to make this CD.  It seems like a good idea right?   I really don’t have any expendable cash but maybe I can put away the smallest amounts.   Maybe just taking that action will bring me the abundance of cash I will need to do this in the way that I want to.   I am trying to do things differently and saving money has never come easily and I don’t usually try very hard or stay committed to the cause for which I am saving.   Life usually gets in the way.

I don’t know about you all but I can only be focused on something for so long.   When it comes to saving money, I tend to give in and spend the money saved on other things.   Sometimes it is things we need (kids shoes, groceries etc.)  but some  times I get discouraged and think “well I’m probably not going to be able to save that much anyway,  so what’s 25 bucks for pizza?  I’m too tired to cook.”    That is a biggie for me.  I retreat into my old ways because the task at hand seems insurmountable and don’t I deserve something nice?   I work really hard but I lose sight of what the “true” reward is and give up.   I am all about setting these crazy goals, things that will take a long time to reach, and then expect to reach them in a few weeks.  Perhaps it’s time to take a new road, one that I have not traveled,  if I want to go someplace different than where I’ve been.    I guess I have to start out small and actually reach a goal or two to know what success feels like.   Maybe then, I will want that just as much as the thing I want to achieve and who knows where that might lead???

A CD perhaps?

X X OOO

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I don’t really like Mother’s day.  It is really a hard holiday.  As a Mom, it’s sort of o.k. but I don’t really feel it’s a day off.  My kids still need me and they’re still cranky, as they are on any given Sunday and  things still need to be done.  I hate the pressure it puts on my husband to make everything work and not ask for help.   He is pretty good but as anyone with four kids knows, it’s not easy nor advisable, to fly solo unnecessarily.   It is especially hard when your partner is on the premises.  It’s like capture the flag,  they work as a team and someone will always find your weak spot and sneak  past the defense men and get the flag.  There is no way to protect the other (or the mother in this case.)  But  I will say that the home made cards and clay pots are pretty fantastic.   The thoughtful poems and colored pictures of Dora really fill my  heart to overflowing!   I don’t know if  our kids ever really know how much we love them until they have kids of their own.   Personally,  I can’t wait for that.  New babies yay!

From a daughters point of view………you can never do enough.   The pressure is tremendous.   My mom deserves every good thing that I cannot afford and worst of all wants nothing.   She really doesn’t need anything.   She is quite content in most ways and in the ways she might not be her happiest she has learned to accept and in this moment I probably couldn’t fix that for her anyway.   I would love it if she never had to feel any pain or ever had to miss out on things she would  like to attend because she isn’t feeling well.   I wish I could heal her so she never had to go to another doctors appointment or take another pill.   I wish I could build her a house that could house her whole family and a place she could get away and be alone.  I would grow her a garden of fresh flowers and enough fresh tomatoes for a tomato, lettuce, and miracle whip sandwich on toast for every day of the summer. (with a dash of pepper)  I wish I could grant her the ability to visit with her brothers and sisters again and maybe even an afternoon  spent with my dad.  I know she still misses him.

Well we know I can’t do any of that so I do my  best.   This year, I won’t be able to even spend the day with her.  I feel badly about that but she will be the first one to say “don’t worry about it.”  I know she really means it.  She  still takes care of me in oh so many ways.   The best I have to offer her is my kids.  The one thing I know brings her so much joy.  I try to include her in everything they do but I don’t have a car and she can’t drive so I have to thank my sisters (also moms) for getting her here.  My kids adore her and it truly warms my heart.  There really is almost nothing better than handing my mom my kids for the first time.  I have it all on film.   To see her holding the greatest gift I could ever give her (and I did it 4 times.) is beyond measure.   She walked me through having to leave the hospital without number 4 as she  had done so many years ago with her number 9.   I treasure those moments with her when we could relate mom to mom.   To many words and emotions to fit in this blog but I had to acknowledge is some  way today.   It’s all I have to offer this year.    Happy Mother’s day Mom.  I know you can’t read this but maybe one of my wonderful Mom/sisters will read it to you.   I love you.

One more thing

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I know it must seem like I have gobs of time being that this is my second post today but I just forgot to put something in the last one so it really is just a continuation.

I am starting to read a book that has been on my list for sometime.   It is called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I am not trying to promote anything here and I cannot vouch for the book or the writer but I thought maybe we could read it together.  It would be like a cyber book club.  I would love it if we could read it together.  I will try and post as  I go along and you can comment if you feel like it.

From what I understand, from a very brief interview of the author, it is really about perspective and how we choose to see things in our lives.  It could be heavy but I have a  suspicion that it will be uplifting and who doesn’t need that.  I know that she is a mom and  that some of the book has to do with that and maybe that appeals to you, but I think it is  really about life and that we can all find something of value in that.   Read if you like and if you want to, share your thoughts.   I hope you will.

The Nitty Gritty of it all

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Here are a few updates.

I did throw out the chocolate frosting but as predicted…. I did have another bite or two before doing so.  It was a “last supper” of sorts (unless you  count the chocolate chip cookies of last night)   I still have vanilla in the fridge but I don’t even like it so I think I’m o.k.

I did email my musician friends about working on the new song and only heard back from one of them.  I will see most of them this weekend and will definitely nail them down to a date.  It is hard for me as well because May is quite possibly the busiest month I have ever had ……In My Whole Life!!  I will get it done before the end of June.

I have a great friend who is picking number 4 up to take him to a play group today so my goal for the day is to actually sit down and play guitar.  This CD will not happen without the songs!  I haven’t spent much time trying to write formally but I do think this blog is serving up heaps of ideas.  It is true what they say about writing everyday.  I don’t think that the format is what is important or even the subject matter.  What ever it is, it gets the juices flowing.   Who knows, some of the post may actually become  songs.  The seed has definitely been planted.  But I should  tell you that I am a bit distracted today because I have lost my house keys.  These are the only keys we have to the house and they have been missing for a week.  I know (or at least I’m pretty sure) that they are in the house somewhere.  Say a little prayer to St. Anthony for me today, the patron Saint of lost things.

By the way…. the jury is still out on the new mattress ….music room debate (peek inside (if you dare) post)  I only heard from two people and the decision is split.   I must reiterate that I do not have the money or time to take action on this (yet!) but would love to hear what you think.   Thanks for stopping by.