Author Archives: June

XV

December is a big month. Clearly. In addition to the obvious, in our family, we also celebrate my parents anniversary (47 years and counting!), our eldest son’s birthday, one of our niece’s birthdays, our anniversary and my grandmother’s birthday. Those celebrations fall on December 23rd for my parents, December 22nd for both kiddo’s birthdays, Dec 21st for us and Dec 28th for Grandmother………..why yes, I’d love another helping of crazy…to go with my crazy…on top of my crazy. Oh, and can you pour me a glass of crazy while you’re at it? Thanks! So, amidst the crazycrazycrazy, my beloved Brian and I have managed to carve out an anniversary celebration each and every year since our mullet-heavy nuptials 15 years ago. The high point was probably 1998 BC (Before Children)…we celebrated our fifth anniversary by returning to our honeymoon spot: Sun Valley, Idaho for skiing and, ya know. The low point (and this has nothing to do with the joy and blessing of being parents) was probably our 10th anniversary when I was six months preggers with our second son. We went to Santa Barbara for the weekend and ended up in a hotel room next to newlyweds who had, apparently, saved themselves for their wedding night and were intent on making up for lost time. It was nearly lewd and very loud, and reeeeeaaaaally tiring. And, like many a six-month preggers woman, I did not possess the hormonal fortitude to withstand a long night of no sleep. It was only the tiniest shred of propriety that kept me from lugging my weary, rotund self over to knock on their door and plead with them to keep it down. (Hmmmm….and now that I think about it, I probably wouldn’t have had to actually say anything…the mere sight of me, all crying and pregnant and generally unattractive might’ve seriously put the damper on their baby-makin’ activity. Oh well.) So yeah, the no sleeping and the having to stop every 30 yards to either pee, eat, or not pass out as we strolled around picturesque Santa Barbara on our 10th anniversary did not make for a particularly romantic experience.

This year, thanks to our 19-year-old niece who is all that (ie: babysitter extraordinaire!) we’ll be escaping to an uber hip hotel near Lake Tahoe for a couple days to celebrate our anniversary. Sadly, we’ll be missing out on some Christmastime events that we’d very much like to participate in, but the truth is, having such a valid reason to take a break from It All, right in the middle of It All, every December, has proven to be a Very Good Thing Indeed. It almost makes up for the general lousiness of having our anniversary be 4 days before Christmas. (Whose idea was that anyway?!?!? Oh. Right. It was mine. Oops.) Also this year, since it’s our fifteenth anniversary (and any anniversary year that is evenly divisible by five seems particularly noteworthy, which is fairly random and weird if you think about it) I’m taking the time to note, worthily, just how awesome my beloved is. But, since this is an online venue and I don’t want to completely and utterly repel all the nice folks here with my Song of Songs tendencies that I easily lapse into when dwelling ‘pon that quiet (and awesome…have I mentioned that he’s awesome?) man from Michigan with whom I live life, I’ll limit myself to an online-appropriate list-o-love. Just know that this list falls profoundly short of expressing the sublimeyness that is the true love I know, live and feel for him of whom I speak…but like I said, this is the internet and I don’t want to gross anyone out toooo much…cuz’ I am, after all, big on propriety.

Fifteen thoughts on our Fifteenth anniversary for my awesome husband:

1. I was a sad, sad girl with some biggish issues and baddish hair when we met. You saw past the hangups and the baggage and the frizzies and thought I was great. Thanks for that. Thanks forever for that.

2. You’re a little artsy. I’m a little more artsty. It works…mostly because you are grounded and unwavering on what matters most and perfectly flexible about everything else. Thanks for that.

3. Thanks for helping me wash my face when I was in an ICU for nine days. And, for not crying around me. Thanks. For that.

4. For being dependable…thank you!

5. For being hot….thank you!

6. For playing the piano in the house. Thanks for that every single time…it will always get you out of many a pesky chore…because I don’t want you to stop playing!

7. When you wrote that song about falling in love with me, recorded a track, burned it to a cd, put it in your car stereo and then sang it to me live as we drove somewhere in 1993, I could’ve died. Are you for real?! Sheesh. Thanks!

8. When you wrote an original version of the wedding march, with those big, fat, beautiful chords that sound like you need fifteen fingers to play each one of them, and had your old pianist friend from college play them for us as I walked down the aisle at our wedding, I could’ve died. You are so for real and I am one lucky girl!

9. My favorite moment in our wedding was seeing the look on your face when you saw me. (Not that our flowers being undelivered and the photographer catching on fire and your best man nearly passing out wasn’t all really cool and fun and all.)

10. Not having ever been to Sun Valley without you, I don’t want to ever be in Sun Valley without you. It wouldn’t be “Sun” Valley if you weren’t there…it would be Dark, Cold, Lonely, Sad, Forlorn, Ugly, Unsexy Valley. (Bye everybody…I know this one has made all the readers depart…thanks for stickin’ in this long!)

11. When I’m like at Zane’s school and like, some of the other moms start like kvetching about their husbands and they’re all like, well, like bitchy and mean, I’m always like thinking “Man, you’re sounding kind of like bitchy and mean and like, maybe that’s all, like, true, and if so I’m like really sorry for you and if you like knew how great my husband is, you’d like hate me!”

12. I thought you were pretty stinkin’ cute and cool when you were 21….you are immeasurably cuter and cooler now. I’m particularly fond of those little gray hairs around your ears…and your highly evolved interior self. Gray hair + maturity = mucho sexy.

13. I am, in fact, “Never gonna give you up, Never gonna let you down, Never gonna run around and desert you, Never gonna make you cry, Never gonna say goodbye, Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.”

14. The first time I saw our custom-ordered wedding bands I, um, well, I thought they were kind of ugly. But, being high-minded and all, I lovedlovedloved the fact that you had your heart set on the braided style to represent a “chord of three strands.” Now, I think they are super cool…and I’m glad I sucked it up for the sake of your awesome idea. I don’t know what my deal was back then….er…and sometimes now….keep bringing the good ideas…you have lots of ‘em!

15. As my oldish mom said to my old dad recently, thanks for loving me as much as I love you.

Happy Anniversary babe!

Predictable…like dry turkey.

Ok, so this question is as predictable as cranberry sauce and Uncle Hensley’s snoring that starts 3 seconds after he settles himself on the couch, but still…do tell…what are you thankful for?

A friend said to me today “So what is at the top of your thankful for list…no, too obvious, what is 5th?” For our purposes (yes, we do have them. I think.) here on Addy Road, I’ll take anything from your top 10. Oh, and my number 5 was art or music, it’s a toss up. My friend rejected that answer and made me get more specific, so I said “that I’m healthy enough to paint and learn to play cello.” I’m not as picky as my friend, so you can be obtuse or specific here…I cast a wide, wide thankful net.

The Din I Live In

I just made myself butternut squash ravioli with buttered sage sauce and I’m eating it and it’s tasty but I swear that I’m actually tasting it less because of the wall of sound that is crashing down on me (created by my two male children playing cars on the hardwood floors near me) like a hundred giant trees being felled all at the same moment. It’s as if the demands of my present audio processing are actually diminishing my ability to taste. Am I eating pillowy, savory ravioli or….an actual pillow…or…..? And, we don’t have any parmesan. That doesn’t help either.

sing, sing a song

I’ve had this notion for awhile now and this summer’s road trips and music weeks have me deciding to finally put feet on it. The idea: an ongoing conversation made up solely of song lyrics. Road trips and the silly car games one plays in order to pass the time (specifically, through California’s central valley! Ergh.) have me inspired to finally post my lil’ idea. (Not that me and mine actually play many car trip games yet, but it’s the thought that counts.) Music weeks are a little somethin’ I’m doing with my boys this summer to grow their musicality…we focus on a different genre each week (meaning, I burn a cd of songs and they listen to it for a week) and I’m sure that the fact that this is folk week is part of what has me dwelling ‘pon lyrics right now. So I’ll start us off and please, please someone play with me! Feel free to link your lyric source or not… but remember, whatever you say has to be a lyric!

In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple, Near the relief office – I see my people. And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’

A face is worth a thousand notes

Last weekend, when I was sickity-sick-sick, I attended my son’s piano teacher’s choral concert. She directs a local choir and is always encouraging her piano students to attend any and all such concerts, in order to broaden their musical worldview. Another friend of mine is in the choir and she asked me to help “work the back of the house” for the concert. Since she’s my friend and since I had asked her to be the concierge/cashier/brag-on-me-gal at my recent art show, I unhesitatingly told her that yes, of course I would work the back of the house for the concert. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but I showed up smiling, with my late stage emphysema-like cough, my black pants and my white blouse.

As it turns out, working the back of the house is easy. I had merely to smile (cough) and hand each attendee a (cough) program (cough) and remind them to (cough) fill out the little card (cough, cough) inside in order to be (cough) in the drawing (cough) for a lunch for (cough) two. (Which of course was really so the choir would have their contact info and could send them email about upcoming concerts.) I tried to not cough on the programs as I handed them out. Then I tried to not cough as a I quietly closed the doors before the program began as the choir director looked sternly around the room with that look that we all know means “If your cell phone rings during my concert, I have a gun in the pocket of this choir robe with which I will unhesitatingly shoot you.” I tried to not cough as I juggled my four-year-old and his broadening musical worldview throughout the entire concert and I especially tried to not cough (and curse) as I spied the doctor who had told me a week early that my endless hacking was “just allergies” singing as a member of the choir.

Before the concert began, I had noted that my son’s piano teacher had her hair up, her nails done, heels on and was wearing all black. As she directed the choir through some warmups, I noted the lovely neckline of her blouse and her suprisingly small waist. At piano lessons, she’s always in comfy, loose-fitting clothing and Uggs, Keens or sensible European walking shoes. (And can ya blame her? If I had to sit in a small, dark church coaxing musicality into and out of sweaty little brats I’d be wearing a mumu and a morphine drip!) Observing piano teacher’s gussied-uppedness, I thought, unhesitatingly, that she looked very pretty. Then, right before the (cough, cough, cough, cough, COUGH!) concert began, she donned a formless, drapey, royal blue, apparently all rayon (ergh) jacket thingy that matched the blouses that the female choir members wore. Sigh. The transformation was amazing: up until that moment, her bare neck and arms had been a visual draw in the room, but once the blue ugliness was applied, she was rendered all but invisible. My worldview, if you will, of the scene, was dramatically altered. I momentarily thought this a pity, but then realized that her being invisible was surely helpful to directing the concert-goers attention to listening to the concert vs. looking at the director. Which got me to thinking about something I’ve thought of during almost every concert I’ve ever gone to…

…Is there any face better than the face of a choir director (or conductor) when they are directing?! (No June, there is not! I say so unhesitatingly!) I know, I so agree! If you ask me, (I know you didn’t…blogs aren’t always like that. Shut up.) the choir director/conductor face falls in the same camp as the baby spying their just-returned-home-mother face and the groom-sees-his-bride-come-down-the-aisle face. As appealing as it is to listen to a choir or orchestra, visual me sometimes finds equal joy in watching the face of the director during a concert. The range of emotion, nuance and directives that are capable of being communciated via a human face is perhaps never greater than in the face of a director when they are leading a detailed piece of music. I think it would be rather fabulous if someone would do a film project that shows only a close-up of a director’s face for the length of an entire piece, with no soundtrack at all. Then maybe the same footage could play again with the piece being heard…or something like that…I don’t know…I make paintings, not movies. Ya gotta love that face though, don’tcha think?!

commercial break

I thought I’d offer up a “commercial break” to the coverage of The Dailies studio recording process by inserting another piece from my show…then it occurred to me: thanks to blessed Tivo, nobody watches commercials anymore. Hmmm. So, I guess I’m just barging in the studio door during everyone’s moving moment and inappropriately blathering on about art. Again.

Here is what I wrote about this piece (called “Chirp”) in the program for the show: “With this piece, I intended to depict the actuality that culture’s rules and dictums are externally set and that our participation has approved and denied paths and that the choice then, as independent, culture-producing entities, is to negotiate within the existing models and dominant fashions. KIDDING! I do find find something as common as the image of birds landing on my patio to be quite profound though. (And, I felt like I should say more than “Birds are cute. I like painting them.”)”

I have plenty of thinky thoughts about art, but opted to be fairly unassuming in my program notes…this is Meadow Vista after all.

The person who bought this piece at the show said “I started to read what you wrote about this and was like ‘what is this crap?!’… and then…Oh.”

I was kind of sad to see this trio of birdies go…I rather like them.

Now, back to your regular programming.

new fav

Groceries Schmoceries...buy art instead!

This is my new favorite piece. It’s from the show I just had. It’s called “Hymn.” Whoever guesses the hymn to which I’m referring wins the chance to buy a piece that didn’t sell at the show. Only 87 entries per person please.

npr junkie

Does anyone else think it’s odd that Neal Conan, the host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation, ends conversations with callers by saying “Bye-bye.”