Wednesday, December 31, 2003

A Day of Deep Introspection

If today was our last day on earth, what would you want me to know about you?  And what would you want me to know about myself?

Answer in comments, in your journal, in email, in theory, in retrospect, in your heart - and if you want, I will answer these questions for you as well.

~ With Peace and Love ~

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Find It!

Hunny doesn't like it when I go out without her.  She sometimes lets me know how upset she is by either eating my leftovers or peeing on the carpet.

I always try to bring her outside so she can "find it" before I leave.  This way her bladder won't spill too much for me to clean up later.  But because I've been going out so much lately - holidays, birthdays, etc. - she's been catching on.  She knows I'm dressed to go and she's determined to make me late.

My cue for her is "find it."  Which basically means, "find your spot, do your business and let's go."  Works like a charm - unless she thinks I'm going to leave her once she's finished.  So I have to say it in a tone that sounds fun to trick her into thinking we're about to go somewhere TOGETHER.

The first few start an octave higher than my normal speaking voice and go something like this, "Find it. Atta girl. Who's a good find-it girl?" [this one got old a week before Christmas]  Eventually my voice begins to drop while trying to keep my cool.  At some point I lose complete control with a teeth-gritting, low rumble "F.I.N.D. I.T."  This is when Hunny has the upper paw.  She stops pretending to sniff for a spot, gets this smug look on her face, looks me square in the eye and sits.  I'VE LOST.

Convinced she's doing this on purpose [usually in the pouring rain!] I throw a tantrum for all the neighbors to hear, "Why are you doing this to me? I need you to find it. Fine Hunny. Don't find it. See if I care. You little..."  I usually stop myself at that point [or I keep the rest to a silent whisper]  I want to drag her inside but instead, she prances!  [remember, she won!]

Today I came home to the lingering stench of Hunny-pee.  How could this be?  I scrubbed the carpet last night.  And Hunny was with me all day.  I thought I cleaned it all - by the couch, under the table, in that corner by the TV.  Where could it be now?  Frustrated, I dropped to all fours, searching, sniffing.  Behold Hunny speaking perfect English, "Find it. Atta girl. Who's a good find-it girl?"

Monday, December 29, 2003

California Blizzard?

A blizzard ... in California?!  I saw the headlines on my AOL Welcome Screen and automatically thought this was an east coast thing.  What's up with California and natural disasters this year? Fires, earthquakes, rain storms, mudslides, flash-floods even drought are all to be [sadly] "expected" ... but blizzards?

I know most people think I'm a big baby when I bundle up in fleece, a snow-vest, scarf, hat and gloves - especially since I grew up in sub-degree winter temps.  But, aside from physical pain, there is nothing more uncomfortable for me than being cold!  I work outside.  I have to dress warm.  And now that I read about blizzards up north, it doesn't seem so far-fetched that this past week has felt exceptionally cold for Southern California.

There's a reason I live here... and it ain't for the snow!  Whoever says we don't get seasons, is sorely mistaken.  Our seasons just may not be as drastic as in other parts of the country.

There are times when I miss the fun of the snow.  [note: I said the "fun of the snow" - I do not miss the scraping, salting, sanding, car-stalling, ice-slipping, brain-numbing lifestyle, right there at my front door.]  It's nice to know if I get really lonely for a dose of frostbite, I can drive a couple of hours up the mountains and get a quick-fix!  In all honesty, I've never been to the California snow.  Perhaps I'll get there this year.

A few years ago I spent a winter in the mountains of North Carolina.  The first snow fall was beautiful.  After that, I was painfully reminded about why I choose not to live in it.  The bitter cold makes me crazy!  About as crazy as the sweltering humidity in summer.  The seasonal temps seem to get more and more extreme as each year passes.

All that said, and all that the state of California has seen this year, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if we were to see snow fall in Los Angeles this year!  Hey, at least I'll be dressed for it.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Longing

I don't mean to sound ungrateful.  I love my friends and the new traditions we're creating.  I'm learning to rely on my spirit.  I spend all year trying to remember to look within to fulfill my own needs but come Christmas I lose sight of that.

It just occurred to me last night that so many of my friends don't really know what it's like NOT to have family around.  Not just for the holidays.  Every day.  No phone calls.  No check-ins.  No lunch-dates.  No safety net.  It's been my choice.  I moved 3,000 miles away.  No longer willing to be who they needed me to be, I cut myself off from their ways.  I created my own life, based on how I wanted to live it. I have a better life because of my choices.  But that will never replace the longing I have for a mom and a dad.

I know that even if I had them in my life on a daily basis, they themselves could never replace that longing.  They never did - why would I think today would be any different?  So are my standards too high?  I've gotten myself stuck in a catch-22 situation.

What do I long for?  What do I think a mom and a dad can provide that I don't already have within myself? 

My mom and I have come a long way.  We are in limited communication, slowly learning our way back toward each other.

My dad and I are about as far apart as living relatives can be.  I don't know him.  He certainly doesn't know me.  Perhaps he doesn't even care.  But I refuse to believe that.  Maybe that's where I'm stuck. 

I'm sure this place isn't new for me.  And each time I visit, I get to a deeper level of acceptance.  But really, if you haven't lived a day without your parents - your living parents - then you have no idea how I feel.  I compare it to flying without a net.  I'm able to soar but the pain of the fall is excruciating.

Perhaps we all feel this way - parents or no parents.  But do we all long for that parental figure to make everything seem bearable?  To make life seem that much less overwhelming?  To feel protected from the big bad world?  I've been longing for that person as far back as I can remember!

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I wonder, do I get like this every holiday season?  I had a really difficult Christmas.  I miss my family back east - even though I haven't seen them in ten years.  I miss a few family members from here.  I haven't seen them in a few months.

I've created my own traditions and I spend the holidays with my chosen family.  It's what I want to do.  It's what I like to do.  So what am I missing?  I'm sure it's a conditioned response to feel the longing.

Growing up, Christmas week was a time of celebration.  Family would fly and drive in from all over.  There was always something fun happening.  We'd spend the days ice skating on the lake down the street or sledding in the hills out back.  Then at night we'd come in and play.  There were at least two guitars, one microphone and a bunch of various percussion items.  My dad and I would lead some kind of impromptu concert while cousins and other relatives would join in, taking turns at the microphone.

Everyone had their holiday drink-of-choice.  At some point, there was a board game tournament.  [My dad's side of the family always consisted of a long round of poker and/or rummy.]  Boggle and Monopoly would inevitably kick-off the annual hate-fest between my Aunt Helen [whose whiskey sour turned her into one whiskey sour] and my dad [who was always drunk].  It got to the point where my cousins and I would sneak upstairs to play our own game.  And one year we hid the Monopoly board!

What do I miss about all that?  No school. Presents under the tree. Fun in the house. The lights. The food. The community.  The idea of the "perfect family."  The fact that most of my troublesome childhood worries would seemingly disappear for a couple of weeks was enough reason for me to want to celebrate Christmas every day.

But alas, the bitter cold of winter would take over.  Cabin fever would consume my parents and we'd be back to our "normal family" once again.  I was left longing for the next Christmas celebration.

Perhaps I think if Christmas isn't being celebrated with heightened joy, then the rest of my year is going to feel that much worse.  I know that's not the truth.  I'm just trying to make sense of my universe.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

More Celebration

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Cheryl's first knitted creation ever - a gift for me.  I'm honored.  I am so in love with this scarf I wanna marry it!  It's soft, light and handmade just for me!  Tonight kicks off Cheryl's birthday celebration!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHERYL.  [Thank you for my Christmas scarf!]

AOL-JLand is like a ghost town!  And THANK GOD cuz I would not be able to keep up!  It's good to see we're all moving at about the same pace!  With holiday and birthday celebrations plus work and creations, I don't see this zooming train ride stopping anytime soon!

I am one step outside of my body.  I feel like I've entered some kind of Matrix realm!  I'm exhausted but keep fueling up on coffee, tea and chocolate.  Of course, I counteract it all with more carbs, protein and dairy.  I'm headed for a quick crash and burn!  But I must keep going!  Speaking of which, I hear the tea kettle...

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The Year Without A Santa Claus

My roommate, Reza, heard my rendition of O Holy Night and the only thing he had to say was, "Do you have that 'PahRumPahPumPum' song?" [God love my Muslim friend!]  I told him "No, but I have the movie."  So he's in the living room watching The Little Drummer Boy with Hunny. 

I'm in my room watching my favorite Christmas story; the lesser-known, Year Without A Santa Claus.  I've always known it as "The one with Heat Miser."  It's probably about the dumbest story but I love the humor and the rockin' songs by Heat Miser and his dueling step-brother, Snow Miser.

CLICK TO LISTEN TO HEAT MISER'S SONG

CLICK TO LISTEN TO SNOW MISER'S SONG

Love

From my inbox this morning:
exerpt from Chapter Three of
Emmanuel's Book, entitled "Love"

You will not exhaust
the love in the universe
if you were to absorb it
from now until the end of time.

Love is all that exists.

Love is the universal communication.
It is the energy that has created the
universe and is keeping it going.
God is love.
All matter is formed by love.
There is an organic love
that speaks to everyone
if they could but hear.
A leaf holds together
for love.

Love can turn the world around
and it does.
What did you think was spinning your planet
if it wasn't love
and what do you think the fires of your sun consist of
and the cells of your body
and the stars in your sky
and the consciousness in your heart?
It is all love.

There is nothing but love.
Don't let the masks and postures fool you.
Love is the glue
that holds the Universe together.
The greatest need in a soul
is to achieve that loving of self
which will bring about the unity
wherein the judgments
that have caused such pain
are eliminated.

True self-love is not ego.
True love is great humility.
Love and compassion for others
cannot exist
until there is a goodly supply for self.
How can you feel the love of God
if you do not love yourself?
Are they not one and the same thing?

Until you can accept yourself
you lock the doorway
to the expansion you all yearn for.
This expansion comes through your heart.
Be kind to yourselves.

I'm not much of a reader.  But there are a handful of books I keep at an arm's reach at all times.  This series is one of them.  Happy Holidays everyone.  Peace, Love & Laughter, Always!

HunnyBunny Update

Thank you all for your concern about Hunny.  It's been at least 24 hours now and she's doing just fine.  She has a lot of energy.  She's drinking water and eating her food.  And she's still digging in the trash under my desk at every opportune moment.

I went to the bathroom [and of course, she left].  When I came out, she was under my desk.  I did an obvious clearing-of-my-throat to get her attention.  She backed up slowly, turned around and looked just like I used to look at my mother when I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar.  "There's nothing in there for you.  Go get your bone."

It doesn't matter that I'm constantly tripping over bones and toys.  There always seems to be something much more interesting in the trash!  It's not like there are leftovers under my desk!  A tissue, napkin or empty water bottle maybe, but that's good enough for her!

She has chronic colitis so anything out of her normal diet upsets her stomach and man can she poop!  She's all of 23 lbs but she's no lightweight.  Seriously, she can poop any big doggie under the table!  I have to feed her high-fiber food so to keep her colon as clean as possible.  Otherwise, she'll spend hours straining.  Instead, I follow her around the dogpark with a pooper scooper for the first 20 minutes of our visit. 

She hasn't pooped yet, since the chocolate-eating incident.  I have mixed feelings about tomorrow's walk!  Maybe I can get Reza [my roommate] to take her.  He adores her.  Of course, he seems so fascinated with Hunny's "movements" that he always reports "how much" and "how many" after every walk.  Now that's some kinda crazy love!  [I do appreciate that]

Hunny's resting comfortably on my bed.  I think I'll go join her.  Still gotta catch up on lost sleep. 

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Big Day at the PO

My new PO Box is no longer a virgin, thanks to Andrea and SloMo!  I got two pieces of personal mail from two friends I've never met in person.  [couldn't say that a few years back without thinking two things: pen-pal and loser]

What a treat to get actual, physical, tangible mail.  There I was, standing in line to claim my package from Santa-SloMo, while I studied the outside of Andrea's cutely-decorated envelope.  I have this thing about handwriting. I'm fascinated with everything about it - style, slant, printing, cursive, neat, messy, lefty, righty?  I can easily fall in love with someone based on handwriting.  Andrea, look out!  ::wink::

If it weren't for SloMo's talk of package-sniffing I might not have given much thought to my actions.  I carefully opened the envelope and as the folds parted, I unconsciously closed my eyes, raised it to my face and took a deep whiff.  Suddenly I was acutely aware that I too am a package-sniffer!  Bug-eyed, I quickly brought the envelope to a socially appropriate distance from my face.  Cute Christmas card and CD order.  Woohoo! Thanks Andrea.

It was then my turn at the window and I claimed my Christmas present from SloMo with beaming pride.  I carried her package out like a newborn baby!  I took little sniffs as I headed out, but waited till I was inside the car to take the obvious whiff.  Hunny was all over it as if she knew it was from Auntie SloMo!  [Back off Hunny! This one's mine!  At least until Christmas]

SloMo's package has so many pleasant smells, I'm on sensory overload - but not overwhelmed!  Don't get me started on her handwriting! 

Andrea's card smells like fruitcake [ironically, the same word is used to describe my personality today.]

There's nothing like personal mail with a personal touch!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Still Awake?

It's after 6 AM and I still haven't been to bed yet.  I haven't pulled an all-nighter since ... oh, don't tell me, college?  I was in the recording studio for over seven hours tonight.  What's up with that?  MusicMan and I both had a lot of energy.  I went in with the intention of doing a short version of a Christmas song so I could get it done and still have some extra time to record one of my songs for the album.  Who knew a 2 1/2 minute song would take seven hours?!  The first thirty minutes got my guitar and vocals.  By 1:30 AM I started background vocals.  Most of the time in between was spent with MusicMan hashing out a bass line and the two of us figuring out how to "burn to disc" on his new software.  Definitely worth every moment!

When I got home at 3 AM, I noticed an entire Kit-Kat candybar and big chocolate chip cookie were missing!  The remains of the wrappers were on the floor.  I freaked out!  [Why do dogs eat chocolate?  Don't they know it can kill them?!]  I've never seen Hunny so hyper.  She ran out the front door, down the balcony-hallway, skidded and slammed into the opposite wall.  From there, she made like Fred Flintstone, running toward the elevator - you know, where her feet were moving underneath her, but she wasn't going anywhere at first and then zooooom, out of sight! [This is my dog on crack!]

I know the signs of a "sick Hunny"  [I know the signs of a "dying Hunny" - we've been through a lot].  Panting, excessive licking, dazed look, discomfort where she can't rest.  Makes me a wreck!  Doesn't help me when she's sleeping either because I'm constantly checking to be sure she's still breathing.

Usually Hunny does most of her rummaging [i.e. digging in trash, eating scraps, peeing on carpet] the moment after I leave her alone.  It's been about fifteen hours since I left the apartment.  My roommate spent a few hours with her earlier.  And she's still alive.  I'm sure she'll be okay.  She might be very sick.  But I'm keeping a close eye on her. [probably why I can't sleep]

I'm going to try to rest alongside her now.  Goodnight(?) everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Earthquake

Strangely, while I was posting my Teeny-Tiny Tree entry [see below], I took a look over my shoulder to get a better view of him, wondering if I could snap a clearer pic.  But even with my naked eye, he was blurry.  I shook my had and rubbed my eyes trying to clear the fog but when I readjusted my view, I noticed he was moving, swaying back and forth.  Then I noticed the Christmas lights around the window next to him swaying.  All of the sudden my eyes were drawn to the ceiling lights I'd recently hung and they were swaying away like a kid on a swing.  Then it occurred to me that I to was swaying.  I felt dizzy for just a moment and thought I was about to turn upside down.  Strange.  I knew what it was.  Even though I didn't feel or hear the rumbling from underground, I knew I was smack-dab in the middle of an EARTHQUAKE.

It didn't last long and obviously I thought nothing more of it, until I got in the car and every radio station was talking about it, in between songs.  When I got to the dogpark, a fellow dogwalker said a few people described a dizzy feeling as well during this earthquake.  Strange.  When I got home I found out the tragic details.

I was here ten years ago for the Northridge earthquake.  It was my first earthquake - and it was a dooooozie!  Things were flying off the walls, shelves and furniture were falling to the ground.  It took hours before we could get to the street [apparently the safest place to be during an earthquake]  I remember seeing the flames from the grocery store down the street while talking to my mother in Massachusetts, seeing the same flames on the news.  We had weeks of intense aftershocks.  Following, were months of what we referred to as "baby-shocks" which meant they measured less than 3.0 on the rictor scale.

Article about today's earthquake [AOL-only link]

Dr. Update

I just remembered why I am so turned off by this whole thing.  I spoke with the Doctor/Surgeon this morning.  She said, "You may not believe this but I still have a post-it on my phone with your name and number from last year.  You wanted to do something holistic about it right?  I knew you'd get around to calling me."  Although she appears friendly, very upbeat and lively, she's really cocky.  She was the one who scheduled the former MRI and CT Scan.  But today she said, "If the lump is still there, we don't have to do the tests.  We know what it is. [insert speedy-spoken technical medical jargon here] If it goes untreated for a long time it can turn into cancer."

Somewhere in the technical talk I heard the words "one centimeter" so I asked her how she knew the size of it.  That lead to faster-medical-talk.  Last year she said I needed an MRI and CT Scan so they could see details like size, location, growth, matter, etc.  I practically begged for these tests this morning, saying I wanted to know where, what, how... all the stuff she tried to convince me of before.  She said, "Well we know it's there.  Do you want to make an appointment with me so I can feel it and tell you it's still there?"

This is what my mind said:  NO I never want to see or speak with you again.  I want an MRI and CT Scan.  And I want my insurance company to cover the homeopathic medicine that will cure me!

This is what my mouth said:  OK

After all that, I'm right back where I started.  I have a scheduled appointment on January 6th.  See?  THIS is why I need someone with me.

Teeny-Tiny Tree

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I haven't been in the holiday spirit this year as I have in past years.  Not sure what that's about.  I love this season.  I love the lights, the festivities, the spirit, the magic.  I love giving gifts - almost as much as I love receiving them.

I don't want to believe my lack of spirit has to do with finances.  I've gone through many holidays without the worry of gift buying.  But I do miss being able to shop freely. I haven't allowed myself to browse my favorite online shop-stops; Amazon, Half, Ebay.  I've avoided all my favorite shopping meccas; 3rd Street Promenade, Target, even the Venice Boardwalk. I've stayed out of every single store this year, with one exception:  Trader Joe's.  How can I overspend there?  It's food!

Well yesterday, at the entrance, were hundreds of these tiny Christmas Trees - all screaming my name, sucking me in with their rich aroma and their "please-save-me-I'm-dying." 

Without touching one, I sneaked a peak at the tag [looking for an outrageous price I just had to pass up].  No such luck.  What I found instead was a "name" and "bio" [quick flashback to the Cabbage Patch Kids craze].  Below the "bio" (which later turned out to be "care instructions") was an incredibly reasonable price!  OH NO!  You poor thing.  You're coming home with ME!

As I put "Stoney" (short for Italian Stone Pine) in his basket I heard feminine cries from across the way, "What about me?"  Her scent was enticing but her adoption rate was just a little out of my price range.  I was already spending $4 more than expected.  How could I justify another $8 for Rosemary?  Besides, she was fresh and young and good to go for years to come.  She'll have no problem finding a nice family, perhaps even a chef, to give her a good home.

So far, Stoney and I are enjoying our lives together.  I'm grateful for his presence in my life and he seems to be enjoying his new home.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Friday's Gig

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I don't know why I get myself all worked up over a little gig!  I practically grew up on stage and I get jittery every single time!   I don't remember getting this jittery as a kid.

Friday night was exhilarating.  An intimate, beautiful, supportive group of friends - old and new. 

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Thank you Mara; for coming all the way to Hollywood, for bringing friends and for being so willing to take [many] pictures!  You're a great friend!

Thank you SloMo; for getting all "gussied up," make-up, hair and all, for hanging out with me "backstage" before I left, and for reminding me of everything I needed to bring...right down to the water bottle. Love you!

Thank you all who left comments, sent emails, ecards and IMs [Babyshark, you're a sweetheart!  Gregg, I cried!]

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These photos remind me that I tend to keep my eyes closed. [bad habit]  16 pics - no open eyes.  My fault!  Working on it. Playing/singing is meditative for me.  I get distracted with open eyes so I go within to draw upon my experiences and feelings to express them in the song.

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Closing Song/Chant Dedication:
YoHo's cat, Gracie "Schmoo" - hit by a car just before her very first xmas.
Frank of On Whining Well
Mary, her family, the loss of their home and 2 beloved cats.

Late Again!

I actually did this week's Friday Five on Friday.  I thought it would calm my nerves a bit, before my gig.  As it turns out, I was so jittery, I forgot to post it!  Found it still sitting in this untitled notepad document.

1. List your five favorite beverages.
water, yerba mate tea w/vanilla rice dream, coffee w/vanilla non-dairy, vodka martini, fruit smoothies.

2. List your five favorite websites.
Google, ebay, half.com, amazon, TrishMonaco [you know I had to!]

3. List your five favorite snack foods.
Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate, chips, [I guess anything with the words chocolate, chip or cookies in it!]

4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.
Boggle, Pictionary, Cranium, Chess, Poker

5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (all), The Sims, Super Mario Brothers (all), Tetris, Dr. Mario

Headed to bed.  Gig update soon to follow.  Thanks to all for your comments of support.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Me, nervous?

ACK!  I woke up anxious this morning.  I haven't felt nervous all week, but with so many friends asking if I'm nervous, I think it's sinking in.  HA!  EEK!

I don't usually get nervous like I used to.  I get excited, my palms sweat and I get short of breath.  But I think I need that rush of adrenaline to play off of.  Singing and playing my own music is much different from acting in a play or a musical.  That stuff was written and directed by other people.  Tonight's "show" was written and directed by me...only me.  There's no one else to be accountable.  No band members even.  I have to create all that energy myself.  Maybe play off the audience/friends.  But still I have to contain it.  Yikes!

Years ago, I used to go to poetry circles.  It was a wonderful way to share music, thoughts, ideas, etc.  It's helped me understand the value in sharing.  So today when I get on stage, I imagine I'm sitting with peers, sharing.  If I think I'm "putting on a show" it'll look and feel contrived.  That's not who I am.  And it's not who I want to be.

Secret : I always get the feeling I need to rush through my set so everyone can get on with the things in their lives that they'd rather be doing.  As if they're all held captive in the audience.  Even though I hear laughing, clapping, crying even.  I can see smiles, tears and all eyes on me.  But still I wonder if everyone is bored!  I have friends who would call out names of songs they wanted to hear.  And I've denied them the pleasure because I thought they were just naming them out of support - not because they actually wanted to hear them!  [even songs that are on my Teaser CD]

Going to Jillian's and Jason's gigs this month really gave me a sense of what it's like to be in the audience, supporting a friend.  There's nothing they can do that would change my respect for them.  There's nothing like a live show!  Jillian broke a string and rolled her eyes about it.  Jason's a goofball and ad-libs a lot.  That reminded me that I often break out into laughter when I forget lyrics in the middle of a song.  You can't get that stuff on an album!

Doctor Appt. Update

I'm about to cry!  I just got a call from the ENT's office.  They canceled my appointment!  Do they have *any* idea what it took for me to make that appointment?  Do they know what I've been doing to gear up for Tuesday?  ::heavy sigh::

They want to reschedule for JANUARY 9th.  There's no telling what kind of state of mind I'll be in by then.  It's very likely I could skip out on it.  I know me!  So I begged for an earlier appointment.  It's not my fault Dr. E. will be in surgery all day Tuesday.  They shoulda thought about that when they messed with MY schedule!

I talked to Dr. E's personal nurse and asked if I could just schedule the MRI and CT Scan since I skipped out on that over a year ago.  She said, "I don't have your records here.  Why don't you tell me what the situation is."  I told her about the tumor and how I got scared and canceled the scheduled MRI and CT Scan.  She sighed an "Oh God!"

So she's going to see if we can just schedule the tests without having to visit Dr. E. first.  I have to call her on Monday.  Otherwise, my appointment won't be any sooner than January! 

She could've squeezed me in on Monday but I know Cheryl can't make it then [and I really need the support!]  Anyone wanna fly out here to come with me?

Has anyone had an MRI or CT Scan?  What can you tell me about them?  If you have information that will ease my mind about these procedures, please let me know.  All I've heard is it's a long process.  I have to be completely still.  It's claustrophobic and uncomfortable.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Venice Beach

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Brrrr : Perfect day for SloMo's Texas Turkey Chili.

 

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Heart and Home : On a nice day, Abraham and Diane have their art displayed in front of their trailers.  There they can be found playing music, painting and spreading the love.

 

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Venice Boardwalk : A few blocks down the boardwalk is the Sidewalk Cafe, where this webcam sits.  The view is updated "every few seconds."  There's a link to a Venice website.  Get to know my neighborhood!

A mile north is this Santa Monica Pier webcam.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

extra-extra crispy

[Don't you love it when someone begins an entire conversation as if she's picking up where she left off...] 

So, I ordered my lunch from my favorite place. [yum] They know I like my burrito "extra crispy" so they usually leave it on the grille till I arrive.  I thought I'd get two things done at once by popping into the bank across the parking lot to make a deposit.  There was a bit of a line and I didn't need to speak to a teller so I circled the building looking for the ATM.  Huh? No ATM?

It was only a few minutes till I was next in line for a teller.  The customer ahead of me, nice-as-can-be older woman, cashed a hundred-dollar check, and at the last moment decided to put fifty of it into her account.  Transaction complete, she began to leave but made another quick-decision and asked to change her fifty-dollar bill into two 20s and a 10.

Usually at this point I'd be huffing and shifting my weight, rolling my eyes and grunting [I have this really bad habit of talking to myself - full-on conversations]  But this time, all of the sudden, I burst out in laughter!  I couldn't help it.  There I was, laughing and commenting...

Next she wanted twenty dollars in singles. ["Of course! Hahaaa..."]  When she saw that the singles were "crisp and new" she wanted another twenty ["Why not? Heheee..."]  Throwing caution to the wind, she put up her final ten dollar bill for trade. ["Bahahaaa"]  The line was starting to circle the ropes behind me.  I'm sure I distracted everyone from the frustration because all eyes were on me as I was falling over, slapping my knees in laughter.

The customer next to her was replacing his ATM card, talking to managers and signing papers.  He finished before her!  When I walked up to that teller, he was laughing [I think at me] and I said, "I just want to make a deposit."  He said, "Don't forget, you can always use the ATM."  ::thud::  Apparently I only circled nine-tenths of the building!

Needless to say, my burrito is extra-extra crispy!

good sign!

Shhhh... I don't wanna ruin anything but ... I'm checking in to say I'm not posting much because I'm writing this "other thing" and so far, there are only good signs.  Went to bed with this "other thing" in my head and woke up with it still there.  Drove around, listened to other "other things."  I even played other "other things."  And still, as I sit here typing, the original "other thing" is lingering.  GOOD SIGN!  ... Shhhh - don't jinx it.  Just checking in ... back to my "other thing."

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

don't miss out

If you haven't been reading the comments in my journal then you're missing half the fun!  I mean it.  Today, Andrea decided to post an entire entry in comments here.  I've offered her an empty sock-drawer, as I'm not ready to commit!  We'll see how it goes.  I'm also noticing some are commenting on commentaries!  Great stuff!

Besides fun, you might have missed this important piece of information regarding my health.  I made an appointment with my ENT Doctor today.  I'll see her next Tuesday morning.  I will not be going alone!  My lovely wife*, Cheryl will be there as my speaker, since I will undoubtedly be so far outside of my body in sheer terror that I won't remember a thing!

* wife = best friend through eternity!  Also the only person on the planet allowed to scream at me for not calling the doctor sooner.

Jason Luckett

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Showtime was scheduled for 8:30pm.  Genghis is notorious for being on schedule.  The clock read 8:27pm as I left my apartment and headed up Venice Blvd. toward Fairfax Avenue [the slowest route into Hollywood]  It was almost 9pm when I finally decided to stop circling the block and create my own spot in the parking lot.  I shed a beam of white light around the Mighty-Mighty Escort and rushed to the door!

I asked the cutie-doorman if Jason was on.  To my surprise (and the doorman's) he was "just about to start."  We had a moment to talk.  I asked if he'd be there Friday because I'll be playing.  He knew who I was!  Trip out!  He had just received my website information.

Genghis Cohen serves upscale Mongolian/Chinese food.  A full bar separates the performance room and the restaurant.  The dark room is set up like a church - one aisle down the middle, facing the stage [altar] with benches [pews] on either side. Terry, the soundman [God] is heard but not seen!  I never know if I should kneel or sit, so I just fidget.  And, just like church, the last one there is stuck with the front row!  Yep, that was me!

[continued below]

Jason Luckett [continued]

[continued from above]

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Jason's a firecracker on stage. I've seen him laugh through an entire set!  Saturday he was talking of being a little mellow.  That only kept him from flying through the ceiling.  He still came into the audience, bounced up and down, and joked about being a rockstar, swinging his arm in a wide circle when he played power chords.  He made us laugh and cry.  And really, I was choking on my tears through the title song of his soon-to-be-released album.

He plays these groovy, jazzy chords with ease - smooth and flawless.  And his voice!  He's got the power and the breath to back it up!  He throws in a bunch of ad-libs, as if he's writing a song on the spot.  Reminds me of sitting in poetry circles with him years ago - an intimate performance.  It's like he's sharing his life with us.  And like Jillian Speer, he performs barefoot - as if planting himself in the earth's soil.  Good man!  [tried to get a better angle of his feet, but I didn't want to "distract" his crazy groupie behind me]

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Mid-show he remembered to promote his CDs, website and mailing list.  Nothing went unsaid or missed.  [I can learn from him]  He even introduced me and announced my gig date.  What a pal.

Because MP3.com is no longer available, I wasn't able to find his #1 song, Miracle, online but you can read lyrics and hear clips on his website.  He's even got a journal.
Visit his website: JasonLuckett.com
click to listen:  STIR IT UP
click to listen:  LOVESJOY

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Communication

I know a teeny-tiny bit about astrology.  I can tell you that my Sun is in Gemini and my Rising sign is Virgo.  Both are ruled by Mercury, the planet of Communication.  Hellooooo!  Makes sense right?  I love to write. I love to chat. I love to listen. I love language, words, communication [I believe AOL's character limits were created with me in mind]

Usually when I hear a word, I can store it in my memory bank for future use.  But don't expect me to know how to spell echinacea without looking at the bottle on my desk.  It wasn't until this world of written communication that I learned the difference between chow and ciao.  This being one of my main sources of communication, it's recently occurred to me that I can now comfortably and confidently spell certain words - but I'm left without a clue as to their pronunciation.

I know who Mia is - AimS, Stephen's mom, but every time I see her new screen name [miarenee24] I read it as Marianne [my cousin - who never visits my journal]  Even so, it doesn't register in my brain till I'm half way through the comment.

SloMo talks of Hel.  At first my mind said Hell, then I wondered - there's no double-L, is it pronounced Heal?  Or is the H silent as in El?  Is the E long as in Eel?  All this time, and I've never asked.  Thank God we don't talk on the phone!

Today I read Karyn's entry with Euchre in it.  I've seen this game but I've never played it [probably because I can't pronounce it] Clueless!

How about the essential oils ylang ylang and jojoba!  I use jojoba daily, now that I know how to pronounce it!  I still refuse to buy ylang ylang - don't know how to ask for it.

Some things are a blessing online!  Thanks to the young vernacular, the pronunciation of sayings like fo shizzle and manizzle are pretty easy to decipher.  My dilemma here is completely the opposite - it's their definition that leaves me flabbergasted.

Uh-Oh

I woke up with a sore back...as if I had done some heavy lifting recently.  And I assure you, I haven't.  Aside from my guitar [and possibly my Doc Martin's] everything I carry could be weighed in ounces.  If I had done the piles of laundry waiting for me, I might think that was the culprit.  But nope, it's still sitting there, waiting for me [sorry Reza].  Hmm...I did load the dishwasher last night.  But that hardly counts as back-breaking work.

I wondered if I might be coming down with a cold because sometimes my back/lungs swell with pressure before I start hacking and coughing.  Here I am, four hours after waking, and my back and chest are now sore.  My breath is slightly constricted - a full inhale is almost impossible.  I'm trying to avoid it, but I keep clearing my throat and it makes me cough.  And here comes the headache. Ugh!  A sore throat too?!

I've just loaded up on my pre-flu meds/herbs/homeopathics.  And, just in case, I still have a whole bottle of sealed Ny-Quil from my last sick-scare [didn't end up needing it]

I had a feeling the other day when I woke up fatigued that it wasn't all emotional.  I did have a slight fever but it lifted by the end of the day [yay, echinacea].  Let's pray that this is as bad as it gets.  No sickies for me please!  Noooooo!  [thank you]

Affirmation:  I am well.

Pound / Pledge #2

In honor of SloMo's 2nd lost pound, I have offered to wake up to the alarm clock tomorrow [Sunday!] morning and open the yoga studio for Cheryl.  She mentioned she hasn't been getting restful sleep and she has to teach a class plus the intro course tomorrow.  That's four hours of teaching.  Since she doesn't start teaching till 11 AM,  I can prepare the studio for the 9 AM class and she can sleep in.

If you know me at all, then you know how important my morning sleep is.  And you know I rarely set my alarm!  So this is definitely a charitable donation for a good cause!

...especially now that it's after 2 AM!

A Few Things

Had a beautiful night with my Pirate Sisters last night. They all gushed over the website [way to go SloMo!]  Thank Goddess for my girls.  It doesn't matter what kind of mood I'm in, with them I get to be who I am in all moments.  Everyone should be so blessed!  Thank you my loves - you are the family I dreamed of.  I am who I am today because of your reflection.

I didn't get to sleep until 4 AM so I slept pretty late.  The afternoon hours flew by and I didn't get any house work done.  Dangit - and still lingering on laundry!

I've been noticing a lot more pain in my ear lately.  Not only is it uncomfortable, but it's a little scary.  I will call the hospital this week to make an appointment.  [sudden fear rushes through my body as I finish typing that - ACK!]

I went to see my friend Jason Luckett perform tonight.  It's been a month of great live music around here!  He played at Genghis Cohen - my favorite venue in Los Angeles.  [I'll be playing there Friday night]  He's not only a great musician, he's beautiful to watch.  More about that when I get the pictures developed.  I didn't take too many though.  Someone behind me put on a big smile and asked if I was his photographer.  When I said I was just a friend she shifted gears and asked how many more I was planning on taking because the flash was distracting her. [from what??]  Thought about taking multiple pictures and breaking into a whole new roll just to piss her off ... then I remembered, "Good deeds... random acts of kindness... season's greetings."  I chose my shots carefully.

Ah-Ha on Writing

I've been listening to such great music lately.  I go through extreme phases where I just can't get enough of a certain artist or song or style of music.  To the point where it haunts me in my sleep.  [I've written a few songs in my sleep/dreams]  Then I go through phases where music bores me or grates on my nerves, making me anxious.  These phases can last for weeks, sometimes months.  When I'm done with a "round" of music-listening, I find silence to be most comforting.

I had an epiphany last night that because I'm so moved by the music I love today, I find it impossible to write my own music.  These artists are saying it all, better than I can in this moment.  I'm bored with my own music.  Since I now understand that I go through these phases, I have to surrender to the process.  I may be bored right now but this is the honing process.  I have to trust that.  I can't think about writing a good song.  It just has to happen.  So, just in case, I've been sitting around with my guitar in hand for the past few days.  Before I had a computer, I wrote all my songs in longhand.  So I have notebooks all over the apartment, open and ready for that moment of inspiration. 

Another thing I thought of [and this makes sense to me] is that I've been writing a lot lately.  My creative writing has been taking a different form - being spilled all over this journal, in emails, in comments, even in my website and instant messages.  Not to mention my personal journaling.  One can only write so much!

It's all good!  Something's happening inside.  I trust.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Friday Night

So, as it turns out, I'm not crazy.  And I'm not manic - a little dramatic, maybe - but not manic.  I'm just human! ::sigh::  I've said it before, and I will probably always come back to this place:  Gotta ride the waves.  There are great lessons in those low lows.  I was on the floor last night, begging Spirit to show me truth, the way, the light.  When I really needed to be right where I was. I  knew it, even as I was in it. Not saying I liked it.  Definitely not saying it was comfortable.  But I knew I was okay.  I am okay.  That's a constant.

Woke up exhausted this morning.  Flat-out fatigued.  Canceled my day and spent most of the time horizontal, falling in and out of sleep.  Here it is, evening, and I feel like I haven't slept in weeks.  I have to go to a triple-birthday celebration tonight.  I am really looking forward to seeing all my friends.  But it's taking every bit of energy just to sit up right now.  I'm loading up on water, Emergen-C and the most potent Echinacea tincture on the planet [made with grain alcohol, garlic and cayenne pepper - if I didn't have a fever before, I certainly do now!]

:::post shower:::  Sudden burst of energy ... must act now ... headed out the door.  Gotta rush a bit - hitching a ride with Cheryl [one of the birthday gals!]  Have a good night all.  Peace and Laughter in the heart  ::sigh::

"If you wanna know how deeply my soul goes...deeper than bone"
"I wanna take a hit of your scent cause it dips so deep into my soul."
~ Alana Davis

Thursday, December 11, 2003

... and Lows

Well, it didn't take long for me to come back down from my high.  I know I must sound manic.  But I feel like I live life from this empty, dark place more than I ever feel good.  I want these moods to change places.  I realize I must experience both highs and lows.  But I want the majority of my life to be experienced from a high and maybe give the lows an hour here and there... rather than the other way around.

I was surprised by how wonderful I was feeling earlier.  It was grounding.  It was from the inside-out.  It was authentic.  I really know that.  But I can't find that place in this moment.  I'm stuck in despair.  I'm writhing in tears.  Discomfort.  Lethargy.  Apathy. 

Dear God, Please help me remember who I am.  Help me remember you.  Show me my next breath.  Show me truth.  Help me accept things as they are, with love and compassion.  Hold me when I'm in this forgetting.  Carry me.  Help me stay present.  Don't let me disappear into myself.

Highs ...

I feel in-love!  And I love this feeling of in-love-ness! 

I rummaged through the kitchen and found the perfect plasticware to pack up SloMo's chili.  Thought I was gonna have to buy bowls, spoons, etc. when I remembered I had a whole stash left over from my birthday gathering last May!  Score!

It's a strange-weather day.  Bright in some parts of the city.  Dark and gloomy in others.  I went to Venice Beach [my backyard, my home, my heart]  where the sight was humbling.  The winds were so strong the sand was kicking up onto the boardwalk.  Some of the homeless men were bundled up against a cement wall, facing away from the beach.  I asked one of them if he wanted some chili and he smiled and kindly declined [Flashbacks of Thanksgiving a few years ago!]  His friend kindly accepted, "Just a small bowl please."  We exchanged greetings and salutations as I poured his bowl.  I packed up and headed down the boardwalk, looking for my friend Abraham.  I ran into my former landlord who pointed me to Abraham's trailer.  On my way, someone approached, "Excuse me, may I have some soup?"  His friends sent him my way. [Yay!]  "Yes, of course!"  I was disappointed that the chili wasn't as hot as when I left earlier but he didn't mind, "Mmm, great day for chili.  Thank you very much."

I never found Abraham but I did see his friend Diane who gladly accepted the bag - even though she's a vegetarian.  She said she almost wanted to apologize for being vegetarian but we both laughed at the irony!  I told her I'd make it veggie next time!

I snapped a few photos of the leaning palm trees in the wind, waved goodbye to the woolen bundles and got in my car feeling so blessed to have warmth, food, shelter and love in my life.

Dear God, I thank you for this life, this body, this heart, this spirit.  Without you I do not exist.  Thank you for reminding me of the beauty in all beings, in all days, in all moments.  I am blessed.  I am grateful.

Pounds-Pledge #1

Wow - I seem to have a lot to say tonight!  I'm about to crash but before I do, I'm checking in with the status of my first Pounds for a Cause pledge.

I went to trusty Trader Joe's for the ingredients to SloMo's Texas Turkey Chili.  I innocently asked a friendly clerk, "Do you sell meat?  Like ground turkey?"  He chuckled and promptly guided me to a section of the store I had never noticed before.  He must have recognized the obvious confused look on my face because he asked me to repeat the item in question [in case he misheard me] - I said, "Is this what ground turkey usually looks like?"  He chuckled again.  But very kindly assured me it was indeed what I was looking for.  It suddenly occurred to me that I'd have to look at, smell and touch raw and cooking meat in my apartment.  I almost gagged right there next to all the remains of God's little creatures  ::frown::  But then I remembered I'm doing this for charity!

Strangely the only things they were sold out of were most of the ingredients to this chili.  The onions I wanted were sold out so I got Hawaiian Sweet Onions [my only choice].  Name a bean, any bean, other than pinto, and I assure you, they had them!  Name all the different ways you can serve tomatoes and I'll tell you Trader Joe's didn't have one can of diced!  I figured I'd get those two items elsewhere.  But at the register, I [of course] got to talking to the cashier and he said he was sure there were more that had just arrived, right off the truck.  So I got 'em!  I struck gold with the garlic powder.  One employee said they don't carry it.  I found it!  HA!  [yes, I had to buy all the spices, every last bit...I really don't cook!]

I forgot the cheese [grrr]  I saw later that it's in the recipe but not in the list of ingredients.  So I neglected to write it down.  Ah well.

A double-batch of SloMo's Texas Turkey Chili is sitting on the stove right now.  ::snapsnap::  Hear that?  It's the sound of me taking a picture of it with my new imaginary digital camera!  Oooh, Ahhhh, see that?  It's an imaginary picture of my neighbor's Thursday supper!

I'll keep you posted!

Listening Party

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I finally got my second Alana Davis CD today [Fortune Cookies].  Let the listening party continue!  I can't stop smiling, dancing and singing in my seat.  "Yeah y'do y'do y'do y'do y'do y'do y'do y'do y'make-a-me want you!  Yeah!  And I can't get enough [I-I-I-I-I] And I can't get enough [you-you-you-you-you]"  Not the greatest sample of her incredible lyrics but this song makes me move!  I also love her cover of How Many of Us Have 'em (Friends).

I had to mail some packages again this week!  I got a couple of great live CDs from Keith [the post office percussionist].  Remember he said he played with Jason Mraz?  Well, these CDs are the pre-signed Jason live in L.A.  ::sigh::  [more like ::SCREAM::]   One has a Jason-song I've never heard.  When I googled it, I found lyrics to a bunch of songs I haven't heard.  If I wasn't in love with him before, I certainly am now.  I love going to the post office these days!  HA! 

As much as I'd like to share my new collection, you may not borrow my CDs but you are welcome to come over anytime and jam to my faves with me!

Lip Sync Contest

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The stage, set for Pass the Peace - Lip Sync.  As I rummage through my pictures, I realize I didn't take any photos the night of the performance.  I also didn't take any of just the stage.  So I have to show you blurred and purposely visually challenging images [liability/privacy issues]  These are from dress/tech rehearsal.  It would have been insane trying to get pictures the night of the actual show.  My job was to run from back stage to the bungalow across the way, line them up to get on stage...one by one...all the while, keeping them silent.  Yeah right : "Am I on next?  Where's my headset?  I need a microphone!  I'm nervous!  What if I fall off the stage?"  [Again, ALL ME]

The only one who didn't seem nervous or concerned about anything, turned out to be the unanimous winner!  And she knew it!  At first, she was in a group with three others.  They split up because of "lack of commitment" issues. As she was paired with another, the two of them had a falling out the week of the show and split up.  This 5th grader arrived at dress rehearsal the night before the final performance and knocked us all off our feet/chairs/gravity!

If you ever get the chance to watch kids perform on stage, do it.  Even if you don't have kids.  These kids [mostly girls - two boys] put everything they have into their performances.  They are more present and more in-their-bodies than I ever was in elementary school.  Some of these ten year-olds have better moves than I do today [okay, that's not saying much] ... Let's say, perhaps better moves than Gregg does today!  Okay?  Okay!  ::snap::

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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Jillian Speer

Pirate Sister, Jillian Speer, on stage at the Temple Bar in Santa Monica! 

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She totally rocked the house from here to Zion with praises to spirit, angels, ancestors, the earth, the sky and ourselves.  The place was jam-packed - on a Tuesday night even!  It was so dark.  The only lights were on stage!  She had a long sound check due to an issue with [insert technical mumbo-jumbo here] for her guitarist. But it was well worth the wait.  There were a bunch of us there - front and center!  [Look out - Pirates in the house!]  Cheering, dancing and singing... and snapping photos, of course!  Her encore was a no-go because of time.  ::pout::  Even though the band before her dragged on and on and on - cutting into her time.  [Arrghhh!]  She did say she had a surprise for us...I'm pretty sure that wasn't it.

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Top Dog?

How do I know I'm Top Dog in my house?  Well, I don't.  But Hunny lets me think I am.  She has a favorite sleep-spot.  Nevermind that I have a cushy plush bed, blankets and pillows just for her.  Nope.  She'd much rather curl up or sprawl out on the cold hard tile floor next to the tub in the bathroom!  The only time she leaves this spot is when I enter to use the facilities.  It doesn't matter if she's four-paws-up-snoring, as soon as I take a seat, she flips rightside up and walks out with her tail between her legs.  "Hunny Hunny, come back, it's okay, you can stay."  I don't even get a glance over her shoulder as she's out the door.  Most of the time I'm done and out of there before she makes herself comfortable in her cushy bed.  A few moments later, she's right back on the bathroom floor.

It took me this long to figure out the language.  It's her way of respecting my territory while I'm in it.  It's like when I get out of bed for a moment and come back to find her nestled in my exact sleeping-spot.  I imagine if she could get comfortable right there inside the toilet, she would. 

Now, if only she would use the toilet!  But in dog-language I've marked that bathroom too much to ever expect her to pee in there.  Maybe if I start peeing on the carpet, she'll use the bathroom!

Wednesday's News

Woke up a little tired today.  Had a great time seeing Jillian perform.  She rocked the house.  I snapped half a roll of 35 mm film. The other half is from Saturday night's Lip Sync Contest.   We'll see if any are worth sharing.  That's the bummer about film - no instant gratification!

Dear Santa,
If nothing else, I would like a digital camera for Christmas.  If I can't get that, then a new notebook computer will suffice!  [hehehe]  Okay fine, I'll settle for peace and love in the heart, always.  ::sigh::

I got a thoughtful little personal note from my friend Grace this morning.  After reading my entry from yesterday she led me to this blog where, in part of today's entry she wrote about HOME.  Great stuff.  Right up my alley.  Take a moment to read and let it soak in.  Read some of her other entries too.  I like how she mixes heart and humor.  She's also got me linked over there.  Feels kinda nice - like someone from the big city recognizes this little [former] hick-country-girl.

I have a feeling SloMo's gonna be down a pound today with all the blood, sweat and tears she's put into making me a Rock Star lately.  [okay, the tears are mine - of deep gratitude]  In a state of delusion, for her first pound I pledged to make her Texas Turkey Chili for my homeless neighbors.  Not that I don't want to do it - It's just that I'm such not-a-good-cook that I have this vision of them saying, "Uhh, you made this? No thanks."  [Don't laugh.  It's happened before.  Of course, it was Thanksgiving - and they'd all just come from the Shelter where they were fed a full turkey dinner.  This time I'll do it on a non-holiday]

Coming Up :

Pass the Peace - Lip Sync Update

Last night's Jillian Speer Concert at the Temple Bar

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Tuesday Blues

::sigh::  Tuesday already   [right?  It's Tuesday isn't it?]

I'm going to see my friend Jillian Speer play tonight.  You might remember her song, Angel Among Us, from the previous post.  If there's one [other] CD you all must have, it's hers.  Run, don't walk, to her website right now and order it!  I assure you, you will not be disappointed!

Feeling a well of emotions today.  With the launching of my website and then the news of Frank's passing and then wrapping up the Lip Sync show - all on the same day - I just haven't been able to really take it all in.  My sleep is active and restless.  Dreams are out-the-door-off-the-scale-bizarre!

I'm afraid to slow down because I think I might lose it.  Ahh, what does that mean anyway?  Lose it?  I'm sure it would do me some good to whale my guts out for a while.  I can't seem to concentrate on one thing at a time yet I can't concentrate on anything.

[there I go again, just staring off into space...]

Everything is okay, actually.  I don't know what my problem is - I never really do.  But I can't seem to write a song to save my life.  Not that I ever could - my career maybe - not my life!  ::sigh::  But again, what's that about?  I'm motivated and inspired all over the place but I can't seem to put lyrics on a page.  Yeah yeah, trust, I know!  It's all part of the process.  Lyrics will make themselves known when they're ready to be heard.  Blah blah blah

Gotta shake this off ... picking up the guitar...

Monday, December 8, 2003

Angel Among Us

click to play ANGEL AMONG US

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To Frank,
I pray for your Spirit's safe return Home.
I thank you for your laughter, your friendship
and the many lessons I learned through knowing you.
You are missed - but not forgotten.
You were - and still are - loved.

To Frank's Family and Friends,
I am sorry for your loss.
There are no words.
You are loved.

To all my grieving friends in the AOL-Journal Community,
I am sorry for your loss.  I grieve with you.
You are Love
You are Loved
You are Beloved

Saturday, December 6, 2003

Project #2

SloMo gives birth...

...to the ROCKINEST Website on the 'net!   [So you see, she *was* pregnant ::wink::] 

When I first met SloMo [you know, here in AOL-J Land] I was in awe of her talent.  She's brilliant.  She's not afraid to take risks and cut loose.  Her enthusiasm is contagious.  She's been one of my biggest inspirations lately.

I spent weeks contemplating asking for something - thinking I might be imposing on her creative schedule.  I finally mustered up the courage - all I asked for was a CD cover.  But she saw something more.

Her dedication to her vision is awe-inspiring - and this is truly her vision.  As she says, she paints what she sees.  I just showed up with pieces of who I am and she put it all together.  Now even I understand myself a little better.  She's the best boss anyone could ever ask for [even though I hired her

We all know I'm a self-proclaimed Livingroom Superstar.  And now SloMo has made me YOUR Livingroom Superstar!

Now that I've been outed, be sure to visit me at trishmonaco.com created by Slowmotion Designs and see for yourself why SloMo ROCKS ASS!!!

SloMo - I love you as much as you love me!  Thank you for all that you are...an incredible talent, a beautiful person and a wonderful friend.

Friday, December 5, 2003

Pass the Peace

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I have been inhaling permanent marker for over an hour now.  These pics make all the work seem futile.  The posterboard is MUCH larger than it appears!  This is the sign that will hang above the stage.

I don't know what happened but all of the sudden it's December 5th, Thanksgiving was over a week ago, my laundry is *still* piling up, I walked one of my clients [dog] more than I got paid for because I've been so busy I lost count.  And, as I sit here chowing on a burrito from my favorite place, I'm realizing, I've eaten meat [yes, meat] almost every day since Thanksgiving!
Let's see...
Thanksgiving Day - Turkey
Friday after Thanksgiving - Chicken - Cheryl bought fresh grilled chicken for her dog (we had veggie burritos) and this was me:  One for Opie.  One for ME.  One for Opie. Two for ME.  One for Opie. One for ME. One for ME. One for ME.
Saturday - Small bite of friend's left-over turkey
Sunday - Burger ::gasp::
Monday - NO MEAT
Tuesday - Burger AGAIN!  Made up for Monday!
Wednesday - NO MEAT - you know what that means!
Thursday - Chicken
Today - Chicken
I haven't eaten chicken in about a year.  I'm sure I'm making up for lost time!

Wait-a-minute!  ::epiphany::   I know what my problem is!  I ran out of chocolate chip cookies and I still haven't had 'Umpkin Pie!  Everything's outta whack!

Ah well - apparently I've needed protein-energy for my projects!

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Busy Me!

I feel like I've been out of the loop for a bit.  I've been so busy with projects lately that I haven't even had time to check comments in my own journal.  I've popped in to say hi to a few of  you but I'm way behind on my rounds.  Ah well, I'm sure we all understand.  Here's what's been going on.

PROJECT #1

Annual Elementary School Lip Sync Contest
The theme:  Pass the Peace
The song:  Where is the Love - by Black Eyed Peas (featuring Justin Timberlake)

MP3.com is apparently down so the audio file I was going to link is not working.  The video files link back to the Peas' website  [smarties]  So, if you don't know this great song, go to the Black Eyed Peas official website and click on audio/videoWhere's The Love is the last track on Elephunk - their latest CD.  It's worth a listen!

Please note : Lyrics are linked above - not posted - due to 2500 character limit!  Keep this in mind as you read on [think : song-length]

[continued below]

Project #1

[continued from above]

This week has been filled with rehearsals, stage prep, begging for volunteers, prop-making, etc.  This is my third year co-producing.  And each year it seems to get bigger and better.  Every year I think, wow, wouldn't it be great if we could do a big group number at the end to tie it all up?  And this year, when I spoke it out loud, Wendy [the originator and co-producer] jumped on the idea with more enthusiasm than me!  Within seconds we had our vision.

I have to say - two months ago, when it was just the two of us talking about this over a hot cup of tea, it sounded A LOT easier than it really is!  Have you ever tried to work with 30 kids on a stage all at the same time? [me neither]  

So, no thanks to me, we've had three times as many rehearsals this year and they run about three times as long.  HA!   Not only are they "lip-synching" but they're learning some major blocking that Wendy sprung on us last night.  HAHA!  Three hours of, "Can we have a break?" and "My feet hurt." and "Can I call my mom?"  And that was just ME!  You shoulda heard the kids! 

I'm not much of a choreographer so I'm the lyrics-person.  We've split the kids into small groups so each only has to remember about 4 lines of the rap - plus the chorus.  They all look at my face when they want to remember their lyrics. [You understand that means I need to know this entire song.  Printed on paper, it takes up two whole pages.]  They sing the chorus louder when I raise my arms.  They paste smiles across their faces when I draw a big U in the air.  At the same time, they're listening to Wendy and her "5-6-ready-go's!"   

It's really cute and I'll admit, it is fun... but it *is* a pain in the ask-me-later when it's all over! 

The show is Saturday night.  It's a contest so we've got "celebrity judges" ready to break their hearts!  That's always the hardest part.  But this year we have great participation awards for all of them.  And I think the group number helps with the camaraderie.  I'll let you know how it goes! 

More about PROJECT #2 tomorrow [I can hardly wait]

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Music that Moves Me

Following suit.  Recently SloMo posted an entry about music that moves her.  I believe the exact term was, "Sexiest Voice in the Universe."  She has inspired me [yet again] to finally post music that moves me - today - in this moment.

Aside from Jason Mraz, there are two other musical artists I can't seem to get enough of.

As you probably know, Alana Davis has been on heavy rotation in my CD player for weeks.  And I only have one of her CDs - Blame It On Me.  I'm soon to have another - Fortune Cookies - so don't expect the listening party to end anytime in the near future. There are some audio clips here.  Even though my favorite songs are nowhere to be found via streaming audio, these clips are worth a listen.  If you like these, you'll love the rest!

The other artist I'm ga-ga over is the late Eva Cassidy.  Her most recent recordings had provided her the opportunity to quit her day job at age 33 when cancer took her life in 1996.  Her angelic vocals bring me to tears of gratitude.  The following are clips of some of my favorite tracks.  Unfortunately, they are only clips and very much a tease!  Once you hear them you will want more.  I guarantee it.

Fields Of Gold
Imagine
Over the Rainbow

UPDATE: Listen to sample tracks of ALANA DAVIS at Amazon.com

MRAZ SPAZ

[I can't believe I forgot to post this.]

Last Wednesday I put up the "be right back" sign on the yoga studio door and literally ran to the Post Office to send a package - with two minutes to spare before closing time!

This beautiful man with dreadlocks standing behind the counter, waved me over to him  ::sigh::  I had to fill out some paperwork for the package so we got to talking.  He said something about being an EXTRA (ha!) in Charlie's Angels Full Throttle because they were looking for a "Rasta-type who played bongos!"  ::perk::  I didn't waste any time (the P.O. was closing afterall)  "You play percussion?"  He listed all the great instruments he plays that happen to be on my list of wanna-haves on my CD.  I was feeling lucky, "Do you have samples?  I'm recording and would love..."  He cut me off with even more excitement. 

Long story short:  He's going to send me samples and he's interested in possibly playing on my CD.  The enthusiasm was contagious.  I wanted to shake his musical hands but we settled for touching fingers under the 1/4-inch opening in the protective plexiglas.

Yeah, pretty exciting - at the Post Office nonetheless.  But that's just the beginning.  He then asked, "Have you heard of Jason Mraz?"  ::THUD::  <~~the sound of FreeePeace fainting on the P.O. floor!  I knew what he was going to say, "I played with him a lot before he was signed."   They still hang out together when Jason's in town.  OK, I'm not one to be starstruck [truly] but there's something about Jason Mraz.  I just think he's a lyrical genius with a genuine spirit. 

But wait!  There's more!  Keith [the percussionist] gave me his information and the name of a website that is somehow connected to him - and to Jason Mraz. [not sure of the connection, I was a bit smitten]  But, I do remember realizing I know this guy's didgeridoo player! [small world!]

We talked till well-after closing time.  I got locked in so he had to come out from behind the protective walls to unlock the front doors for me.  It gave us both an opportunity to actually shake hands.

I practically skipped back to the studio.  I love how life is sometimes.

Creativity ROCKS!

I'm so glad I posted before I left for my recording session.  I got there at 8PM.  MusicMan had a friend there.  They were talking shop [you know, gadgets, horns and whistles ::yawn::]  I still had no idea what I was going to record so he suggested I just pick up the guitar and warm up. 

His friend was fiddling with a bass guitar.  He complimented me on my strumming style.  Nice to hear, considering I really don't know what I'm doing.  He thought I was kidding until he asked me to play an A so he could tune his bass to my guitar.  "Which string is that?"  They both dropped their jaws.  MusicMan refused to believe I was serious.  He rolled his eyes and waved me off.  OK, but his friend still had to show me the A string.  We jammed for a bit. Fun. Inspiring.

I was surprised by the song that wanted desperately to be heard.  It's one of my throw-aways.  It's about six years old and I've played it maybe twice on stage.  It's a rocking, high-energy powerhouse.  At best, I can sing it three times in a row before I go completely hoarse [and blow everyone's eardrums - including my own, with headphones on!]

His friend left and we began recording at 9PM.  After one run-thru for the levels, we did a full recording.  I thought for sure that was a done deal.  I even told MusicMan he couldn't get a better take from me tonight.  We listened to it a couple of times.  I was satisfied.  Great.  Thought I was done.  Suddenly my heart dropped as I realized the very first lyrics I sang were wrong.  Well, what did I expect?  I hadn't played this song in...years.  I almost bailed.  I didn't want to do another take.  I don't even think he did.  But he stood up and placed the headphones on my head, turned the volume up and said, "You can't hear yourself.  Do another take."

I don't know what happened but something clicked and I was ON.  Not only was it a better take, it was the best performance ever!  HA!  Go figure.  The playback filled the whole studio - sent chills down my spine and brought tears to my eyes.  I was/am stunned by how much I really like the song.  I'm afraid it just might be a hit.  HA HA!  Creativity ROCKS!

Monday, December 1, 2003

Music Monday

I called MusicMan to check in about his wife's surgery.  Apparently all went as expected.  From what I understand she's enduring radiation treatments and continues to go in for test after test. I'll know more later tonight because he's ready to get his mind off this issue for a couple of hours and he's asked me to come record again.

This really feels like a birthing process.  We're headed into the second trimester - and this is where I begin to panic.  I need to choose the best songs for this project.  How do I know which ones are the best?  I have visions of finishing the final cut and suddenly slapping myself upside the head, completely forgetting to record my favorite song.  It could happen!  And of course there's that crippling fear that I'll write my best song yet, the day after I've wrapped this up!  But I guess that's just the way creativity goes.  It's never complete.  We just have 'recordings' of moments in time.

I'm such a perfectionist that it keeps me from completing projects.  If I don't think they'll be perfect, then I try to save myself the embarrassment.  I don't put my full self forward.  I hide.  But that's just cheating myself.  And that's not who I want to be anymore.

I've had the majority of these songs ready for production for about eight years.  I've had the album title since before I had enough songs written to play a full set on stage.  I've had the CD cover idea and favorite musicians in mind.  And now that I'm finally in a place where I'm actually recording a full-length CD, most of that has been blown to bits!

I've never doubted the album title - until now.  Not because I don't like the title.  But because of who I am today.  Like a relationship, we've outgrown each other.  It was the perfect title for eight years.  So here I am, recording what really should be my second or third CD, trying to incorporate as much of the original material as possible but really wanting to represent who I am as an artist today.

Ah well.  I'm thinking way too much.  So far I've been able to walk into the studio with a clear mind, ready to record whatever wants to come through.  That's as organic as it gets.  That's all I can ask for.  That's what I want.