Monday, September 29, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Sep 29) -- Cheryl Crowe

I love Cheryl Crowe's album C'mon, C'mon. It has some really great songs and it's got great energy. It's good music for a sunny day, driving with the windows down (or the top down if you've got that kind of car). I know the DH will laugh because I hate having all the windows down. It's a problem because my hair gets in my face and I can't see. It's a bigger problem if I'm driving than if I'm a passenger in the car.

There's a great video of my favorite song on the album on YouTube that's not setup to be able to embed. The same song is below, without the cool video. This song just makes me want to drive fast (as apposed to all those other times when I'm not at all interested in driving fast -- ha ha!).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Symphony of a Thousand

Last night, the DH and I enjoyed an evening at the symphony care of Ken. We love Ken and he's a great friend. He also loves Mahler. So for the DH's birthday (which isn't until November, but the Mahler symphony was in September, so go with it), his friend bought us tickets to his favorite symphony.

To be honest, I wasn't convinced this was going to be too great. Mahler lived in the late 1800' to early 1900's and it's just not my favorite period of symphonic music. There's too much dischord there and it can be hard to listen to.

The first 10-15 minutes of Mahler's 8th symphony was about what I was expecting. Then it started getting better and just kept on improving. I looked at my watch an hour and 15 minutes into it and couln't believe how fast the time had flown.

The piece builds and builds until it almost explodes off the stage. There were over 300 voices, strings, woodwinds, horns, percussion, and more. There was organ, piano, and harp. And the ending was so grand and beautiful that it brought me to my feet.

I'm not a standing ovation kind of gal, but this actually brought me to my feet without any thought. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings of music I can remember in a long time. It's not often that you're carried away by the music, but this was one of those nights.

This isn't the Seattle Symphony, but it can give you a taste for the scale of the ending.

The New Look

I've gotten several comments about the new look of my blog. I was getting bored with the old one and just needed a change. This does have its limitations though, so I'm not sure how long it will stick around. Plus, I'm having trouble figuring out how to fix some things (like that silly tab right there to the left with "undefined" on it). I may put more time in this weekend to figure that out though.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another Great Week

It's been another really nice week and I've got several highlights. It's really great to have good friends and family to share with. Here's the best of it:
  • Listening to Richard Russo at Seattle Arts & Lectures
  • Attending SA&L with Kathleen
  • Pizza with the DH for Friday night dinner
  • The Greek Bazaar on Saturday
  • Friends over for dinner on Sunday

I'm also glad the parents made it home safe and sound from their trip to Yellowstone, Jackson, and Cody.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Sep 22) -- Jonatha Brooke

One of my old favorites to listen to any old time when I just want to relax and enjoy is Jonatha Brooke. My favorite album is Steady Pull. I like every song on that one. Take a listen at How Deep Is Your Love (and I don't mean that kitschy 70's sone either) and you may like it as much as I do.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Writers on Writing

I was introduced to Seattle Arts & Lectures by a collegue several years ago. She always attended the lectures and highly recommended them. Over the years, I've been to a few lectures here and there, but this year I decided to buy tickets to the series. I know of most of the guest lecturers and thought I might even enjoy those few I wasn't familiar with.

Last night was the first in the series. The guest was Richard Russo, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls and a few other novels and stories. He spoke on writing with humor. He had us all laughing and brought home some great points with his excellent humor. I was especially touched with his observation that, although anyone can write, good writing comes from really seeing. He provided an anecdote about a commode placed squarely in the middle of the back deck bringing attention to an old grave stone that had been in the back yard since before his family had moved into the house. It was the juxtaposition of the two objects that helped him see the one that was there for longer than he had been.

He also reminded me that in order to be a writer, you must act like a writer -- or be a writer. I often think that having a blog helps me be a writer, but at the same time I realize that I have chosen other priorities. I love to write and find it both enlightening and cathartic. However, I'm not ready to make it a priority in my life where I do it faithfully on a daily basis and really build my talent.

For now, I'll look for humor where I can and write when I can make it a priority. I won't be writing the next great American novel, but I sure will enjoy the writing I do. I'll also find myself inspired by accomplished writers as I go to the other lecurers in the series.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Highlights of the Last Week

It's been a great week and there are so many things to choose from for highlights. Here are just a few:
  • Lunch with the brother, SIL, and nephew at Snappy Dragon -- great company and yummy salt and pepper chicken
  • The new cabinets getting done
  • Ballard Art Walk and seeing Kim's photos
  • Potluck with friends in Pioneer Square
  • Seeing the documentary Nobody Knows and hearing Margaret Young and Darius Gray talk about their expereince making the documentary

There's just so much good stuff going on! What was the highlight of your last week?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Living Room I've Always Wanted

After getting the walls painted, I really wanted to get built in cabinets this summer. I just couldn't bear the thought of putting back the white Ikea bookshelves and we need storage space in the living room. Also, we broke the stand that the TV and other equipment were on when we were moving things out for the painters.

This was our opportunity! We hired a carpenter that was recommended by my hair dresser. Nice connection, don't you think? I think he did a really nice job on the work.

My very favorite part is the new mantle. It doesn't slope forward like the old one and it looks so beautiful in the room. You can't see it very well in the pictur, but it has three levels on the front, which is just the right amount of detail for the room.

I guess now we'll have to have a party so everyone can come over and see it -- everyone will be invited, even you folks who don't live in Seattle!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Sep 15) -- Carbon Leaf

I love the band Carbon Leaf and their wonderful alt country sound. Don't let that word country scare you off. it's not country music at all. I have a few albums, but I think my favorite is Echo Echo. I like every song on that one. Indian Summer is a close second.

I had a hard time finding any songs on YouTube withe decent quality, but this one is good. It's Learn to Fly, off the latest album Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Crafty Gal

I laugh a little because I like to think I'm crafty, but over the last few years it just hasn't been happening for me. I've made the baby blankets, but few other crafts or sewing projects. My excuse is that I don't have the time, but I seem to get through all the programs on the DVR, so it really can't be that. Whatever the reason, it's probably the same reason that I don't ge as many books read as I used to.

For the SIL's birthday, I wanted to something crafty. I ended up taking an extra five weeks to get it done and it's really something small that I should have been able to do in one or two evenings. Hopefully I can plan better for Christmas crafting. Those gifts need to be on time. So, last week I finally mailed out the SIL's birthday present (and her birthday was only July 29th). I thought it turned out super cute. The only issue was the timing.
The pattern is from Sublime Stitching. I love their old-is-new-is-old sensibility. This pattern was Kurt Halsey design that is so cute. I have several other patterns I picked up, too. They give you a discount if you buy three, so who can resist?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's Your Favorite Color?

I'm not sure why, but it was alway a question we got asked as kids. "What's your favorite color?" We all had a favorite and we didn't budge from that favorite.

I can still hear Granny laughing about asking Jason what his favorite color was. His young voice would answer "Gween. My favowit!" Everyone knew that Jason loved green and Whitney's favorite was yellow. I'm pretty sure it's the same today. They always had gifts given in those colors and they loved it. Both grandmothers knit sweaters in their favorite colors and made blankets and quilts in those colors. There was no end of creativity in their favorite colors. And honestly, it was really sweet. It was a given that they'd like the color.

As children, Whitney would often get a gift in yellow and I would get a corresponding gift in pink. It was the logical thing to do. Yellow and pink for the girls. And I'm pretty sure Colin got blue. So it was green and blue for the boys. Now, Colin's favorite color was green as well, but you couldn't really do two things in the same color. You couldn't tell them apart. Fights were bound to break out. They had to be different.

It was worse for me. My favorite color was, and still is, blue. For some reason, grandmothers think their granddaughters shouldn't get gifts in blue. Blue is for boys. Instead, I always got pink. I know most girls go through a pink phase, and I probably did as well. I still love how my room was decorated with the pink bedspread with large red ladybugs on it when I was very young, before I was sharing a room with Whitney. Once we started sharing, everything was in pink and yellow. I secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly) wanted blue.

I'll admit that I love the Holly Hobbie blankets that were made for Whitney and me, hers bound with yellow on the back and mine in pink. And the lovely crocheted afghan in pink is wonderful. The handwork is beautiful. I'm certainly not ungrateful. It's just that I wanted it in blue.

Entered in Scribbit's Write-Away Contest for September.

Just Not Right

I don't feel right today. (And don't tell me I don't look right -- I can figure that out on my own.) Last night I had an amazing headache. I'm one who really doesn't get sick much at all. I just get the requisite cold once a year and have some seasonal allergies. It's really normal boring stuff. But the headache last night, and what I'll call the hangover that it's induced today, are really not anything I'm used to. I got home from work and sat on the couch for an hour an a half (while the dear DH made dinner and brought me food) and then went to my bed and stayed there until 9:00. And I really didn't feel better, even after two rounds of high-dosage Advil.

I'm not really writing this to complain, though it may look and sound like a complaint. I'm really writing it because I was so overcome with feeling horrible that I could not believe that I couldn't just "get over it" and get the things done that I needed to. I was supposed to go to the store to pick up eggs and then make a cake. I couldn't do it. At the end of the night, as I was going to bed, I realized that this is how many people feel all the time. It helped me to feel much more compassionate toward people dealing with cronic illnes or pain.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What a Week!

I haven't posted much in the last week, because it was busy, busy, busy! The DH and I were traveling again, this time to Boise, so we had lot's of fun with family. Here are the highlights of the last seven days:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Sep 8) -- Tristan Prettyman

I heard Tristan Prettyman on the radio and thought I might enjoy more of her music. I listened to a bunch of stuff on iTunes and just had to get the album. It's great for easy Summer listening -- even as we move into Fall. I got the album Hello...x and have really enjoyed it.

I really like the song Hello.

YouTube only has bad recordings of it, but you can also see it at Tristan's site.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Best of the Week

Keeping the tradition of the weekly highlights, these are the best parts of the last seven days:
  • Phad Thai at the Raiders game on Friday
  • Sarah coming to visit (and going to the art museum with her)
  • Meeting Sarah's friend Anna -- what a hoot! We loved her.
  • Sleeping in on Monday
  • My anniversary flowers looking even more beautiful today than when I got them over a week ago.

What's going on with you? Any highlights?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Sep 1) -- Neko Case

This is one of my long-time favorites. Neko Case was at Bumbershoot this weekend, but I didn't make it there to see her. When I checked out her site, I saw that she was in Boise on Friday night, so my friends in Bosie probably missed her as well. My favorite album is Blacklisted, but she's got some great songs on other albums as well.

I love the song Lady Pilot, recorded here with mediocre quality:

Warning, this really is part of the Alt Country genre. It's not country music, but it has a definite not to the country/folk feelings.