Friday, August 31, 2007

Plumb Out

Sometimes I am just plumb out.

Plumb out of words, plumb out of ideas, plumb out creativity, plumb out of time, plumb out of energy.

That happens to be where I am at the moment. Plumb out. Therefore, my dear reader, it may be awhile until my next post. You will hear from me again, and when you do I'm sure I will be so profound and clever that you will agree it was worth the wait!

Until then, love someone and let them love you back. It is worth it.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I have an office to myself now. It is spacious and tidy and girly (in a professional way). And it is really quiet.


BB counsels his first client tonight. And he is having a birthday on Wednesday. Congrats on both counts!


The Not-So-Little One started intermediate school today. She will be changing classes and has a combination lock on her locker. And she did not want me to walk her into the school building.


My cousin's daughter, whom I have known since infancy, is moving to Michigan to live with her dad. I will miss her like crazy. Michigan is a really long way from Texas. And it is cold up there. And it isn't here. Near me.


It is past time for me to choose a Christmas cantata for my church choir.


I have been trying to learn that just because something pops into your head doesn't mean it should necessarily leave your lips.


I have also been trying to eat healthier. Less of the stuff I really like and more of the stuff that will allow me to live a little longer. 'Nuff said.

Since Then

Since my last post, I have, in no particular order:

  • prayed
  • felt sad
  • felt happy
  • found a wonderful Thai restaurant
  • faced the back-to-school crowds
  • met my daughters' teachers
  • spent some "girl" time with my evil twin
  • commanded the attention of a large group
  • been invisible
  • laughed until my sides ached
  • made someone else laugh
  • taught someone to sing with resonance
  • sang with resonance
  • moved furniture
  • aggravated my shoulder
  • swallowed my pride
  • asked for forgiveness
  • been forgiven
  • loved someone
  • been loved back

All in all it has been a productive time.
You will hear from me again soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Unwelcome Guest

I received an unexpected visit from an old acquaintance - Depression. Depression and I have had a love/hate relationship for years. We had a full blown tryst back in the late '80s when several life changing experiences converged, picking me straight up out of my universe and slamming me down into the abyss.

The abyss is dark, and it is lonely. But it also peaceful. The abyss envelopes you with a profound heaviness, keeping emotions at bay. And that is exactly what you want when the emotions are too big to handle and the voices in your head won't shut up.

Today when Depression rode into town, I wasn't particularly glad to see him, but I invited him in for a spell. We reminisced a bit, just like old times. Depression may be a lousy house guest, but he is familiar. And there is comfort in the familiar. Sort of like an abusive lover. You hate him for hurting you, and you hate yourself for staying with him, but as least you know how he operates.

Eventually you must part ways.

Depression isn't going to stay long this time around. Already we are planning for his departure. He hasn't finished packing yet, but his keys are sitting on top of the piano by the door. Seems Depression doesn't want to stand outside with me, soaking up the warmth of the sun and feeling the breeze blow through his hair. Depression doesn't want to feel alive, and I'm not dead yet. So Depression will be leaving soon. We'll share a few more tears before he goes. I'll pry his cold arms from around my shoulders and bid him farewell. And then I'll go stand in the sun.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I am a woman of great faith. It is faith and faith alone that has seen me through the darkest days of my life. It was faith that helped me survive broken body and broken spirit, damaged by the hands of people I trusted. It was faith that helped me say goodbye to my mother when I was too young to lose her. It was faith that got me back in school and back on track.

I used to think of faith as this stationary ideal, designed to smooth over the rough patches. I have since learned that faith is a journey. It is not stagnant, but rather ever changing to suit circumstances. For instance, when I was a child, faith resembled a starting block - "Don't question authority. Have faith that they have your best interests at heart. Ready, set, go!"

As a young adult, faith and prayer were friends who walked hand-in-hand down life's path. Whenever I had a need, I would pray to my God and have faith that he would hear me and grant my wish. Ask and ye shall receive. Faith must be really powerful, because even though most of my requests remain ungranted, I still pray.

Today faith stands at the crossroads. Faith spends some time arguing with God about which way to go and questioning His wisdom and His ways, all the while confident that God will not turn His back on her. Faith somehow knows that God will always be smarter... smart enough to let her ask questions anyway, 'cuz that's how she learns.

Friday, August 17, 2007

From Sushi to Burgers

I ate sushi today for lunch. Didn't have as much time to savour it as I would have liked, and I had to return to work so I couldn't wash it down with a Kirin, but it was still pretty darn good.

I hesitated to mention it out of concern for you readers that easily succumb to queasiness, but it was the highlight of my very quiet day. BB is in Chicago, and I've discovered just how much I've missed having an office mate. And darn it if I didn't discover it just in time for them to announce that they will be moving him out next week. Dang - now who will help me get all of the stuff off the top shelves?

I shouldn't be selfish, though. I wasn't supposed to have an office mate in the first place. BB has a right to an office that doesn't come equipped with a supervisor to watch his every move. And he deserves a place to retreat when I get too bossy.


We were supposed to go to New Braunfuls this weekend with another family. They cancelled due to weather, worried that we won't be able to go to Schlitterbahn. I personally think they are being wienies. Oh well, I have back-to-school and back-to-dance shopping to do anyway. Which doesn't compare in the least to throwing myself down a wet spiral tube with reckless abandon. At least I won't have to wear a swimsuit in public.


I think I will eat a hamburger this weekend. I have been hanging around healthy people a lot lately. People who work out everyday and sweat and eat vegetables and drink protein shakes and have even given up coffee. But they won't be around, so I will eat a hamburger and long for the days when my metabolism was high enough to burn it off before it got to my hips. I see extra crunches in my future.


It is official. Everything reminds me of a song.


I got a disturbing call today on my cell phone. A young man (boy?) with an accent asked if there was an 11-year-old girl at my house. I told him he had the wrong number and hung up. He called back and asked again!!! When I asked who was calling (okay, it wasn't as polite as that), he said "nobody." When I asked why he needed to know, he said "I dunno." When I told him I would call the police, he hung up. The Not-So-Little One swears she has no idea who it could have been. And I believe her. So, the fun begins. I happen to have been born under two cat signs, so woe be to the fool who thinks he can mess with my cubs. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On Change and Fortitude

A long time ago, when I was an undergrad at SFA (ax 'em, Jacks!), I changed my major from music to psychology. Back then there were more males in the psych program than females, and my parents were aghast. But then again, they didn't want me to be a music major, either. I had more than a few reasons for changing majors, not the least of which was that I didn't have the intestinal fortitude to hack the politics of the performing world. I also wanted to change the world.

Now, the world is a big place. Changing the world means making big change. Like many of my idealistic peers, it became evident that changing the world was a pretty big order. Too big. Talk about intestinal fortitude. I sure didn't have enough to fill that order. So I turned my back on the world for a little while.

Funny... suddenly I find myself coming full circle, actually changing the world. This is the way I see it - the world is made up of people, right? Doesn't seem too big when you take it one person at a time. So I have been facing people, sitting across from them and holding their "stuff" for them while they search for the intestinal fortitude to face themselves. Sometimes they tell me that I have changed their lives. I remind them that they have changed their own lives. And together we are changing the world.

Monday, August 13, 2007


My father loved words. An intelligent man who never had the opportunity to attend college, he read and studied all that he could, building his vocabulary and demanding proper grammar and speech from his children. We were not allowed to use slang or contractions. He took great pride in the fact that his children were well-spoken and shed no concern over the fact that we were the strangest little kids ever to cross a first-grade threshold.

I'm in love with words myself. I love to read them, sing them, hear them, speak them, write them, and analyze them. I use them to persuade, argue, convince, explain, express, love, hate, despise, annoy, amuse. I fall prey to the power of words. Words can empower me or destroy me, draw me in or push me away, make me laugh or make me weep. Words can render me speechless.

Recently I learned that words have served a more sinister purpose in my life. Words have become a sort of force field, shielding me from, of all things, myself. As long as I have words, I can talk myself out of being truthful with myself. I rely on words when I can't face the raw feelings that threaten to rock my world. Just keep talking and there will be no chance for emotions to expose my vulnerabilities to the world. Talk long enough and others won't have a chance to get a word in edgewise. Build a wall of words and rejection can't penetrate. But neither can love.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Loose Associations

I think I forgot to announce something really important. I think I forgot to tell you guys that I am officially finished with grad school! I had my last class on Saturday, and I should be getting my diploma in a few weeks. We don't have a ceremony in the summer, so I will walk with the other grads in December. And you bet your lily-white derriere I will be walking! I'm all about pomp and circumstance. Which is not to be confused with being pompous and circumstantial.

Counseling has been fascinating - like free falling without a parachute. I have learned a lot about human nature (and myself) in the past few months, and I can hardly wait to see what is around the corner waiting to pounce on me. The surprising lesson (there is always a surprising lesson) is how difficult it is to let them go when they are ready to fly solo.


I do not like having my picture taken. I can count on one hand the number of decent photos that have been taken of me. Instead, I like being behind the camera. My husband tells me that it is a tragedy that when I die my children will have no pictures by which to remember me. A good solid stab at guilting me into posing, but it has yet to work.


My girlfriend, Jen, is in love. And she is being loved back. You go, girl!


Work has been a bit of a challenge. Today I heard that folks were getting trapped in the elevator. We moved to our new location last month, and today was the first day we had internet. And even with that, we can only email within the agency. An entire pack of computer techs converged on our floor to remedy the situation. Their serious expressions made me smile. What blows my mind is how reliant we have become on the world wide web. I laugh when I think about how nervous a lot of my generation was about even using computers.


The weather has been absolutely beautiful here lately. It is nearly the middle of August, and we haven't even hit 100 degrees yet. The grass is still green from all the rain we had a few weeks back. I found myself just standing in the parking lot today soaking in the sun. The evening was even more delicious. The breeze on my skin was like a lover's caress, the cricket song like a tender whisper in my ear. Makes a girl happy to be alive.

Just Gotta Be Me

I spend an exorbitant amount of time and effort keeping myself in check. You know what I mean. Follow God's law, follow man's law, set a good example for the children, try not to annoy the people around you, color inside the lines.

This a good way to live, right? Right?? I mean, we have to behave ourselves so that we can all coexist. If everyone just followed their impulses, ran around all willy-nilly, the world would be utter chaos. Like Bill Murray said in Stripes, "Cats and dogs living together..." People can get hurt like that.

But do you ever yearn to take a peek outside the box? Perhaps inch your foot out the door? Stick your head out and take a look around? Mispronounce something on purpose? Disagree with authority? Laugh too loudly? Scream at the top of your lungs??

I do.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Sometimes, after people hear me sing, they tell me that I have a gift. I consider this to be a wonderful compliment and a tremendous responsibility. Allow me to explain.

I get the call. You are asking me to sing for you. I get the logistical info - what, where, when, why, etc. I check my calendar. I tell you, "yes," I take a deep breathe, and I quote my fee. I am always pleasantly surprised when you don't gasp and instead accept the fee arrangement.

I discover that I must choose the music myself. (It's amazing how many people don't even know what they want sung at their own weddings, but I digress.) I read each lyric to assess for appropriateness. I check the range and scan for tricky intervals. I quickly determine what type of emotional "treatment" it begs for. I choose two more songs as backup, just in case I wake up with a weird vocal thing that day.

I go about the business of memorization, which for me is the most difficult part. I sing the song over and over, ad nauseum, until I know it cold. If it is a tear jerker, I practice it until I no longer cry when I sing it.

Once I am completely confident with the notes and words, I sit down with sheet music and pencil to formulate my plan of attack. When does the lyric line imply a change in dynamic? Where do I breathe - there are never enough places to breathe... Tempo changes, fermatas... got to be sure to get with the accompanist beforehand and go over my strategy...

Now it's time to record myself. I sing it a capella so that I can hear every detail of the sound. Every word sound (consonant and vowel) must be present. Words must be recognizable. Notes must be in tune. One word needs to be caressed a bit more, while another needs a touch of humor. Is there any "spin?" Did I manage to ring one lousy overtone? I do this several times. Then I do it in the mirror to assure that my physical expression matches my vocal expression.

Okay, now for the packaging. Outfit, hair style, makeup, it all matters and is dictated by the event. Shoes are important - must be on the balls of the feet for the best pelvic position for diaphragmatic support, but if they hurt too much.....

There will be no coffee, dairy products, peanut butter, bananas, etc consumed on the day of a performance. I've been drinking nothing but water for days. Unsweetened apple juice is great for cutting phlegm. Alcohol only makes you sing flat and loud. I have this irrational fear of getting the hiccups right before I sing.

Warm up begins when I rise in the morning. Ideally, I sing before I talk that day. I avoid talking as much as possible if the performance isn't until later. My friends will tell you that this is difficult for me.

The moment finally arrives. I approach the microphone, and somehow I must deftly step out of the analytical left side of my brain and into the creative right side. I must stop thinking and start making music. I must now present the gift, and I must do it with confidence so as not to cause you any anxiety. And I must try not to let my face reveal that I am making a mental note of every error as I move from phrase to phrase.

The gift is more than the sum of its parts. It is more than notes and words and air and vocal skills and appearance. The gift is the little part of my soul that I send straight out to you on a silent prayer. I hope to please you. I hope to touch you. I hope to make every cell in your body hum, because mine are about to spin right off of my skin. I hope to be one with you for just a moment.

The gift is delivered with love. It wishes to be received in the same manner.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Try a Little Kindness

I looked up the word kind today. Below are some of the words I found that are associated with the word:


I like all of those words. Those are great words. My definition of kind comes in the form of a simple assessment. If you are about to speak or act, will it be helpful or harmful? Notice I didn't stipulate to whom the help or harm will come. That's because relationships are dynamic and systemic. Help or harm fed into a relationship will affect everyone in the relationship. What goes around comes around, or something like that.

Do you think, reader, that it is possible that the human brain has finally reached maximum capacity? Because it seems to me that the more technologically advanced we become, the meaner we get. It's like we have to let go of some of our "old" learning - like how to get along with our neighbors - to make room for all the new stuff. We scoff at the unsophisticated likes of Fred Rogers who called us "neighbor" and told us to be nice to one another. Fred wore sweaters. He wasn't cool. He didn't carry an iphone. What could Fred know about real life?

Well, I think Fred knew more than most of us will ever know about how to make life count. He knew that we don't have to clear out the data banks to accommodate updated information. He knew about synergy. He knew that laying new knowledge upon a solid foundation of character produces results greater than the sum of the two agents. And that, my dear friends, is magic.

Why this contemplative post? 'Cuz people I love are getting hurt out there. They're trying to live their lives the best they can, and they are suffering as a result of others' words and actions. By the way, I looked up the word life, too. And nowhere in the definition of that word did I find anything about pain.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I've Got Moves You've Never Seen...

(Quick - who can tell me what movie that line is from?)

A couple of days have passed since my 16th annual 29th birthday (that's right, all you analytical minds out there - go ahead and do the math). Getting old is no picnic. I borrowed that saying from... uh... just about everyone else who is getting old.

Oh, Lord, but it's true. Things don't work quite the way they used to. And when they do, they creak. These are the things I miss the most from my youth:
  • being able to hop up onto the kitchen counters to reach the top cabinets
  • my 4 octave range
  • being able to consistently recall why I entered a room
  • abs of steel
  • sleeping through the night without having to visit the little girls room
  • stopping traffic (it's true - any woman out there that says it's not important is a liar)

However, all is certainly not lost. Here are a few things I've managed to retain from my youth:

  • the ability to ride every roller coaster at Six Flags and still enjoy it
  • the stamina to walk all day around the zoo
  • my hair color
  • the whimsy to stand in the middle of my kitchen and sing made-up songs to cranky girls
  • 3 1/2 octaves of my range

And there are even a few things that have improved since my youth:

  • my sense of humor
  • curves
  • my "moves"
  • patience
  • faith
  • courage

Since I have no crystal ball, I have no way of predicting how long I will live. That gives me every good reason not to consider myself middle-aged. Especially since I've still got "moves..."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wednesday's Child

I was born on a Wednesday. A Wednesday that happened to fall on August 1st. I'll allow you to insert your own year here...

The saying goes something like this - "Wednesday's child is full of woe..."

When I was a little girl, and the victim of heinous circumstances, that saying gave me some sort of twisted hope. Perhaps being full of woe had nothing to do with being faulty and had everything to do with fate. Wednesday's child can't help it if she's full of woe...

As I grew older and more jaded, the saying seemed to take the shape of some sort of dark destiny. Wednesday's child would never know anything but woe...

Well, the saying turned out to be a dadgum lie, thank you very much. Wednesday's child is deliriously happy today. She is fulfilled, she is full of life (my husband might say I am full of something else), she is full of hope, she is full of wonder, she is full of joy, and she is full of love.

And she is on the verge of learning how to stop time.