The Day the Music…

Change is just uncomfortable, isn’t it? About four years ago, I ended a stretch of volunteering with my local public library system Saturday mornings before they opened. It wasn’t a “changing the world” kind of volunteer engagement, but I was educated by Franciscans, and I feel strange and indulgent if I’m not engaged as a volunteer. So I spent the summer feeling strange and indulgent, and toward the end of the summer, the youth choir at the church service I attend called for volunteers of all ages. Having heard them sounding something less than awesome, I assumed my skills would suffice, and I’ve been singing with them ever since.

It had every advantage over my library volunteering. There were kids in the choir who needed adults who believed in them. There were kids who needed someone confident enough to sing loud enough for them to follow. And I got involved and invested in these kids’ lives. And when something bad happened in my community and some of the kids were affected, I doubled down, and started volunteering with the youth group. That led to my teaching Confirmation classes last year, and again this year. And its led me to reading at the church service, too. And singing regularly makes me a happier person. I love to sing, and the singing has gone from singing melodies to singing some harmonies to taking up the guitar, singing for awhile in a jam band of old friends, singing at a family wedding— music begat more music, for me, and that’s added quite a bit to my life.

But the choir that I sang in officially disbanded a couple of weeks ago, and has been replaced by a Praise and Worship band. I like the Praise and Worship band— a bunch of talented musicians, fresh music— it’s good. But they’re not sure about me. And after a couple of rehearsals, I kind of feel the same way. Last week’s rehearsal went 105 minutes, this week’s went 120 before I walked out— historically, that’s the night for grocery shopping for Mom and I, and if I’d like to get out of the grocery store before sunrise, I can’t let it get too late before we walk in. I also have to be at church a full hour earlier than the other rehearsal required. And rehearsals are on the same night as the class I teach, this year, meaning I’ll have to leave work, skip dinner, teach my class, be late to choir, and not get out until 9 p.m., on the night before my earliest morning of the week. Partially my fault— I could have chosen to teach on the other night, but I was under the impression that rehearsals were going to be moved to another night, and my family obligations aligned best with this night. Continue reading

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Filling the Cup

This week has definitely emptied me out. And when my evening plans didn’t come through the way I wanted, I found a showing of a movie I’ve wanted to see “Begin Again,” with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. I knew very little, that both of them were down-on-their-luck musicians whose encounter with each other inspired each other. Continue reading

Mis-en-place

I’m getting bombarded with the concept of mis-en-place lately, and thought I’d start bringing together several of the ideas I’m thinking of, here. Mis-en-place is the concept, primarily used in the culinary world, of gathering all of the tools and ingredients you’ll need before you begin. It means, roughly, “everything in place.” It’s the sort of thing that ensures that you won’t get halfway through a recipe and realize you’re missing a critical ingredient, or that the tool you were going to use is unavailable.

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Just a Quick Note

I’m working on the Writing 101 post-a-day challenge, and so the posts that I’m writing are in response to specific prompts. That’s making the blog a little more randomly-ordered than usual, even for a blog that has no particular order, as yet. I’m tagging those posts “writing 101,” so they can be taken as a separate thing that I’m doing, but for anyone who’s following this but not involved in the post-a-day, I welcome your thoughts and insight, and I even welcome feedback like “enough with the random, already, go back to talking about ___!” Don’t be offended that I stay involved with the challenge, but I’ll take your feedback and try to intersperse the assigned posts with a sprinkling of what resonates for you.

Will the Real Superhero Please Stand Up?

A few months ago, my eldest niece, who is only a few years younger than me, told me that a friend of hers from high school was competing in a scavenger hunt in a mountain town, and suggested that I join my friend’s team. I agreed and my niece’s friend and I began building a team. We chose a superhero theme, calling ourselves the Sc-Avengers, and planned generic superhero costumes that would accommodate our cold-weather gear. Continue reading

Home Ec.

In my middle school, we had three elective arts: Visual Arts (drawing & painting) Industrial Arts (what many people call “shop”), and Home Arts (cooking and sewing). In 6th grade, I took Home Arts, and fully enjoyed learning to use a sewing machine and cook. Which was surprising, because my mother could never persuade me to learn from her (although I admired her cooking, she too fully embraced the military concept of KP, for my taste. I made enough carrot sticks and washed enough potatoes without any progress toward cooking that I only voluntarily cooked with my father, who let me actually flip the pancakes or crack the eggs.) Continue reading

Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

Insert joke about “not in Kansas anymore” here.

To get the big, existential questions out of the way early, WordPress tells me to begin at the edge of the wormhole.

There’s a song by the Burns sisters that pretty much says it— I’m new kind of old-fashioned girl. I grow as many of my own veggies as a woman with no land of her own can manage, and I put them up in the fall in jams and pickles. I’m also a full-time professional woman with a schedule that hasn’t left her time to cook herself a meal in literally weeks. I have lots of nieces, nephews, great-nephews and great-nieces, all of whom I love to bits. And I’m always looking for my own special someone, braving online dating and all of the fascinating things that go along with that. I’m devoted to the arts and love to be creative in my own right across many media. I have no shortage of adventures, locally and on the road, because I’m the kind of person who’s up for anything. Continue reading