Monday, February 23, 2009

Fun in the Sun With Jewkes

We've had a fun few days playing with Bryan, Jenn, Joe & Sam. We enjoyed Ruby's for dinner,

the Montage for winter seaside ambiance including two huge starfish placed in a convenient tide pool for viewing, a sneak peek from an interested baby seal and an amazing whale sighting from the shore!

Happy Birthday Bryan! Glad that enchilada at La Sirena ended up being acceptable despite the sour cream flourish!

Purple Cows for Sunday Dinner along with dominoe play and paper airplane construction created wonderful lasting memories for us. Thanks for visiting!

Dead In The Water

I have lost my favorite necklace. The one I wear all the time, whenever I can, that goes with everything and represents the real me. You know the one I mean, don't you?

My Kodak EasyShare Z612.

It's Dead...Dead In the Water...Well actually dead from the water. Salt water that is. Pacific Ocean to be exact encountered at Table Rock in Laguna Beach, zip code 92651.

Just had to have that one closeup shot of the strange configuration of rock, wave and sea plants. Could hear the wave approaching and figured my feet would be covered, maybe even up to my knees, but I didn't take my eye away from the viewfinder to see the rogue wave approach, come shooting up the undercut rock and catapult up and over to nail me head to toe in saline drenched incredulity. All the while Eric watching in disbelief not able to voice a quick warning to 'Save The camera if not yourself!'

Darling spouse capturing the moment with one of the last pictures my dearly departed friend would squeak out, then pulling out his tie-dyed hankie to dry off the silver & optics. Me using the tweezers from my Swiss-army knife key chain to pluck sand from the telephoto channel before retracting. Examining the memory chip and battery compartments and finding them dry, hope arising that it will 'be ok.' Driving home and immediately consulting the internet for information on salt water on cameras (...all of us will eventually face the inevitable wet camera scenario...the only thing worse then salt water is acid...) Hopes are dimming, get ready to pull the life-support plug...

Are prayers in vain?

New hope in passing days. Batteries and memory chip unloaded, recharged. Every so often a check brings optimism (it's working!) or despair (it's not!) I check the price on a new camera but it seems pathetic to buy the exact same one so I look to upgrade and am not excited.

But I need my favorite necklace...

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's Official - Luke Has An Album!

Keileigh's friend Luke has posted an EP album that's available for downloading @ He is incredibly talented and I love his expressive poetry. It's also been an interesting experience seeing the process of creation unfold in such a young man and to see the role a muse has in inciting ideas.

We Were Wrong has great harmonizing (is that Alice?) and wonderful story telling vignettes that paint pictures that speak to the challenges faced in many relationships. The chorus with it's classic Laughing at seagulls and 18 in 1 ourselves to fickle hope draws the listener into the festivity and despair of young love. She sings, but not for you and then she smiles from ear to ear... Yeah, I know that one!

Mary Alice has incredible lyrics that kept me rewinding so that I could get the gist of their meaning...your siren song was a swan dive; on a porch swing swaying sunlit silouette of untamed hair; a man of sunswept troubadour walks the night; you love him and you don't know why; you found that even birds could be chained to the sky... the story behind these words leaves you wanting to know more.

Sunflower with it's uptempo beat shows the artist's ability to express the resilient, enthusiasm of youth. I was made to feel but you were made to show. Love the strong guitar work at the end of the piece.

Lose My Mind's bluesy riffs, tincan echo and melancholy thoughts resonate: lost my shoes, lost my love, lost my sense of direction... Rayban eyes and allusions to diamond skies..

Don't Leave Me Alone with it's accordion intro may do for that instrument what Ryan Shupe did in Banjo Boy. Where and how did this 18 year old find an accordion to play? Check out this site for an answer and review. Angst ridden pleas ride out the wave with the fading accordion... ...memory stained highway, i feel slightly betrayed, but it would sting a lot less then the ache in my bones...

Topaz and Remember Goddess contain equally great stories hidden in the lyrics and music. I hope you'll take time to download the music and let Luke know what you think. I'm impressed with his passion for his art! Great job, Luke!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Top Ten Reasons for Being a Choir Director

I found these Top Ten Lists on this website. Here's the list for Choir Director. It's not necessarily reflective of my Top Ten Reasons for Being a Choir Director, but I can identify with the sentiment. Hope you get a chuckle from it as well!

Top Ten Reasons for Being a Bass

10) You don't have to tighten your shorts to reach your note.
9) You don't have to worry about a woman stealing your job.
8) Or a pre-adolescent boy.
7) Action heroes are always basses. That is -- if they ever sang, they would sing bass.
6) You get great memorable lyrics like bop, bop, bop, bop.
5) If the singing job doesn't work out, there's always broadcasting.
4) You never need to learn to read the treble clef.
3) If you get a cold, so what?
2) For fun, you can sing at the bottom of your range and fool people into thinking there's an earthquake.
1) If you belch while you're singing, the audience just thinks it's part of the score.

Top Ten Reasons for Being a Tenor

10) Tenors get high -- without drugs.
9) Name a musical where the Bass got the girl.
8) You can show the sopranos how it SHOULD be sung.
7) Did you ever hear of anyone paying $1000 for a ticket to see the Three Basses?
6) Who needs brains when you've got resonance?
5) Tenors never have to waste time looking through the self-improvement section of the bookstore.
4) You get to sing along with John Denver singing "Aye Calypso".
3) When you get really good at falsetto, you can make tons of money doing voice-overs for cartoon characters
2) Gregorian chant was practically invented for Tenors. Nobody invented a genre for basses.
1) You can entertain your friends by impersonating Julia Child.

Top Ten Reasons for Being a Soprano

10) The rest of the choir exists just to make you look good.
9) You can entertain your friends by breaking their wine glasses.
8) Can you name an opera where an alto actually got and kept the man?
7) When sopranos want to sing in the shower, they know the tune.
6) It's not like you are ever going to sing the Alto part by accident
5) Great costumes -- like the hat with the horns on it.
4) How many world famous Altos can you name?
3) Every time - hands down - the soprano is the last voice singing.
2) When you get tired of singing the tune, you can sing the descant
1) You can sing along with Michael Jackson.

Top Ten Reasons for Being an Alto

10) You get really good at singing E flat.
9) You get to sing the same note for 12 consecutive measures.
8) You don't really need to warm up to sing 12 consecutive bars of E flat.
7) If it sounds bad, it's unlikely the Altos will be blamed.
6) You have lots of time to chat during Soprano solos.
5) You get to pretend that you are better than the sopranos, because everybody knows that women only sing soprano so they don't have to learn to read music.
4) You can sometimes find part-time work singing Tenor.
3) Altos get all the great intervals.
2) When the sopranos are holding some outrageously high note at the end of an anthem, the altos always get the last words.
1) When the Altos miss a note, nobody gets hurt.

Guide to the 4 Voice Parts

In any chorus there are four main voice parts: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Sometimes these are divided into first and second within each part, prompting endless jokes about first and second basses. There are also various other parts such as baritone, countertenor, contralto, mezzo-soprano, and so on, but these are mostly used by people who are either soloists, or belong to some excessively hotshot classical a cappella group (this applies especially to countertenors), or are trying to make excuses for not really fitting into any of the regular voice parts, so we will ignore them for now.

Each voice part sings in a different range, and each one has a very different personality. You may well ask, "Why should singing different notes make people act differently?", and indeed this is a mysterious question and has not been adequately studied, especially since scientists who study musicians tend to be musicians themselves and have all the peculiar complexes that go with being tenors, french horn players, timpanists, or whatever. However, this is beside the point; the fact remains that the four voice parts can
be easily distinguished, as described below.

THE SOPRANOS are the ones who sing the highest, and because of this they think they rule the world. They have longer hair, fancier jewelery, and swishier skirts than anyone else, and they consider themselves insulted if they are not allowed to go at least to a high F in every movement of any given piece. When (and sometimes, if) they reach the high notes, they hold them for at least half again as long as the composer and/or conductor requires, and then complain that their throats are killing them and that the composer and conductor are sadists. Sopranos have varied attitudes toward the other sections of the chorus, though they consider all of them inferior. Altos are to sopranos rather like second violins to first violins - nice to harmonize with, but not really necessary. All sopranos have a secret feeling that the altos could drop out and the piece would sound essentially the same, and they don't understand why anybody would sing in that range in the first place - it's so boring. Tenors, on the other hand, can be very nice to have around; besides their flirtation possibilities (it is a well-known fact that sopranos never flirt with basses), sopranos like to sing duets with tenors because all the tenors are doing is working very hard to sing in a low-to-medium soprano range, while the sopranos are up there in the stratosphere showing off. To sopranos, basses are the scum of the earth - they sing too damn loud, are useless to tune to because they're down in that low, low range - and there has to be something wrong with anyone who sings in the F clef, anyway (although while they swoon while the Tenors sing, they still end up going home with the basses.)

THE ALTOS are the salt of the earth - in their opinion, at least. Altos are unassuming people, who would wear jeans to concerts if they were allowed to. Altos are in a unique position in the chorus in that they are unable to complain about having to sing either very high or very low, and they know that all the other sections think their parts are pitifully easy. But the altos know otherwise. They know that while the sopranos are screeching away on a high A, they are being forced to sing elaborate passages full of sharps and flats and tricks of rhythm, and nobody is noticing because the sopranos are singing too loud (and the basses usually are, too). Altos get a deep, secret pleasure out of conspiring together to tune the sopranos flat. Altos have an innate distrust of tenors, because the tenors sing in almost the same range and think they sound better. They like the basses, and enjoy singing duets with them - the basses just sound like a rumble anyway, and it's the only time the altos can really be heard. Altos' other complaint is that there are always too many of them and so they never get to sing really loud.

THE TENORS are spoiled. That's all there is to it. For one thing, there are never enough of them, and choir directors would rather sell their souls than let a halfway decent tenor quit, while they're always ready to unload a few altos at half price. And then, for some reason, the few tenors there are are always really good - it's one of those annoying facts of life. So it's no wonder that tenors always get swollen heads - after all, who else can make sopranos swoon? The one thing that can make tenors insecure is the accusation (usually by the basses) that anyone singing that high couldn't possibly be a real man. In their usual perverse fashion, the tenors never acknowledge this, but just complain louder about the composer being a sadist and making them sing so damn high. Tenors have a love-hate relationship with the conductor, too, because the conductor is always telling them to sing louder because there are so few of them. No conductor in recorded history has ever asked for less tenor in a forte passage. Tenors feel threatened in some way by all the other sections - the sopranos because they can hit those incredibly high notes; the altos because they have no trouble singing the notes the tenors kill themselves for; and the basses because, although they can't sing anything above an E, they sing it loud enough to drown the tenors out. Of course, the tenors would rather die than admit any of this. It is a little-known fact that tenors move their eyebrows more than anyone else while singing.

THE BASSES sing the lowest of anybody. This basically explains everything. They are stolid, dependable people, and have more facial hair than anybody else. The basses feel perpetually unappreciated, but they have a deep conviction that they are actually the most important part (a view endorsed by musicologists, but certainly not by sopranos or tenors), despite the fact that they have the most boring part of anybody and often sing the same note (or in endless fifths) for an entire page. They compensate for this by singing as loudly as they can get away with - most basses are tuba players at heart. Basses are the only section that can regularly complain about how low their part is, and they make horrible faces when trying to hit very low notes. Basses are charitable people, but their charity does not extend so far as tenors, whom they consider effete poseurs. Basses hate tuning with the tenors more than almost anything else. Basses like altos - except when they have duets and the altos get the good part. As for the sopranos, they are simply in an alternate universe which the basses don't understand at all. They can't imagine why anybody would ever want to sing that high and sound that bad when they make mistakes. When a bass makes a mistake, the other three parts will cover him, and he can continue on his merry way, knowing that sometime, somehow, he will end up at the root of the chord.

Yes Sir That's My Baby!

Noelle is Famous! Or so she tells me. Check out this picture on the USU Skyroom Dining Services Site. Recognize the skinny ponytail and the turquoise sweater? That's my baby!

Monday, February 2, 2009

25+ Things About Me List

My friend Matt sent me a FaceBook invite to list 25 Things About Me. I hate doing things like that, but his list was so fun and funny that I wanted to play to. Once I started writing I LOVED IT! What a great way to recapture the essence of a life. I hope you will enjoy my ramblings and maybe do your own. I'd love to learn about you too!

1. I like music. My voice is not great, but I'm taking lessons & singing with a choir that's amazing. So that makes me feel like I'm better because as a group we sound so good.

2. I conduct a church choir. It's one of my favorite activities. I love creating unity from chaos. There's such joy when many voices let go of individual goals and blend into one. I've been called the choir nazi, but someone has to call the shots and I'm willing to do it. Some of my best memories and best friends have come from these experiences.

3. I'm back in school taking Algebra so that I can get a bachelor's degree. I have an Associates Degree from Santa Ana College in Liberal Arts and one year completed at the University of Utah in a program they discontinued. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up but I have to declare a new major soon...

4. I worked in a photo booth during college. I once got robbed while working there and the most important attribute I could recall for the police to apprehend the perp was that he had a very hairy gut. I knew this because he lifted his shirt to show me the gun tucked into the top of his pants.

5. Having children brings the broadest spectrum of experiences. They bring greater joy when they are happy and greater sorrow when they aren't. I'm grateful I've had the parenting experience. I've heard two quotes that apply - "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" and "A Mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.' Both maxims are true.

6. I collect quotes. I have numerous books filled with inspirational thoughts that I've gathered throughout my life. Now I have the internet. What a great resource.

7. Eric & I first met in the LDS Stake Center in Kamas Utah. It had it's 15 minutes of fame for being the church that was bombed by extremists. When I saw Eric across the crowded cultural hall for the first time I knew that we would marry. (Cue the music) Six months later we were sealed in the SL Temple.

8. All of our children's names have significance. Our son is named after King Benjamin & Ben Franklin and his grandfathers for many generations; Rachel shares middle names with me and so does her daughter; Noelle is named after Eric's best friend's wife; Keileigh is honoring John Claude Kiley-a French Olympic gold medal skier. Eric picked her name.

9. We have a friend who has four daughters. His wife picked all of their names. When they got to the last baby he wanted to have a say in her name. Her name is Gracie Cupcake Jones.

10. I love the process of creation. I like to paint, sketch, write, blog, compose, take pictures. I'm not very crafty though. I took a class at the U of U called The Science of Creativity. It was helpful. When I was younger I dressed eclectically. I had people come to my wedding just to see what I was wearing. Having children changed my style - they are embarrassed by everything you do and so I started to dress 'normal.' Now they are gone...maybe I'll pull out those free-spirit clothes again!

10.2 I had a tie dye company called 'Tie By Night' in the late '80's & early '90's. My business partner and neighbor was the earth-mother, quasi-hippy, druid lover in the business. Me? I just liked to play with the colors. We dressed our children up in our inventory and went to art festivals throughout northern Utah. We also taught classes through community ed and in our offspring's classes. It was hard work and great fun but I gave it up when I got pregnant. I still like to play with colors and see how they affect our lives. I studied Color Analysis for clothing and makeup and spent time doing that as well. My best colors are pink, blue and purple.

11. I like to take walks. In Salt Lake I love walking in Liberty Park. If you walk at the same time, going in the same direction you see the same people every day. If you change directions you see a whole new world. When I'm in Utah I go back and reconnect with people I haven't seen since I moved to SoCal. In California I love walking at the beach.

12. I have seen tons of dolphins surfing at Salt Creek Beach. 8:30am is a good time to be there.

13. The dolphins were surfing I was watching...I don't surf.

14. I lived in American Samoa when I was young. My kids call me a 'Wolynesia' - a white Polynesian. I learned how to dance and can still do the Tahitian and poi ball dances. I learned how to swim in the bay at Pago Pago Harbor. I couldn't open my eyes in the salty Pacific Ocean so I had a hard time learning how to navigate in the water.

14.2 I don't like to drink from plastic cups. Goes back to my years at Fia Iloa Elementary cafeteria where they served watered-down powdered milk in little plastic cups. I would look for the cup with the least amount of nasty liquid because you had to eat everything served.

15. I am the only daughter in my family. I have five awesome brothers. There are advantages. When I was younger I wanted sisters. Later I got sisters in law and daughters. This was a perfect way to gain female connections.

16. I love to read Neal A Maxwell. He paints pictures with words. I love his skill.

16.2. I love to read and think the free library system is one of the greatest advantages in our society. Even though in Dana Point you have to pay to reserve books...

17. Knowing The Meaning of Life is one of the best things to have. It makes the day to day better when you have a clear vision of what the end result is. I am grateful for eternal perspective.

18. I ACAD. (A Chapter A Day) I have been reading the scriptures every day since January 7, 1977.

19. I (usually) only buy stuff if it's on sale, it makes the acquisition that much sweeter. I hear it's the same genetic marker that made hunters in ancient times stalk big game animals. There's something in the hunt and kill. I don't eat meat too much, but I still like the pursuit and the challenge.

20. I like to fish at Flaming Gorge with Eric. He puts on the worms and guts and cooks the catch. I once caught four fish on the same worm with just four casts, with a baby in a front packer, while balancing precariously on a rocky cliff. I'd do it again too!

21. I smile when I'm walking around. I love to watch people's faces light up as they see a happy countenance coming toward them. Then they smile too and I feel like I'm doing my part to make the world a better place. When they don't smile or look away I think that's fun too.

22. I also have been know to not be smiling. Eric calls it 'The Look' or 'The Silent Treatment'. I tell him I'm just thinking.

23. I was a Chateau Queen. I lived and worked in Park City at the Chateau Apres Lodge. There was a billboard on the way into town that advertised the hotel and boasted of queen sized beds. There have been many female employees throughout the 70's and beyond who share the title.

24. I won honorable mention in a church writing contest when I was in college for a short story I adapted from another source.

25. I like the US Census. I discovered cool ways to be a detective using it for family history research. I liked it so much that I worked on the 2000 Census. I worked for them again in 2005 doing the labor survey that is reported every month by the federal government that charts the nation's unemployment rate. That was harder work, but it had it's rewards.