Jazz Hot, Baby

So another year has come and gone. While some are making their resolutions for 2016, I’m cleaning the kitchen and listening to Spotify. I found this new-to-me group called The Hot Sardines and they’re fabulous. It’s Bourbon Street Jazz at its finest and it makes me ever so happy.

There’s a little bit of melancholy nostalgia with it as well. My father would have adored this group once upon a time. I can see him in my mind’s eye, stogie in one hand, fingers of the other hand snapping to the beat while his feet tapped out the rhythm. Embarrassing to a young teenage daughter at Disneyland, and yet I can’t deny the pleasure of watching him enjoy something so much. As I do practically the same in my kitchen (minus the cigar, of course) I understand the inability to stand still with the swinging tempo.

“Your Feets Too Big” by Fats Waller came on and I sang it proudly and giggled in turns.

Funny aside here – when I was little I thought my mom was singing, “My dear Mr. Shane”, but the song just came on and it’s actually “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen”. You learn something new every day!

I have decided to break with tradition and actually make a New Year’s resolution. I resolve to listen to more jazz in 2016. I’m pretty sure I can make good on this one.

Out of Focus

This is going to be one of those really short posts, but I’ve got something to say.

Today was Katie’s spring recital – one of my favorite events of the season. I took pictures for the academy’s website and tried hard not to sing out loud along with the vocalists. What a bunch of talent!

Anyway, Katie sang Still Hurting from The Last Five Years. Do you know it? I didn’t. Oh.My.Gosh. It’s a heart wrenching song and she delivered it with so much emotion that it hit me like a Mack truck. For a minute I thought my lens wasn’t focusing because everything was so blurry, but then I realized it was just my eyes.  Not only that, but tears were streaming down my cheeks. Streaming! I didn’t want to wipe them for fear she would see that movement from the corner of her eye and it would trip her up. That and I didn’t want anyone else to know I was losing it. Because, you know, I have a reputation to maintain.

Todd didn’t fare any better.

What’s wrong with me? Where’s the soulless ice queen? Dang. The hard shell of my heart has been breached. I’m going to have to do something about that before her graduation in June and college in the fall.

Am I Next?

mr. billKatie’s car went in to the shop this morning for its annual inspection. Which is to say Todd and I took Katie’s car in because she had school. What she didn’t have was the current insurance card in her glove compartment. So after much running around (wherein Todd and I took advantage of some sweet deals at Costco) I took a copy of the card in so the inspectors could inspect.

The insurance card debacle called to mind last spring when Taylor took his truck in for its inspection while he was home on break, only to be denied the required stickers because his registration was locked away in his safe. At school. In a completely different state. And this after I had mailed it to him with a note which read, “sign this and place it in the glove compartment of your truck.” But do they listen to Mom? Rarely.

As fate would have it, this incident was closely followed by Todd’s turn for an inspection wherein he, too, lacked the requisite registration. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Which meant we had to order a duplicate.

I now request a duplicate registration to keep in our files here at home just in case…

My first thought this morning was one of boastful pride. Pride that I’m the only one in my family who always has the proper documents when I take the car in for inspection. My next thought came less than a split second later. The fact that my Type A Todd had misplaced an important piece of paper leads me to believe it’s only a matter of time.

Now I’m paranoid.

On another note, and yet related, I was saddened to find out that Katie didn’t have all the presets on her stereo set.  It made me feel like a parental failure. Todd and I have always done our best to educate our children musically, even going so far as to surprising them with pop quizzes without warning when a classic rock song would come on the radio and asking, “Who sings this?” Both kids knew the full depth of our disappointment when they would fail the pop quizzes. Failure was rare.

To realize that she’d only fixed three out of the six presets hurt me. So I fixed the other three. And not with country. Because I don’t do country.

Then I found out they don’t hold the presets.

That made me feel so much better.

 

 

 

A Follower of Marxism

marxismMarxism seems to have a cycle and it morphs just a little each time it comes back around. If you were a teenager or thereabouts in the 80’s, then you are probably familiar with the particular form of Marxism I want to talk about today.

Richard Marxism.

richard marxI admit that I crushed on him back in the day. My favorite Richard Marx song from that time period is “Don’t Mean Nothin'”. That’s when he met his video costar, Cynthia Rhoades (also known as Penny from Dirty Dancing), who has been Mrs. Marx for the past 23+ years. Which makes me crush on him even more. If I was into crushing on men other than my husband, that is. Which I’m not. Because he’s been Mr. Jenster for the past 24+ years and I find that hot.

Let’s just take a moment and watch that video, shall we?

He’s cute, isn’t he? And she’s beautiful. And they make a cute couple and I love that they are happy and raised their three boys and are not Hollywood.

I feel that Richard Marx has been greatly underestimated over the past 25 years. He’s incredibly talented and has not only written all his own songs, but he’s also composed and produced many other artists – Barbara Streisand, Keith Urban, Luther Vandross, Hugh Jackman, Natalie Cole, LeAnne Rimes, Daughtry, Lifehouse, Vince Gill, just to name a few.

Let’s just say for a second that I was a stalker. If I was I would totally be stalking him right now. He’s in Pennsylvania this very minute. He was on QVC with his three sons the other day (they’re very talented singers as well), in York last night and in Sellersville this evening. I told Mr. Jenster that if he wasn’t in Ohio he would be taking me to see Richard Marx tonight.

Why this seemingly sudden interest in Marxism?  I saw this video on Yahoo. It’s his new Christmas song, but he’s hardly in it. Instead it’s full of his friends – several that you will know – lip synching. See how many you recognize.

 

I think I’ll embrace my Marxism and go listen to his new Christmas album that I bought yesterday.

Bragging Rights

I love our church and Sunday mornings are nearly always a joy for me. But there’s one Sunday each year that is my absolute favorite. Student Worship Sunday. This year it happened last Sunday, July 1st.

Yes, I’m a bit partial to one of the singers, seeing as how I birthed her and all. But there is something so moving about watching these kids – all of them – use their incredible talents to lead the congregation in worship.

This first video is of the worship set. The members of the band are: Eric, Student Arts Pastor, guitar and vocals (the dude leading the band); Brad (no relation, though he calls me Mom and I call him son), lead guitar; JC (not actually a student, but all the drummers were out of town so he helped out), drums; Joelle, bass; Erin, keyboards; Katie and Ashley, vocals.

Worship (07-01-12) from CHRIST’S CHURCH OF THE VALLEY on Vimeo.

This next is the communion set with Eric and Katie.

07-01-12 Communion from CHRIST’S CHURCH OF THE VALLEY on Vimeo.

Last (and most definitely least) is a promotional video that Eric and Adam, our High School Pastor, put together for Stretch. Stretch is our very awesome middle school event. And as an added note, Eric wrote this song the night before they filmed this. It’s too bad they don’t have any fun at work.

2012 Stretch Full Throttle Music Video from CHRIST’S CHURCH OF THE VALLEY on Vimeo.

Did You Say 2011??

I’m having a hard time conceiving of the notion it’s 2011. I know I say this every year, but where the heck did the last twelve months go??

As far as years go, 2010 was a pretty good one for us.  Taylor saw the most milestones – turning 18, graduating from high school and going to college out of state. The rest of us weren’t without our own landmark events. Katie turned 16 and recently got her driver’s permit. On Thursday Todd finished his run with the company he’d been with and will begin a new adventure in his career on Monday. As for myself, 2010 just maintained the status quo and that was fine with me.

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2011 holds for us, but I’m not in a rush to get there. I’d kind of like to take this year a little slower, please.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Todd and I went to our neighbors’ house up the street last night and had a great time. It was fun just hanging out with friends and catching up. We seriously have the greatest neighbors/friends. Seriously. Be jealous if you must.

Last night was also Countdown, the annual New Year’s Eve party for both the Junior and Senior high students at church. Taylor played electric guitar and Katie was one of the singers so I ducked out of the party around 11:00 to go watch them.

Here are two of the eight videos I took last night. Both the audio and the visual are lacking, but I think they’re better than nothing. Watch at your own risk, however. I was holding the camera above my head and switching hands when my arm started burning. I also kept forgetting what I was doing and found myself dancing around to the music and sometimes watching the kids instead of the video screen. Just be glad I wasn’t singing out loud.

“Hey, Soul Sister”, lead by Katie, Shannon providing backup and Matt on acoustic guitar:

“In My Head”, lead by Matt, Shannon on keyboard and Taylor playing electric guitar:



Thankful – Day Thirteen

Today I’m thankful for music. I love, adore, cherish, treasure, esteem, etc., music. I love to listen to all types of music – classical, rock, alternative, Christian, blue grass, jazz, gospel, country – to name a few. I also love to sing and/or play my piano, albeit for my ears only. Music makes long road trips worth every minute. It also makes housework easier. It can soothe me or pump me up.

Sometimes it’s the melody. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is so beyond beautiful to me that it makes me cry. Even when I play the first movement on the piano I’m sometimes moved to tears. Of course, that might be more because of my playing and my cursed short fingers. But you get the idea. There are some pieces of music that are as breathtaking as the most beautiful sunset.

Sometimes it’s the crazy, wonderful beat. House work is so much more bearable when I can bop around (with no one to watch) and it just makes the time fly by.

Sometimes it’s the songs that are fun to sing. Katie and I always have a great time when we plug in the iPod and sing along as we’re driving around – the longer the trip the better!

And sometimes it’s the meaning behind the words. For me personally (and I know a lot of others are the same way) singing is the greatest form of worship. I can feel far from God one minute and then feel his presence acutely in the next minute as I sing praises to Him. I have my mornings when I pick up my Bible or try to pray and feel absolutely nothing. When that happens I stop what I’m doing and sing. Maybe it’s an old hymn or maybe it’s a new worship song – it doesn’t really make any difference. Then all of a sudden my heart starts to melt and I am no longer an automaton just doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I am engaged and enthralled and I’m not just reading some book. I’m reading a love letter written to me. (Okay. I give. So sometimes I’m reading something really heinous and violent with not a lot of love, but it’s still a really great book and God’s fingerprints are all over it.) Or if I’m praying I’m no longer just talking to the air. I’m chatting with the creator of the universe. THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE!

It would be great if I could sing like Idina Menzel or play the piano like Liberace, but I can’t and I’m okay with it. The enjoyment these centuries of gifted musicians provide to me is priceless. And I’m so thankful that something as simple as a pleasant tune can turn my day around. I’m thankful that I grew up in a home where music was appreciated and sometimes even revered and that legacy, if you will, has been passed down.

An on that note (pun intended), I think I’ll go play my piano now.

A Little This, A Little That

Geezo, peezo. I move over to this brand-spankin’ new blog and then I don’t post anything. What’s up with that? I don’t really have anything to write about so I’ll just go random here.

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I’m tired of hot weather. I wish it was fall.

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Todd and I are watching “Purple Rain”. Why? I have no idea. Other than it’s a little nostalgic for us. We saw it the first summer we dated in 1984. The next day I came down with the flu. I don’t believe there’s a connection, but if I end up really sick tomorrow we’ll know why.

***

I’m done with summer.

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Taylor and Katie were in the worship band last night at church, Taylor’s last time before leaving for school. I taped it with our Sony Handycam and I can’t download it to the computer because the software is outdated. We bought it in 2005! I spent a few hours last night getting an online update from Sony and doing everything they told me to do and it still doesn’t work. Eventually we’ll get it figured out (“we’ll” as in Todd) and I’ll be able to download (or is that upload) the video and you’ll be able to watch. They’re awesome. Of course, I’m a little very biased.

***

Fallish weather would be nice.

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Speaking of Taylor, we drive him to college on Saturday. I’m not thinking about the coming home without him part. I choose to think of it as a road trip, complete with car snacks and a stop at Cracker Barrel.

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I’m ready for fall.

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Preschool starts in a few weeks which means we’re in gear up mode at work. I’m a little concerned because I’m not concerned. Know what I mean? 

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Did I mention I wish it was fall?

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Purple Rain is over and now we’re watching Journey in concert. The new Journey with the new singer. He sounds eerily just like Steve Perry! He’s also very thin and has long dark hair so if you squint he even looks like Steve Perry. Freaky!

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I hear thunder rumbling outside. Mayhap that means fall is coming!

My Rock Star

Sunday night Katie sang lead on one of the songs at Youth Group. One of the tech guys (Thanks Flitter!!) graciously taped it for us on his own camera and made a YouTube video for us. The sound isn’t premium, but it’s not horrible. Sadly, Taylor is playing guitar stage left but he’s not in the video. That will have to wait for another time.

So now, without further ado, I give you Katie, singing “Mighty To Save”

Just A Few Things

I finally got a donation button put on my sidebar, but I can’t figure out how to put my progress indicator over there. So I will try to get one of those tickers like Sing 4 Joy has on her blog at some point this week. I am thrilled to say that I’ve received over $1,800 so far!

Did you notice my new picture? I think my family thought I had lost my mind as I shoved the kitchen table around so the light and shadow would be just how I wanted it. Oh, and the big cup of hot cocoa with all the whipped cream I made just for the picture. Of course I had to drink it all, too. Isn’t that the prettiest cup? My sister-in-law, Rachele, gave it to me for Christmas. And it holds a ton of liquid, too! It doesn’t get better than that.

Todd and I went to New Balance in King of Prussia mall yesterday and bought two pairs of shoes each so we can start training in earnest. New Balance is a Susan G. Komen sponsor so not only do my shoes have a cute little pink ribbon, but we received a discount as well. Todd’s not so lucky because his shoes don’t have a ribbon on them.

I’ve decided I don’t want to be Mother of the Year anymore. It’s too much work and it’s not any fun. I think the fact that I made it an entire month AND I have two teenagers is quite an accomplishment in itself. I’m also pretty sure the fact I’ve been rethinking having children – even though it’s nearly 17 years too late – takes me out of the running. They haven’t been bad or anything. They just require too much of me. Do I look like a waitress? Do I look like a personal chef? Do I look like a cab driver? Do I look like an ATM? Do I look like a personal secretary? Okay. So I probably do look like a few of those, but that’s totally beside the point.

After nearly record breaking cold weather we got up into the mid-fifties today! It smelled like spring and was divine! Except the snow has all melted and our side yard is one big mud puddle. Brady came over and the dogs ran around attacking each other. And of course my dog had to jump up on Bill and Laura with her filthy muddy paws. What a little brat. Todd had to give her bath after all that fun. But the worst part about all the melted snow is finding all the thawed out poop. Ick!

I’m watching the end of the Grammy’s. I thought it was a pretty decent show tonight. Jennifer Hudson sang flawlessly with that beautiful, robust voice of hers and had a hard time holding it together when she finished. My heart just hurt for her, poor thing.

So there’s a little smattering of what’s been going on around here. Happy week!