musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “music”

new fave thing & convo with the captain

Captain Comic: How’d they DO that?
Mom: I don’t know, but it’s really creative and innovative, don’t you think?
Capt. Comic: But how did they do it? Did they like draw it with a stick burning into the toast?
Mom: The images are so consistent from one piece of toast to the other, I wonder if they have some kind of a stamp thing they add lines of something to, and heat up to burn into the toast…
Captain Comic: That wastes a huge amount of toast!
Mom (falls over laughing)

bravery

When I was a kid and teen, I spent a lot of time on stages in dance recitals and in choirs, specialty choirs, and in a few plays. I had dreams of being a Broadway star or a movie star, or rock star in the way that any fifteen year old girl dreams what she dares to dream.

The drama teacher I had in high school had an approach that was very intimidating for me at that time. She terrified me. She terrified me right off of the stage. I don’t know why I let her get to me so much, well I have an inkling, but I don’t really want to get into here, this is not a therapy session, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of battling my personal demons.

After one play in which I had a decent role, and one background chorus part in a musical my freshman year, I never went back. My mantra for years afterward was, if I have to deal with another director like that, I don’t even want to do this anymore.

I continued to do chorus in college, but didn’t seek out solos anymore. I was terrified anyone would hear my individual voice. I hung around a bunch of bands and musicians, secretly wishing I would just jump in and join them, but I never did. I was a party to infinite jam sessions in college and beyond. I even felt intimidated to learn to play guitar, though I carried one from one dorm room to another, to apartments in Boston and beyond. It was an old one my mother had picked up in a pawn shop in the mid-fifties that never held a tuning.

After college, I still longed to do something like that, but was too chicken. Slowly, I was led back onto  a stage of sorts, reading my poetry at coffeehouses and getting featured gigs. I was still terrified, and anyone who saw me give those earliest readings especially, can tell you how much my leg shook, which was violently. My teeth chattered, too. Not so great an effect when you’re baring your poetic soul into a microphone.

I never did get used to mics. I learned to tolerate the presence of one in front of my face, but, never enjoyed hearing my voice hovering around my words as I spoke them.

I have always sung at home, and in my car. But I’m self-conscious about singing in front of others besides my family. Captain Comic’s sensory sensitivities also put a damper on my singing, as I can’t sing freely, without him suddenly and vehemently saying he can’t take it, stop!

But something happened as I reached my mid-forties. I didn’t care so much about what I couldn’t do anymore. I didn’t care about intimidation I felt when I heard someone with a beautiful voice do a solo on Sunday morning, I didn’t feel particularly intimidated by professionals when I went to concerts. I just felt like I wanted to get up and sing again, after over twenty years without a chorus, only singing in the shower, in the car, or in the kitchen, with someone screaming for me to stop it. I joined the choir at my fellowship. I was comforted and felt the joy of blending voices again. I did a solo line in a song surrounded by them last year, and another, actually the same one, again this spring.

And then the music director said, if anyone wants to do a guest song during a Sunday service, he would help make it happen.

And then I got an Idea. And it grew, and I sent a song to the minister, choir director and music director. And then things started to happen. For Real. It wasn’t just an idea anymore. In the end, it didn’t happen quite how I thought it would, but it happened, this Sunday. I sang a capella in front of an audience, on a mic, with virtually no rehearsal. I faced my fears square on, and loved it. And then my heart did arrhythmic flip flops after the second service performance.

Honey took a bit of cellphone video, and I find it incredibly hard to listen to or watch. I do not have the control of my voice I once had, when I sang with a lot more practice twenty some odd years ago. I think I do, and then I heard this. I am going to share it, because I need to face my fear and embarassment because only through doing so, will I be free of it. Besides, I did sing in front of people. On a microphone. All by myself. If Toots can be proud of jumping off a curb enough to say, “Yay! I did it! I did it! I jumped off the curb!” Then I can be proud of myself, in all my imperfections. Because I faced what most terrified me in my life, and did it anyway.

It’s just a piece of the piece, but this is me, as is.  Thanks for listening.

mayhem, garden, creativity, sing

The blur continues through the week, hence my absence here.

I did manage two library sessions of over two hours a piece. Tuesday, I finished edits to the chapter where I had left in the middle, a longer one, and Wednesday I edited the following, shorter chapter. I left after that because a man joined me at the table where I sat and proceeded to attempt games of footsie with me. I would have thought that the 5th time I kicked his foot way and said excuse me in a very annoyed manner, that he would have gotten the hint.  Dude, I may be friendly, but I’m not THAT friendly. And there were plenty of other tables in the room. But I finished editing a whole chapter, regardless, and feel like I won that little confrontation.

In the garden this week I discovered snap pea pods, and Toots and I have been enjoying them straight from the plant, in the hot sun. She eats them like some people eat Oreos. She peels them open, eats the peas out then consumes the pod sides individually.

That’s another thing, it has been super hot here, very demotivational when there is so much going on. I feel for my little black dog, whose fur feels as hot as stove burner to my touch. I have been sheathed in sweat when outside for very short periods of time. Summer has arrived early and fierce. Somewhere is a piece of paper with a poem half-written about it, written upon my steering wheel outside of Mr. Cynic’s bass lesson.

Speaking of Mr. Cynic, last night an awards banquet was held for his school choirs. His teacher/choir director has a great relationship with his students. The seniors saying goodbye to him called him a second father figure. In his words to them, he had to pause from the emotion of sending them off. Of course, it didn’t help that his daughter is one of the graduating seniors. I am very happy that Mr. Cynic will be under his tutelage for his whole high school career. Everyone should have a teacher who loves and lifts his students as much as Mr. P. I hope in my years in public schools that I was half that for mine. Some of the toughest ones thanked me, and that means a lot, and will for the rest of my life.

At some point this week, I found a forgotten piece of Memorial Day’s events in my purse:
Captain Comic discovered the free photo booth at the WHRO tent at Town Point Park in Norfolk. It took a while for him to warm up, which of course just makes it funnier. He also folded and stuck his in his pocket.

And then he tried out some ninja moves:

And then he told me about it and some of us got very silly, while he played it straight. He always has to do the opposite. 

 And then Toots had to do it herself. The woman running the booth expressed she probably wasn’t tall enough without my lap, but that didn’t stop her, the little nutball. It took a minute for her to realize it was taking her picture.

Yesterday, I fell in love with my garden. Sorry, cellphone again, batteries still dead in other camera.
There is something very sexy about bean plants tendrilling up poles, especially when I grew them from seeds. Every gardener knows what I am talking about.
This weekend is over-scheduled, too. Next weekend, I hope I can quit this. Part of this week’s mayhem was a two day scramble session to get things in place for my solo singing this Sunday morning. The pianist got sick, we hadn’t rehearsed together, turns out the music I scrambled to get was in a different key from the recording, which Mr. Cynic, on bass, and I had practiced. His bass teacher kindly and late one night, after receiving a flurry of panicked texts from me,  transcribed three different keys for him just in case, but in the end, I am going to do the number a capella.  
I am going to get up and sing in front of two ‘audiences’, essentially, naked – without accompaniment. 
The reason I never became a rock star is I was too chicken to sing by myself in front of an audience for the past twenty-five years. I have no trouble as long as I stand with a choir. I’ll even sing a solo line as long as I am surrounded.
But my voice, alone?  
And then I turned forty-five, and no longer feel chicken, just a bit nervous and excited, and that’s a good thing. Wish me luck. Please.

saturday morning convo

Grandma, Honey and I volunteer for the Virginia Arts Festival. Last night in Williamsburg, we ushered for a concert of Chick Corea and Gary Burton. Absolutely outstanding show, I was mesmerized. So was Honey. These are giants of jazz, for those who don’t know. Honey and I had to educate a few of the other volunteers a little bit about who these musicians were. I forget sometimes that while there are some people who are absolutely fanatical about jazz – like one guy I saw keeping set lists, there are many more who have never dipped their toes in that syncopated water. Honey and I fall somewhere between those extremes, a little closer to the fanatics.

So while all three adults of the house were in Williamsburg, Mr. Cynic babysat. Babysitting largely comprised of viewings of Kung Fu Panda, expected, and apparently Captain Comic added Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.  


This morning, after our late night arrival home, Toots wanted to wake us – twice. The second time, she climbed into our bed with the Jimmy Neutron DVD case in hand.

Toots (points to the picture on the cover): Das Jimmy Neutron.
Mom: M-hm.
Toots: And das Carl.
Mom: M-hm.
Toots: And das Jimmy Neutron’s dog, Tonnor.
Mom: I don’t think Jimmy Neutron’s dog’s name is Connor. Daddy, isn’t it something like Einstein?
Honey (slowly rouses from sleep): …………………………………………Goddard.
Mom: Oh yea, the dog is named after a famous scientist, Goddard.
Toots: We sing dat in pweschool.
Mom:  What?
Toots: Goddard.
Mom: What?
Toots: We sing Goddard in pweschool, before we eat.
Mom (light slowly dawns): OH!
Toots (sings): Goddard fadder, Goddard fadder, we thank you, we thank you…..
Mom (chuckles): That’s God our Father, not Goddard, silly!
Toots: Oh.

welcome the jungle

Whoa is me, I’ve had an emotional week, a lack of sleep throughout it and my weekend, once again, is packed to the gills.

Wah, Wah, Wah, I hate whining.

Mr. Cynic’s concert was incredible. His Jazz Choir is better even than my bragging about it. Toots bounced around her seat and between Honey’s lap and mine. Captain Comic had a sensory issue as the audience began to fill the front section around us. An old man kept looking at me like “Why can’t you discipline your kid?” So after a few attempts, I decided to let Capt. Comic do what his instincts dictated, and let him have a seat all the way in the back center of the auditorium rather than fight it. I went up to blackmail inspire him to not move from his chosen seat with a threat that if he did so, he would lose all access to screens for a solid week. He stayed put. I turned around to check periodically throughout all three choirs’ numbers. As long as I saw his knees hanging over the seat in front of him, all was good. Mr. Cynic’s Jazz Choir was on last. During the second to last number – after the Hanna- Barbera Spiderman theme, of course – I felt a tap on my shoulder. and a whisper right in my ear:

Captain Comic: Mom. I need a drink.
Mom:  Go.

The choices we mothers make. I went with finish watching one son as he excels and trust the one to worry about will be okay on his own to find a drinking fountain and not get into trouble. And guess what?  It worked out. I sent Honey to collect him while I took Toots with me to go find Mr. Sparkly Red Vest. It only took a moment before I spotted Honey with Captain Comic in the hall with all of the singers before I even had a chance to hug my singer. Captain Comic beat me to it, literally, with a not so stealth pounce and grab knockdown tackle hug that took down all three siblings, and nearly me as well, as I had nearly reached hug contact with my eldest when he was hug attacked.

Honey took this phone pic of a mom and her progeny after the attack hug. It’s really the perfect shot of us all, exhausted and proud mom with her eyes closed, sleepy Toots, grinning from his performance Mr. Cynic, and goofball Captain Comic.

Life is good. Hug your kids, if you’ve got ’em. Happy Mother’s Day.

my heart is big

My son Mr. Cynic made his internet debut. He made this for a group AP History project. He wrote the songs, he acted, etc. The first song is a snippet of a prior project about, if I recall correctly, the Spanish Armada. The guys included it for a laugh from the class.

Can a mother be more proud of the musicality and creativity of her child? I don’t think so. I am soaring. Except that typo in some of the print stuff, but that must be one of the other kids.  😉

It’s on youtube.  Go ahead and share. 

my new favorite thing

Please enjoy while I go back to my edits.

The age old question:

Is it art?

I sure as heck think so. Brilliant, even.

take a moment

I must confess, now that my boys are visiting with their dad for a very long month for me, I went looking at my ex’s blog to see if he posted pics of them yet. Instead, I found this. What an amazing array of artists. What a beautiful version of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.
And just for fun, if I can’t sing like Emmylou Harris, I.must.have.her.hair.

think think think

The other day I blogged about thinking. Then I mentioned something about it on Facebook, and a friend sent me this link. I obsessed over the Moody Blues when I was about fourteen to sixteen years old, playing certain albums over and over, loudly – while singing loudly to them. My apologies to my family these many years hence.

Before I wax again so soon on this topic, I’ll just point you to the video.

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36lJMpzbOA4

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