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May 3, 2009

Whoa, people. I forgot about this thing, sort of. One reason: I got spooked as hell that having a blog discovered would get me fired, even if I wrote nothing about work.

But, get this: everybody has a blog, now. Nobody cares, and if they do, I don’t. Why? I got laid off last month. So, cue the “Welcom Back, Kotter” theme.


Officially official.

June 18, 2007

Today is a good day for my two-person family. My husband officially became ABD and I officially stopped worrying about it — so much so that I had a margarita at lunch, damn the consequences (not that there are any). Ne’er have I been so excited about the achievement of another person. Well, that isn’t true — some of my friends have done some really impressive stuff (some of them are doing awesome things right now), and I am always happy about that. It’s just that this has been hanging over our heads for years, it seems, and today it was made official and I could not be more thrilled for the man.

I think I’ll write a song about it. Want to hear it? Here it go:

I think that I did never see/
Letters more lovely than A-B-D/
And I’m as happy as I can be/
That you know so much about history/

Tra la, tra la la la/
Something, etc., hooray/
Let’s drink all night/
And sleep all day/
Hooray, tra la, hooray.

Look, don’t ask me how I do it, all right? It’s a gift from God.

Tonight there will be much rejoicing and, tomorrow, we get on with our lives.


Only practice makes a real Jam-Master.

May 29, 2007

Okay. Officially freaking out. Second song not working. I’m too dumb to write a dumb song!

I’m not singing anywhere, either, and have no interest in going to shows. Depression. It’s what’s for lunch. I will have to punch my way out of it, I’m afraid, and that is never fun.

“That Was My Then”

May 23, 2007

Admission: I have never watched “American Idol.” I have never seen a even more than five minutes of it. The reasons are many and varied, starting with 1) I don’t enjoy watching people humiliate themselves, even if they emerge triumphant; and ending with 2) mostly, the singing, even when it is good, gets on my nerves.

Last night, however, I was in a restaurant which had it blaring over the bar and, with no other option since even normal conversation was precluded by the volume, I sat there transfixed while the two remaining contestants strangled out the deal-breaking original song “This is My Now.”

I laughed a hollow, mirthless laugh. One filled with disdain and jealousy. “Next year,” I said to my husband, “I am writing a song for ‘American Idol.'” Because, y’all… please tell me what the phrase “this is my now” means. Please explain how we are not all living our “nows” right… now, all the time. This IS my now. And so is THIS. And now. And… NOW. Ugh.

“All wrapped up with a river?”

May 10, 2007

Ugh. I am trying to finish this second song for the piano guy and I am having a hard time. Here’s the problem: writing lyrics for a song that is not yet written is completely different than doing the opposite. When the music already exists, you have so much more freedom with the concept of the lyrics — you just have to fit words in where they fit, knowing that it’s not 100 percent important that they make perfect sense. You can throw in a casual “baby” and “ooh” and whatnot to cover the spaces. Here’s an example: I’m trying to psych myself up for the whole romance theme, and thought it might help to look at some love song lyrics. This is a verse from the Celine Dion song “Declaration of Love.”

You are my knight in armor
The hero of my heart
When you smile at me, I see
A true world go up
The river is getting deep, believe it
You’re all these arms of mine wanna hold
All wrapped up with a river
Baby, I’m giving you this heart of gold.

Um… now what’s all this about a river? And a true world going up? Was that written in French first and then translated into English? Because besides being just generally terrible, the words don’t make sense. It’s much easier to accept something like that when you hear it sung, because you’re mostly paying attention to the music and the voice. I always notice the words, though, and I get so caught up in weirdness like “wrapped up with a river” that it just kills a song for me.

What I’m trying to do now is write about someone always “being there” for [the singer] and I just wrote a verse that, when I sing it, sounds brilliant. But, when I read it on the page, I don’t think it actually means anything. I mean, you get the concept, but technically, it’s not a complete sentence and only theoretically makes sense. I wonder if that’s okay. I know I’m overthinking it, and that I need to loosen up, but then again I don’t want to write anything dumb. BLARGH! Pride is the great strangler… wow — that will be a great album title some day.

 Okay. Back to it. I’m just going to try to put some stuff down and see what happens.


May 3, 2007

My husband is working through his comps process this week and it is like the rest of the world, and my life, has suddenly entered a Jell-O mold. I’m just hanging here in space, cheering as loud as I can, as he goes slo-mo into the breech. PhDs, my friends, are for suckers.

As soon as this is over, I can stop my nervous baking and chicken-salad-making and all around boot-shaking and get down to the writing of this second song for the piano dude. It’s got to get done, and I am nervous about it.

I’ve also been having some weird vocal problems lately — just something I’ve noticed while singing in my car. Actually for the last few years, I have noticed a change in my voice, not in the tone, but just how it physically feels to sing. I worried for a while I was unconciously doing something different and straining myself, but I am afraid now that this weird feeling in my throat may actually have something to do with my thyroid. So, I will have to get that investigated.

Meanwhile, I have a strong urge to return to my first love, choral singing, after a three-year hiatus. I had a staff job at a very, very good church for several years when I moved to Atlanta, but when we moved north of the city, I eventually gave it up. The reason had mostly to do with the travel time required, but also to do with the unbelievable vocal pressure I was under every week to show up at rehearsals and performances and blast like a foghorn while the director did the minimum amount of work required to teach, say, the freaking B minor mass to an amateur, albeit devoted and talented, choir.  The guy just hated rehearsing and every week I left there feeling like someone had hit me with a sack of nickels, my knuckles still white from gripping the score. I don’t mind hard work when it comes to such beautiful works of art, and it paid pretty well, but when the upshot is me and three other people having to sing everything ffffff while everyone else hangs on for dear life, the experience is not artistic for anyone.

Atlanta has an excellent symphony chorus, but after singing in Dallas’ for many years, I have avoided entering that life again. It’s such a commitment; I don’t know. I was about to write a big diatribe about enjoying my life without a choir director controlling it, but dang, I just looked and they are doing some good stuff in the coming season. A couple of things I’ve never done before. Hell. I will have to think on it. Auditions are in August.

Meanwhile: pretty, cheesey songs for the piano man and damn sad songs for my band. Please kick me in the pants, Internet, I need to get going.

April 20, 2007


photo from

Last night, Chris, Vince and I saw Brandi Carlile at the Variety. She threw a pick from stage and I got it, making me the second DM to acquire one of her picks at a show. “Now,” Vince said, “we must form a band.” After nearly killing us all for 1.5 hours, she brought out Emily Saliers to sing with her on the encore. I screamed like it was Elvis. We were ten feet away from the stage. So, obviously, it’s needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway: it was maybe the best show I’ve ever seen.

We were so high from it, we went home and wrote two songs. Then I went to bed and dreamed I met Brandi, had her write a funny autograph for Vince, and was invited to her house where I discovered she was married to Steve Buscemi. I really like Steve Buscemi, of course, but I even remember being outraged in the dream, because hello, I’m right here, Brandi, and I know I’m married and all, but still — Buscemi?

Anyway, what an awesome few days with crazy ol’ Vince, capped off by this most amazing of shows. Her voice blows my mind, and her songs are moving and intelligent. And she’s sort of unbelievably attractive, so… there IS no downside. If you’re not already a fan… I guess you’re deaf.

Best quote of the night that made smile a knowing smile: She was talking about touring with The Fray a few years back and getting frustrated because that band’s very young fans were not overly receptive to her music. “I don’t think these 14-year-old girls are ready for me,” she said. “Until they get to college.”