Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I CAN RAP! Okay, not really.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odfYvszRILY&feature=youtu.be

I did a little side project with a 17-year-old rapper. Here's the end result.


Monday, August 6, 2012

LEAVE ALREADY!

Have I ever told you about my ghost? Well, not MY ghost, but the ghost man who lives in my house? Well, we've got one. Right from the start, I felt his presence. I don't claim to be a psychic or a medium and I've only actually seen one full-bodied apparition in my entire life, which was one of my grandmothers and it was from a distance for a very brief moment, so it wasn't scary at all to me.

But the thought of seeing a full-bodied apparition ever again? No, thank you! I don't care WHO it is! I don't wanna' see it!

So, that being said, I don't know exactly what one would call my ability, but I do sense and feel things, and I see a lot of things in my mind's eye, which is hard to explain. For example, I've never actually laid eyes on the ghost man who lives in our house, but I know he's a man. An older gentleman. He died sometime in the 20th century, he was inhabiting this house before WE came along, and he does NOT appreciate the noise our family creates.

I also know what our ghost man looks like. I see him in my mind as though I'm experiencing a memory of someone I've seen before, though I can honestly say I don't ever recall seeing this man before in my life. And there's one more thing - his name's not George. We discovered that one chilling evening when I headed to bed because, quite frankly, this ghost man's attempts to get my attention while working late one night were completely unnerving me and I had had enough. As I made my way down the narrow corridor to the master bedroom, I felt a very strong energy coming up behind me. I felt pressure on my back and a tingling sensation as though I knew someone was about to touch me, but they hadn't quite reached me yet. I got the sense this man wanted to communicate with me and was extremely frustrated with my unwillingness and the fact that I was now abandoning him for the safety of my bedroom - a room he cannot enter for some reason. He can only stand in the doorway and watch us. But when I shut the door, he's shut out.

As I flew into the bedroom, a rush of air whooshed past me in the hall and continued straight through the linen closet. I clutched my chest and gasped. My husband shot straight up in bed and asked what was going on.

"The ghost man," I panted. "He came after me in the hall. He's mad at me 'cause I won't talk to him."

Bert immediately leaped out of the bed and charged for the hallway where he stood and called out to the ghost. "Hey George," he said. "Are you bothering my wife?"

Just then, I felt completely agitated and, through gritted teeth, with a glare in my eye, I said, "His name's not George."

"Whoa!" Bert replied, throwing his hands up in defense. "What's going on with you?"

I gasped and shook my head. "Oh my gosh. I don't know. It's like something took over my body." In a panic, I pleaded with him to please shut the door. The moment the door latched shut, I grabbed his arm and said, "Please don't call him George. Don't even joke about it. It makes him mad, okay?"

He furrowed his brow. "How do you know?"

I thought for a moment and said, "I don't know. I just know his name's not George and he doesn't like it. I don't wanna' make him angry. Just please don't say it anymore, okay?"

Months later, as I relayed this story to a friend on the phone, she said, "That's creepy. Have you tried researching the property or asking around? Maybe somebody knows who this ghost guy is."

"I've done a little asking around, but this property used to be farmland and since this house has been built, it's been owned by the same man who is still alive and claims nobody has died here," I replied. As I spoke with my friend, I felt a very strong feeling like the ghost man was standing right there in the tiled hallway, staring at me. I nervously shifted my chair away, picked up a pen and began mindlessly doodling on a piece of paper, trying to keep my wits about me.

"So, what's the ghost man's name? Have you ever figured it out?" my friend asked.

"No," I lamented. "I have no idea." Just then I glanced down at the paper I had been doodling on. Without realizing it, I had written the name ALBERT on the paper. The rest was just scribbles. My heart leaped in my chest and the hair on my arms stood on end. "Oh my gosh," I muttered into the phone.

"What," my friend anxiously inquired.

"Oh my gosh," I muttered again. "I think his name is Albert." My breathing became shallow, my heart pounding wildly with fright as I explained that I had been staring out the window while my right hand mindlessly doodled on a piece of paper, and when I looked down, I saw the name on the paper.









Another fact about our resident ghost is the fact that he's confined to certain areas of the house, his favorite being our hallway where he is often heard shuffling up and down the tiled corridor. His second favorite area is the kitchen where he can often be heard milling about, opening and closing doors and cupboards, and setting his mug down hard on the counter.

To us, it's just the typical noises our fellow otherworldly inhabitant makes. To others, it's terribly frightening.

Now that I've set the stage, let me tell you what happened this past Saturday morning. As Bertrand and I packed and loaded our equipment in preparation for our show up north, we came to the realization that the case Bertrand had purchased to protect my keyboard was too small. "I have time to run to Guitar Center," he said. "It's open and Ryan (our guitarist) won't be here for another hour. Is it okay if I run and exchange this quick?"

"Sure," I said. Our kids were across the street at the neighbors' house and I still had packing and preparing to do so I welcomed the brief solitude I was being offered. Bertrand took off and I sat down at the piano, rehearsing a couple more songs. Fifteen minutes later, I retreated to the master bathroom. As I sat there, I heard a loud crashing sound. I perked up and muttered, "Oh no. I hope that wasn't my keyboard falling." I remembered Bert had propped it against the wall in the entryway where a tiled floor lay beneath. All I could think was, our show is doomed if that keyboard just fell and broke. Just then the bathroom door in the hall shut loudly. I gasped and craned my neck, listening intently again. I could hear shuffling and banging about in the other bathroom so I called out, "Bert? Is that you?" No answer.

"Bert?" I called louder. Still, there was no answer. My heart skipped a beat and my stomach fluttered with anxiety. "Who's here?" I shouted. Still, no answer. I sat as still as stone, straining to hear for any other noises. Just then the toilet in the hall bathroom flushed. I leaped up at that point and exited the bathroom. As I ran out into the hall, I called out again. An eerie chill ran up my spine as I encountered nothing but a silent, empty hallway. There stood my keyboard, still propped against the wall and seemingly unharmed.

Blowing out a sigh, I entered the office and sat at my husband's computer where I groaned and rubbed my temples for a moment in an attempt to calm my nerves before typing out our set list. Just then the phone rang. The caller ID showed Bert's cell phone. I picked up and asked, "Did you just stop by home and use the bathroom?"

"No," he impatiently replied. "Anyway, I think I found the right case for your keyboard."

"You're in Scottsdale already?" I cried out.

"Of course I'm in Scottsdale. I told you I was going to Guitar Center. What's going on?"

I gulped as a feeling of dread came over me. "Um ... I'm hearing things. Somebody just used our hall bathroom while I was in the master bathroom. I thought it was you."

"Maybe it was one of the kids," he said.

"No. They're across the street and the door is locked. They couldn't have come back home without me letting them in. I'm home alone ... kind of." As I spoke, I entered the kitchen and double checked the door. Sure enough, it was locked.

"Huh," he replied in a bored tone. "Well, I'm heading home in a bit. Have you heard from any of the other guys?"

Just then a rush of air whooshed past me from behind. I gasped and spun around. "What?" I said into the phone.

"Has Ryan called?" Bert asked.

"Uh ..." A strange noise seemed to be coming from the office just then. "No, I ... uh  ..." I walked toward the office and glanced about the room. There was nothing.

"K. Well I'll be home soon. Hey, are you packing the suitcase yet?"

"Not yet," I replied, then gasped and jumped again as a very loud shuffling noise echoed down the hall toward me. I whirled around, but nobody was there. "K. I've gotta' go. Weird things are happening right now."

"What do you mean?"

"Oh. Our ghost is having a little fun with me, it seems," I anxiously replied.

As I hit the end button on the phone, the sound of dishes moving in the sink caused me to jump and whirl around. "What the ..." A blast of air whooshed behind me and I squealed and spun around again, gasping for air. "What do you want?" I cried out. Shuffling footsteps sounded again in the hall so I dashed toward the sound, but again saw nothing. "Okay, I'm busy right now so leave me alone!" I called out.

And that was it. Everything stopped and I was left in peace until Bert arrived home. Later, as I relayed this story to my band mates, I came to the conclusion that perhaps Albert was upset with us because we've been holding a lot of loud band practices in our home lately and he wanted us to just leave town already and give him some peace. We were originally planning on leaving about two hours earlier than we did, so I suspect he was growing impatient with our major delay.

Anyway, it was a very creepy start to our weekend away.




















Monday, December 26, 2011

Carrot Stew

I started a tradition last year at Christmas. I decided I was going to take carrot stew and rolls around to all of my neighbors. This was all inspired when last December I woke up one morning, looked at the house next door and thought, "Oh my gosh! I've lived next door to the same people for 3 1/2 years and I've never met them."

So I made a huge pot of carrot stew, purchased tupper ware from the dollar store, bought a bag of Rhodes frozen rolls because I don't do homemade bread so that's the best people are gonna' get from me, and I made up some homemade Christmas gifts.

It's healthy, it's cheap, and, gosh darn it, people like it!

My family was introduced to this stuff when we lived in Scotland years ago. A lady invited us all over for some carrot stew. I was 12 years old at the time and I remember crinkling up my nose and thinking, "Carrot stew? That sounds weird." But it was amazing and luckily my mother had the good sense to ask the woman for the recipe, which she gladly shared.

Just on a side note, I also remember that the woman lived in a house that was like a maze. It was the strangest floor plan I'd ever seen - but a lot of fun for kids to run around in and play hide and seek. Also, they had a large dog and rabbit that were best friends. Random, I know, but an interesting little tidbit that's connected with the memory of my first carrot stew experience.

Now, I don't know if I make it exactly the same way as the woman or my mother, but here's how I make it so here's what you're gonna' get:

CARROT STEW

6 carrots
3 potatoes
4 celery stalks
1 small onion
1 tsp garlic
Dill
Parsley
Salt
Pepper
Butter
4 Chicken bouillon cubes

Peel carrots and potatoes and put them in a pot to boil.

Finely chop onion and celery and saute in butter with garlic (I use about 2 tablespoons of butter). Add dill, parsley, salt and pepper - as much or as little as you want. I go easy on the salt and pepper, but I add about 1 to 2 tsp each of dill and parsley.

When everything is soft, spoon in carrots and potatoes, then celery and onion mixture, then carrots and potatoes and celery and onion mixture, back and forth until the blender is filled. Puree everything and dump into a bigger pot. (I always spoon in some of the water from the carrot and potato water to the blender so the vegetables will blend up nice and creamy) Then spoon in more carrots and potatoes and celery and onion mixture and puree. Do this until everything has been pureed.

Once everything is in the pot, add a little water until creamy soup is the desired thickness (or thinness - I prefer mine a little thicker and creamier). Add 4 chicken bouillon cubes while soup is simmering. Salt and pepper to taste.

So, there you go.

I quadruple this recipe and it makes enough to give to 10 families.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Who Knew Willcox, AZ Was So Exciting?

My husband plays drums for another band besides The Mending Seed - The Jarred Truschke Band. I'm not sure if that's what it's actually called. Maybe it's just Jarred Truschke. Doesn't really matter. What matters is the music is good. Okay, that's a gross understatement. It's Jack Johnson meets...I don't know. Someone. Someone with cool beats. You'll just have to hear it to believe it. They're working on recording an album within the next two weeks so there will be something to show soon.

ANYWAY....so Jarred is from Willcox, Arizona and Jarred's father put together an event down in Willcox where people from Willcox could share their music with the community. There were other things going on, as well. Sounded cool. Something different. We had been warned that there really wasn't much to do in Willcox, but then we had to weigh in our other hand the fact that we were being provided a free hotel room and the opportunity for Bert to play live on his drums, so we decided to just go and enjoy the event and the time away from our kids.

The plan (okay MY plan) was for us to arrive in town, check in to the hotel, me take a shower and apply make up and put on something decent to wear. About thirty minutes from our destination I was informed that plans had changed. We were to go to Jarred's brother's house. I took note of the time and the fact that the guys were supposed to be on stage in approximately three hours and thought, "Hm. This little plan of mine is looking grim." Therefore, I applied makeup in a bumpy, diesel truck with the sun beating on me, washing out my face. You could say I looked like a $2 hooker. Sorry. That's what happens when the mirror tells you your face has no color so you proceed to apply five layers of blush only to discover at a later hour in a bathroom mirror with better lighting that...you look like a $2 hooker.

I then did a quick look over of my hairdo. It wasn't too bad. I figured a bit of pomade and some flat ironing action in Jarred's brother's bathroom would be good enough under the circumstances.

And then we arrived in Willcox. We headed straight to Jarred's brother, Jonathan's house and they welcomed us into their beautiful remodeled home and filled us up with delicious homemade shredded pork tacos. I took a trip to their beach-themed bathroom and emerged stating, "Wow. That is a nice bathroom. That's nicer than any room in my house." We enjoyed visiting with them and hearing about their life in Willcox. Turns out it's much more exciting down there than I thought.

Not only is a good portion of the town haunted, but Jonathan, a high school English teacher, has some interesting stories. He told us a story of one of his students showing up one day with a knife. He confiscated the knife and turned it into the front office only to be informed the kid was a convicted felon.

Good to know.

The kid was expelled and sentenced for bringing a knife to school. The end.

Or not.

He showed up some time later, burst into Jonathan's classroom and threatened his life. Fortunately he was caught before laying hands on Jonathan, but the good news is he's just recently moved in RIGHT across the street. And they lived happily ever after.

And by happily ever after I mean Jonathan had to file an injunction so that the kid couldn't harrass him (actually the kid is an adult now) and so the guy doesn't dare say a word to Jonathan. He just stands out front with his pit bull and stares Jonathan down while he mows his lawn...and also spits on any guest's vehicles, as we discovered a short time later. Nice.

"Sorry about my neighbors", Jonathan apologized. "I promise my street is nice, except for the people across the street, which includes a lady who's under house arrest right now and wears an ankle bracelet."

"That guy who threatened your life lives with some lady with an ankle bracelet? Wow. What is she? His girlfriend or something?" I asked, completely appalled.

"No", he replied. "It's his mom."

THAT EXPLAINS IT ALL!

After giving our condolences, we checked the time and realized we needed to get down to the park. It was almost time to play.

Upon arriving at the event, our ears were assaulted by some character in a sparkly blue sequined shirt moaning some Neil Diamond tunes. As the time ticked on and 7:30 fast approached...and came and went...and the guys were still waiting in the wings for Neil Diamond's yawn-worthy twin to come out of his self-induced hypnotic state and get off the stage, we got a little nervous. There was no place for Bert's electronic drum set. We asked the sound guy if we could pull some of the acoustic set off and he said, "Nope. Can't move it." So we went for plan B and set Bert's drums up in front of the stage.

That scared 'em off!

The people were scrambling with their lawn chairs and belongings, trying to get as far back as possible. I thought, "Um...those are electronic, i.e. they plug into an amp and have a volume control, but...okay." I sat proudly in front - by myself.

Then the trouble started. Bert's electronic drums weren't coming through the amp properly. They tried to fix the problem alone, then looked around for the sound guy. He was nowhere to be found. We were on our own. With no knowledge of how and where the system was dialed in, we were left to fend for ourselves and failed miserably. Fifteen minutes passed before I whispered to Bert, "Babe! You've wasted 15 minutes. Hop up on those acoustic drums or get off the stage and leave Jarred to do his thing. QUICK!" He opted for the acoustic drum set on stage. And so, finally, their set began. There was feedback, Bert couldn't hear Jarred AT ALL, and Jarred's microphone was way too soft, which, despite cranking full volume on it, never got any louder.

"Where the heck is the dang sound guy?" was all we could think.

After two songs, the sound guy magically reappeared! And shouted "4 minutes!" That was it. He let the Neil Diamond wannabe go five minutes over, he disappeared on us, and then he gave the guys the chance to play only 3 songs. We drove 3 1/2 hours for them to play THREE SONGS! The moment they finished their third song, the sound guy leaped up on the stage, grabbed a different mic, which was cranked up, and shouted, "This next band is something you haven't heard in a while, folks. I'm proud to introduce the..." I have no idea what he said after that. I was flabbergasted. It doesn't get any more unprofessional and rude than that.

In a surprising news flash - the next band up was THE SOUND GUY'S BAND! SURPRISE!

We certainly weren't.

Oh, not only was it his band, it was one of THREE bands he had booked for that night, giving all three of his bands one-hour sets and everyone else 30 minutes.

Not cool.

And also his bands were lame...unless you enjoy watching 50 to 60-year-old's drawl old country western tunes.

To say we were angry was a gross understatement. We were piss and vinegar mad. As we took our equipment back to the truck, Bert relayed the fact that some old lady behind the stage was yelling at him to play the drums softer....like the old dudes before him who gently tapped out a simple beat.

When he told me later that he couldn't hear Jarred at all and had some old lady yelling at him while he played, I was shocked. You never would have known. He was right on with Jarred, which is a testament to both musician's skills - Bert can play from memory on songs he doesn't know well and Jarred can keep up.

The good news: A photographer from the local paper took photos of the guys playing and later asked Jarred's wife (not knowing she was his wife), "Who is this band? They're really good." We also heard the next morning that other people approached Jarred's father and wanted to know what type of music he was playing and lamented that they wished they could have heard more.

In karma news: The rude dude who was more interested in promoting himself blew out his amp and had to end his set early. And also the old lady who yelled at Bert was the rude dude's wife. This dude ended up throwing stuff and yelling at his own wife in the end.

That darn karma. Gotta' watch out for that.

And so the night ended. Well...our night at the event. And we took off back to Jonathan's house.

I thought perhaps we'd visit a while, then head to our hotel room, watch a little TV and fall asleep.

"You guys wanna' go ghost hunting?" Jarred asked.

We perked right up.

Jarred and Jonathan have a grandmother who has lived with a ghost for years. Her house is actually registered as a haunted house in Willcox. She no longer lives in it, but the bank hasn't changed the locks, so we had full access.

"The house is creepy", we were informed. "Just wait 'til you see the outside of it. It's got kind of a Hitler 'stache goin' on." Sure enough, the little old house had two bushes on each side, pretty much resembling a Hitler 'stache. In the creepy looks department, it didn't disappoint. Knowing it was a registered haunted house might have enhanced it a bit.

We did a quick glance about the street to make sure nobody was watching us enter a well known vacant property - we didn't want any cops surprising us - and then stepped into the front room. The floor felt unstable beneath our feet, the air heavy. It smelled old and musty. My heart immediately broke into an even gallop. I tried to steady my breathing to slow it down, but to no avail.

"Hi Julia", Jarred half-whispered. "We're back, but we promise we're not going to hurt you."

My eyes widened. "Oh my gosh. This is really happening." I thought to myself. I parted my lips in the eerily street-lit front room to let more air into my tightened lungs. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, my heart leaped at the casting of shadows about the bare walls.

"She's here", Jarred informed us. "I can feel her."

"Oh my gosh", I thought again as I gulped and rolled my eyes backward, bracing myself against the wall. Though I've had many paranormal encounters, it's not something I generally seek out. I think it's safe to say I was terrified. I believe in ghosts. I had heard the stories associated with this house. And I believed she was there too. I just didn't want any personal confirmation of that. And I wasn't fully prepared for anyone to actually try to communicate with her right from the get go.

We went through a brief tour of the house, walking room to room as Jarred and Jonathan explained what room we were in each time. As we passed through the hallway into what looked like a dining room, I pointed to a door to my left. "What's in here?" I asked.

"That's where it gets creepy", Jarred replied.

I shuddered. "So, this is the dining room. Nice." I quickly changed the subject and tried to keep the mood light for my own sake. We toured the kitchen next.

"Be careful of the floor. It's really soft", Jarred warned. "A lot of activity happens in here."

I drew in a deep breath and blew it out, then tried to talk myself out of bolting.

Upon leaving the kitchen through the second entrance, Jarred asked, "Shall we go to the room?"

"The scary room?" I confirmed. "Where scary stuff happens?"

Jarred laughed then turned to his brother. "Do you wanna' lock the front door?"

"No", was Jonathan's prompt reply. "That's the last thing I wanna' do."

I chuckled...and silently agreed.

We were then led down a narrow hallway where the door to the room sat positioned at the very end, the door itself only slightly ajar. As we entered the room, we were informed that this was where a lady named Julia died. And also that several years, when the room underwent major renovations, which sparked all of the paranormal activity, some letters were found hidden in a wall - letters that Julia had written to herself. Letters that portrayed the madness that loomed inside her mind.

"What did the letters say?" Bertrand asked.

Just then a noise in the house startled us. "Did you hear that?" The guys all asked in unison. We all then confirmed that we had.

Just then I noticed something on the wall. Something written. I squinted in the dark and asked, "What's this on the wall?" Immediately thereafter I wasn't so sure I wanted to know.

"Oh, that's just something my mom painted on the wall when she was a teenager", Jarred replied casually.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief. "Oh. Okay."

Next we explored the master bedroom. At this point of the tour I vocalized my observation that every single cupboard in the house was open. Every single one. For some reason that just creeped me out. It just enhanced the creepiness. I mean, seriously - why is every single cupboard hanging wide open? It's scary. You had to be there.

Okay, moving on.

We walked single file down the narrow hallway back to the front room and at this point decided to do an EVP session - electronic voice phenomenon. It captures voices that you can't hear with your own ears. We stood at one end of the hallway and looked down into the room where the most activity happens. We had left the door completely wide open when we left so we could see right into the room from our end.

With Ghost Radars in hand, Bertrand and Jarred began speaking in soothing tones to Julia, inviting her to come closer with the promise that they wouldn't do her any harm. I gulped hard and remained completely still, looking over Bertrand's shoulder down the hall. I was impressed at how casually and easily the two men could speak with this unknown presence. I certainly wasn't going to say a word and seemingly neither was Jonathan. I looked away briefly and stared out a side window, trying to calm myself.

Suddenly Jarred gasped. "Did you see that?"

"Yeah!" Bertrand responded with excitement.

"What?" I asked, my anxiety increasing. "What did you just see?"

They both explained that a shadowy figure had passed by the doorway of the room.

I shuddered, but remained silent.

"Julia. Come closer to me", Bertrand invited. "Let me know that you're here."

I grit my teeth, my breathing becoming more shallow.

Just then the Ghost Radar showed movement of a figure moving down the hall toward Bertrand. A few seconds later he exclaimed, "I just felt a breath on my face, like someone was softly blowing." Then he showed us his arms. He had goosebumps. "I can feel her. She's right next to me."

I didn't doubt that. But I also didn't want to acknowledge or feel it, so I remained silent, as did Jonathan.

"Should we sit down in a circle?" Jarred asked.

"No", came Jonathan's prompt response.

I chuckled nervously. "I agree. I'm not sitting down."

A short while later we saw lights from the street as though a car had approached. Fearing someone had seen our car out front of the house and called the cops we decided to leave quick. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I relaxed the moment I walked down the front steps and into the open air.

We hopped into the car quick and sped off.

Our next stop - the old Pioneer Cemetery on the edge of town. Bertrand and I were informed that this was where Warren Earp was buried.

"Who?" We both asked.

"Warren", Jonathan and Jarred replied. "The youngest brother of Wyatt Earp."

We had never heard of him.

Apparently he wasn't involved in the OK Corral incident in Tombstone, though he did live there and serve as a deputy for a time under his older brother, Virgil. There's a whole history with Warren, though he's not as famous as his older brothers. Apparently Warren had a hot temper and people close to him often predicted he would die a violent death one day as a result. Sure enough in 1900, he was shot inside the Brown Saloon in Willcox, AZ after verbally abusing a man in a fight over (supposedly) a prostitute they were both interested in.

And now we were being driven down a dark, winding, dirt road in the middle of the night to his grave site.

"No flashlights this time", Jarred said to Jonathan.

Bertrand and I glanced at each other with concern in the back seat.

The brothers proceeded with a tale of caretakers who live a short distance from the old cemetery. They don't like people prowling late at night and so if they see anything suspicious, they'll come after you.

"And you don't go running after strangers in a cemetery in the middle of the night without some kind of protection", Jarred chuckled.

"What do you mean", I asked, apprehensively.

"Oh, they'll probably be carrying guns."

I shot a look of horror at Bertrand.

"Um...maybe we shouldn't do this", I said, trying to back out.

"Oh, we'll be fine", Jarred assured me. "We just have to be quiet."

Upon our arrival to the cemetery, we exited the car and stared in the direction of the caretaker's house, squinting in the dark for signs of any movement.

"Okay. I don't see anything right now. I think we're okay", Jonathan informed us.

And so we made our way to the cemetery entrance.

"There's a gate?!" Jarred exclaimed.

"It's locked", Jonathan replied.

"Oh well. I guess we can't go this time." I said.

"Nah", said Jarred. "We can just climb over."

My eyes widened in horror as the three men proceeded to enter the cemetery.

The gate was only mid thigh high for me, but still...we were blatantly trespassing in the middle of the night with the prospect of being hunted down by armed men if we were discovered.

Once inside, we squinted in the dimly moonlit cemetery with its man-made horseshoe path before us. The grave sites were intermingled with gnarly desert shrubbery, somewhat camouflaging the ominous feel of such a place.

My fear instantly shifted as fresh wild javelina tracks were pointed out on the walkway. I felt my heart pounding wildly in my chest, my breathing turning to pants as I attempted to clarify, "So, basically there's a better chance we'll be attacked by a wild animal or shot out here than actually seeing a ghost?"

"Right", Jarred confirmed with a chuckle.

"Great", I replied weakly.

My attention was then directed to the very back of the cemetery where the light of the moon danced off something metallic.

"See that metallic light shining back there?" Jonathan said, pointing it out with his finger.

"Uh huh", I replied.

"That's Warren's grave."

He walked ahead as I stood frozen, trying to identify what I feared most at this moment.

Eventually my legs responded to my brain and I was able to make my way to the back of the cemetery where we came upon the monument to Warren Earp. We walked about a few minutes more, my fear of wild animals and gun-toting caretakers still overshadowing any fear one might typically associate with midnight cemetery strolls.

Suddenly Jonathan gasped. "Did you hear that?" He whispered.

We all froze and squinted in the direction of the caretaker's house.

"I think someone's coming", he stated.

"Oh my gosh. Let's get out of here right now!" I whispered harshly.

We began to make our way back as quickly, yet quietly as we could, the occasional sticker jumping out and stabbing into my bare flip-flop clad feet. I stopped occasionally and bent down to remove the sticker.

"You all right?" The guys asked.

"Yeah", I whispered. "I just keep getting stickers in my feet and they hurt, but I wanna' get out of here quick, so keep going. I'm coming."

Suddenly Jonathan froze again. "Oh yeah. I see something moving out there."

We all froze. "What?" I asked in a shaky voice. "What is it?"

"I think it's some kind of animal. It's lower to the ground", he replied.

I gulped loudly and said a silent prayer. "Please, God. Please don't let any wildebeests eat me. I promise I won't do anything naughty like this ever again. I've got little children back home that need a mommy. I know I often say I wish you'd take them away, but I was just kidding. Please don't let me die. Not now. Not like this."

I held my breath and pushed forward, ignoring my possible hideous fate. I had one objective - get to the car ASAP - and I wasn't going to let any fear hold me back at this point.

As you can obviously tell, we all survived the night. And what an exciting night it was! The town is FULL of haunted locations and I hope to return one day soon and do some more exploring.

And also, thanks to the universe taking care of business for us, we just might return and play the event again next year - this time with our OWN sound system! That rude dude hasn't seen the last of us, although I've learned through history and my experiences that night that you don't wanna' mess with an old, infamous wild west town - not even in THIS day and age! Anyone who said the old west will never die wasn't lying.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heavenly Peace

My band, The Mending Seed, has just released an original Christmas song called "Heavenly Peace". This song was inspired in the wee hours of the morning. I tried to write a Christmas song about six weeks ago, but it wasn't coming together, so I gave up.

Then one night a tune suddenly came to me. I was up until 1:30 in the morning laying it down before I forgot it. Still, the song was not complete. I couldn't figure out how to write the bridge. I almost gave up on it - especially since it was already December and I felt I had missed my window of opportunity to release a Christmas song. But, one morning, around 3:00 AM, I awoke out of a dead sleep and heard the music in my head, so I rushed out to my Korg Triton workstation and laid it down quick.

Then came time for the lyrics. Again, I struggled to write anything on my own and so left it alone and decided again that I was too late anyway and would try again next year. That's when my good friend, Kendyall Guthrie, stepped in and said, "Let me help you. I love to write poetry and lyrics." She came over one morning with a large Dr. Pepper (my medication) and together we wrote two-thirds of the lyrics.

There were many more obstacles that came with the finishing up and recording of this song. My bass player, Brian Stewart, records our music through his studio 510 Audio and on the last night of recording, his system completely crashed and it looked like we weren't going to be able to get it up and running and finish the song. So many times I wanted to just give up. I wasn't sure if it was worth it. Then I thought, "What am I even going to do with this song? I feel like this song isn't even mine. The entire thing was inspired in my sleep."

That's when the answer came to me - "Donate half of the proceeds to a charity or organization. That's what you want to do with your band anyway - make a difference in the world. Here's your big chance to get moving in that direction."

I decided upon the Anasazi Foundation first because it was a young man in their program who named us. The entire story can be found on our site www.themendingseed.com along with a 2-minute clip of the song and a link to the Anasazi Foundation.

We have decided to donate 50% of the proceeds forever to Anasazi. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for choosing to inspire ME with this song. I know it came from Him and I know that He could have chosen anyone, but He chose me and my band and I am so humbled by this opportunity to record and share such a beautiful song and hopefully make a difference with it. I pray that I will be inspired every year with a new song to benefit a new organization.

I'm grateful to the wonderful people I am surrounded by who will drop everything and use their talents to help make my music and its release to the public possible. I have a website designer and graphic artist and band mates and friends who will stay up 'til all hours doing whatever needs to be done. Here's the beautiful artwork designed by Jordan Gallup. He was up until 11:00 PM doing this for me. And Dave Riddle, owner of Microworks Systems, was up until midnight getting everything loaded onto our site.
I hope you'll take the time to go to our site and listen to the clip and share it with others and when it's released on CDBaby.com, that many will purchase it and help make a difference for a wonderful organization. More information and links can be found on our official site.

Merry Christmas, everyone! May you feel the true spirit of Christmas this season, whether by giving or receiving, and experience the miracle of the Savior's birth.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Unbelievable!

My husband is French. I'm American. We live in America. (Just setting the stage)

After four years of marriage, he finally obtained his green card, so I could quit hiding him in the attic and we could live life in peace. We were also finally able to leave the country. So, recently we did. We took all four of the kids and we left the country for a little vacation getaway.

We had a wonderful, uneventful time. Just relaxing. Not doing much of anything. That's not what this story is about.

This story is about the part where we tried to come home. TRIED being the keyword here.

As we approached the border, the situation became chaotic. We noticed ahead of us that agents were running in between the vehicles, throwing doors open and pulling people out. They were dressed like a SWAT team, shotguns in hand. I squinted my eyes, trying to get a closer view and figure out WHAT in the WORLD was going on.

Just then a car came squealing toward us and immediately our attention was diverted. A woman in a trench coat jumped out and ran toward our minivan, motioning with her arm for us to come with her. She kept shouting "Get out! Get out! Get out now!" Without thinking, I sprung into action. My heart pounding wildly, I began unlatching kids' car seat belts and grabbing bags. My teenage son, John, who was in the very back seat with my youngest daughter, unlatched her and helped her out of the minivan while I grabbed the other two kids. With my diaper bag and purse slung over my shoulder and my toddler son on my hip, I grabbed my 5-year-old daughter's hand and began running toward the woman and her car, screaming for the rest of my family to follow me quick.

The woman held her arms out as if to take my son from me, so I handed him over quick and shoved my daughter into the car then whipped around and saw my teenage son running toward us with my youngest daughter. "Hurry, John!" I shouted.

Then I realized he was missing - my husband. As John approached me, I grabbed his shoulders and said, "Where's dad?"

"I don't know!" He shouted back.

I whirled around and faced the woman. "Where's my husband? Did you see him? He was with us in the minivan. Where did he go?"

She quietly bowed her head and heaved a sigh.

I whipped around again and searched behind me. Our minivan sat there empty now, all of the doors hanging open.

"WHERE IS MY HUSBAND?!" I screamed, then whipped back around to face the woman.

"They have him." She said, a look of worry across her face now.

"What do you mean they have him?" I cried.

"Just come with me and I'll help you and your kids get across. We'll worry about your husband later." She put her arm around me and walked me around to the passenger side front seat of the car and helped me in.

I sank into the seat in a complete daze and stared straight ahead, my mind racing through hundreds of possibilities as to my husband's whereabouts and condition.

I felt the car sink lower to my left and the sound of the driver's side door slamming. The car lurched forward slightly and then veered off to the right. We drove in silence for a few seconds before I mumbled "What are they going to do with him?"

I heard the woman sigh again. "I don't know. Is he American?"

"No. He's French." I responded tonelessly.

"Hm." The woman said with a greater sigh. "They'll probably torture him, then."

I jumped in my seat and turned to face her. "WHAT?!" I shouted. "Why would they do that?! What's happening?!" I started sobbing. My children sat completely silent in the back seat.

"We're here." The woman pointed to the building in front of us. "Just come inside with me and we'll get the paperwork done to get you and your kids over the border. Then we'll start working on your husband's paperwork, get an attorney, and get a court date."

I felt every muscle in my body weaken. "Oh my gosh." I muttered, slumping back into my seat. "Why is this happening? I just wanna' go home."

The next thing I remember is sitting in a small, sterile room alone. There was one table and one chair in there and I was sitting in it. My children were off somewhere else in the building. I didn't worry so much for my little ones. They were in John's care and I knew he was capable. I just worried for poor John. Those kids can be a handful and I hoped they wouldn't keep me separated from them too long.

The woman entered the room and handed me a stack of about five papers stapled together and a #2 pencil.

"Ok. I'm going to leave you alone to fill these out. Just come out into the hall when you're done." Then she turned abruptly and left, shutting the door behind her.

The room was dead quiet with the exception of the faint buzzing of the fluorescent lights overhead. I stared blankly at the papers, my head swirling with worry. I tried to focus on the questions; tried to read and understand them, but I just couldn't. I slammed my fists down on the desk and growled, then stood so abruptly, I nearly knocked the desk over. I began pacing the room then, biting my fist and trying not to cry. I was like a restless wild animal, pacing back and forth in its cage. I wanted my kids, I wanted my husband, and I wanted OUT of this place!

Realizing my only way out was to fill out the paperwork, I returned to the desk, drawing in a couple of deep breaths and blowing them out hard. "OK. I've just gotta' get this done and then I can leave." I tried to convince myself, but deep down I feared it would be a lot more complicated than that. And what of my husband? What if I couldn't get him back? What would they do with him? And what was I supposed to do? Did they expect me to just go home and get on with my life? Never see my husband again? Never know what's become of him?

I couldn't help but entertain these racing thoughts, which continually prevented me from focusing on the task at hand.

"Ahhh! I can't DO this! I don't understand these QUESTIONS! It's TOO HARD!" I yelled aloud. My adrenaline was going now. I grabbed the papers and pencil and threw the desk aside, then stormed out into the hall hell-bent on finding that woman and demanding she bring my children to me and give me answers about my husband NOW!

The hall was empty, but I could hear the drone of several chattering voices coming from somewhere up ahead. I walked briskly down the hall toward the noise and found myself in a large recreation room with high ceilings, bright neon lights and large televisions with fitness commercials blaring. "What IS this place?" I thought. "This is so bizarre." My eyes darted about the room in hopes of spotting my children.

As I turned around in circles, searching frantically for my kids or at least the woman who had brought me here, I bumped into someone. He was of average height with a muscular build, dressed in workout clothes. He kind of looked like a personal trainer, which was fitting considering the look of this room I was in. "Can I help you?" He asked in a cheery tone.

"Um..." I hesitated, still searching the room. "I...I need help."

"Great. Well, what can I help you with today?" He said, still bright and cheery.

I looked down at the papers in my hand and began sobbing. "I can't do this. It's too hard. I don't understand the questions and I just want my kids and my husband." I began wailing like a lost child.

"Ok. Ok. Calm down." He said gently, taking me by the hand and leading me to a small table with two chairs. "Here - have a seat and let's look this over."

I sat down next to him and then grabbed his hand in desperation. He looked puzzled as he searched my eyes. "Just tell me the answers." I whispered loudly. "Don't make me do this. Just tell me the answers to the test."

"I can't do that. I -"

"I'm American." I interrupted, my tone becoming more desperate. "Listen to me. I'm American. My kids are American. My husband is...well, he's legal. I'm from America. I just want to go home. I don't know what's happening. Just tell me the answers quick. I already know them. I just can't think right now."

The man took both of my hands and stared hard into my eyes. "No, you listen to me. You can DO this. You can do it. I will help you, but I can't do it for you. Just relax and take a deep breath and let's read this first question together. It's simple. You'll see."

I stared into his eyes a few moments, panting. Then I clenched my teeth and closed my eyes before finally realizing there was no easy way out of this. "Ok," I said. "Ok. I'll try."

I looked at the paper and found the first question. There was a picture of this:



I read the question aloud, "How many hours of energy will this drink give you?"

I furrowed my brow and lurched my head back in disbelief. "Well, that's simple. It's a five-hour energy drink, so the answer is 5 hours."

"Yes!" The man shouted in excitement. "See? What'd I tell ya'?"

I sighed and released a laugh of relief.

"OK" he said, sitting forward in his seat with excitement. "Look at this next one now."

There was a picture of this:


I read the next question aloud, "What do you do through these?"

"Ok. Ok." He coaxed me on.

"Well, they're glasses." I said in a disgusted tone.

"Yeah!" He shouted and lifted his hand for a high-five.

I shot him an irritated look and humored him with a weak high-five.

"This is dumb."

"Just answer it. You're doing great." He replied, still cheering me along.

Now I was ticked. This was a waste of my time. THESE were the questions they wanted me to answer to cross the border? Was this some kind of JOKE?!

"Come on. What's the answer?" The man coaxed.

"This is really, really DUMB!" I said, my voice growing louder with each word and ending in a shout.

The man sat back in his seat and sighed.

"Ok. Sorry." I sighed, feeling bad about my rude behavior. The man was only trying to help. "You look through them, Ok?"

"That's right." He smiled. "Just write the word look in between the lenses of the glasses."

"Um....OK." I responded, completely annoyed at this point.

I began to write the word "look" on the picture of the eyeglasses when a loud buzzing sound rang through the room. It startled me and I jumped, writing a very sloppy "L" across the picture. I sighed in frustration and began erasing, but the buzzing sound wouldn't stop. In fact, it was growing louder.

I closed my eyes for a second, then looked up at the ceiling. I recognized the ceiling now. It was my bedroom ceiling. I was in my bedroom. My alarm clock was going off. I hit the snooze button and glanced over my shoulder. My husband was sleeping soundly right next to me. I heaved a sigh of relief and threw my head back on my pillow, a smile plastered across my face.

MAN, my dreams are bizarre!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's Here! It's Really Here!

Our CD's arrived about a week-and-a-half ahead of schedule and we're so excited! There's just something surreal about holding something you've dreamed about for years in your hands and realizing it's real; it's really happening.

There are some big things in the works that we'll announce on our facebook fan page as they are solidified.

But for now, here it is:


Our album cover.

If you like The Cranberries, you'll probably like us too. Check us out here for a sample of our sound.

And if you likee, go here to order your copy now. We're signing copies up until October 12th when we officially release our album on CDBaby, iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, Emusic, etc.

Stay tuned for more news!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sylvie's Artwork

My daughter, Sylvie-Faye is our resident artist. She spends her afternoons drawing pictures with a story behind them. Her favorite subject is people and lately, a particular TYPE of person has become the main subject of her work.


Now, this is a Chester, see, and a Chester is basically any strange man walking along on his own. Now, he can be totally minding his own business, but if he is a man and he's alone....he's a Chester. And Chesters are not good for little children because basically they want to kidnap them and kill them.

What?

Where did she learn such things?

Umm....I don't have time for questions right now. Just listen to the story.

Now, other objects that represent a Chester include:




Ice Cream Trucks.



And also white, windowless vans.

So, basically what's happening in this picture right now is this guy is basically realizing that it's not a good thing to be a Chester because well....


This little guy in the corner is jumping on his head and...

This person is throwing rocks at his head and then, as if that wasn't punishment enough...

THIS little lady is actually swinging ANOTHER Chester around and beating the first Chester with it. It's insane....but, according to Sylvie-Faye, very necessary.

And the creepiest part of all is that, in spite of being jumped on, pummeled and actually beaten with another of his kind - the Chester is still smiling.

"So, how did this all end up as Sylvie's obsession?" you ask. "And why does she think men driving white vans and ice cream trucks and walking along on their own, minding their own business are called Chester and want to kill her?"

It's simple - I had to find a way to stop her from sneaking out of the house and trying to be "a big girl" - taking off on her own to explore the world. There are real dangers out there and perhaps I was a little dramatic. Perhaps singling out certain vehicles and all males, in general, was unfair, BUT, she never leaves my side. She no longer tries to leave the house.

OK and also she can't sleep at night and we had to hang a dream catcher above her bed, which we told her scares Chesters away, and also she screams in horror when she sees ice cream trucks, white vans and men, but....it's better this way, right?

I honestly didn't mean to petrify my poor little lady. I had no idea she was gonna' take the story so seriously. Geez!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Exciting News!

Our band website is up and running. Check us out: www.themendingseed.com

Here's our promotional video we put together and added to our youtube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgqlX6z3No0

In this video we've included clips from 9 of the 12 tracks from our upcoming album, "Broken Souls" and information on how to pre-order, as well as our contest to win $200.

We appreciate the support and encouragement from our family, friends and fans.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I GOT IT BACK!!!

Ahhh....cable TV, how I've missed you - I mean the REAL you. Not the basic crap that comes with a few channels mostly geared towards children and the rest is regular television or educational stuff. I mean, education is good....for the children.

But as for me, I prefer to be educated in all things celebrity. That is my hobby. These people entertain me with their drama and their priorities, or lack thereof.

Now, several months ago we felt it necessary to reduce our bills around here and thus had our cable channels reduced to practically nothing. It was pointless really. There were cartoons available 24/7 for the kids, but the kids are not awake 24/7 and there's this amazing invention called the DVD player.

Anyhoo, our receiver went on the fritz and upon ordering a new one by phone we felt it necessary to end our misery and boost our cable channels.

Which brings me to the reason for this post - I got E! back! E! Glorious E! E is for entertainment, you know, and that's EXACTLY what this channel provides me - pure entertainment.

Here's what I learned this week: (Squealing) Ooh, this is so exciting!

1. Demi Lovato wore a dress to some "Camp Rock"/Disney event and when an interviewer on the red carpet asked her who the designer was, she didn't even know!

What say you, Carson Kressley?

Thuper naughty!

Mm hm.

2. Julia Roberts had the NERVE to wear a modest dress to a Sony event in Japan.

Thus earning her the title "Grandma".

The HORROR!

Nobody wants to be GRANDMA!

Especially not Joan.

That woman is paying good money to resemble The Joker just to avoid being called "Grandma".

Poor Julia.

Oh, they did say her shoes were cute, though.

Whew! There's hope.

3. When it comes to college fashion, pants are NOT in.

Vanessa Hudgens' fashion choices are apparently deciding this for the rest of the world and I'm thinking...

...a lot more guys are gonna' suddenly realize the importance of a college education in the next few months.

4. Heidi and Spencer (big grin)...sorry, I just LOVE these two. I know people love to hate on them, but seriously, when we all need a good laugh, they come through EVERY TIME!


So, apparently these two are divorced now, which is a HUGE shocker!


Whoa! Not THAT huge!

Gee whiz!

ANYWAY....where was I?

Oh yeah, so OK apparently after the divorce Spencer decided he wasn't done being "famous", so he posted something on Twitter (Are people following him? Really? Ok. Wow.) about how he now had possession of Heidi in a sex tape that he was planning on releasing to the public, but that's not even the disturbing part.

The disturbing part is his description. And I quote: "The sex tape will not feature any bisexuality. It will however feature trisexuality. Also - a triceratops.



Looks like that photo Lo Lo made for her in photoshop years ago gave Spencer some good ideas. For THAT full story, go to my IT'S ON DONKEY KONG post from 2008

Oh man! Good times. Good times.

I learned more, but I'm gonna' just leave you with that because it's a lot to absorb all at once and I don't wanna' overload you with too much info all at once.

So, study up and class will resume next week.



Monday, August 23, 2010

MEOW

"Meow." That's what I say when I'm in a weird mood. I don't know why. It just comes out. Sometimes I drawl it out. Other times I just say it tonelessly.

A few years ago I lived out in Queen Creek and met and quickly became friends with a woman named Amanda. We're like twin sisters in another life. We look a lot alike and we have similar personalities and...basically we're the same person in two different bodies.

ANYWAY...so, we became so close that we kind of had our own special way of communicating. OK, it was just me. I'm a weirdo - that's the only difference between the two of us. I'm the weird twin.

Anytime I saw PRIVATE NAME/PRIVATE NUMBER on my caller ID, I knew it was her and I'd pick up the phone and say, "Meeoooow." She'd laugh every time, which is the main reason I did it, and then sometimes she'd either say "Meow" back or we'd jump into conversation.

During this period of time, we were working with an immigration attorney to obtain a Green Card for Bertrand so I wouldn't have to lock him in the attic to hide him from Sheriff Joe for being an illegal and we did all of our communication through e-mail and snail mail...unless I called his office to speak with him directly to ask a quick question.

One day around noon I received a call from PRIVATE NAME/PRIVATE NUMBER. I was in a particularly weird mood just then and smiled at the opportunity to express my weirdness to the one person who would understand. I picked up the phone and drawled the longest "Meeeeeeooooooow" I'd ever done. It was a new record for me.

There was no response.

I furrowed my brow and pulled the phone back to double check the caller ID, then placed the receiver back to my ear and said, "Meow?"

Suddenly I heard a man's throat clearing and a voice say, "Uhh...hello?"

I gasped and my eyes bugged out of my head. Reflexively I hung up the phone. My jaw dropped and I just sat there frozen. "Oh, crap! That was NOT Amanda. That was our immigration attorney!" I thought to myself in horror.

He was an old man on the verge of retirement and the word serious does not even do this man justice. I don't think a funny bone exists in that man's body. In fact, I believe him to be incapable of showing emotion PERIOD!

He didn't call back.

When I finally recovered from my shock, I dialed Amanda quick. She answered and I called out her name in desperation.

"What? No meow?" She laughed.

"Oh my gosh." The panic was evident in my voice.

"Are you OK? What's going on?" She sounded concerned.

"Uh...." I started in a shaky voice. "my lawyer just called and I thought it was you and I meowed into the phone and he didn't answer, so I meowed again and I heard him clearing his throat, so then I realized it was him and I hung up quick."

She immediately burst into a giggling fit, so I sat there, biting my lip, waiting for her to finish.

"Oh, THAT is hilarious!" She laughed again.

"No, it's not. I feel so stupid right now."

"Oh well", she attempted to console me. "He'll get over it."

We chatted for a few more minutes and then ended the conversation. I made a mental note to never meow into the phone again when PRIVATE NAME/PRIVATE NUMBER called.

The weeks passed and I continued receiving PRIVATE NAME/PRIVATE NUMBER calls from Amanda. I very quickly settled into my usual routine of meowing into the phone when she called. Old habits die hard.

Mid morning one day, as I sat typing medical reports, my phone rang. It was PRIVATE NAME/PRIVATE NUMBER again. I was only too happy to take a break from work and visit with my good friend. I decided to answer with a slight variation and barely squeaked a newborn kitten-sized "meow" into the phone.

There was no response.

I thought perhaps Amanda didn't hear me because the meow was so faint.

"meow" I squeaked again.

No response.

"meow.....meow......meow" I persisted.

Nothing.

I sat there in complete silence - just listening. There was no sound coming from the other end. I thought perhaps Amanda was teasing me, so I decided to say her name aloud, but right before I could get it out, I heard "H - hello?"

My eyes bugged out of my head again. I slapped my hand over my mouth to hold back the horrific sound that wanted to escape my mouth. It was my attorney - AGAIN!

I sucked in a quick breath, which immediately froze in the back of my throat. I sat there paralyzed, holding my breath, trying to think quick "Should I just say hello and explain that I meow into the phone when my friend calls and I thought it was my friend calling? Oh, no. I can't do that. He'll think I'm insane and he won't want to represent us anymore."

I hit "END" on the phone and slammed it down on my desk, then buried my head in my hands and groaned. "Oh my gosh. I'm an IDIOT!" As I sat there reprimanding myself under my breath, the phone began to ring again.

My head shot up and I hesitated before glancing over at the phone. PRIVATE NAME/PRIVATE NUMBER showed on the caller ID again.

I heaved a sigh and muttered, "Oh my gosh. OK, stay calm. Stay calm." I took a couple of deep breaths and then proceeded to answer with a normal "Hello?"

"Hey!" My friend Amanda answered in a cheery tone.

"Oh my gosh!" I breathed into the phone.

"Oh my gosh" she responded. "What's going on? Are you OK over there?"

"I did it again!" I cried.

"Did what?" She asked.

"I meowed into the phone when my attorney called." I groaned.

Dead silence.

"Amanda?" I asked; my voice cracking.

Dead silence.

"AMANDA?!" I called out.

Suddenly she made a noise like the dam just broke and the fits of laughter came flooding out.

I heaved a frustrated sigh. "It's not FUNNY!"

"Sorry. I'm trying so hard not to laugh because I can tell you're upset, but..." She burst yet another giggling fit.

"I'm seriously an idiot and I should not be allowed to use the phone anymore", I moaned.

"So, what are you gonna' do?" She asked, still laughing.

"Nothing." I replied tonelessly.

"Just call him back and tell him you didn't realize it was him." She advised, as though it was no big deal.

"Are you CRAZY?!?! I am NOT admitting to meowing like a cat into the phone! Not to HIM, anyway!"

After she got a few good laughs out and I groaned in agony a few more times, we ended our conversation and I attempted to return to my normal activity.

A little later in the afternoon, I received another PRIVATE NAME/PRIVATE NUMBER call.

As soon as I saw it on the caller ID I smiled with slight satisfaction. "Oh, I'm not falling for that again", I said aloud, then proceeded to answer.

"Hello, is Kristin Coppee there?" It was the attorney.

"Yes. This is she." I responded.

"H-hello. I, uh....I've been trying to reach you. I don't know what happened." He sounded completely flustered and disturbed, as though perhaps he feared he was going senile. "I've called your number here several times and....well....I'm really not sure what's happening."

"Oh?" I asked, as though I were completely clueless.

"Yes, well....I....I tried to dial you and it....uh....it sounded like a....well, I think it was a cat of some sort on the other end. I - I'm not sure...." He continued, sounding very concerned.

I curled my hand into a fist and shoved it in my mouth, biting down to suppress the giggling fit that was fighting to escape. The tears started to stream down my face, as the pressure built.

"H - h - hello?" The attorney asked after several seconds of silence had passed.

I removed my fist from my mouth, pulled the receiver away from my head and ground my teeth hard, shaking my head and fighting to think of something serious - ANYTHING - to not laugh. I COULD NOT LAUGH! I couldn't have him discovering my horrible secret - not NOW!

"Hello?" He repeated in a louder, more agitated tone. "Ms. Coppee, are you there? "

"Yes." I said in a very controlled tone, barely regaining my composure. "Sorry. I think my phone cut out."

He cleared his throat. "Yes, well, anyway....I must have dialed the wrong number and thought I was calling you."

"Oh," I responded, suddenly feeling a rush of relief. "Yes, that must have been what happened. How strange. I'm so sorry."

He remained silent a few seconds. "Yes....well....I'll have to double check my dialing. It was....very...very strange to hear a cat on the other end. I....can't imagine what I must have dialed."

I contorted my face and began tapping my fingers very aggressively into my forehead, trying to clear my mind and think of something serious, as the dam again threatened to burst and release a rush of laughter.

"Anyway", he continued. "Did you receive the latest packet I sent you with the questionnaire?"

"Yes!" I nearly shouted into the phone. "Yes, I got it and...." the words came rushing out in an effort to end this phone call as quickly as possible. The dam wasn't going to hold up much longer. ",..we will get that filled out and mailed back right away. In fact, we'll send it tomorrow."

I held my breath and waited for his response, silently praying that this phone call would end NOW!

"Very good. I will await the packet." He said in a very formal tone.

"Great. Thanks." I spit out.

"Ok, then. Have a nice day, Ms. Coppee."

"Ok, thanks. Bye."

I hung up the phone and the dam burst. I laughed so hard, I cried. After several minutes, the laughter calmed down and I began to regain my composure, only to recall the entire conversation and burst into a giggling fit again, this time falling to the floor, I was laughing so hard. Several minutes later I dialed Amanda as I gasped for air, trying to catch my breath back.

Needless to say, she had yet another good laugh at my expense.

I did finally learn my lesson, though. I have NEVER answered with a meow when the called ID says PRIVATE NAME/PRIVATE NUMBER since that day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Little Surprise

It had been a long week. Bertrand had been working long hours at his pool job and had spent long evenings in the studio finishing up his drums. This left me alone with the kids ALL day and ALL night. In a word, we were exhausted!

Bertrand crashed into bed and reached for the remote.

"What are you gonna' watch, babe?" I asked and hopped onto the bed excitedly.

"Uhhhh....I don't know..." He heaved a tired sigh. "I was thinking of watching that new movie that came in the mail today through Netflix. I don't think you're gonna' like it."

I playfully frowned and slinked off the bed, grabbing the paper sleeve so I could read the info. "Ugh. You're right. I'm not interested." I decided to go slip into the tub and read a bit.

A while later I heard the noise from the TV die. I really wanted to spend some time with my husband, but I also wanted to finish the chapter I was on, so I decided to finish my reading and then join him.

By the time I emerged from the bathroom, I noticed the bedroom light was off. As I gently pushed the door open, I could hear him breathing methodically. I let out a disappointed sigh and readied myself for bed.

As I slipped in between the covers, I felt something touching me and I noticed my husband was facing me, though his eyes were still closed. "Oh, how sweet", I thought. "He's reaching his hand out to me." I turned on my side to face him and got comfortable, then slowly pushed my hand through the sheets in search of his. I smiled as I curled my fingers around his.

Then suddenly I froze; my eyes widening in horror. "Ok, THAT is not a hand," I thought. Holding my breath, I slowly lifted the blanket and squinted in the dark. The little bit of light from outside shone through the gap in the curtains. I reached my hand out and felt it again, then lifted it up.

It was the TV remote.

Heaving a relieved and comical sigh, I laid my head back against the pillow and leaned over to the nightstand to set it down. Then I turned back to my husband, hoping to try again.

Just as I turned back to him, he turned over in bed and his heavy, methodical breathing commenced.

"I'll let you off the hook tonight," I whispered. "But tomorrow night it's ME, not the TV!"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kaboom!

For reason #6,547 why I should be stripped of my title of housewife, please refer to Exhibit A.


Exhibit A


See, it all started with me wanting to take a nice, hot bath so I could be inspired to finish up my songs for my upcoming album. As I ran my bathwater, I looked over and noticed the toilet was in need of a cleaning, so I decided to get that taken care of while my bath was filling.

The toilet was looking rather nasty, as I don't care for cleaning toilets and so rarely perform the task. I remembered I had some old stuff called Kaboom.
See, what you do is fill the cap with some of the powder, dump it in the toilet and then it foams up and then you wait a few minutes and scrub and it helps take the disgusting ring right off your toilet with minimal effort.

And so, being the incapable person that I am (incapable of reading instructions, that is), I tipped the container to the side and tried to lightly sprinkle some powder in.

The problem is that this stuff is old and therefore kind of clumped inside. This annoyed me and so I began hitting the container against my other open hand, trying to loosen up the powder.

Oh, I loosened it up all right. I loosened up HALF the container and it went KABOOM!

As the foam went wild and began rising at an incredible speed, I stood there frozen - mouth gaping open, trying to think fast.

I reached over to the flusher and pushed it down hard.

The foam began gurgling and rising faster. My eyes just about popped out of my head. It only exacerbated the problem, inducing a volcanic-like effect.

Oopsie.

Perhaps I should stick to writing music. Darn. I will miss cleaning toilets.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Album Photo Shoot

Our album is about to be released - hopefully July! Maybe August. I don't know. We're perfectionists, so it's getting stretched out longer than we had anticipated. Plus, our new lead guitarist had to go and write this amazingly beautiful song that I just HAVE to have on the album, so now that's holding things up. (I have to blame SOMEONE and it certainly won't be myself!)

Anyway, a friend of mine took our pics and she did an amazing job. These are some of my favorites. Now, to pick the album cover....(sigh) This is gonna' be tougher than I thought.







Of course, I had to get one of me cuddling up to my hot drummer/husband.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This One's For The Lazy People

A long time ago, back when I was desperate to lose weight, but not desperate enough to actually have to work at it, I purchased the Seven Shapely Secrets workout. The draw was that you could exercise without moving! Yeah! So, of course, being the lazy person that I am, I was all over that!

Tonight at dinner somehow this topic came up in the conversation and I was explaining to Bertrand that there was a face exercise that helped lift the face.


I then proceeded to demonstrate and, throwing all vanity (one of my many character flaws) aside, I allowed this picture with zero make-up, greasy hair and face, zits and all, to be taken. This is me demonstrating the facial muscle exercise, which I have never revealed to my own husband until now.

And I've known about this for like 3 1/2 years now.

And then he tried to mimic me and this was the result.

Hey honey, does your face hurt? 'Cause it's hurting me.

And finally, we bribed John by telling him that if he let us snap a photo of him doing the face exercise and post it, we would let him continue to grow his hair long. He agreed, we snapped the picture and then he asked, "Ok, so I get to keep growing my hair long, right?" to which I responded, "Yes, for one more day." HAHA! SUCKA!

So, if you're like me - looking for ways to get in shape without much effort, try this facial exercise for one minute three times a day. And also I dare you to post pictures of yourself doing it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Formalities

We live in a 1500 sq. ft. 1970's red brick home with very little updating.

I drive a 1999 dull brown minivan.

I sleep on two mattresses on the floor.

Our front entry table is an old weather-beaten brown desk covered in a satiny green tablecloth with a $5 knock-off Tiffany lamp and a 7-year-old, $7 silk flower bouquet.

Dinner is served anywhere between 5:30 and 8:00 PM, depending on the day, and is usually some cheap, easy recipe or fast food.

And yet, my 4 1/2-year-old conducts her business as though we lived in a palace.

Just this afternoon as I fed a Beech-Nut 3rd stage fruit medley lunch to Zander in his old plastic high chair that's been through two other children and is missing all buckle straps and the detachable tray, Sylvie-Faye approached me with her hands clasped behind her back and cleared her throat to get my attention.

I glanced at her and said, "Hi, Sylvie. What's up?"

SYLVIE: (Sighing) Mother, I came to tell you something very important.

ME: Okaaay.

SYLVIE: I was in my room and I was cleaning it and Chloe did something and I was very mad and I said, "I'm going to go tell mommy on you right now" and so I walked out of my room and I came down the hall and I found you in the kitchen feeding Zander and I came to tell on Chloe to you.

Just then Zander sneezed and a glob of food fell out of his mouth and onto his leg. He began poking it with his finger and playing with it. I wrinkled my nose and looked back at Sylvie.

ME: Okaaay.

SYLVIE: So now I'm coming to tell you that Chloe is doing something that is making me VERY mad.

ME: Uh huh....

SYLVIE: She is NOT cleaning her room. Just me. And so I told her that I was going to come and tell on her to you and so I got up and I came down the hall....wait...I - first I got up from the floor and then I walked (she performs a walking motion) down the hall and I was looking for you and I heard you in the kitchen talking to Zander and I came in here and I saw you feeding Zander and now I'm telling you about Chloe.

My jaw fell open slightly and I just sat there, dumb-struck.

I think that girl was meant to be royalty or something.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate.

True story.

This afternoon I jumped into my minivan for a quick run to the grocery store. I threw the gear into reverse, stepped on the gas and proceeded to screech out of the driveway when I suddenly caught sight of an older woman who exercises every night right after dinner by walking our street with hand weights. I stomped on the brake and the woman froze in her tracks, her eyes wide as saucers.

I gasped and apologized through my window, motioning for her to go ahead.

She motioned back for ME to go ahead.

I motioned again and mouthed, "No YOU go ahead."

Again, she motioned back and mouthed, "No YOU go ahead."

So I shrugged and said, "OK" and proceeded to back out. However, the woman apparently gave the same response and proceeded to continue walking.

Fortunately, I caught sight of her walking behind me and stomped on the brake pedal again.

This time, shaking my head, I rolled my window down and called out, "Oh my gosh! I'm SO SORRY! Please, go ahead! I'll wait!"

"No. No." She chuckled. "You go ahead. I'LL wait!"

"No, really. I feel terrible. You go ahead." I called back.

"It's ok, dear. You go on ahead." She insisted.

"No, really..." I began, but she motioned again with her arms for me to proceed.

And so I released my foot from the brake and proceeded to roll backwards again and caught sight of her AGAIN walking behind my minivan. I nearly hit her a THIRD TIME!!!

"Oh my gosh!" I called out, completely exasperated.

She froze again and stared back in horror. I just lost it right there. I dropped my head onto my steering wheel and laughed hysterically. Then I threw it into park and GOT OUT and stood next to my minivan and said, "Please. Go ahead. I have it in park now. I will NOT be running over you tonight!"

Luckily, she has a sense of humor so we could both laugh about this and she proceeded on her way. Then I released a sigh and got back into my minivan, rolled up the window, waited until she was well out of ear shot and shouted, "OH MY GOSH! SERIOUSLY! WHAT WAS THAT!"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Truth Is...

My girls refused to take a nap. They swore up and down that they were NOT tired. So I finally agreed to take them on an errand with me.

Upon entering the grocery store parking lot, I immediately turned the minivan around and headed home without going in the store.

But it's NOT because the girls were tired.


They did NOT fall asleep.



Sylvie was just...lost in a deep thought or tanning her face or something.


Something like that.

Definitely not sleeping, though.

At least that's what she stated upon realizing we had suddenly returned home empty-handed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FINALLY!!!

I am happy to announce that after EIGHT LONG YEARS my band, The Mending Seed is finally putting out an actual album called "Broken Souls". It won't be available until July/August 2010, so we have agreed to release four singles for your listening pleasure.

That in itself seems to be taking forever, but finally one new single "Before You Came Along" was released on CDBaby.com this morning, so if you care to listen and support our efforts, click on the link below and for 99 cents, you too can behold our hard work and hopefully appreciate it.

To describe our sound, it's like The Cranberries, Sarah McLachlan, Enya, Jewel, Alanis Morissette, and Natalie Merchant were all thrown into a blender, mixed at the highest speed for ten seconds and then some classic, progressive and alternative rock spice was sprinkled on top, with a little sprig of ethereal vocal layering as a garnish.

DRINK UP!

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/MendingSeed

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Information!

I know Superman has been around a long time and we all pretty much know everything there is to know about him. Well....maybe not everything....unless you're a total comic book geek. I'm not gonna' mention any names, but...you know who you are - Florida boy. ANYWAY...

So, last night I was supervising my 4-year-old brushing her teeth for bed when I heard singing. And these were the lyrics:

La La La La La La
I'm Superman the elf
La La La La
I'm Superman the elf

Of course this piqued my curiosity because the information in the lyrics was very confusing to me. I mean, I've seen the Superman movies. I was totally in LOVE with Christopher Reeve when I was like 7 and I know that was a long time ago, but I think I would remember whether or not he was an elf.

I do realize the man wore tights and elves also wear tights, but I do not recall pointy ears, pointy shoes, and also him being small enough to fit in my hand (although I won't deny that that does appeal to me on some levels). ANYWAY....

When I rounded the corner, this is the scene I beheld:

This blond, caped creature standing over my baby boy, ordering him to move because she needed room to take off in flight.

"What's going on in here?" I asked, my hands on my hips.

The creature whipped around and stated, "Wellw..I'm Supoman da elf and dat baby is in my way 'cause I need to fwy now."

"Superman is an elf?" I asked in surprise.

"Wellllw....." it began and then sheepishly smiled and hung it's head, rubbing it's foot against the carpet with a nervous giggle. "Yeeeaah."

So, there you go. You've just learned something new today. Superman can also take the form of an elf. But don't worry - it apparently specifies when it's in elf form by calling itself Superman the elf, so as not to cause any confusion.