Saturday, October 22, 2011

it's been a while

hey everyone. I know it's been AAAAGGEESS since I've posted. I"m not so good at this blog thing. Anyway, how are you all??? I am great. When the guy at Trader Joe's asked me "why great?"- I said well... because I am healthy and I have a lot of love around me and so many other blessings how can I be anything else?

So what's the latest- well firstly I FINALLY got into a singing group! Yep- Chad found them through a Microsoft feed (of course- this seems to be the basis for most activities around here) and I auditioned for them and I guess they liked me enough to ask me to join! I am so happy to be singing a cappella again. Let me tell you a little about the audition process though...

so one of the girls sends me an email saying to prepare a short solo, and they will take me through some basic exercises- scales, intervals, rhythm, sight-reading. In her own words, "its a very casual laid back process that will only take a few minutes". Ok cool.

Well, I arrive to the audition, which is at Microsoft of course and I go into a BOARDROOM and there is the whole group sitting around a CONFERENCE TABLE. They all have these "assessment sheets" in front of them and after everything I do they all pause to jot down notes about whatever it was I just did. YAH- casual??? I don't think so. Try incredibly unnerving! After one of the guys asked me to sing a high C a little bit more FRICKIN PIANISSIMO I finally said- "EXCUSE ME, what happened to the 'casual laid back audition process' I heard about??!!". Har Har, they all laughed, so my sense of humour must've gotten me called back cuz I can tell you it certainly wasn't my sight-reading skills.

Call backs were even worse! I was shaking with nerves the whole time- which was about 1 1/2 hrs. We had to learn 2 songs "Take On Me" by Aha and "HIDE AND SEEK" (YES AGENTS! WHAT ARE THE ODDS!) by Imogen Heap. We had about 10-15 minutes to learn a section of the song then we each had to get up on our own with one other person from each part (about 6 parts for each song) and sing it. I have to tell you it was pretty high pressure, and I consider myself a pretty quick learner). To be honest my throat was so tight from nerves, I didnt' think I sang that well, but in the end it was my stellar rhythm skills that saved me! Actually it was really that the other girl trying out stuffed it up and couldn't get back on the rhythm and the song was really fast so it wasn't easy at all.

So I was praying that I got in, not feeling overly confident about it, and lo and behold I did! Yippee!!! So there are about 14 people in the group and they all work for Microsoft except for 2 people whose partners work for Microsoft! Incestuous.

They are self-directed and their repertoire is all contemporary/pop/alternative rock. They are called Acoustix (cheese). That's about all I know so far- they seem to have a pretty high standard from the first rehearsal I went to last week, they perform about 1x month and mostly corporate and charity events. Also pretty regularly on Microsoft campus. As soon as I have some recordings I'll post them for sure! I'm so excited!

love ya'll

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Inspired by Lola

hello folks, just recently I strangely found myself at the blog site of Madonna's daughter, Lourdes or "Lola" as she likes to call herself. Do not ask me about the cyber-trail I blazed to get there, for I am not totally sure myself. Nonetheless this is where I have been for the last 1/2 hour, so her blog must not be that bad eh? She's kinda entertaining and made me realise, well, that I'm getting old. What with her "lingo" and all which I thought was uber-cool and then thinking that I never speak like that nor does ANY SINGLE PERSON I know. And I'm not even sure I EVER DID speak like that, but anyway I did get a mini-education on her blog. And the point of this is that she inspired me to write to YOU lot, albeit without any fancy talk. It completely eludes me, and I find myself wondering at what moment in my past did I finally let go of the compulsion to say the word "like" after every other word in my sentences. Blah blah.

So it is almost the end of the school year here, so we are all getting excited for summer and potential payback in sunny weather for what we have had to endure the last 8 months. It had better be worth it! Otherwise I doubt I'll last 2 yrs in this town. We have no real plans to go anywhere, other than do a few little trips to nearby places such as Vancouver,the Olympic Peninsula, and Mt Rainier. As most of you know, Steph Payne is coming to visit us for a week during her US trip! How lucky are we?! So excited to spend time with a dear Aussie friend and perhaps sing a few notes together. So she is here from June 23rd-29th. Two days after that my mother-in-law arrives to stay for 2 1/2 weeks. While she is here I am shooting over to Rochester NY (my home town) for my auntie's wedding. This will be the first time I have been back to the place I grew up since I left for Australia over 17 years ago. Weird! Exciting-weird. I am planning to see a couple of old high school friends which will be amazing and of course see my old house and all my old "haunts", places which hold so many memories. It is a kind of "coming full circle" for me, since when I left for Australia in 1994, I did so with an attitude of wanting to leave the US and my life there totally behind me and not look back. Well, now I am looking back, but with an open mind and an open heart. It is strangely healing in a way and I find I am feeling a strong sense of "wholeness" that, quite frankly, I have never felt in my life except maybe when I was born, and if I did feel whole then, well, I do not consciously remember it of course!

And then right around the time of my trip, my sister Julie is due to give birth to her first child, which is a HUGE EVENT in our family since she and her husband said for years and years that they weren't having kids. Amelie and I will go to Maine and visit them afterwards, but probably not until autumn and after they settle into a routine. After Chad's mom leaves, his dad and his partner will probably come up to visit from Arizona to get a break from the searing desert heat. And I suppose my parents will probably try and visit sometime in August, so that packs our summer quite nicely!

Last weekend Amelie turned 7. She had an "almost sleepover" birthday party on Friday night. When Amelie was begging me for a sleepover party and I was repeatedly saying no, a friend made the suggestion of the "almost sleepover" which fortunately was agreeable to A. So her friends came over at 6pm in their pajamas, had dinner and played games, then watched a movie before their parents came to get them at 9pm. All the fun and no one is cranky the next day! This is not to say that it was not a freakin pain in the ass, because it was. But at least I got a good night's sleep after the fact! After the party Chad came up to me with a very serious look and said "that was the hardest thing I've had to do in a very long time". On Monday he practically did a TAP DANCE when he headed out the door for work to go and interact with ADULTS all day long.

Chad is applying for a new job. Actually he has already had all of his interviews, and now he is waiting to hear. As he has only been in current job for less than a year, it was a little controversial to apply for this position so soon. But it is a rare opportunity and one that he is well-suited to, so he couldn't pass it up. If he gets it, it means that he will move from a national role to a regional role (Pacific Northwest) and will manage a team of about 30 people. The managing aspect is what most appealed to him (that and higher pay!) most, as he is a very good mediator and communicator. We should know something by next week.

Meanwhile I am sitting my ACE exam (American Council on Exercise)in 2 weeks time and then I will be a certified Personal Trainer (again)! I will hopefully start working soon thereafter. The time I have had off has enabled me to step back and reconsider how I have been working and to evolve how I work with people. So I will be in the throes of finetuning my processes in order to (hopefully) work more wholistically and effectively- this is something I have wanted to do for a while with the knowledge that I have, but I have not had the platform to be able to do this. Now that I am working with a "clean slate", it frees me up a bit and enables me to move forward in my work. I know it probably sounds rather vague as I write it, but that's because I am still a bit vague on all the details!

Well, I think this is long enough for one entry. But it has been a while so I had a lot to say.

love you all!!! Thanks for reading. xxoo

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hello folks, we were robbed last week. Unfortunately Amelie left our back sliding door unlocked the night before it happened and well, I think I was being watched and that whoever did it knew that I come and go a lot during the day. That is the creepiest part. And it sucks feeling vunlnerable in your own home. I have even thought of buying a weapon of some sort to keep around. I hate that I even have that thought! I am trying to move beyond it but I realise that it is taking some time. I thought I could just shrug it off with the very Buddhist approach of non-attachment to my things. And "oh, they need it more than me" and "don't take it personally" and all of that. But the fact is that the bastards snuck into our home and stole our stuff. And while I CAN AND DO put it in perspective, I still feel fearful, violated, angry, and hurt. And I feel even more angry that I feel those things! And then I feel angry because I have failed at being able to forgive the thieves and even bless them and their families and move on with my life. AArrrrggghhhh- the tangled web we do weave in our own minds sometimes. But even as I am totally in the shits, here are 2 things I have learned:

1) Do not judge someone who chooses to keep a gun in their home- you don't know their story

2) The next time you see someone on the street asking for money, think to yourself, "hey, at least he's ASKING for it, he's not breaking into my home and stealing it!"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

hello people here I am in the midst of buying faucets, sinks, and toilets. I bought this lovely black toilet for the powder room, now I can't wait to find some dramatic, outlandish vanity top, sink, faucet, and wallpaper to completely out fit my boudoir bathroom. Actually I'm not sure I want the "boudoir" look yet- but definitely am going for dramatic and outlandish! The powder room is my clean slate for creative expression, and I plan to abuse it. Will send pics upon completion. I found this cool wallpaper that has bare frames all over it so you can colour or paint them and put photos or whatever you want inside the frames. kinda hard to explain, let me see if I can attach the link here for you to view...this is ridiculously long...,+product.marketingPriority

What do you think??? I am thinking it can be an ongoing work of art.

So I recently met this girl who sings. I met her online through the Microsoft network and she is keen to start a small group. She has lots of experience and seems that our musical interests are similar. We had dinner a couple of weeks ago and haven't spoken since. We didn't really connect so I haven't followed up & neither has she, but now I'm thinking more like "beggars can't be choosers", so maybe I should call. It is kinda weird to not be singing AT ALL for the last 8 months or so. My creative world is a desert. Hence the powder room focus.

I am (supposed to be) studying for my personal training certification exam. I keep saying today I'll start and then, well, I can't seem to do it. Yuck yuck yuck is all I can think. I do not want to sit and study at all, but I do want to work so I am in a quandry. I suppose if I go ahead and book in for an exam date then that will make me commit to some sort of study schedule so i can see it through.

One thing I AM going to do is start taking photos of all the ridiculous parking jobs I see around here. NO ONE CAN PARK, wait until you see it, I am not kidding. Admittedly the parking spaces are HUGE here, so I guess people figure there's a large margin for error. But that is no excuse to PARK DIAGONALLY across the space or to pull up halfway with the back half of the car sticking out in the road.

must go and pick up Amelie from school! She is having her friend Fran come over to play today. Fran's family just moved here from Sydney of all things! They only live across the road, what a coincidence. It is a pleasure knowing a fellow Aussie, it is reassuring to share that common ground with at least someone here. I miss you guys! Last night I was listening to Coco's lUnch cd and I got so emotional, missing choir and the Agents and my aussie life! Emotional but full of good memories that I hold close. xxoo be well, I will post some recent photos of our trip to Naples.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

HEllo and a Merry new Year to all! Yes, it would seem I have been rather defunct lately as I realise my last post was in October. Alas, nothing incredibly funny has happened apart from listening to my stepfather's laugh for a week at Christmas.

We moved into our new house on Nov 13th. For some reason Chad had it in his mind that this would mean we would FINALLY feel settled and all would be well. The reality was much different- suddenly we were living amidst boxes and brown paper, miscellaneous packaging. Unpacking items and repeatedly asking ourselves "why the heck did we keep this?" or more pointedly: "WHAT IS THIS?".

When we received word that Chad's dad Lou and his partner Nancy were visiting us in 2 weeks for Thanksgiving, we went into overdrive to try and give our house some sense of order before their arrival. That impetus was a blessing since it forced us to unpack and organise rather quickly. Lou is a genius builder/engineer/handyman and so went about giving Chad a crash course in house maintainance, which I quietly watched with glee. So armed with his new knowledge, Chad went about successfully changing light fixtures around the house AND you should see his cordless drill skills! Most impressive. Now he wants to buy an electric screwdriver which is beyond me as to why they would even make such an item but apparently they are very handy soooo whatever. We seem to end up at Home Depot about 3 times a week buying various screws because apparently every job needs it's own kind of screw. I am dubious, but what do I know? Whenever we have a household job, Chad gets out the drill and I stand around nearby and hold the screws and/or other bits and pieces until I am needed. Then I go and knit.

I really do. I have recently taken up the indoor sport after reading "The Friday Night Knitting Club" which for some reason I found inspiring. Currently I am obsessed with dishcloths and am making some in the shape of hearts. They are very cute. And eco-friendly. But I digress...

We had a loooovely wintry Christmas with my mom and stepdad here for a week's visit. We decorated our house with lights and bought a 10 ft tree. Actually it was 9 1/2 but 10 ft. sounds way more impressive. It was big! It just fit in our living room. I loved it. I admired it every day, several times a day, just sitting and looking at it. We were hoping for snow but that didn't come until a few days after Christmas. We went to this town called Leavenworth about a 2 hr. drive northeast of here. Basically it was a gold-mining town and when the gold dried up, the residents of the town made a last ditch effort to save it by turning it into a traditional Bavarian village in the mountains. And they did an amazing job. Everything looks quintessential eastern European, at least to your average American it does. As I am enjoying my schnitzel, sauerkraut, pickled cabbage and potato salad, I could swear I'm in...well, Bavaria! Or Vienna or somewhere like that. It was pretty cool.

This weekend we are going skiing for our first time since moving back. And this means that I am going to attempt to teach Amelie how to ski. This is really something I'd prefer to outsource, but I figure it's also a great way to create some lasting family memories, especially if it goes well. AMelie is not exactly Miss Adventure, so I don't know how she'll take to it. Especially riding a rope tow and a chair lift! It can be a bit scary for a little kid. But If she doesn't, she'll be spending a lot of time sitting in the lodge! Chad and I are keen skier/snowboarders and we're looking forward to regular ski trips.

And while we're on the subject of skiing, We are going to Aspen next week for 4 days to see my cousin Ray. Then we are going to Naples, FL for 8 days in Feb to get a much-needed dose of sunshine! Desperate for sun. We actually bought a light box last week- or a "happy box" as I call it. It's a plug-in box that gives you rays like the sun (not the kind that tan) and you're supposed to sit in front of it for 20-30 mins a day for therapeutic benefits such as feeling normal! The dark and grey can get to you here. I'm not doing too badly with it, but Chad is finding it hard and he uses the happy box every morning. It does help.

oK, I"ll be going now. I'll try to post some photos here too. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and you received my Christmas card. Think of all my Aussie friends so often and miss you guys! Miss singing with you Agents and Lollies!