Monday, November 9, 2009

Shameless Choir Performance Plug

For the last nine weeks I have been attending rehearsals for a choir. This choir, 340+ women strong, will sing on November 28 on Temple Square in Salt Lake in the Tabernacle. Our songs have a Christmas theme and there will be bells and a harp accompanying, as well as that famous Tabernacle Organ.

Mostly I just love it because I love that sense of being part of something bigger than myself. I've always been a Big Picture Gal, and being one 2nd Alto among 340 women and hearing all the pieces and parts working together is magic. Plus, I love choirs because a person who does not have a solo voice (me) can still have all the fun of singing and performing.

I signed up to be in this choir sometime last spring, and by the time rehearsals started in September we had barely moved to a new city 45 miles away. Since the rehearsals happen to be in our old neighborhood (at my old Stake Center, no less!), the commute got a lot longer all of a sudden. The thing is, I wouldn't miss any rehearsal for any reason other than a dire emergency. Every Sunday night I drive into town, belting along with the practice CD. After the two-hour rehearsal, I visit my parents for a few minutes and then drive home, happy and full of the spirit.

Some of you may be familiar with Merilee Webb, the director of the choir. She was actually featured briefly in an issue of the LDS News. If you've ever had a chance to meet her or sing under her direction, you'll know that rehearsals are two parts singing to one part laughing so hard snot is coming out your nose. Last night we also made leis to wear in the concert. They involve a couple skeins of Fun Fur yarn, a McDonald's straw -- has to be from McDonald's! -- a ribbon and some tape. If anyone is interested, tell me and I'll buy cameral batteries (ha ha) and show you how. They're fun crafts for the kids.(Merilee spent years in Hawaii teaching at BYU-Hawaii and starts each rehearsal with a Hawaiian chant and a big "ALOHA!")

Just thought I'd share that. If you want to come, get free tickets online at I'd love to see you there.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cows, mice and horses in the country air.

And so time and times have passed. Where did it go?

I still haven't taken pictures. At some things I procrastinate badly, usually when I'm taking care of the other things I'd LIKE to procrastinate on but can't. I haven't even bought new batteries for the camera. But it's silly just not writing, isn't it?

We have settled into our new home pretty nicely. Because we didn't bring all our stuff with us, there is a lot less of it around the house to create a mess. In fact, I still have a lot of boxes I haven't unpacked simply because I don't know where to put it and am reluctant to just put it somewhere. I would rather have a specific place, in a specific container, to create organization. This means, of course, that I'm constantly tapping my forehead trying to remember which box something is in and if it's here or if it's still at the old house.

Since we've been here, we have gone through quite a time with illness. I don't know if it's the place or just the season, but the kids keep coming down with stuff. It seems like every week someone has a new symptom, so I've been joking that we're getting the flu in bits and pieces. We've had a couple asthma scares and had to get steroids for the afflicted child, but that seems to have passed, thank goodness.

So, other than that and the mice that have moved into the back of the cupboards in the kitchen, we are loving this place.

The kids run around with a gazillion kids in the neighborhood. Elannah has three friends either across the street or around the corner a couple houses. The same goes for Sophia as well as Joseph. After school the house is filled with the tromping of neighbor children and all the cups are dirty by the end of the day.

I've made a few friends, myself, which has been nice. I've never been one to just hang out with a girlfriend for hours on end, but it's nice to know some people around me. A house a few doors down caught on fire the other day and all the neighbors were out watching the fire trucks and firemen running around hooking up hoses and taking care of business. It wasn't a serious fire, thank goodness. The owner of the house had actually managed to extinguish the fire in a back bedroom by spraying a hose through the window and was quite upset when the firemen showed up and bodily removed her so they could douse the entire room with water. She said they caused more damage with the water than the fire did. But all of us offered our help to clean up, and it felt good to be part of a neighborhood again.

With all the kids around here, trick-or-treating on Halloween was a blast. Little Gary is still talking about it. We'll walk outside and he'll see a lingering jack o'lantern on someone's doorstep and say, "Trick-or-treating fun, huh, Mama?"

Husband's commute has been fine. He uses the time to listen to the scriptures in the morning and books on tape in the evening.

The wind is fierce out here. When it blows, it sounds like a hurricane trying to tear the house down. I'll lie in bed at night listening to the howling and then hear the freight train passing by on the tracks across the field and think that at least it isn't sirens. When you hear a police siren out here, it's big news. Very unusual.

Because of the mouse problem, we retrieved one of the cats from my parents' house. He happens to be my favorite cat of all time, so it wasn't hard to want him out here. Plus, my dad said Myles (the cat) was getting depressed. He would walk through all the rooms we have vacated, looking for the kids to pet him. Since we brought Myles out here, though, he has not been the fierce hunter he was. I think our backyard is another cat's territory, so Myles will barely step off the back deck into the yard. When I do go out into the yard and leave the back door open, Myles often comes out to get me and bring me safely inside again, meowing earnestly at me until I close the door. Maybe there's something much worse than a territorial tom prowling around, but I haven't seen it yet. He's started venturing out a little more now, but he's still very, very skittish. He does, however, hear those little mousy feet scampering behind the oven and he very much wants to play with a mouse.

I actually caught a mouse myself, horribly enough. When I say "caught" I mean I accidentally picked up a mouse carcass that had drowned in a pot of water I was soaking. I guess that's a good mousetrap, but I don't necessarily want my cooking pots to be mousetraps. Ew. And also yuck. I will have to call an exterminator. There are two drawers that the mice have been getting into and I've cleared out all the cooking utensils from those drawers, of course, and I keep them closed all the time. I don't know how that mouse got on the countertop. They're sneaky little things. I don't want to use poison because I don't want rotting mouse carcasses where I can't get at them.

Since being here, we realize that although we tried our best to find a house within our budget, we are very house poor. This means we need more income. This means I have found a job I can do at home on a part-time basis. I am now a freelance writer for a company that develops websites for businesses. I get paid by the word and a few other things that I have to do with the clients, but it means I can work on a flexible schedule and still be Mom all day. I'm very happy about it. Our goal is to become debt free (see Dave Ramsey's books) as soon as possible, and have a good savings. And, of course, a full stocked food storage, which I think is better than cash (especially if the dollar becomes next to worthless) or gold. You can't eat gold. You can trade and bargain with salt, however.

That's enough rambling for even the most die-hard reader. I will definitely try to be more consistent in my reportings. We'll see how that goes, what with my job and all.