Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Slide Guitars Were Smashed in the Making of this Post

I have a distinct loathing for slide guitar and jazz flute. I don't know why. It's one of those visceral hatreds that has no rational logic behind it, but this loathing has prevented me from ever being a country music fan. And I'll just turn any music off if I hear a jazz flute. Either that or I will mock it mercilessly. There are a few exceptions to the jazz flute rule (Dave Matthews Band's Crush being one of them), but if it smacks of the '70s in any way, I don't hold back. There are no exceptions to the slide guitar rule.

What's sad about that is that I know the people who play those instruments not only love what they do, they're really good at it. They've practiced for hours and hours over the weeks and months and years, and then they perform their music and I'm over here, immediately biased simply because of the fact that for some reason, I can't appreciate it in any way.

On the other hand, I will always listen if it's a guitar not being slid upon. My brother, Aaron, studies the fine art of classical guitar, and when he gives us a concert during our frequent family dinners, it's always something I could soak in for hours. Sadly, there is usually a cacophony going on in the background. Did I mention I have six kids? And my house is particularly echo-y?

My dad sent me this little video recently. He found it on an old flash drive of his. It's a couple years old, it's not great quality, and the lighting is truly awful, but I love it. Aaron would hate it because he wasn't perfect during this impromptu performance, so I didn't ask permission (shhh!). (I imagine you couldn't possibly care that we've since painted the walls, removed the red curtain, and moved that black bookcase in the background, so I won't mention any of that.)

He's written a few of his own amazing pieces since this video was taken, and when I can get the stars to align, I'll get a good recording. I honestly think he could sell an album. I'll tell you right now (because he's not here) that when he's in his music groove, it's like sitting next to a lighthouse. His fingers fly, and the sound is incredible. It shines.

I've asked my other brother, Robert, to send me a recording of his band, but so far he's forgotten. Robert wrote a song called "Getaway Car" that I really like in particular. It's the juxtaposition of the lyrics (a guy running from a crime he's just committed) with the soft, sort of ethereal quality of the music.

I own a CD of music my dad composed for my sister, the massage therapist. It's peaceful, quiet, and utterly magical -- just the kind of music you want to hear while you're having a relaxing massage. I remember being ill with some sort of flu a few years ago, and that was the music that helped me cope. He also composed a piece called "Seattle Machine," inspired by the huge junk sculpture in the Seattle Airport. I can never listen to it and not dance. I have got to figure out how to get that on here, so if anyone with more technical expertise is reading this, please give me a clue.

Me, I don't compose. Like my dad and sibs, I hear new music in my head (which my sister-in-law assures us is not the norm, which surprises me), but I don't have the skills to write it down. I also don't take the time to plunk it out on the piano. What I do love is that I just spent my birthday money on new piano music and I made excellent choices. In fact, I stayed up until way after midnight a couple nights ago just playing. I can get away with that because I can put on headphones, but I can't get away with the fact that I am a lot older than when I used to play that late on a regular basis. I'm still paying for the short night. But it was worth it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Half-Way to 80

I am officially middle-aged. Yes, yesterday was the red-letter day, and while I would like to claim that I am a mere 29, everyone who reads this blog and knows me would know that I have one too many wrinkles to make that claim. But just one. Really, most people would assume I'm 30. Right? Don't answer that.

For my birthday, I was fed breakfast in bed by Elannah and Joseph, who whipped up some granola with milk, two slices of wheat toast with butter, a sliced apple, a leftover waffle cookie (Gabrielle made them for a youth activity), and a big glass of milk. I'm not a milk drinker, so I kind of wasted all that milk, and I was full after two bites of granola and a couple apple slices, but it was a lovely sentiment.

Next, Sian took me out to breakfast. I couldn't eat much (see above), but it was a lot of fun to hang out with my darling oldest daughter for a while. When we got back home, she presented me with a homemade gift: a necklace holder.

It was perfect! Up until this point, I hadn't done anything to sort my jumble of necklaces that were either tangled in a plastic zip-top bag or thrown on my closet shelf. I mean, I've talked about doing something, but it never seemed to be an important enough task to spend time on. But Sian heard my complaints and made this all by herself, the wonderful, smart girl. She also hung it up and organized my necklaces for me by color while I was being whisked away to The Big City for a few hours by Husband.

In The Big City, we spent some time doing what I liked, which included visiting a book store and eating a week's worth of calories at Five Guys Burgers. (Best burgers and fries ever?? Uh-HUH!) We even went to see a movie. We bought tickets for Rise of the Planet of the Apes because it started sooner than anything else, but on the way to our theater, we got sidetracked by the fact that Real Steel was just starting in the EXTREME HD THEATER SURROUND SOUND BLAST YOUR HEAD TO BITS THE SCREEN IS SO BIG AND COOL, that we ended up watching that instead. Sure, it's Rocky with robots, but it was a lot of fun. Cause robots! (They didn't explore any of the other obvious uses for robots in other parts of society, such as the potential to use them as really big and scary military tools, but perhaps that wasn't really what the movie was trying to talk about. Hugh Jackman as a cool dad? That was good enough for me.)

On our way home, we picked up pizza (though we were both still very full from lunch) for a family movie/pizza night. Some of my kids still hadn't seen Napolean Dynamite, but maybe they weren't really old enough for it when it did come out. They all loved it now that they're six years older.

All in all, it was a wonderful, calorie-intense way to turn 40. I loved it. Today I got to crochet a lot after writing some web text. Work and play. When did "play" morph from going dancing half the night to crocheting a twin-size ripple afghan in single crochet stitch?

And who cares?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Creeper of Walmart

The saga continues at Walmart. Turns out, Anthony, my Walmart Boyfriend, has been two-timing me all along. In fact, he may very well be three-, four-, or even five-timing me! Anthony is a busy, busy boy. (Get up to speed on my soap opera here and here.)

Here's how I found out I am not the only woman who receives his creepy affections:

About a month ago, our ward congregation had a potluck picnic. There were softball games, water bottle rockets, and, of course, food. It was a grand time. I even managed to hit some balls, which was very satisfying even as I cringed at my sore obliques the next day. Husband, taunted by the outfielders and their good-natured  ribbing, also hit some balls (I couldn't stay to see the entire thing since I was called away to rescue Elannah from a tree into which she had climbed). He showed them the Brits are no pansies.

During dinner, I had to take Little Gary to the bathroom, and as I was coming back to the pavilion where everyone was eating, I distinctly heard my name spoken in a loud voice. When I walked into the pavilion, Linnea called me over.

"Listen to this!" she exclaimed, and beckoned to our friend,Carol, to start talking.

"There's this guy at Walmart who keeps telling me how beautiful I am. Every time I run into him, he tells me I just make his day," said Carol.

"Tell her his name!" said Linnea excitedly.

"ANTHONY!" Carol and I shouted at the same time, and I burst out laughing.

"She was telling me about this guy at Walmart who is always complimenting her, and I thought that sounded familiar," said Linnea.

We had a good laugh with all the people sitting around us.

Then, two nights ago, I ran into Carol again.

"Eva, I have to tell you," she began, "I'm scared to go to Walmart by myself! I've been trying to avoid it as much as possible, and I definitely stay away from where he works. But last night, I was just walking in, and he came right up to me at the entrance and told me how beautiful I am. I said, 'Thanks' and tried to walk away, but he followed me and said, 'Can we exchange phone numbers so we can talk and text each other?'"

We spent a few minutes shuddering. I mean, at first glance, Anthony seems completely normal. Friendly and complimentary, of course, but normal. And then it starts getting weird. I don't find men creepy just because they tell me I'm beautiful. That would be stupid. But Anthony takes that a step further and you feel like he's in the middle of a relationship with you that you don't remember having.

Linnea wants to make it a girls' night out. Carol and I and Linnea (and whoever else wants to come now that they've heard the story and are curious about this guy) will go to Walmart, find Anthony, and then get a group photo which I will post on my blog. Either that will make his day or he'll be unpleasantly surprised to be outed as a Walmart Casanova.

I still avoid the cereal aisle.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You Already Are Perfect. You Just Forgot What that Feels Like

So here's the thing about love: it's additive. When you really feel the pure love of Christ, or charity, your ability to love grows as you love. It's a muscle that gets stronger with use, just like running or lifting weights makes you stronger the more you do them. The more you love one person, the more your ability to love all people grows, and vice versa. Unconditional love is the very makeup of the universe, and it's available in buckets and truckloads and planetfuls for those who want it. There is nothing more joyous than feeling unconditional love for yourself and being able to then feel it for others. It puts you on a very high energy vibration, where you are open to truth.

If you think love is subtractive, meaning that the more you love one person the less you can love another, that's not love. That's something based in fear. Charity, unconditional love, is based in faith. Where there is faith, there cannot be fear.

Whew. I just had to get that out of my system. I've been thinking about this for a very long time, and I am convinced that I came to this earth not only with the ability to love but with the desire to grow in that ability. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

One of the many pieces of knowledge that set me on that path of thinking is one that I was given years ago by a good friend. It's called Remembering Wholeness, by Carol Tuttle. My friend, a woman who was going through some struggles of her own, told me about this book and how much it had meant to her. I checked it out at the library and read it, and I cannot tell you the utter joy I received from pondering and praying about the concepts within. For some reason, I never bought it, though I wanted to find and read it again (it was always checked out at the library, and I guess I justified myself out of buying it because I didn't feel I deserved it or something).

Recently, Husband found it at the Deseret Industries near our home, and I have been reveling in it once again. This time, however, I have a slightly different perspective. I have already been making use of many of the concepts Tuttle talks about, and now I can see not only how far I've come but where I still need to grow. Isn't life such a great adventure? There is so much to learn and experience, even when you are doing the mundane activities that support your physical survival.