Friday, May 28, 2010

Living out a Dream

You may know that I've been taking bass lessons for a while now. Growing up I always had a desire to play guitar or bass, and over the years there were many stalled attempts at guitar lessons, but I never stuck with it. Shortly after the girls were born, and Laura started spending all day, every day, at home with them, she kept herself sane by teaching herself to play guitar. I was amazed and impressed (and still am) that a stay-at-home mother of twins could also find the time to learn guitar! As it turns out, it was a great way to entertain two little babies!

Fast forward a couple of years and I mentioned to Laura that maybe I ought to try out bass finally. And what did she do? She bought me a bass and amp for Christmas! And she found me a teacher! Not just any teacher, but the fabulously talented Scott Beynon, who just happens to live around the corner. So with Laura's example (and kick in the butt) I started taking lessons.

Taking up an instrument for the first time as an adult is intimidating. I'd always wanted to, but never succeeded, so I felt like I wouldn't be able to. But Scott is a very understanding and patient teacher, and I'm pleased to say I've progressed. My first big thrill was being able to play along to my favorite David Bowie and Clash songs. High School dream fulfilled!

But there was one more dream - to actually play in front of an audience. Any audience. Just to say I did it. Keep in mind that I've never performed anything, in front of anyone. Ever. Not a school play, not a skit (well maybe there was that short embarrassing number at a Gap department meeting once, but I've done my best to block that out), not a song, not a recital in elementary school, nada. So for me, this was a big deal - a big dream, even if the audience was small. I have so many musician friends (many of whom are bass players ironically) who have performed many hundreds of times, and do perform regularly (Hi Ilhan, Doug & Terilynn - I'm talking to YOU). Comparing myself to their experience and is more than a little intimidating - but they're still my inspiration.

Well I am excited to write that last weekend I got to live out my dream. Scott asked me to perform with him at a local fundraiser to provide the entertainment while people ate and reviewed the auction items. Perfect - no one would be focused on me! A nice, low pressure, debut.

And you know what? I DID IT! Forty-mumble-mumble-something years old and I played my bass in front of actual, live, people. I can't even describe how awesome it felt. As in, REALLY, REALLY awesome.  I can't recommend doing something that you're afraid of enough - - What a THRILL! 

Below is proof - I'm pleased to share with you a song from my public debut. I'm not claiming to be great - but that's not what it's about. For me it's about trying and DOING something I never thought I could or would do. And to passing that lesson on to my daughters.

(And Ilhan - I dedicate this song to you - you posted the video of the original on facebook the same day I learned to play it!)

This was filmed at the SOS/Meals on Wheels Second Annual Luncheon in Hayward, CA. SOS/Meals on Wheels delivers 550 meals daily to homebound seniors, and delivered 164,000 warm nutritious meals in 2009. It was a privilege and an honor to provide the entertainment for their fund raiser. Thank you for the work you do with Meals on Wheels Scott, and thank you for the chance to play with you! (Scott has played with Van Morrison and with David Bowie's keyboard player (only 2 degrees of separation!), among many, many others. And now he can say he's played with me too.)

Plus, the crowd made me feel really young. :-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Egg Salad Sandwich Anyone?

Wow things have been so busy around here that I haven't posted anything on this blog in ages. For example, I never posted any of these Easter pictures:

Is it wrong that these eggs are still in our refrigerator? Yeah, I thought so too. 
 Happy Easter.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Christmas in March

It finally stopped raining!!!! As my Mom would say, we were starting to grow webbed feet around here! A weekend without rain, and none in the immediate forecast led to two weekend activities - Spring Cleaning (but remind me why it takes the sun coming out to make us spend the day inside clearing cobwebs & dust bunnies?) and Christmas! What, you think we're a little late? Well, yeah. We usually are. :) What I meant was, we finally put together the trampoline Dad & Nancy got the girls for Christmas! Woo hoo! And they even spent more time on it than Laura and I spent putting it together, so that's plus. They spent over an hour on it, and then came in saying "We're tired and STARVING!" Another plus! Yea Grandma & Grandpa! Perfect timing for Daylight Savings Time, hopefully they won't have any trouble going to bed on time tonight! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Taxes? I'll take a double share, thanks.

Today was a productive day, I replaced my broken tail light and replaced my head light bulb that was no longer shining bright. I also finished and filed my taxes, both Fed and State. Refunds will be on the way soon.  Terrific, right?

Almost. Why? Because every year when I do this, I have to look at the quantitative and indisputable difference for our family because we can't get married. Because of that, I pay 20% more Federal taxes. Twenty percent! My Federal tax refund would nearly double if I could file as "Married" instead of "Head of Household." I can't even express my frustration and anger at this - its so monumentally unfair.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We took the girls out of school for a couple of days last week and spent a wonderful 4 day weekend in Lake Tahoe. It was an awesome trip (once you disregard the world's hardest mattresses at the "Firelite Lodge"). The weather was nice, even though we got snowed on a bit. Crowds were minimal, especially on Sunday & the drive back on Highway 80 was as clear as could be - amazing for a Sunday. Was there some big sporting event on TV or something?

JUST KIDDING. We knew it was Super Bowl Sunday, or as Sophie calls it, "That holiday where we watch sports and eat whatever we want all day long - not Thanksgiving - the other one." I didn't tell her she was missing it. She'll ask about the "Snacking Holiday" sometime in April...

The good news is that no one got hurt, and the kids LOVED skiing. The bad news is that the kids LOVED skiing. They're ready to go back next weekend, and the weekend after that, and after that, etc... I'm predicting a very expensive family hobby starting up here. Oh well - we've been looking forward to taking them skiing since they were born! Our first attempt at lessons when they were 4 didn't turn out so well - they were just too little and didn't have the interest or the stamina. But now - they're loving it and doing great! Can't wait to get back to Tahoe! Here are some clips from our trip. Zoe's in the blue jacket, Sophie's in the tan one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

8 Years Old

How can it be that my little girls are already 8??? I don't how it happens; I keep telling them to "think little thoughts" but they just keep growing.

If I had to sum up the last year, it would be the year of lost teeth! I can't even count how many there were this year, but I'm guessing that each kid has a small fortune in their piggy bank from the Tooth Fairy. It was also the year that Zoe got glasses, the girls joined the Marlins Swim Team, Zoe played soccer, and Sophie used every waking moment to draw detailed pictures on whiteboards. Oh and boys called over Christmas break. BOYS. Oh yes they did. (Don't worry, we told the boys we moved. It worked until the girls went back to school.)

Happy 8th Birthday Zoe!! Happy 8th Birthday Sophie!!

Here's what you looked like when you were 7.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In the blink of an eye...

I can't believe my little babies are going to be 8 in just one day. Where does the time go??? I'm working on some photos from the last year, but here's a link to the post I wrote about their first year.  Man, it's really amazing how much they've changed!  Happy Almost-Birthday Girls! Here are the slide shows I did last year, showing them at every birthday: from their first ever pictures on the day they were born, on up to #7.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prop 8 is back in court

IMG_3332In case you haven't been watching the news on this, Prop 8 is back in court, this time in the US District Court. Here's a quick summary of the case & it's status. The constitutionality of using an amendment to revoke marriage rights of a minority of CA citizens is once again being challenged. The US Supreme Court ruled that no cameras would be allowed in court (although they may change this decision), so most of the updates and news is coming from spectators who are tweeting and liveblogging the trial. I'm following @NCLRights and @AmerEqualRights on Twitter for live updates from the courtroom. If you're not into Twitter, you can still see all the updates here.

Interesting stuff, and the Plaintiff's Witnesses' arguments seem overwhelmingly convincing to me, but, you know, preaching to the choir and all....  I don't know what to think about this latest challenge - happy to have another chance in court, but nervous at the very real potential for yet another devastating setback.  

Here's a daily trial tracker of all the court proceedings.  Maybe it's time to dig out my "No on 8" shirt again.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What do you think, should I reply to this email?

I received this email yesterday. Do you think it's legit? Maybe I should reply, huh?
I am Captain. Matthew Stamford with the United States Marine Corps (USMC). Hard to believe but, I have $900,000.00, found at the start of Operation Khanjari on July 4, in Poshteh Afghanistan. I need to move this money out to a safer place. Can I trust you to receive it on my behalf upon its evacuation from Kabul? send me a reply mail on