Tuesday, July 29, 2008

it's been a fun year

Well Miss Mel,
I missed posting this on your birthday, but close enough . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
It's been a fun and eventful year. Here's hoping next year will be even more fun.

You make life fun everywhere you go!! We love you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

fig trees vs. oak trees

I planned to be here Saturday to help tackle the fallen fig tree. I really was. I offered to cancel my plans to take the girls swimming at Slide Rock. I really envisioned spending the day rolling a wheel barrow from the back yard to the trailer in the front yard. I could smell the exhaust of the chain saw, earplugs in. I could already feel the figs stuck to the bottom of my shoes.
But then, my superhero husband decided to hire some men to help him instead (gotta love that guy) and let us go on our merry way to spend the day in Oak Creek Canyon:
instead of here:

It was an all day project and it still looks like this:Although Melanie and I were spared the wheel barrow detail Saturday, it is still going to be another full day of work to get the rest of the stump out and clean up the yard. Dave's shoes have about a 2" thick layer of fig yuck on the bottom of them. That, alone, will be a big clean up project.
I always liked that fig tree . . . well for 11 months out of the year anyway. (I will be glad to never step on a fig in our lawn again as long as I live.) In the winter, when the tree was bare, the lines of the branches were visually interesting. In the spring and summer, the deep green huge leaves were beautiful and that one tree alone gave shade to half of our yard.

I'm not sure what Adam and Eve were thinking, though, wearing fig leaves for clothes. The leaves are sizeable and would provide some adequate coverage, but the whole darn tree is full of irritating fig residue. I wouldn't wear it, I'm just saying. . .

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the money pit

So far this year, we've had a torrent of water flood our kitchen, a gaping cavity in the tiles of our shower, a rupture of water escaping under our tub, a species of mold sculpting the interior of our sheetrock, an a/c unit oozing liquid through our ceiling, rusty corroded plumbing, a shattered windshield, and our parked car mangled by a drunk driver. I'm sure there is more on the list, but those are a few of the fun highlights I can think of off the top of my head.
So, today . . . our tree broke. Just broke in two. And fell over.

It was no small tree. It did some damage to our office:
Our fence is down and our treehouse is now a memory: But, whew . . . lucky day. Our $40 pool is safe!
This will be a fun weekend. We'll be cutting and chopping and hauling wood across our property in the heat. Oh, how I love the heat. And to make this project even sweeter? The figs were all fully ripe and gooey and falling on the ground. Basically, a minefield of fig turds.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

20 years in the making . . .

Thanks Lezlee - here goes:

20 years ago:

  • I had an adorable 18month old.
  • was the last time I got a traffic ticket.
  • we just moved into an old decrepit abandoned house that was falling apart. But it was ours -- all ours!
10 years ago:

  • we had an 11 year old, a 9 year old, a 6 year old and a 3 year old.
  • I ran a daycare group.
  • we built a second floor on our house.

5 years ago:

  • I had a daughter that could drive!
  • I became an eagle scout (c'mon moms - you know you earn it as much as your sons.)
  • I was doing some subsitute teaching at my kids' school.

3 years ago:

  • I started working from home.
  • we traveled to Hawaii and Alaska.
  • I was teaching Relief Society.
1 year ago:

  • I refinished 9 wooden dining room chairs.
  • I went on a fun road trip with my sister.
  • I had my first vacation all by myself. (Family traveled to Idaho, I had some scheduling complications so I couldn't go. It was a blissful week!)

This year so far:

  • we worked on some remodeling.
  • I taught early morning seminary.
  • I traveled to Nashville, Provo and Catalina.
Yesterday I:

  • I took care of some office paperwork.
  • I hung a shelf in the laundry room.
  • I organized shelves/cupboards in laundry room.
Today I will:

  • run errands - Home depot for a/c filters, bank deposit, drop off stuff at DI
  • watch "So You Think You Can Dance"
  • attend a seminary training meeting.

Tomorrow I will:

  • sent out collection letters for our business.
  • post some ads on Craig's List.
  • find a book I'm supposed to be reading. (I had it once, but left it on an airplane last week)

In the next year I will:

  • organize all the storage spaces in our house.
  • be a better visiting teacher.
  • enjoy this transitional stage more - kids graduating, moving out, etc. and figure out how to be a mom to adult kids (any suggestions are welcome).
I tag: Rachel, Lauri, Cathy and Cindi

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Spirit of Phoenix!

Performance day. There are groups from all over the United States and a few from out of the country. Most of the groups are dressed in suits or tuxedos. Sometimes they have a bright pink shirt on with their tuxes, or a glittery vest. This group of Swedes were dressed as Vikings. Their performance was hilarious and when they were done performing, they jumped off the front of the stage, pushed past the judges and hollered through the audience with their swords and exited out the back. I ran into a group of them and I asked if I could take their picture. They took the camera out of my hand and wouldn't give it back to me unless I got in the picture with them. They are my new friends. There are groups ranging from about 20 men to 120 men. The larger groups have a distinct advantage for sound and volume. There are some pretty good groups and some absolutely fantastic performances. Dave's group, based on preliminary performances, could end up in the top ten. Here they are getting ready at the hotel. There is an adorable 9 year old that sings with the group and he is good. He can really hold his own against the other men. And here they are in the Sommet Center in downtown Nashville, singing their hearts out. As the evening ended, they finished in 11th place. A bit disappointing, but looking at the range of performance points, the top 5 or 6 groups were far and above everyone else. Then the next 10 or so groups were very, very close in point range (well, I don't remember all the numbers, but something like that). Still, I think they would have enjoyed a little higher rank. They've got a week to rest, then they'll start looking toward next year's competition in Anaheim.

Here is a fun YouTube video to watch. It is last year's championship chorus. It is a group from California and it is the one chorus that has an average age of 25 instead of 65. They seem to win every competition they enter.


I stepped in to Dave's rehearsal this evening. They are in a hotel banquet room with their casual uniform on. But picture them in tuxedos on a stage in a huge arena in front of thousands of people.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

we're not in arizona anymore, toto

I didn't want to like Nashville. I had no intention of really enjoying myself this week. I knew it would be hot and muggy. There definitely would be too much country music around town. Dave would be busy much of the week and there's not much to do alone that interested me. I was just feeling crabby about this trip in general. I finally had to stop and analyze why I was feeling this way. I usually like getting out of town, especially away from the 100+ degree weather. I think it just comes down to the fact that our life and our home and our business is so stressful this summer, I guess I just didn't have any leftover energy to be loving or supportive to anyone else's projects, programs, hobbies or schedules. I just wanted to stay home and get our house back in order. Unfortunately, our airline tickets and program tickets were purchased months ago so I guess I was locked in to this travel week. (btw - if this were a women's music convention, would there be this many husbands going along on the trip? Would they be forming a support club and wearing matching shirts? I think not. hmmm . . . topic for another day.)
Anyway, once we got here and I spent a couple of days recovering from sleep deprivation, I realized I really could enjoy a week in good ol' Tennessee. It's green everywhere. Really . . . everywhere. Who knew that it could be green and lush in the middle of the summer. I am a little too accustomed to the hot July desert scenario. Dave had an all afternoon rehearsal so I took the car and went exploring. It's definitely pretty around here. Wednesday morning we went to visit a nearby cave - "The Lost River Cave". The brochure was beautiful. The area was beautiful. The river exploration in the lost cave (or was it the river that was lost?) was pathetic. It would have been cool for a $5.00 admission price. It was not as cool for a $15 admission. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. However, the walk around the area was gorgeous. Tomorrow I'll spend most of the day watching the competition. Dave has to be in dress rehearsals most of the day so I have to go see what groups they are up against.


Comment on last blog: Cindy, we heard there was some barbershop drama in Nashville - CNN had a ticker that said "Harmony not so Harmonious for the Barbershop Groups in Nashville!" - what the heck? Did a fight break out among the Tenors?

lol -- Apparently there is some serious drama brewing in the barbershop world. (See? I told you there is a whole "world" of barbershop out there!)

Click here to read about the disturbing issue. Big big story, I tell you.

Did I tell you it is hard to sit through five days of singing competition? It is mostly because they all start to sound the same. How many arrangements of "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" can you sit through? When a young collegiate group comes in and sings maybe a Beatles song that has been arranged with the distinctive dominant seventh chord to make the classic barbershop sound, it is very refreshing to the audience. But hard-core (and usually old aged) barbershoppers have a problem with modernization and would rather sing "Wild Irish Rose" the rest of their singing career.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


There is an alternate universe in the world of barbershop music. I doubt people in the general public are aware of this. I seem to be immersed in it this week. (I draw the line at wearing a matching shirts with the other ladies here. I'll support. I'll clap. I'll cheer. I will NOT wear a matchy-matchy shirt with them. Sorry.) Anyway . . . there is even a market to purchase all things barbershop. It seems that anyone can slap a treble clef on an item and it is retail mania. Dave's group is singing on Friday evening. (I know, no fireworks shows for us. This is serious business.) There are 4 days of competitions for the quartets. They go through several rounds of competition to skim down the group to the best of the best for a big showdown Saturday night. The groups already have to be pretty darn good to even be competing here already having won local and regional competitions. However, the top few finalists are absolutely amazing! There is a big difference between the pretty darned good and the absolutely perfect. It's very fun to watch. I might even buy a recording of their music - I really am immersed. Because it is competition for a panel of judges, it is not as fun for the audience as a regular stage performance. However, they are performing in a huge sports arena and there are thousands of people here every day. For me, an afternoon is enough. I can't do 5 days straight. Luckily, there a gigantic mall next to our hotel to fill my days. Friday is the competition day for the chorus groups. Again, they have already been through several levels of elimination to be here. I have got to say, Dave's group "The Spirit of Phoenix" is quite amazing. They are a group of over 70 men. I would take a video of their performance, but they are a little over the top stringent about no recording devices during the shows. I'll try to get in to one of their rehearsals and get a video clip. You will be amazed. I mean it. In the meantime, start humming "Shine On Harvest Moon" to get in the mood.

*Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America