Monday, July 30, 2007

On hiatus, I guess

Sorry, no Musical Mondays today; hopefully back next week. I'm finished with Harry (finished it in about 7 hours total; would have been less but I kept getting interrupted and having to re-read the page I just read! Dratted kids! ;) ) But I'm not feeling my greatest, and every spare moment I feel okay I've been unpacking and putting things away (when I'm not taking Ems swimming! She loves her pool!) Ems is going back to preschool tomorrow so hopefully I'll be able to get stuff done, and Thursday, too, and this weekend we'll blitz the boxes together, and then hopefully next week I'll be able to get back to blogging. I just don't even have energy to get pics off the camera right now. Sorry, all. But coming down from the trip and into a house that needs unpacking and organizing, I guess I just don't have it in me to blog right now. :( I still love you all, though!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We're back.

We're here, we're safe, I'm reading Harry Potter, which came to my aunt's while I was gone and I started late last night.

Sorry, blogging= not as important as finding out the end of Deathly Hallows.

Will write more later.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Having fun!

Hello from Tulsa! We're having lots of fun and went to the zoo yesterday. Pictures when I get back! The trip was rough but it was worth it. :D

Jeff, if you're reading this, shouldn't you be doing something else?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

So Long Until Next Week

We're leaving for the airport in an hour and a half! We'll be back a week from today (plus a couple of hours.) I will be checking my e-mail once in a while while I'm gone, so if you need to contact me, you can e-mail or call my cell phone if you've got it.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Musical Mondays: Wayfaring Stranger

So we went to Emma's developmental clinic evaluation today. I'm not emotionally ready to talk about it right now. At least not to blog about it. I think I want to talk it over with my husband and friends first.

Instead, here's Musical Monday. Today I'll be sharing with you "Wayfaring Stranger", because it fits my current mood and I can sing it with soul today.

Download an mp3 here to listen. Sorry my voice is a little rough today; I should probably drink something but I just don't feel like it. I had a little trouble with some of the fricatives, too, not good with my mic control today, but Bridey is kinda fussy so I don't really want to re-record it in case it bothers her.

This song is an old one; it came out of the camp revivals held in the South. This particular song seems to be a result of a combination of "Negro spiritual" and "Appalachian spiritual." It probably began as a song that was sung by Black congregations, then was used in a few white revival meetings and grew from there into its current form (according to people who study these things.) It certainly has that bluesy feel; the words are not quite cheerful, though happy enough. They speak of salvation, but they speak of salvation coming at the end of a long, hard road. They speak of meeting those departed and the Savior with hope, but with weariness. Life can be tough, and I think this song acknowledges that, while still not losing perspective that life is still good, that after death there is still life.

Lyrics, as I sing them:

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world of woe,
But there's no sickness, toil, or danger
In that bright land to which I go.

I'm goin' there to see my father,
I'm goin' there no more to roam,
I'm just a-goin' over Jordan,
I'm just a-goin' over home.

I know dark clouds will gather 'round me,
I know my way is rough and steep,
But beauteous fields lie just before me
Where God's bright band their vigils keep.

I'm goin' there to see my mother,
She said she'd meet me when I come,
I'm just a-goin' over Jordan,
I'm just a-goin' over home.

I want to wear a crown of glory
When I get home to that bright land,
I want to shout salvation's story
In concert with the blood-washed band.

I'm goin' there to see my Savior,
To sing His praise forever more,
I'm just a-goin' over Jordan,
I'm just a-goin' over home.

Do you know, I don't actually remember learning this song? The tune, anyway. I remember reading the book Come Sing, Jimmy Jo when I was in 5th grade or so. Part of the lyrics are used in it, and I remember humming a tune as I read without consciously thinking about it. A year or so later my dad's band was rehearsing it, and I was at one of the rehearsals. I remember being shocked that it was the exact tune that I had hummed! The words that weren't in the book were familiar, too, and I found myself singing along. So, unconsciously, somewhere along the line I must have heard this song and remembered it, at least once. I did have to learn additional lyrics when we decided to do the song as part of our set after I grew up and joined the family band, but the tune has always been there.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this installment of Musical Mondays! Next week I will not be posting Musical Mondays because I will be in TULSA!!! (Look at that, I'm cheered up already!)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lost and Found

Yesterday we went out and somewhere along the way I lost my cell phone. The store I was at when I noticed was kind enough to call it-- someone said hello, realized I wasn't one of his friends, and hung up. He didn't answer again. I called my husband, let him know that I'd lost it and we would be at the park, and he continued to call a few times (he also called T-Mobile, and they added 50 minutes to each line so we wouldn't go over, and gave us options for what to do if we didn't get it back.) When he got to the park we discussed it, and he decided to call a few more times. I prayed that my phone would return to me, and afterwards felt that I should send a text message to call my husband's cell if found. A few minutes later, while he was again on the phone to T-mobile, another call came in. Someone wanted to return my cell phone! He said, "Where are you, so I can come get it?" "Sunland Park." They were right in the parking lot 100 feet from us! He went and got it and thanked them (it was missing its cover but I didn't care!), then I went over and thanked them. It was a grandfather and his two teenage/preteen grandsons. I found out that the younger grandson had been the one to find it. I offered to buy him an ice cream or something to thank him and he broke into a shy smile but refused. I guess that the constant calling made the guy who initially found it nervous. He decided to take the cover and ditch the phone. Right before I texted my phone (hmmm... right after my prayer?), this honest young man saw someone take the cover off a phone and drop it on the ground. He picked it up, and saw the message, and made the call. Hooray!

Only five short calls were made, and nothing important was lost (I can get a new cover! It's the phone numbers that I've been too lazy to store anywhere else reliable that I don't want to lose! And I wouldn't have been too thrilled to pay $100 for a new phone, either.) Hooray for another answer to prayer!

I'd love to hear your stories of lost things that were returned in unexpected or special ways. :)

And speaking of lost and found, my uncle used to be a locally-famous record producer and DJ. (This was a loooong time ago, in Phoenix, AZ.) I was idly googling my maiden name and came up with this CD (I'd heard that there was a CD out but not seen the blurb for it yet.) Apparently he is still rather respected by aficionados of the music of his heyday and they keep making compilations of the music he produced. I don't remember which one but one of them has my dad's name on the back for one song, too; he tells the story as such: "One day when I was about 15, my brother Mike, your uncle, came in and said, 'Hey, I wrote these words and I need music for them. Write me some music to go with them and I'll give you half-credit for writing it.' [My dad is a self-taught guitar player, got a guitar at age 12 and taught himself to play by listening to the Beatles. He's always been very musical. He now plays at a semi-pro level, and can listen to almost any song and immediately play it.] So I strummed a few minutes, set down some simple chords and a melody, and the cover read 'Words and music by Mike and Bill Lenaburg.' When we had our school dance at the end of that year, the band who was playing covered that song, and they said, 'I hear one of the guys who wrote this song goes to your school. Bill Lenaburg, will you stand up? Let's give him a hand!' It was the only dance I ever went to where there was no shortage of girls wanting to dance with me all night!" (I guess my dad was kinda a skinny kid. ;) ) I didn't actually know all of this until a few years ago; when they started coming out with these compilations my dad started telling all about his big brother Mike and how he idolized him growing up. I guess Mike was a really big influence on my dad, and one of the reasons he's stayed into music all his life is time spent with my Uncle Mike as a teenager.

How about you guys? Got any cool family stories you discovered in the last few years or so?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I hate this. :(

I am two days late for my period. I took several pregnancy tests and, in frustration, went out and got an early pregnancy test (supposed to be 99% accurate on the day of your missed period.) Negative. So that means one of two things: I'm waiting for a period I don't want, and my body has decided not to cooperate (most likely) or (less likely), I'm pregnant but my hCg is so low that it's undetectable by a urine test-- which probably means I'm going to miscarry early, again.

This stinks. Really bad. I'm sad.

But I AM going to see Rayann next week. Yay for that. That cheers me up some.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

First Blogiversary

Today is my Blogiversary-- it's been one year since I started this blog! I had a big long post but Blogger ate it.

So I'll just say, that the best part of blogging is the friends I have made. I can't believe I have stuck with any form of journalling for a whole year; I think the feedback is definitely what has kept me going. And it's just been a great experience. Here's to many more years in the Ketchup Bottle!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Musical Monday: Bringing in the Sheaves

Today I'd like to share with you the hymn Bringing in the Sheaves, by Knowles Shaw, music by George A. Minor.

This hymn has a special place in my heart. A lot of people think of it as a "harvest time" hymn, often sung around Thanksgiving and such. But really, the hymn is much deeper than that, and appropriate all year 'round. It's both about having a joyful demeanor, that you may reap joy in return, and about missionary work. The simple words are accessible on several levels, and that is why it has remained a popular hymn since 1874 when it was written.

I have many memories of this hymn. The repetitive, bouncy, rhythmic chorus and the sheer joy of this hymn made it a favorite around our house, whatever we were doing. I remember singing it while cleaning growing up, especially the "pre-holiday-guests" cleaning before Thanksgiving, but also in the summer. The chorus makes for excellent "echo" singing, so often one of us would start and the other would bring in the echo (which, traditionally, would probably be sung by the bass, but we didn't have a bass!) The rhythm would carry us through scrubbing floors, polishing furniture, cleaning mirrors and windows, or whatever we were doing.

As I get older, I have often found myself humming it to myself while I walk along, and a bounce appears in my step. I find it almost impossible to be sad while singing or listening to this song, and it is excellent for banishing angry or depressing thoughts; I find it re-focuses me on the feelings I should be giving my time to, rather than wallowing in sadness or anger, it re-purposes my thoughts. The hymn acknowledges sadness: "Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master/Though the loss sustained, the spirit often grieves." But it also reminds us that "When our weeping's over, He will bid us welcome." Life is full of trials sometimes; it is supposed to be. But at the end of our lives we will go to a place of joy the likes of which we can barely conceive of. And a loving Judge and Friend will then let us know our mistakes are forgiven (if we have repented), that the most un-lovable parts of us are loved, and that our work is just beginning.

A new place to live-- an answer to prayer!

You all may have seen me complaining about this apartment and the troubles we have with it and the landlord and such. Well, we're moving.

I'll be further from the park and Sun Thrift (although closer to another park and the library), and we'll have to work out a way to get Emma to and from preschool, but we will figure something out. It is in our ward still (important because it provides a sense of stability to Emma), only a few blocks from my dad's house, has a pool, gated entry, underground parking, two bathrooms, and is just a nicer place to live. We will only be paying about $250 more per month-- within our budget-- we won't be paying an illegal water bill or a sewage bill, and we will be able to start moving stuff in a few days. They're not even charging us a full month's rent as a deposit, or a pet deposit for the cats.

We're giving our thirty days' notice today. (Or maybe Wed., when we sign the lease.)

I've got mixed feelings. I'm not thrilled about moving so far from Emma's preschool that she has to go all day, but I think we will both adjust. And you can't put a price on feeling safe in your home. (We will NOT be giving CPS our new address!)

We have been praying for a new place to live, and this is just an answer to our prayers. We are excited to be moving!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Independence Day Tradition... to re-read Common Sense. It's my favorite work by Tom Paine, and Tom Paine has always been my favorite of the "founding fathers" of our nation (even if he wasn't technically one of them, more of an "influence.") His way with words was incredible. I've been re-reading this short work in celebration of the Fourth every year since I was 9 or so. It's a good tradition, and I always catch something new that makes me re-think some things.

If you'd like to join me in this, full text is online at Bartleby, or it's downloadable in e-book form at Project Gutenberg (I don't recommend the online format at the latter, it can be hard on the eyes.)

You can also access his longer works online, if you decide you like his writing and haven't read enough of him.

Reading Common Sense is important to me because it sets out in plain words the importance of good government, the things that we consider basic human rights, and provides thinking points which we can apply to our own country and government as well as the situations of people all over the world-- are we being properly governed? If so, how can we ensure that it continues? If not, what steps should we individually take to change that? Do we have a responsibility to those who are not being properly governed? What is it, and how do we best execute it? (On that note, one of the best websites I know for humbling myself when I think we (as a global people) are doing pretty well is Human Rights Watch; there are still parts of the world where our brothers and sisters are suffering in unspeakable ways because their government does not guarantee their rights or actively suppresses them. Warning: that site contains very specific content about atrocities, although not on the front page. Consider the consequences before allowing children to access it.)

Anyway, have a safe and happy Independence Day, those of my friends who are Americans, and to those who are not, you might enjoy the reading anyway. ;)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gonna Rock this Town...

Well, thank you, Guinevere!

I've been chosen as a Rockin' Girl Blogger.

I have to say that while I do not rock in the traditional sense, I most definitely do have my strong points, and I have it on good authority that I should be proud of who I am. So that's me, rockin' the ketchup, murder ballads, and nursing dresses. :D

As per RGB tradition, I will now pass on the award. Here are my choices of Rockin' Girl Bloggers:

1) Awesome Mom at Adventures of an Awesome (Sometimes) Mother. From the style of her writing to her grace under pressure to her innate humor to her AWESOME parenting skillz, she rocks.

2) Kira at Aerin Amelia: Our Miracle Baby. Kira has turned her daughter's struggles into advocacy for preemies all over the country in the form of her work for the March of Dimes. She always has a kind word when I have troubles and she has an impeccable sense of style, both in clothing and in actions; she always thinks before she speaks and is never crude, vulgar, or inappropriate. In other words, she rocks because she cares.

3) Mean Mommy (known to some of us as "Euphrasie") at Guess What the Kids Did Today because anyone with kids that smart who doesn't go completely crazy, rocks. (Also, they're adorable.)

And most of the other Rockin' Girl Bloggers I would nominate, already have the award. So kudos to all of you-- may we rock long.

Button is on the sidebar (it's actually just a picture), pick it up and put it on your own blog, then pass on the honor!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Musical Mondays--starting this week!

I thought since Mondays often get me down and music tends to lift me up, I'd start a bit of a new tradition. I'll choose one folk song or hymn that I love (there are lots!), which is in the public domain, of course, and share it with you (either posting the lyrics here and singing it for you, available to download in mp3 format, or linking to a page with lyrics and music.)

I'll also share with you my memories of the song, what it means to me, why I like it, etc.

Hopefully you will either get to enjoy a song you already know, maybe learn something new about it, and share your thoughts about it, or you will get to hear a new song.

We'll see how long this lasts. :)

So here's today's song:

The Leather-wing Bat

"Hi," said the little leather-wing bat,
"I'll tell you the reason that,
The reason that I fly in the night,
It's because I've lost my heart's delight."

Howdy-dowdy diddle-o-day,
Howdy-dowdy diddle-o-day,
Howdy-dowdy diddle-o-day,
Tull-o-leel a diddly-do.

"Hi," said the woodpecker, settin' on a fence,
"Once I courted a handsome wench,
She got saucy and from me fled,
Ever since then, my head's been red."


Then said the blackbird, settin' in a chair,
"Once I courted a lady fair,
She turned fickle and turned her back.
Ever since then, my head's been black."


"Hi," said the bluebird as she flew,
"If I were a young man, I'd have two;
If one got saucy and wanted to go,
I'd have a new string for my bow."


"Hoot," said the owl with her head so white,
"A lonesome day and a lonesome night;
Thought I heard some pretty gal say
She'd court all night and sleep all day."


"No, oh, no," said the turtle dove.
"That's no way for to gain your love;
If you want to win your heart's delight,
Keep her awake both day and night."


This children's song is from the Appalachians, as far as I know. It entered my consciousness at a very early age, via a Burl Ives record (we had two of his kids' records, and yes I do mean records; I think this was on The Lollipop Tree, but I'm not absolutely certain.) The version I sing now is mostly his, but with a few minor variations and a verse or two that he doesn't sing on the record.

An interesting tidbit is that when I was a bit older, maybe 11 or so, I heard an Irish group (can't remember who) on a radio show called The Thistle and Shamrock that we used to listen to just about every week. They were singing a song about a miller, which I have learned is "The Old Man at the Mill," thanks to the wonders of Google-- I remembered the chorus down through the years and from that was able to find the song. (Part of that song also became a play-party game called "Miller Boy" in America. I'm not sure whether "The Old Man at the Mill" actually originates in Ireland and was carried over to America, or the other way around; there has been a lot of cross-over of folk songs going both ways.) I was struck that it was the same melody! (I have since learned that many versions also share many of the same/very similar verses.) I have also since heard a song entirely in Gaelic, using the same melody, although I for the life of me can't remember where or when. (This does not necessarily indicate that the tune originated in Ireland. Like I said, tunes and songs were borrowed freely on both sides of the Atlantic.)

In any case, it's a tune that's fascinated me since I was a young child, and I now sing it to my girls, especially when they need to be distracted; the almost hypnotic rhythm is perfect for bouncing a baby on a hip to, and older toddlers like the names of birds even if they don't understand the "courting" lyrics. (Notice that the final advice is given by the turtle dove, a bird long associated with love and courtship in Appalachian lore.) It's very rhythmic, even unaccompanied, and you can see why it made a good play-party song. (Play-party songs were dances done only to their own singing and clapping by groups of young people on the American frontier and in parts of the South and Midwest even until the 1930's, by teens and young adults whose parents had forbidden dances as "of the devil" or musicians as "bad influences"; apparently if there were no instruments and it was seen as a "children's game", then it didn't count as dancing. Most of the dances were circle dances, although there was the occasional "figure", "promenade", or "thread-the-needle" game.)

I hope you enjoy it! You can download an mp3 of me singing it here.