Friday, October 31, 2008

My Cousin, Dirt

I have a whole bunch of cousins, but Dirk is my favorite. Maybe because we are closest in age...maybe because he let me torture him every summer for the better part of our childhood... or maybe because he was totally game to stage fully-choreographed song and dance productions in the front yard with me... Mostly I love Dirk because, while I was torturing him throughout our childhood (and well into our adult years if I'm being honest), he let me call him "Dirt" and never once decked me. What a guy.

I stumbled onto Dirt's Halloween costume today and just had to share it:
He's "Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Showers"! Get it? He spritzed passers-by with his spray bottle for the chance of showers. Oh, Dirt. You crack me up.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ugg, gotta keep up with the 'Pres

Information You Really Don't Need, really, you don't need to know.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
My middle name is after a Cousin.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
I'm a guy, I don't admit to crying.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING
HA! I can't even read it. What do you think?
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Corned Beef to the right of me.... (anybody, anybody?)
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
As a former director of youth ministries and someone who really enjoys working with Children's choirs I would have to say yes, I get to make them sing for me and think about their faith but send them to their mom's when they start to cry. Much better than actually HAVING kids.
6. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS
Yes. I think.
7. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Yes, my girl would even hold my stuff for me.
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Frosted Flakes in a big mixing bowl. Thanks Uncle Skip.
9. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
My skater shoes? No. All the other ones, yes.
10. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Right now I am fat. Less strong than dead weight but I think when the 'pres and I start tangoing soon, I will get back into shape. Nothing better than dancin' with your girl!
11. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
If they are putting on a facade.
12. RED OR PINK?
Red in small doses.
13. WHAT IS THE THING YOU LIKE LEAST ABOUT YOURSELF?
I am fat. I can be a jerk. I follow my gut which has lead me 2061 miles away from my better half.
14. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My better half.
15. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
hahahahahahaha
16. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Ummm....Chicken Burger from Mack's Grill at Luther Sem.
17. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The sound of my Refrigerator, Computer and External Hard Drive....oh there goes the squirrel...
18. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Ask my better half.
19. FAVORITE SMELLS?
My Girl, Motor Oil, frankincense in a big cathedral, my guitar, and a wood shop.
20. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
ChoirPres
21. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
I'll let you be the judge of that.
22. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH?
Baseball...Hockey isn't half bad I am finding.
23. HAIR COLOR?
Hair? You have to have hair for it to be colored. My facial hair is black though.
24. EYE COLOR?
I think they call it Hazel but it also changes so I never know. Green to brown depending.
25. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Uh, no.
26. FAVORITE FOOD?
Sausage and German Potatoes...duh.
27. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
As a man, I will refrain from embarrassing myself.
28. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED
Burn after reading...
29. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
oh sigh.
30. FAVORITE SEASON ?
Rain.
31. HUGS OR KISSES?
Anything if its from the girl.
32. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Not a big dessert fan but when I am in the mood, something chocolate.
33. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
There are a lot of them...thank you Luther Seminary.
34. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Who still has a mouse pad, seriously?
35. FAVORITE SOUND?
A Choir or the forest.
36. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Probably the Beatles (yes, I left that one)
37. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Germany.
38. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I can wave my arms real good.
39. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Emmanuel Hospital in Portland Oregon at like 3am. Sorry mom.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Information You Really Don't Need

We've all gotten them, right? Those email forwards containing a long list of questions to answer about yourself? I've been feeling guilty about being a dead-beat blogger lately, so I'm disclosing the incredibly important information brought to light when I recently received one of those forwards. Oh, the deep insights that await you...

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Not that I know of. Although I speculate that my middle name (Lee) might have something to do with my father and grandfather being named Leroy.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Oh brother. Two hours ago? But only a couple tears of frustration - not a big ugly cry.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING
It gets the job done. And I always like it better if I'm using a cool pen.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
I don't really eat a lot of lunch meat. So...egg salad! Egg salad is my favorite kind of lunch meat.
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Heck no! My houseplants are barely limping along. But I'm very much looking forward to being an auntie to my girlfriends' kiddos.
6. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS
Yes, and they're HUGE!
7. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
No, thank you. But I will hold your stuff while you go.
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Rice Krispies
9. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Yes
10. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Mentally and emotionally, yes. If you want help moving a piano to your fourth-floor apartment you should probably call someone else.
11. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Whether they have a friendly face.
12. RED OR PINK?
Yes.
13. WHAT IS THE THING YOU LIKE LEAST ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hmm...my nails and cuticles never look nice, and I don't remember things if they aren't written down.
14. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Given the fact that my other half is two thousand miles away? SoundGuy. But I miss my fam, too.
15. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Blue pajama pants and red-striped slippers. That's the beauty of living alone: if I didn't confess my wardrobe malfunctions to you, you'd never know!
16. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Chili and cornbread at the Pumpkin Carving Party today.
17. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
"Come Follow" has been running through my head since this morning.
18. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Something bright...maybe sunshine yellow.
19. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Fresh sawdust, Starbucks, the garlic/onion/olive oil combo that starts any good recipe
20. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
SoundGuy
21. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
I got this from my choir-friend, Becky, and I think she's rad!
22. Favorite sport to watch?
Honestly? I really like watching PBR. That's just embarassing.
23. HAIR COLOR?
Blondeish? Light brown? My hair is currently having a bit of an identity crisis and I have to resolve it by 3/1/2009 when my driver's license expires. Oh, the stress!
24. EYE COLOR?
Gray-blue with a dark blue circle around the outside.
25. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Nope
26. FAVORITE FOOD?
Hard to narrow it down to just one. Today it is chocolate Haggen-Daz.
27. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy Endings, please!
28. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED
Currently watching "The 40-Year Old Virgin" on TV.
29. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Black with a hot-pink flamingo. If you put that information together with my previous answer about pajama pants and red-striped slippers you'll get a really nice visual. I am such a fashionista.
30. FAVORITE SEASON ?
Summer
31. HUGS OR KISSES?
Yes, please!
32. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Espresso-Oreo ice cream
33. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Just finished "Twilight" and haven't started something new yet.
34. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Don't use one.
35. FAVORITE SOUND?
This just isn't a fair question to ask a musician.
36. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Probably the Beatles
37. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
France or Costa Rica - I don't know which one is actually farther...
38. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Is color-coding a talent?
39. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Missoula, Montana (YeeeeeeHaw!)
There you have it! Is anybody's outfit worse than the one I'm wearing right now?

Friday, October 24, 2008

The not so friendly Squirels

I finally had some face time with my B&E Squirrel friends and it turns out, they're married. With mouths full of leaves preparing their little den at the end of the hallway for winter, I tricked them to stop by putting a peanut on the window sill. (Ok, ok I am sure that it will not help get them to leave me alone but I wanted a picture!)

The big guy (who I have yet to name) ate the peanut and chattered at me. So, Names?

~soundguy

Choir Pres' First Visit to MN

My girl came and visited me amidst the fall leaves and the ever cooling days as winter approaches.
Of course the first thing we did was head to the MOA (Mall of America) with Dan and Joshua. For being an MEA (Minnesota Educators Association) weekend, i.e. no school for kiddos, the place was not a mad house as I expected. We leisurely wandered around the mall visiting random stores and thinking, this place is huge.
Until we found this...We will now call this place scrapbook heaven. A thin place for my girl and as she dissapeared I realized that I could tackle the Apple store and the Bose store before she could even make it half way through Archiver's. I even made it back in time to snap some pictures of her joyous delight as she found assorted papers of all kinds.The joys of enjoying fall with the one you love in a new place is exhilarating. We made it down to St. Olaf to hear the Chapel Choir's Vespers concert at Boe Chapel. While we were there I realized how many of the buildings at St. Olaf require the theme music to Harry Potter. I wonder if they have prefects down there?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

St. Paul

St. Paul Cathedral in St. Paul, MN

St. Olaf Choir
Vocalessence
12 Harps for the Berlioz

What I am missing?
Program:

VocalEssence Ensemble Singers:
O Sacrum Convivium - Olivier Messiaen

St. Olaf Choir:
Notre Pere - Maurice Duruflé
Vinea Mea Electa - Francis Poulenc
Ubi Caritas - Maurice Duruflé
Sanctus (From "Requiem") - Maurice Duruflé

VocalEssence Ensemble Singers:
Sustinuit Anima Mea (From "De Profundis") - Marcel Dupré

VocalEssence Chorus And Ensemble Singers:
Jesu, Dulcis Memoria - Pierre Villette
Exultate Deo - Francis Poulenc

All Choirs:
Psalm LXXXIV - Charles-Marie Widor

Intermission

All Choirs with orchestra:
Te Deum - Hector Berlioz

Had I been smart and forward thinking I would be either singing in this choir or have tickets to this concert (with my girl). Instead I heard a taste of what I can only imagine will be an awesome (in the original definition) concert and an absolutely magnificent space. I shall now cry myself to sleep.

~soundguy

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

...and he STILL got in to grad school!

All you people who keep asking me why I didn't date SoundGuy in college probably have a sufficient answer to your question, right?

Here's his explanation:
"To be honest, I was jealous of everyone else with their Magna Cum Laude ties and special things wrapped around their necks. Even the Hawaiians had leis so I ran back to my room and grabbed something that would go around my neck."

I can only imagine what he'll show up wearing when he graduates from Seminary!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

St. Olaf in Fall

Fall in Minnesota comes quickly, vibrantly reacting to the dropping temperatures with bursts of colors everywhere you look. It is about this time that the mild temperatures, beautiful trees, afternoon thunderstorms and abundance of things to do makes "the cities" a very attractive place to be.Boe Chapel at St. Olaf was just recently remodeled providing one of the warmest sounds I have heard. Squeeze the absolutly musical student body into the building and tell them to sing and you will enjoy the most amazing communal singing anywhere.

Standing under the Memorial Wind Chime Tower you hear the gentle chimes eerily echo in memory of students who dies while enrolled at the College. Such a profound memorial with such musical beauty.
It's a rare oportunity to be able to study at this school, let alone be a Graduate Student in the midst of these overly talented and very smart 18-to-twentysomethings. I'll continue to count my blessings as the leaves descend and the cold slowly finds its way into Minnesota.

~soundguy

Pedi's With Pam

On Tuesday night Pam took Tiffany and me for dinner and pedicures. Talk about fun girl time! Tiffany (left) got "Berry Good Dancer", Pam (right) got "My Big Break", and my toes (bottom) are modeling "Ladies and Magenta-men." I think picking the color is half the fun - love reading their funny names! I blame Princess Jessie Pants for this neurotic behavior! Thanks Pam and T for a great evening and beautiful toes!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chicago - 'Pres Style (Alternate Title: "Ode to Sudafed")

As SoundGuy mentioned, I spent the better part of last week in Chicago doing all sorts of fun things. The legitimate premise for my visit was to participate in (and give a lecture at!) the national conference for my professional association. When I arrived Wednesday night I was knee-deep in headcold - definitely NOT the gameface you like to put on for the big wigs. Thankfully, you can actually buy real honest-to-goodness Sudafed in Illinois and I bought the biggest box the gal at Walgreen's would sell me. I'm sure she thought I was a lunatic - nobody in their right mind is that excited about the 48-count salvation-in-a-box also known as pseudoephedrine. That stuff really does wonders for my public speaking, though! I gave my lecture Friday morning, full enveloped in that glorious balloon-headed "I just gobbled up cold medicine" feeling, and thought things went great! (Although, what would I know? I'd just mixed Starbucks and Sudafed...). Anyway, I was lucky to have great support from two of my favorite colleagues and friends, Brett and Karen:
So, work responsibilities and Sudafed-procurement aside, the REAL purpose of my trip to Chicago was BFF3. BFF is the official name for gatherings of my girlfriends from grad school (this was our third annual gathering...hence the 3). Ironically, we aren't really "best friends forever" in the classic middle-school-note-passing sense, but are good friends with a shared love of vacation planning and cocktails. Let me introduce you to the girls:
(L to R): Jill from Alaska, Nikki from Minnesota, Tracy from Virginia, and the Sudafed junkie from Oregon (now mixing cold meds with alcohol...what a tragic downward spiral). We started our weekend with this enormous cocktail while waiting for SoundGuy to arrive. Then we proceeded to Giardano's for a must-have Chicago delicacy: Deep Dish!
The five of us (including SoundGuy and his voracious appetite) shared this pizza and we didn't even finish it!

Saturday was filled with sight-seeing in the Windy City (which apparently earned this name NOT because of the frigid winds whipping in off Lake Michigan, but for the reputation of Chicagoans for being long-winded and full of hot air! Did I mention that my step-dad, Fred, is from Chicago? Do you see where I'm going with this?)
In a fit of genius, Tracy booked us for a bicycle tour of Chicago on Saturday afternoon. We started at Navy Pier where we were fitted with helmets (safety first, ya know!) and old-school Schwinn cruisers. I have been desperately wanting a Vespa for years now, but may have found a mode of two-wheeled transportation to rival those adorable scooters. I could ride that cruiser right off into the sunset - it was awesome! I hope Santa can figure out how to cram one of those things in my stocking this year...
Our tour included all the important landmarks in Chicago: Oprah's apartment, the only buildings to survive the big Chicago fire, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the original PlayBoy Mansion! Here's Jill contemplating how to become the fourth "Girl Nextdoor":
Eventually we wound up on the shore of Lake Michigan:
Now, seriously - don't you want one of those cruisers? With the chain-guard, and the white walls, and the big springy seat...did I mention that they each came equipped with a bell? Love it!

We did lots of other fun things over the weekend too. Fun things like admiring Nikki's engagement ring (!), and going to a comedy show at Second City, and wrapping Tracy in a big group hug at the announcement that she's pregnant (!), and shopping, and wearing our matching t-shirts around town and acting like people go around in matching t-shirts all the time. Ya know - the usual.
I snuck away from the BFFers on Sunday morning to head to church at the big Episcopal cathedral with SoundGuy. Yay for holding hands during the sermon! And yay for being the kind of people that hang around after church NOT to talk to the priest, but to chat up the organist and the choir director! Yay for having the kind of fairy-tale boyfriend who drives seven hours to go to deep dish and church with me! Yay for BFF and Schwinn cruisers and fun girlfriends who always guarantee a good time! And yay for Sudafed!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chicago

This last weekend I ran over to Chicago to see ChoirPres in all her glory and beauty. While I was there I had the chance to walk around and take some of it in.

These are some of the better pictures I managed to snag while I was there.


St. James Cathedral is a beautiful church with awesome music on Sunday Morning. The 'Pres and I were able to sing to our hearts content. Thank you again Paul Thompson for passing on your beautiful Choral Setting of The Lords Prayer. I promise to put it to great use.

Someday we will have a red door too.

~soundguy