I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Friday, 29 August 2008


Perhaps it is premature, but I've done it anyway. I think the list has been brewing in my mind over the last year or so. I've made a short list of songs for my CD.

'my CD'. It sounds so big, and scary. If it weren't so amazing, I'd run the other way.

D and I are touring a studio on Saturday. The place charges $65/hr for studio time plus $45/hr for their side of things (mixing, etc). Could we find a cheaper place? Definitely. Would it sound cheaper? Yes. D figures when we take all the tracks to be laid down, even working with minimal people to maximize our efficiency, we're talking about a $10K-$12K project. Gah!

As Lizzie says in Pride and Prejudice, "Ten thousand pounds! Good heavens! How is half such a sum to be repaid?" If I was hoping to find some help there, I get none - Mr Bennet makes no reply.

Proposals will be written up and sent to people with much prayer. Until I find the secret treasure that I'm sure is hidden in the walls of this house somewhere, it's not all coming from us.

But, that is the stuff of managers (I have retained D in that faculty. He really had no choice, and his engineer's mind is much better suited for it than my happy-go-lucky artist's mind, which tends to flit away, twirling about, when such mundane details raise their heads). So, to the short list.

1. The View from Here - fastish, straight rock tune. Likely also the title track 'cause I like the name and really, all the songs reflect my view of life and stuff. One of D's favorites.
2. Only You - also fastish, and likely to have a straight rock feel to it. I have some ideas on that. One of my personal faves.
3. You are Lord - Celtic-style worship song. Possibly with a jig at the end.
4. For His Praise - Celtic-style worship song, but no jig.
5. Imagine - mid-tempo, bilingual worship song I blogged about back in November 2007, from the conference of the same name
6. Compelled - mid-tempo song from the 2005 CCSB conference
7. Overcome - slow ballad.
8. Let it Go - slow jazz, featuring some cool sliding guitar and bass courtesy uber-guitarist
9. Lament - my newest one, introspective ballad
10. Silence Broken - really a Christmas song, but the odds of me releasing a Christmas CD are pretty slim.
11. We Hold On - slow song I always said I'd include in a CD, for reasons known to those who'll understand.

Maybe another one, but I'm shooting for 9-11 songs. It will be a journey, I know. Much prayer needed. Thankfully, though, much grace given.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

much arranging

I've spent much of this morning arranging and planning. School starts next week, and with several new curricula involved this year, I wanted to get familiar with them and figure out how our weeks will generally look. One encouraging moment came when R asked with what I believe was sincere excitement to see her Algebra book. Wonder how long that will last?

Monday will be non-book days for the most part, with French tutoring, riding on alternate weeks, and science and history enrichment in the afternoons for R&A. Those afternoons will be library time for M and me. R will also work on her writing program (WriteShop, which looks detailed but a very thorough and useful tool for my little writer), and we'll read some of Story of the World, (history disguised as cool story chapters, something the girls routinely ask for).

Tuesdays & Thursdays will include Bible study (a kids' book by Precept that looks very promising), math, spelling, science, grammar for A&M, and WriteShop and Editor-in-Chief (learning to proofread and edit) for R.

Wednesdays & Fridays will be the same, with social studies (Story of the World and working on their map study books) in the place of science, and R just doing her WriteShop work.

And somewhere in there, each of the girls will do various novel studies. R will be doing a two-book study to compare and contrast Jack London's The Call of the Wild and White Fang, this term and then do Farley Mowat's Lost in the Barrens next term. A will do The Hobbit this term and The Secret Garden next, and M will do some book studies on the Beatrix Potter stories.

Also somewhere in there I will be doing the week-to-week music at church, and working on arrangements for the CD project, and trying to maintain a sense of order and peace in our house.

And then of course there will be the 79% of weeks that don't go as I planned, and the much-anticipated visits from family members that push the book work waaaay down the priority list.

Looks fun.

I'm seeing more and more leaves starting to change. Summer has been cool, wet, too short, and now it seems to be on its way out the door.

Monday, 25 August 2008

and now for something completely different

It wouldn't be my blog without the occasional Monty Python reference.

We had a crazy busy fun encouraging exciting relaxing-at-the-end weekend. Between birthday parties (A&M), a youth group overnight event (R), hosting a visitor to our church from Alabama, the farmers' market, a church-wide BBQ (a whole pig), and Sunday morning's usual routine, it all passed in a blur of driving and doing.

Sunday afternoon we headed to Seren and RSH's cottage for Gaffer's bday party. And it was lovely. We swam in the lake, sat on the raft, ate, talked, laughed. After the rest of the party guests went home, D and I and the girls stayed on overnight. Much more fun together ensued, including several you-had-to-be-there moments. D took today off work and we were there until after an early supper.

So, not much of that is completely different. But a few things happened that were out of the ordinary.

First, on Friday I checked my mail to find an envelope from CCLI, with whom I'd registered my songs. Expecting to find something to sign, I opened it to find a cheque. A royalty cheque. I have now officially been paid for the use of something I've written. I feel like a real songwriter now. Tres cool and enough to make me really quite giddy.

Then Sunday, after church I was talking with someone who asked a question I get occasionally ("so when are you making a CD of your stuff?") to which I responded with my usual laugh and "when I get a few thousand bucks to get into the studio". Then came the hit: "so you're looking for investors?" and a very serious request to contact him when I'm going forward with it because when I do, he's in. Later, I was chatting with someone else who asked the same question, got my same answer, and then said "well, we would want to support you in that".

And I was dumbfounded.

Still am, really.

I'd never considered this avenue. D and I have been planning to make up a proposal for the church, to see if they could help out and then be paid back until it's all covered by CD sales. Pay them back before we get any gain from it. But individuals? Never crossed our minds. And now we need to rethink it all.

But it sure is fun thinking. Scary, but fun.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

changes afoot

I was reminded by goaliemom that I've not blogged in a while. So, here I am again.

Much of life has been ordinary days, caring for the farm and chickens (whose date of demise is now set as Sept. 3rd. Yes, I will celebrate my birthday with a trip to the slaughterhouse), keeping up with the veggie garden and hoping that someday soon those green tomatoes will ripen, working by the back fields to keep them drained, prepping for and selling at the farmers' market, rehearsing with the band, keeping tabs on the girls. Oh, and housework, which always is pushed to the bottom of the list in the summer.

But last weekend D and I celebrated 17 years since we got married. Whew! Where did all that time go? We had a lovely dinner at Cabotto's, including sambuca and espresso as an accompaniment to creme brulee for dessert. I do love creme brulee and want to learn to make it, if for no other reason than to have an excuse to have a blowtorch in the kitchen.

I got the girls' school books last week, and spent some time going through them. Looks like a busy but good year ahead. The year ahead also has a couple of big changes to our schedule.

We're not doing Awana this year; the program has been awesome and has provided a great foundation for the girls, but I was getting the feeling at the end of last year that it has served its purpose for our family. So after 8 years, were done with that.

The harder decision was to not have the kids continue in highland dance. After 5 years of dance lessons, we were all set to make the trek each week (35 minutes each way) because if the girls were dancing, we liked the teacher they had in Manotick and figured the drive was worth it. Then, a month ago, a riding school opened up 3.5km from our house. And they can have their lesson in the day, every other week (with 3 kids riding, that makes the financial end much more reasonable). So this year, equestrian replaces dance. It'll be quite a change, but the girls are looking forward to it and much as I loved to see them dancing, the closer proximity and the evening off are cheering me up quite a bit.

Friday, 8 August 2008

a post with little purpose

This is the summer of strange weather. Not record highs or lows per se, though we must have set some sort of rainfall record, but just like the day can't decide what to do. Sunny, cloudy, rain, sun, thunder, rain, sun, wind, no wind. And that was this afternoon.

On the bright side the rain wasn't started this morning and so D got in his third round of golf this week. He's had a good mix of at-home work and play on his holiday.

Today's question: will the energy we saved this summer by not running the a/c (not once!) be cancelled out by my weekly use of the stove in making jam and biscuits for the farmer's market?

Thursday, 7 August 2008

short and sweet

Not feeling very wordy today. See? That wasn't even a complete sentence. No subject at all. And that last sentence had no verb.

And in less than a month, I'll be teaching my kids grammar. Go figure!

I'm looking forward to school again this year but with some trepidation as R officially enters the Junior High years (how did little R become a Grade 7 kid?) and some gears shift. Her grammar exercises will be replaced with learning to write well and proofread her work; her straight Math lessons start leaning strongly towards Algebra, and she launches into some comparative novel studies. We're moving from facts to application, from taking in to expressing, from listening to critical thinking. No sweat, right?

Ha! Good one!

But we continue to enjoy the last month of summer vacation, especially with D at home this week (plant shutdown). He's taken each of the girls golfing with him (M and A at 9 holes each, while R lasted a whole 18). They've been walking the round with him and to see the girls doing with their dad what I so fondly recall doing with my dad just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Let's see ... farm. The garden is lush and the tomatoes just waiting to ripen. The farmer's market has been a real success; we won't get rich off it but we're not in the red and all three of the girls are becoming adept at marketing and selling, knowing their product and chatting with the people who stop by our booth. Sometimes I laugh and realize that I can wander away and leave them in charge.

Just realized that I am, in fact, more wordy than I had thought. Well, it's nice to be surprised every now and then.

I weighed a chick the other night, much to his chagrin. Five pounds, as far as I could tell, as the scale wobbled and he squawked at me. So, given my Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens chart of live weight versus dressed weight (i.e., live chicken minus everything they remove to give you a tidy naked chicken on a styrofoam tray), that boy would give us about a three-pound roaster. Not too bad for a six-week-old chicken. We expanded the chicks' outside area to encourage them to move around more because frankly, some of them are becoming coop potatoes and making me think of the stats on childhood obesity. The new area plus some scattered feed does have them curious and scratching about. The camera I had with me got some of them pretty interested, too.

Their proportions are funny - their feet are about the same size as the hens', but their bodies are much smaller. Like puppies with big feet. They are still babyish in their peeps, though the squawking is getting more common.

Question of the day: how does one encourage a chicken to exercise? Minus 'let a fox in the run', of course.