Hi, my name is Ann and I’m an addict…

My drug of choice? (OK, the one I’m posting about) is American Idol. It has been 5 days since my last episode. (And I’ll be falling off the wagon on Tuesday at 8/7 pm central!) I have no shame. I’ve been addicted for about 4 seasons now, so I’m sort of a newbie. When I go back to school in the bleakness of January, I know there are two things to be excited about…the possibility of a snow day here and there, and the start of a new season of American Idol. Why do I love it? It’s got to be a little bit of just living vicariously through these artists, brave enough to lay their hearts out there only to have Simon slash it to pieces. Kind of like in the 9th grade when I got one of my first flute solo gigs, accompanying the East Junior Horizons, our chorus. I remember echoing them as they sang, “Singing a happy song,” “toodle too doo-tee dooooo,” and feeling so proud walking into the band room afterward to my friends’ compliments. It was one of the first tastes of a “drug” I would “use” for a long time…approval. Of course I looked to my band director and one of MY American Idols, Mr. Wilcox, God bless him, and he half smiled/half smirked, raised one eyebrow, and just said, “You were sharp.” And he wasn’t talking sharp as in snazzy, snappy, cool, and hip. Nahh, he was talking pitch. Drats! How I loved that man! And how he made me work that much harder the next time! A much more nurturing and encouraging Simon. I could blush (if I were the blushing type) just thinking of the way I poured my heart out to him in his yearbook that 9th grade year before leaving the home of the Hornets. I’ll never forget his “Stay in band” speech at the end of the year before we went off into the great world of high school. I did, Mr. Wilcox! All the way through first chair in the Andrews University Wind Symphony and a tour of Europe, and I still play Handel’s Messiah every Christmas! So that’s part of my love of American Idol…the thrill of achievement.

Once upon a time I did a whole lot of singing, too. In fact, I quit band in college for singing and a little group we had called “Life” (OK, and a guy who played keyboards IN the band named Jeff Trubey…I’m sorry, Ms. Favorito–I loved you and the band, really I did. Hey, you left AU for Alfred Reed and the University of Miami!) If you had asked me what I most wanted to be at that critical, choose-a-profession time in life, and I didn’t fear you would laugh, I would have answered, “Amy Grant.” Unfortunately, the world had an Amy already. I remember going to watch her “Straight Ahead” concert in Chicago with Julio and he sang so loudly and joyfully, every word (and yes, an angel voice he has, but I had come to hear AMY)…I had this sense almost of…sadness…like, maybe it was so basic as, why can’t I be her? Her music defined an era in my life. Anyway, the very real fact of student loans waiting for me when I graduated, coupled with my practical side made sure I came out of college with a degree that would allow me to get a “real job” with benefits, etc. (truthfully I don’t think I ever allowed myself to think that music could translate into a paying gig for me.) And then Jeff and I got married a year later and we kept pursuing the dream of music in one way or another for the early years of our marriage, and go figure, we now live in “Music City”. We had a little record company called Crossroads which eventually brought us to Nashville and one of our artists was produced by Gary Chapman when he and Amy were still married, and the release party was held on their farm. I shamelessly admit to pulling up a fistful of grass and thinking, “I’m at Amy’s!” (Somewhere in there I even learned how to play the guitar. My first teacher down here told me, “You play like you’re afraid to make any noise.” Well YEAH, I AM. I play flute, OK? I AM afraid to make noise! I still am pretty shy to play guitar for people other than my family, and I am not really in my guitar phase of life right now because every time I pull it out Emma wants to play it…and I tend to cycle in and out all the time among a handful of passions…I’m in the scrapbook phase right now). I’ve digressed quite a bit. Back to American Idol. Time and perspective have shown me that without a doubt, my steps have been Divinely guided, I am definitely NOT a spotlight person unless it’s in the front of a class full of 8 year olds, and I’m a huge homebody, but I still love to watch people pursue this dream of music. I also think some of the thrill of watching is, for me, sort of like what some people feel when they watch a sporting event. I know how it feels to “hear” that note in my head, and the ka-ching of actually hitting it. Or the thrill of nailing a particularly difficult passage on the flute. I remember one of my few opportunities to get studio time in NYC…it was late, I was getting tired, I still had to travel back to PA to teach the next day, and a dear friend who was a gifted musician but not a singer was standing on the other side of the glass, humming back to me through my headphones the note that I was not quite hitting, and I was getting more and more frustrated every time he did it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t hear the note, or my failures to hit it, I just wasn’t reaching it! I remember riding back to PA in a silent HUFF after that session. It’s like this…a little sports analogy, OK? Tiger can see the hole, or at least has a good idea where the hole is…but he can’t always get that little, white ball IN the hole.

Well, I guess I’d have to admit I’m not exactly the Tiger Woods of the vocal arena, but nevertheless, I WILL be hurtling through space, off the wagon and onto my couch, remote in hand, house-training puppies and needy children relegated to the care of their father while I watch the final five battle it out in less than 24 hours, because I am an addict. Hope y’all can join me.

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 7:40 pm  Comments (2)  

Why I can still do this after 21 years…

So I’m sitting at my computer today in my 3rd grade classroom, grabbing a second to check e-mails. The kids are getting settled around the room with their books and among the chit-chat I overhear, “I’m not trying to be rude, but boys aren’t supposed to wear Spandex.” Ahh, 9 year-old girls–gotta love ’em!

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Life, Socks, and “Brown-Nosing” redefined

Aww, my sweet Shadow boy…ever at my feet if I pause more than a few seconds somewhere.  Here he is when I was sitting at the table playing Life with Sophie this afternoon.  I was thinking of that quote, “My old dog…a heartbeat at my feet.”  Then I looked at the photo later and his sweet nose is crusted with dirt…he’s been playing in the dirt where Jeff’s trying to put in some stepping stones in the backyard.  It’s been a good afternoon even if both of the girls are a bit sick.  Lots of giggling…gotta love it.  Took Shadow to the vet this a.m. and he’s 36 pounds!  A milestone because he can now pass an ingested sock instead of experiencing gastrointestinal distress.  We keep telling the girls to keep their socks picked up but you know how that goes, and Shadow’s reach is ever-increasing; counters, tabletops, etc. are no longer safe zones (and hey, why would anyone ever think to use a hamper???)  I think if we get a good, hard, rain, my back yard will look like I just got fed up and pitched  my laundry out the back door.  On that delightful visual, I’ll wish you all a great weekend.











Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

She’s headed for the UN, Jeff says

This is Jeff’s story. Jeff was driving Emma to school. Emma was coughing and told him,”I have a very bad cough.” Not wanting her to repeat that at school, he said, “That’s ok, it’s really only a little cough.” So she says, “Why don’t you say it’s a little cough and I’ll say it’s a very bad cough.” He says she’s headed for the UN.

More evidence: She stayed home yesterday with Jeff (apparently it was more of a very bad cough after all) and when I got home I couldn’t help but notice she had bright red nail polish on when I got home. Guess she got bored. She comes up to me and says all in one sweet-voiced breath, “Mommy, I love you and I spilled some paint on Shadow’s bed.”












Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment