Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Two-thousand thirteen.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

A happy New Year
[Photo Credit]

Although I skipped over the usually obligatory Thanksgiving, advent, Christmas, and other end-of-year posts, I think New Year’s posts are some of the best in blog-land. There’s something so inspiring about reading everyone’s goals, focus words, and year-end reflections and accomplishments. (My 2012 year in review post WILL be coming soon, once my best and I have a chance to hash out the happenings.)

Some of these goals aren’t measurable or specific (we all know how “do ______ more” usually pans out)… but here are a few areas I’d like to improve:

  • Eating at the kitchen table. Right now we eat almost every night on our couch while watching Netflix (for shame!). This is because our kitchen table (first stop after the front door in our tiny apartment) is our clutter-catch-all, and we never want to both cook AND straighten the table. I’d like to use our cute placemats, pay attention to each other, have conversations, and get up from the kitchen table when we’re done (which I suspect will make cleaning up from dinner immediately a much more natural transition).
  • Start playing the piano again. My aim is once a week to start out. I figure if I do this, I will naturally want to play more than that, which is my eventual goal. To make this goal more measurable, I’ll probably decide on a few songs to learn and perfect.
  • Develop better routines. This is a biggie. It includes creating a rough weekly schedule that works with my highly variable work responsibilities, a cleaning routine that works for both of us, a gym routine and a morning routine. I started majorly slacking in the morning (and letting myself) when I got sick this summer, and now I can’t seem to drag myself out of bed until Eric’s almost ready to leave for work. Ideally I’d be awake with Bible read and tea/coffee had by that time, ready to start my work day.
  • Pick a few books of the Bible to read and re-read this year. I’m stealing this approach to a Bible-reading plan from this post by our good friend Paul. I’ve chosen Esther, Isaiah and Phillipians so far. Any suggestions?
  • Simplify and improve our eating. Eric and I have talked about wanting to start eating organic meats as a step toward improving the quality of what we put in our bodies. This means eating less meat in general and finding out where the best deals are, as our grocery budget doesn’t have much room to expand. We’ve talked about doing a CSA arrangement if we can find an affordable one. I love cooking, but grocery planning/shopping is one of my most hated chores.
  • Become a better photographer. This will probably involve working through some online tutorials, as well as practicing a lot. I’m looking forward to this goal as a fun one, especially with our new camera.
  • Work through a writing book slowly and do all the exercises. I tend to treat writing books as general inspiration, instead of really using them to practice skills. I have a couple awesome writing books right now, including On Writing Writing Down the Bones, Bird by Bird, and one from my mother-in-law called Writing as Way of Healing. I want to spend some quality time with each one.
  • Blog more consistently. I know I’ve totally neglected my blog this year. It was a strange year in some ways, especially with four months of sickness, which I think left me quite depressed in the low energy, just getting by kind of way. One positive is that that leaves me with tons of blogging material, particularly about my writing career, that I never got to in 2012. That should be enough to jump-start my new blogging habit.

Thanks for bearing with me through the breaks this year, friends.

2012 in review, coming soon! (PROMISE!)


The dusty soul.

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

[photo via MaltaGirl]

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”
– Berthold Auerbach, 19th century German novelist

“Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once”
– Robert Browning, 19th century English poet


When I find my soul sooted and lonely, I reach for the dusting and the peopling.

Currently listening: Chopin’s complete etudes

Currently learning: Chopin Nocturne Op. 9 No. 1

Don’t take my sunshine.

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

The SUN has been a source of frustration for residents of the Northwest this year.  We had a spattering of sunny days before school let out, but nothing at all consistent — and in between two days of beautiful blue skies we’d have a week or two of overcast, rainy days.  Now it’s mid-July, cloudy, and cool.

I’m holding out for the sunshine to return.

I’m a person who’s very influenced by the weather.  Long winters get me feeling bluer than most, and sun flooding through my ugly vertical blinds can turn my morning around.  One of my very favorite parts of summer is the food — fresh produce, that craving I get to just eat pasta salad (the good kind) and fruit all day, and the idea of fantastic things like homemade soda or granitas…

Chicken with tomato-herb pan sauce.

Please, please, sun, come back, so my grocery shopping and cooking can excite me again!

Spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese crepes with balsamic reduction.

Sun, good food, and good music (like the gem above from an old favorite band), stir my soul.  Have a listen, and, if you’re not in the Pacific Northwest, soak up some Vitamin D for me.



On vinyl.

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

We’ve had this old guy for a couple of years now.  We’ve wanted a vinyl collection and a cool old turntable for years – in fact, the Christmas we were engaged I bought Eric three records in anticipation of this future reality.  We did some research and were put off by the idea of buying a new record player, most of which covert records into Mp3’s (SO not the point).  Right around this time we discovered that Eric’s grandpa had an old turntable in his garage, and he told us we just needed an amplifier for it. Figuring it was free and couldn’t be that difficult to set up, we  brought it home with us. But we were intimidated by its weird plugs and the grounding wire that I believed to be something else entirely more complicated that might require stripping and twisting and capping wires and potential electrocution, and we realized we would need some sort of additional piece of equipment to make it work properly.  So there on our side table the turntable sat, posing as something functional and hip and fulfilling, when in actuality it gathered lots of dust and took up space. (You can even see it here, most clearly in the last picture.)


Until my dear parents got us an Amazon giftcard for our anniversary, and we began to actually investigate what would be required to hook everything up.  To our surprise and annoyance — after all, this took us 3 years to figure out — all we needed to buy was a pre-amp (of which we chose a cheap one – and please don’t ask me what exactly this is), and we were even left with enough money to buy ourselves two records:  the new Fleet Foxes, to be released this month, and last year’s epic Beach House album.  AND in talking to Lauren I discovered that she and Nick owned an extra copy of the newest Strokes album, as yet unheard by the King fam, and offered to send it to us.

Which brings our collection to….

Animal Collective, Strawberry Jam
Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
Beach House, Teen Dream
Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues
Radiohead, The Bends
Steely Dan, Greatest Hits
The Strokes, Angles

We’re trying to be very selective about our vinyl collection – living in Portland, it’d be way too easy to go drop not that much money to accumulate a ton of used vinyl, but in our opinion by that methodology our collection wouldn’t really be that special.  As it stands, other than the oddball Steely Dan (which I love and Eric is okay with), all our records are new and specially selected over and above countless other excellent albums.

Our tentative plan is to try to buy one record that we really want about once a month and to be intentional with our purchases and with setting aside time to really listen to each album as  whole.

Happy beautiful, beautiful Sunday.