Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two New Songs: While Doing Bird Research

I'm still doing some research re: the birds who come to my deck, and the two of them who passed away there after letting me touch and hold them. More to come regarding the birds soon!
In the meantime, here are a couple of songs I heard on the radio recently and really liked. Both infectious tunes, snappy!

Rumour Has It, Adele

Somebody That I Used To Know, Gotye with Kimbra

And here are a couple of photos I took of the hummingbirds coming to the feeder on my back deck. I actually received an honorable mention in the Backyard Bird Shop photo contest for these hummer photos, and a $10 gift card! Which I used to buy sunflower chips for the tube bird feeder! The hummingbird nectar recipe is very simple. Two cups of water, boiled for a minute or two, stir in one half cup sugar. Let it cool before putting into the feeder - it lasts two weeks in the frig.

Enjoy your animal life and music until I write again. :)

Best Wishes, Laura

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Three Blog Entry Possibilities

Hello Dear Readers,
So, I've noticed my blog entries are all over the map. Everything from a happy birthday greeting to Erik Estrada to a photo of me in my kitchen wearing nothing but an apron and high-heeled red shoes, to a bunch of responses to the question "How are you?"

I can tell it's going to continue this way for a while. I've been writing newsletters since 2003 (www.wishweavers.com), but writing a blog is very different! Well, at least for me it is.

I have three different ideas for the next blog entry, and none of them are fully formed yet. And may not be for another week or two.

Which would you most like to hear about and perhaps comment on?

1) The bizarre experience with birds on my deck in the last two weeks...including two having died there, while two also let me pet and HOLD them! How weird is that? A wild song bird actually letting you hold him/her? This I will include photos of. But I still haven't figured out why they ended up on my deck, unable to fly much, just hop, in the first place. I have a call in to a bird specialist. I think they have been either Pine Siskins or a breed of Sparrow...

2) I recently read the book THE SHACK by William P. Young on loan from a co-worker. It's much more Christian-oriented than the inspirational/spiritual books I usually am drawn to, and I absolutely loved it! There is so much in these pages that completely sung to my soul. Some things in particular re: ways I have possibly judged myself, or others. I've always been a huge "Jesus fan" even though I don't subscribe to dogmatic religions of any kind (raised Presbyterian, by the way - and had a very good experience in the First Presbyterian Church in Raymond, South Dakota. Played piano and sang in church, taught Sunday School, etc.)

3) It appears, after getting some feedback from someone I had a joint prayer session with recently, that the prayers are working! I've always been a big believer in prayer, especially in conjunction with other people. As Jesus said, when two or more are gathered... Well, I've been feeling a calling to start a prayer circle...and I don't know what that will entail just yet. Anymore than I know what to write about THE SHACK or about this whole bizarre bird experience.

Do you have a preference?

Warm Regards and Best Wishes, Laura

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy 63rd Birthday, Erik Estrada!!!

I was 15 years old, living on a farm in South Dakota, and totally in love with Erik and CHiPs. I entered a Tiger Beat magazine contest three different times in three different ways - I was so determined to win the prize, which was was an autographed copy of THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE, the first major motion picture Erik was in.
I won.

Three months went by, and I never got the book. In the mean-time, I'd gotten a letter from another young gal in South Dakota who offered to trade me all the posters and pictures she had for the signed book. I wrote her back and said I would prefer the book, which I still hadn't received. On my mother's suggestion, I wrote the magazine and explained that I had won the contest, but had never received the book. They wrote back and said the book had been shipped, and gave me the date and such.

Fast-forward about two decades. I'm married (Jeff and I were married for over 12 years) and Jeff liked to listen to the Mark and Brian radio program in the morning. One morning, Erik was the guest on the radio show. I vowed I would call the radio station as soon as I got to work (SAIF Corporation at the time) and tell Erik the story of how I won this book as a teen, but never received it. I got to work, turned my computer on, got my task list printed for the day, and went into the break room to call the radio show. My palms were sweaty and my heart was racing. And the break room was full of people having coffee and heating up their bagels, etc. I just couldn't call Erik Estrada on a radio show with all of those people sitting there. I lost my courage.

So, that night, at home, I did a little research on the internet. I found an address for the radio show, and a possible address for Erik, and mailed off two letters the next day. A rep from the radio station called me a few days later and asked if it was okay to pass my letter along to Erik's agent. Of course, I said yes.

Again, about three months passed before I got the mail with a big, thick envelope including a signed copy of Erik's autobiography, MY ROAD FROM HARLEM TO HOLLYWOOD (which I'd already bought and read twice) and a copy of THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE. Included was a personal note saying that he and Nana (his wife) had looked for a copy of the original book with Pat Boone on the cover, but couldn't find it. They mentioned Erik was touring with GREASE and would be in Portland that summer, and he'd love to meet us.

I booked five tickets to the show that same day, for me, my husband, and three step-sons. (It wasn't a great show, by the way. Charo played the Principal with her coochie-coochie thing, and Erik was Vince Fontaine.) Wasn't cheap, around $385 for the five tickets as I recall. But, I met Erik after the show, my ex-husband took the photos, and I was basically crying and shaking afterwards, even at the age of 33!

I've e-mailed with Erik and his wife, Nana, since - but not in a while now.

On Erik's 63rd birthday, I thought this was a great time to share this story...and a reminder... Dreams do come true. Sometimes it can just take a while. :)

Blessings, Laura

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Play Time

A vendor brought egg burritos - chicken, chorizo and vegetarian - into the office today. A lot of people were really excited about the burritos. I had one, the chorizo. But I was WAY more excited that there were little containers of Play-Doh by the burritos. I presume the same vendor brought them in.

I snagged three - orange, green and pink - lifting the lids to see the colors and smell that scent of Play-Doh! When was the last time??? It smells the same as when I was a kid. I waited until I got home to play. After I had gone to the grocery store, to the gym, and cleaned my entire place. You know, did all the "adult" stuff I needed to do.

And then I played. Here are my Barbies in summery clothes (I'm looking forward to summer - and I'm not even going to get into the whole social commentary about what Barbie dolls mean to our young girls - although I'm certainly aware of the possibilities) holding a Play-Doh beach ball I rolled with my own two hands.

I had so much fun. It's important to play.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Living Life Intuitively

I had lunch with my mediation teacher, Tsipora, at Whole Foods Market today. I know the next steps I will be taking, now that I have my mediator's certificate from Portland Community College.
I was struck, in listening to Tsipora's story, how much we both live our lives intuitively. Tsipora started trusting this process at a much younger age than I did, and she's almost 60 now. Tsipora was born in Israel and recruited to become trained as a nurse in the army at the tender age of 18. She saw war on the front lines that early in her life...and knew that there must be a better way to resolve conflict.

When I started with the M/6 women's group (M to the 6th power) back in 1999, I had no idea how much my life would change because of attending that first meeting. Becoming a part of this group eventually lead to my first book, Six Degrees To Your Dreams, and my first business, Wishweavers, LLC.

When I attended my first voice class with Linda Brice, I had no idea I would eventually be asked to become an apprentice teacher, and that - two years later - I would be teaching my first private voice student in barter for a beautiful painting.

I signed up for Tsipora's mediation class at PCC for the same reason I signed up for that first voice class. I knew I was supposed to be there. The minute I walked in, I felt at home - that I was with my "tribe." I feel a calling to be a part of peaceful conflict resolution. Of course, if I'm really good at this, I could end up making $350/hour as a divorce mediator, or something like that. But that's not why I'm doing it - anymore than becoming a voice teacher at $55/hour was why I signed up for that first voice class.

I'm living my life intuitively...taking steps I feel drawn to take...and waiting to see how the process unfolds. It's been working really well for me. I highly recommend Living Life Intuitively.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Being a Voice Teacher

As many of you know, I've been trained through the Transformational Voice Institute (www.transformvoice.com) to become a certified voice teacher, and better singer myself. I'm on the faculty and taught Voice Lab last summer in conjunction with my treasured colleague, Nevada Jones.
I wasn't expecting to have my first private voice student so soon...but the opportunity presented itself when I first met David, an artist I admire. I wanted a painting, and he wanted to improve his voice. David is not only an artist, but art teacher who frequently speaks in public forums, and at the age of 50 had never really liked his speaking voice. Plus, he had a wounding experience as a young would-be singer, in a would-be band, in his early teens.

David suggested we exchange a painting for voice lessons.

The painting has been hanging on my wall since we first made this arrangement, and I am IN LOVE with it. Look at the colors, the movement in this exquiste piece of art. Flamenco dancers in Barcelona, Spain, inspired David to paint this...and the thread/cord you see moving through the dancers is his painted interpretation of the music they were dancing to.

We had our third lesson today. I simply could not have been more pleased with his progress, and I couldn't ask for a better student. David is taking the lessons to heart and rehearsing in between our lessons. He's highly aware of his rib cage expanding, what we call the "plop" when breathing in and the belly expands, his onsets (the first sound coming out in voicing a vowel) have dramatically improved...his vocal folds are no longer being shut together...rather the sound comes out on the breath. He's already started to understand diction and registers. He's learning and incorporating so quickly, I hope I can keep up with him!

I write this today because I was frustrated after our session last week. I was concerned I wasn't giving my student what he needed. There was some backward breathing going on...in that the tummy was contracting while inhaling, the rib cage was collapsing, and there was a lot of tension in the shoulders, etc.

But I must have done something right, because in David's rehearsal over the week...he got it! We worked more and more today on speech, elongating and sustaining phrases, even a bit into diction and registers.

I have one awesome student here who is taking this work to heart. He's made incredible progress, and I simply couldn't be more happy! Mainly I'm happy for him. But I'm also happy for me...my teaching is getting through, despite the frustration and doubts I felt last week.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Safe Place to Land

On the subject of relationships, Ralph and I have been fooling around with a poem surrounding the theme "A safe place to land." Got out the easel paper, markers, etc.

It's certainly not finished yet, but here's our start. I'm happy to hear your input, and to see what kind of a poem you might write about someone you feel safe with. Or don't feel safe with.

A Safe Place to Land

In the moment, the time, when hearts meet and blossoms bloom

there is the mist of thoughts gently moving

through the meadows

into a timeless beat of a breath

the place which heralds

the delight of two hearts

falling into each other

onto the soft caress of the Mother's embrace,

the sturdy warmth of the Father's love,

the Universal flow of I am

 all is

a safe place to land.

Ralph and Laura, 3/2/2012

All that said, here I am wearing nothing but an apron and a killer pair of Michael Kors red pumps. In my kitchen. Guess who took the photo?

I should invite Valerie Bertinelli and Demi Moore over for lunch.