Thursday, January 29, 2009

and the word of the day is...CAP

January 29, 2009 cap

On Tuesday we loaded our mom into the van and took her on her daily outing. Sometimes we go to Bukoos or the 5 Hour Store. Sometimes we’ll go see the birds at the Bird Refuge in Farmington Bay. Sometimes its just a ride to a nearby canyon. Twice a month our outing includes a Heart and Soul gig. Mom and Lib will visit in the car and wait for me, 45 minutes or so, while I am singing to a group of people who cannot get out to enjoy live music. Janna, the angel behind Heart and Soul, calendars a number of musicians from the Salt Lake area to visit nursing homes and care centers, mental units and schools for the disabled. It's a good thing.
Tuesday I was at a Senior Assisted Living Center in the Fort Union Area. After years of visiting a different Senior Care center twice a month I can testify to the diversity of care facilities on the Wasatch Front. Some places are just lovely, with clean floors and fresh paint or wallpaper and a hair salon and library and employees of the month in nice wooden frames posted in the lobby. Some are more humble. Old renovated houses with a living room lined with a variety of plush recliners, like the furniture section of DI. I evaluate immediately the pleasure quotient in my singing experience when I enter a building and take a whiff. Of all the factors that would change the way I feel about a place for people to live, smell would top the list. Old and clean and friendly can work for me. So can new and clean and friendly. But old or new, if it doesn’t smell clean and it isn’t friendly, I have to pull out my “I Am a Good Christian” card and put it in front of my nose to get through the gig. I tell myself that these people probably did not pick this place, someone picked it for them, and they should be entitled to the same music everyone else enjoys. When they’ve left me in a room alone with 35 Alzheimers patients and not one staff person, I say to myself “There, but for the Grace of God, go I, and wouldn’t I enjoy hearing some sweet music even if I didn’t understand the lyric?”
Tuesday’s gig was at Canyon Creek Senior Care; new- clean- friendly. One of the top-of-the-list places where if I had to arrange for someone I love this might be it. They had a beautiful dining room with cloth napkins and menus on the tables, with a bank of large windows looking out over evergreens loaded with the fresh snow of Monday’s storm. I could smell dinner cooking in the kitchen and thought maybe I should stay the afternoon. There were around 20 people seated at various tables, all fairly astute and well groomed but painfully quiet. “Hello!” I said, in my loud assisted living voice, trying to stir up some energy in the room. They smiled, and one gentleman asked how I was doing. It took all the way through Old Singer Sewing Machine and How Great Thou Art to get to the place where their eyes met mine. Just before Pontiac Rocket, a short, slight fellow with a nicely shaped beard and a U of U Baseball cap came into the room. He sat facing me straight on, nodding with each phrase as if he were testifying. “Indeed, that is what we had in our grocery bag, too!” And, “Oh yes, I remember those days before radar guns.” He sat there, his white and red baseball cap bobbing forward and back as if we were in deep conversation, only I was doing the talking and he was doing the listening. Every audience needs a Mr U of U Baseball Cap; someone who confirms the best in us and encourages us to give more; someone who hears exactly what we mean to say and shows us he hears; a hoot and a cheer in silence, saying “yer doin’ good dear, keep a goin’!” I fell in love with this man in three and one half minutes of time. Funny how easy it is to love people who love us first. Funny how that goes.
After the songs were done and my guitar was snug in its soft gig bag; after I had shaken the hands of the fellow by the window and the lady in front of him, and the line of ladies over by the piano, I made my way to the U of U Ball Cap.
“You are baseball fan?” I asked.
“Don’t know the first thing about it,” he replied with a smile then a giggle. ”Just liked the cap!” He took my hand in his and held it for just the exact right amount of time. Like he was giving a blessing without oil.
As I walked out, leaning to the side to balance the gig bag slung over my shoulder, I formed the words of a silent prayer for the ball cap gentleman. That University of Utah baseball team would be awfully lucky to have him in their stands.

(Heart & Soul Website:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


On this day I shuffled into our TV room as the light of morning tried to squeeze its way through the misty murky winter air; clicked on the television and watched Martin Luther King's vision from the mountaintop unfold on the steps of our nation's capitol. Like the dots on the canvas of an impressionist painter my brothers and sisters under the flag of freedom colored the grasses and the concrete of Washington; cheered and chanted and celebrated the swearing in of our new president, Barack Obama. History will tell how well his actions will be able to meet the power of his words, but on this day I join every American and non-American who harbors hope in the potential of our future under his leadership. I stood non-partisan alone in my TV room, in my pajamas, and held my hand against my heart as I sang the national anthem to no one but myself and my God.

President Obama's voice echoed against the granite walls of our national monuments..."We are a young nation, but it is time to put aside childish things." I pray we will have the courage to act responsibly, to see clearly and broadly, and to trust the source of goodness that inspired our Constitution and continues to oversee us today.

While there are notable things which set me apart from others; my gender, my religion, my values and commitments; my race and my social situation...there is more which unites me with every other person who entered the voting booth over two months ago. On this day I hold hands with people I do not know and may not agree with. On this day I am an American; and I pray for the success of our new president and those who serve with him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


8 TV shows I love
(First of all, Love=people/Like=TV shows.)
In no particular order:
1. Lost
2. Without a Trace
3. What Not to Wear
4. Cold Case
5. 24
6. Whatever is on Disney Channel with a grandkid on my lap
7. Medium
8. The Mentalist

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. Market Street Grill
2. Libs Ribs
3. Royal Jade
4. Georges Rey( NYC)
5. Any kitchen in Tuscany Italy
6. Cinegrill
7. Roasted Pepper sandwich at Granatos Deli
8. Yet to be discovered

8 Things I did yesterday
1. Took down Santa collection from mantle
2. Washed sheets and towels from upstairs bedrooms
3. Rediscovered songs on my Taylor guitar at 2 am
4. Made tostadas with Katie and Elliott, Gram, Lib and Sherry...and Dave
5. Discovered the show 24 (yes, this is the first time I have ever seen this show, and we watched 4 hours of it in one sitting)
6. Organized and printed out YW class lists and calendar
7. prayed
8. Oh yeah...I had a root canal!

8 Things I look forward to
1. Answers to prayers
2. Sharing life with the Young Women in our ward
3. Actually getting into the studio to start a new album
4. Watching Ruby grow*
5. A gathering at the cottage in Michigan this summer
6. Libby selling a house
7. Annie getting her masters and her dream home
8. Sarah and fam and Kate completing their current professional obligations and moving closer to home.
(9) John getting into the studio to record his own songs

8 Things I like about this season
1. The Holidays
2. The snow
3. The people
4. The music
5. The gigs
6. The food
7. The gatherings

8 Things on my wish list
1. More time
2. Less body
3. Joy for my loved ones
4. More order
5. More faithful writing habits
6. Spiritual health
7. Peace

8 people I tag (Annie, who tagged me just to get me to write a new blog entry, tells me that this means you copy the 8 thing thingies and submit your own responses)
1. Sarah or Dave
2. John or Ash
3. Kate the non-Blogger
4. Libby
5. Bob Pegritz
6. Dianne Arbuckle
7. Becky or Adam
8. Joe-Schleppi

*Ruby Louise Connors, one month old now, is the latest in the line of Connors children via John and Ashley. She's a keeper!