Saturday, July 28, 2012

You even had me singing along right with you....

I recently said..."all we need is and love," and I do mean it.  Not literally of course...but I know music and love have gotten me through some pretty hard times and have made the good times even better.  Music is inspiring, uplifting and absolutely beautiful.  Making music....sometimes is even better.  Just ask my dad. Ask him what one item he'd take to a deserted island.  He'd say his guitar...I guarantee it.  A lot of people are lucky enough to make their passion a huge part of their lives. I believe it's important to do so.  Unfortunately though, some people take it to the extreme and miss out on so many other important things going on everyday, because they are so self-involved.  And some people are the opposite...they always do for others...and never for themselves.  But then, there's those people who inspire and amaze us....the ones that can do it all!  They have generous hearts, loving souls and strong passions.  My dad is one of these people.

I know my dad's passion in life is playing music.  His other passion is his family.  I think if he looks back on his life so far, he would smile and be proud and happy of how he's been living.  Him and my mom are both amazing musicians and they have had great adventures traveling the country playing their music.  I'm so glad they got to experience that.   My dad's a natural band leader and he's definitely in his element while on stage performing.  Years later, when the time came, he became 100% devoted to his family of three, then four, then five and finally six.  Not only was he at every sporting event for each and every one of us through the years, and trust me there were a lot of them, but he was so passionate about our performance and ability that he would strive to make us better and better.  He played catch in the backyard, coached our teams, ran clinics, did endless fundraising and always remained our biggest, truest fan.  He even did a guitar accompaniment for me as I played my flute and sang my way to $2,000.00 in scholarships my senior year of high school. We all went out of state to college at some point in our lives.  I can't even tell you how many mini-vans, trucks and trailers he loaded up and drove across country for each one of us.  Then 10 months later, did it all again to bring us home for the summer.  All of this...and still able to keep his love for playing music.  We would hear him most nights sitting in his office, strumming the guitar and singing.  When we were young, it was that comforting sound while we'd lay in bed at night that somehow made us feel safe and loved.  Now, it's when we go over to our parent's house and he's playing guitar and singing away in his office.  It's normal to's my dad.

Our Christmas Eve's are always filled with my dad playing guitar and everyone requesting their favorite song by him, my mom and brother and even others might take a turn singing sometimes.  It's a pretty magical night, Christmas Eve with our family...and I feel extra blessed every year.

I remember something that my brother said one time that I will never forget.  My brother is the only boy with 3 sisters, and he's very much passionate about music also.  Him and my dad are definitely not buddy's just their personalities, but there's certain things within them that are so alike.  I've learned that my brother knows a lot about music and a lot of my favorite musicians come from recommendations he's given me.   I can't remember where we were, or how long ago it was, but one day we were all together somewhere and my dad was playing guitar and singing on a recording we were listening to.  My brother said..."gosh...he has such a good voice."  He's absolutely right.

My dad lives his passion almost everyday and it's become part of who he is. It never took away from one ounce of our upbringing or our lives....In fact, I believe it made my brother, sisters and I better and happier people....and I know it made us passionate. 

I have been playing guitar for a few years now and though I'm not nearly as good as him, I can finally feel why he loves it so much.  To be able to play music with your own hands and sing along with the chords....there's not another feeling quite as great as that...besides, of course, the love for family and friends.  So, I truly get it dad...and I agree...all we need is and love.

My parents in the 70's.

Here they are again...Clayton and Sally of "Clayton, Sallee & Company"

My family around 19 years ago...

My dad :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

And up in the air, they would write your name there...

Let me tell you about the most amazing family.  In life, every once in a while, you will meet people and just know that they will be life-long friends.  These are the people that are more like family to you than friends.  These are the people that inspire you everyday, give you a warm fuzzy feeling and make your world a better and brighter place.  I am lucky enough to know an entire family just like this.

How did my family become blessed with such amazing, generous and caring friends?  Just very lucky I guess!  We came to know the Parkers years and years ago when my sister, Ginger, met Robin in 4th Grade. Those two girls lit up any room they entered as they grew up together, more as sisters than best friends!  Their collaborative quirkiness through high school and college created priceless stories that still bring us serious chuckles, even to this day.  Robin has 2 adorable boys now, with another baby on the way.  Her sister, Rachel, has 3 beautiful girls and a precious little boy.  Through the years, we have spent countless birthdays, holidays and special occasions with the Parkers and my family and I all share the same soft spot for all those beautiful kids.

We've known them through years of happiness and of sorrow.  The peace and harmony their baby sister, Avinli, has brought to them is the single most amazing blessing I have ever witnessed.  They have all faced such sadness and loss and are still the strongest people I know.  The entire family remains graceful and loving, through even the hardest of times.

I'm so thankful they are in my life.  Not only are they so supportive and genuinely care about all of us....but it's so fun to have them as friends!  We spend Christmas Eve with them every year and have countless parties with them.  We chat about books, movies, shows, music, food, life...the list goes on and on!  They are our biggest supporters come craft season and they are definitely VIP customers of Tootsie Tillie Cupcakes!  All the kids have been like nieces and nephews to us...and we truly treasure them.  My mom, sisters and I absolutely LOVE to get the kiddos special treats on holidays.  We love our Halloween tradition, when they all come over to show us their costumes and we give them goody bags full of fun, silly prizes and candy.  I never think they can get any cuter and they prove me wrong every year!  For Christmas....I love it, because they all come over on Christmas Eve.  We sing carols, eat delicious food and the cutest part is when the kids all line up on the carpet, so well behaved, to open their gifts. It's precious, and the reaction on their faces when they tear into the presents, is a better gift to us than anything we could ever give them. 

Peggy, (mom/grandma), is such an extra-special lady.  The kindness that exudes from her is like nobody I have ever known.  I am blessed to know 2 of the world's greatest mom and Peggy Parker.  I absolutely adore the bond between Peggy and her children.  Especially her and little Avinli.  It reminds me of my mom and my youngest sister's bond when she was just a little girl.  Priceless.

The inspiration for this post comes from a picture that I saw on Instagram.  The picture showed Peggy and her kids and grand kids, in the park, launching letters of love to their daddy/grandpa by way of big, blue balloons.  Yes, the bright, beautiful balloons were floating to Heaven...with words from their hearts in tow.

The Parker Family

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

August and Everything After....

It's about 1am, I'm wide awake and have to be up in 6 hours for work.  It was a weird day today.   It looks like we won't be seeing August in Arizona, considering the doctor wants us (well, David rather) here another month.  I was shocked when I heard her say it and earlier, I used the word disappointed, which I now feel guilty for feeling.  Intellectually, I know it's better that we stay until the transplant team is 100% confident in letting David go home.  Emotionally though...I was bummed.

I was hoping to be home for several reasons.  One reason being work.  I know I was inspired in my "When I was 17..." post a few days ago and went on and on about living your dreams...and I do feel that way...but, in reality, I need my job.  The truth is, just letting myself think of one day giving up my stable, reliable job to live like an artsy dreamer, is more than I've done in almost a year and a I guess it's a start. However, being the only one working and having a mortgage, car payment and thousands of dollars in medications to pay...I'll say it again...I need my job.  Of course aside from the obvious reasons, like seeing my family, particularly my almost 2 year old nephew, another reason I wanted to be home by August was for the Brandi Carlile concert at the Rialto in Tucson on August 19th.  I absolutely love her music.  She's an amazing singer-songwriter and I have seen her the past 2 years at the Rialto and was so excited to see her again this year...but  that's not going to happen.  Also, my sister, Ginger's birthday is coming up on the 12th.  I guess it will be another party this year without Tootsie Tillie Cupcakes. And lastly, one of the reasons I was hoping to be home sooner is that we really want to let David's aunt and uncle get back into their normal lives without having permanent house guests in the middle of everything.  They really made this all possible and and we can never repay them for all they have done.  No amount of thanks will ever do justice to their graciousness.  The news of "another month" couldn't have been easy on them today and we will be forever grateful for them sticking this out with us. 

Today, after talking with a lot of different people, including doctors, coworkers, family, friends and each other, I must say that there are some people who will always bring you down for the purpose of wanting to see you fall.....BUT, there are some people who, even with just the simplest words of support, will absolutely give you the strength you need to block out all the ignorance and selfishness and get you through, yet another day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

With the greatest of ease....

I have been thinking a lot about a book I recently read.  It's called The Night Circus.  For some reason, I'm just extremely intrigued by circus novels, circus movies and anything circus related.  It's not because I have a love for acrobats or elephants.  It's the vintage stories that are behind those involved with a circus that are so mysterious and enchanting.  My favorite musician, Patty Griffin, said that the circus her parents took her to when she was a child, really left an impression on her, so much that she wrote a song about it...called "Trapeze."  Though I don't have any significant memories of attending a circus....there's definitely an impression left in my heart after reading The Night Circus. 

The book wasn't at all what I expected it to be.  It's an amazingly creative story about two remarkable people who not only fall in love...but the collaboration of their incredible minds create the most amazing circus you could ever imagine.  This circus isn't a "big top" type circus.  It's more like something that you would only imagine in a complex, but wonderful, dream.  The way the author described each tent and every detail involved, is beyond anything I have ever created in my mind.

The author describes everything so well, that you can literally imagine your self inside the black and white striped tents, while smelling caramel corn and hot apple cider.   Everything about the circus is black and white...the tents, the costumes and clothing, the props....everything, which I absolutely love.  Even with two of the simplest of colors, the author was still able to create such a dazzling picture in your mind of how this amazing circus appeared.

I actually imagined myself at the anniversary party at the mansion where everything was perfect and artistic...and full of color.  The bright, vibrant and beautiful colors exploding in my head, while reading that chapter were so much more extreme and real, because of the fact that the circus is always black and white.  This chapter was such a delight to read and just took me on a mesmerizing journey of enchantment in my head.  It was my favorite chapter.

To be an actual part of the that would be amazing!  They were basically circus followers, on a sophisticated scale.  They weren't like "panic people," who show up barefoot with dreads desperate to get into the gates.  They were respectable, Le Cirque des Reves loving people who followed it by location, through letters and stories.  To be a reveur, I imagine, would be to live a lifetime of adventure, excitement, art and beauty.  And to be able to share those passions with other people across the world would be wonderful.  It makes me want to paint my bedroom walls with black and white stripes and knit myself a crimson scarf. 

The relationship between Celia and the twins, Poppet and Widget, was probably my favorite part of the book.  Because, while Celia and Marco had "teachers" for the game that they were raised and trained to play....Celia was, in a way, the twins' teacher, with drastically opposite intentions.  She looked out for them, and they became one of the biggest reasons why Celia actually loved the "venue" in which she was destined to destroy the one she loved, or be destroyed in. 

I think that imagination is really what pulled everything together at the end of this heart wrenching, riveting story.  Most people only believe what they know to be true and their  imagination will only take them so far, until it becomes too unreal.  The collaborative imagination of Celia and Marco not only created this marvelous circus, but the epic love that they have for one another ultimately becomes the circus.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

When I was 17, I had a better dream...

I believe the next line goes...."but now I'm 33, and it isn't me."  Well, I'm 32, so close enough.  I have been thinking a lot lately about something Adam Duritz said on a radio interview.  He was asked to give advice to some of the young people just starting out in the industry and trying succeed with their music.  I don't remember word for word what he said...but the message he got across will stay with me forever.  He said that he can't give advice for success...he said that you shouldn't do it to "make it," you should do it because you've decided that you have to live your life playing music. 
What he says is right.  One day you will be 17, and everything will seem so possible...and the next you will be 32 living minute by minute and just praying for a second of calm and peace so you can search in the archives of your dreams and try to hang on to what's left.  I did that and not only is some of my life just unfulfilling, but a lot of it is flat out miserable.  I don't want to be a downer.  I never have considered myself a downer at all.  I am just waking up and realizing that I haven't been doing what Adam says....and the weird part is, I couldn't agree with him more!  I don't mean I want to be a famous musician, I guess it's different for everyone.  For me, I just want to be able to make my passions my life.  Why waste days just dreaming about what you want to do?  When in life do you start to do them?  It's not selfish.  It's not wrong.   If you are happy, then you must be living that way already.  You are spending your life the way you want to.  If you find yourself wishing you could be doing something else and dreading almost everyday...then you aren't doing it.  You aren't deciding that you have to live your life doing what you love.

If only I could...... my guitar a lot more.  The overwhelming feeling of happiness when I play a song on my guitar is incredible.  I want to get better and better and better!  I've gone as far as I can teaching myself, so I think for the more difficult chords and picking, I should take lessons.   Then I just want to play for fun, maybe do some open mic nights with confidence and "jam" with my family and friends. 

.....finish the screenplay I am writing.  Even if it never gets picked up by by a production company, even if it never becomes anything other than a Lee family table be it!  It's finished in my head, but not even a quarter of the way finished on paper!  It has it, controversy, music, my opinion...the idea is brilliant. :) 

.....write a book.  This is a long process, and I have already started.  To me, the research is very important, so that's where I am at with it now.  I have enough material and notes to complete it, but it hasn't become real to me until the past month.  I just needed that little push that I apparently got a month and a half ago, so from then on, it's been a go in my head. I just haven't had the time to completely start.  I don't have a degree in literature or creative writing and  my bachelor's degree may be in business...but my passion is in the arts. It's a memoir focusing mainly on the last year and a half of my life.  This one's hard though.  I would have never considered writing a personal memoir and expecting people to actually read and enjoy it, until the last year and a half.  I now truly believe that it would definitely be something to be read.  It's hard, because I don't want to burn any bridges, but what I know to be my truth this past year is more than most people know about me and about my life. I want to write it for myself mostly.  My brother is really the more creative and talented writer in the family, not me, but I think I could manage to do it.  I want to do it. 

 ..... not have an 8-5 job.  I love the people I work for and I give 110% at my job, but I feel likes it's washing away all my dreams.  I couldn't be luckier to have such a wonderful boss and life-long friends at my job, but it's the unfulfilling part that I mentioned above.  I feel so badly even saying this, because when I am at work, I strive to be the best and my goal is to reach the top, but when I really am truthful with myself...I feel that I deserve to live my passion...and lead an artistic life. 

..... do arts and crafts and enter the local craft fairs every fall with my mom and sisters, as my job .  We call our group, Home Sweet Home.  Nothing feels better than that time of year.  It's just always so jammed packed given the fact that we all have jobs and other obligations.  We always end up stressing and not having as much fun as deserved!  I wish I had the time to really embrace my "trapeze paper craft" idea and turn it into a real business in collaboration with my mom and sisters and their respective crafts. To open up a shop is a dream too far out of reach financially right now, but I want the time to be able to build a business online....that I know is possible.   I want Home Sweet Home to become my job. 

.....start my creative blog. I have an idea for a blog that I really want to do.  It would be based on entertainment that I'm passionate about.  It would start with one thing and who knows, maybe start a saga of blogs in the future! out my dream, because as most of my family and friends know...I loved playing softball.  I have recently discovered that my love for coaching greatly exceeds ever playing.  I coach ponytail softball.....but just like the crafts, most of the fun is over shadowed by the stress of not having enough time in my schedule to fully enjoy it.  I love coaching and want to do more of it!

To spend your life doing what you love will take sacrifice.  I know we all have a "bucket list," but this is about more than visiting the Grand Canyon, sky diving or traveling's about deciding that you HAVE to live your life doing what you love.  I have decided...and now I just need the courage.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Sister, just remember.....

Just a few days ago, my little sister, Brianna, came to visit me in SF!  When the world seems so impossible to face and you find yourself living minute by minute, it was so nice to have something to look forward to for once! 

Being new to San Francisco myself, and lets face it, still intimidated, I wanted to make sure that I planned everything out perfectly for us while she was here.  I knew that we had 2 main things to focus on when it comes to indulging in our jam packed, short visit.  Great food and shopping!  So, that's what we did!

Here are some pictures to tell the story of her visit.  I had a blast and I miss her already.

Her first night here...we went to OffTheGrid in SF! My sweet cousin, Amelia recommended it.   It was so fun!  It's basically the most delicious food you will ever eat.  It's a huge open space outside with tons of food trucks and live music.  We loved it!

Here we are in front of a cupcake food truck.  I know I'm a cupcake girl...and these were delish!  I want a Tootsie Tillie truck now!

Here we are with Amelia waiting in line for the most amazing steamed buns filled with pork and veggies!!!  Oh so good!

The greatest taco in the world!  Pork with spicy sauce and crunchy pickled veggies! YUM!

We did a whole day of shopping at Haight/Ashbury.  It was so fun going into all the vintage stores and finding cool souvenirs.  We started the day with a big breakfast at Mel's Drive-In, then hit the shops!

I love the area here.  We shopped all day long!

It wouldn't be Haight without the hippies playing music on the sidewalks.  I love it!

We almost bought some vintage bowling shirts in here for Bri.  It was a true vintage store and so cool....but a little pricey!

Saturday night we went to one of my dream restaurants, El Paseo.  It's Tyler Florence's restaurant in Mill Valley, CA.  We got dressed up and went to dinner there.  That town is so charming and dinner was delicious.

Ready for dinner at El Paseo!

My beautiful Bont!  (I call her Bont or Bonte')  We had great seats at El Paseo.  Bri had the chicken over potatoes, I had the fillet mignon wrapped in bacon with shallots and David had the halibut. 

We split the pecan pie.  It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious!!

This started off my FAVORITE DAY...Wine Country day!  Here we are on the shuttle.  We got a package deal.  We boarded the shuttle at the ferry building in SF and rode it to Napa Valley, where we visited 4 wineries.  It's seriously been a dream of mine to visit Napa and we finally did!  It was the best day ever!!

Neither of us really planned to drink, so we did a tasting at the first winery and then the rest of the day we enjoyed the gorgeous scenery, shopped in the huge gift shop, and ate the most delicious gourmet cheeses and catered lunch!  

Lunch was at Andretti Winery.  We sat in the vineyard and enjoyed the perfect weather and tasty meal.

I am so obsessed with wine country.  It's very Mediterranean and lovely.  Everywhere you look, there are vineyards and gorgeous Spanish style houses and barns.  I want to go back so bad!

We never did try a grape, but took lots of pictures!

I saw this photo opp and though it was very beautiful. 

Here's a collage I made of some pictures from our day.  So pretty!

We really had such an amazing time in Napa Valley and will remember it forever! 

Mario Andretti's winery.  So lovely.

We spent a couple hours in downtown Sausalito one day and had these yummy burgers for lunch!

Flour + Water...a trendy restaurant in San Francisco with an amazing chef!  Delicious!! 

Our last at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.  What a wonderful time we had and I'm so glad she came to visit.  I didn't want her to leave!  I hope we have lots more fun times like this. :)

He asks me to hang on....

Hang on, just hang on for a minute, I've got something to say.  I'm not asking you to move on or forget it, but these are better days.  To be wrong all along and admit it, is not amazing grace.  But, to be loved like a song you remember....even when you've changed. 

Tell me.  Did I go on a tangent?  Did I lie through my teeth?  Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?  Did I bring shame on my family?  Did it show when I was weak?  Whatever you've seen....that wasn't me.

When you're lost, you will toss every lucky coin you'll ever trust.'ll hide from your god like he ever turns his back on us.  Then you'll fall all the way to the bottom and land on your own knife.....and you'll learn who you are even if it doesn't take your life. 

But, I want you to know that you'll never be alone. I want to believe.  Did I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet?  When you fall, I will get you on your feet.  Did I spend time with my family?  Did it show when I was weak?  When that's what you see....that will be me.