Friday, February 29, 2008

More Gilmore Girls, More Violin, and More Pictures

I'll start with a Gilmore Girls update. We have thoroughly been enjoying watching this series again. It had been 7 years since I had seen those first episodes, and so they are almost like new to me. I am falling in love all over again with Stars Hollow and its residents. For those of you who have never seen this it, buy it, borrow it.....just watch it!

Next violin lesson yesterday. Hmmmm....where do I begin???? As I stood there listening to the genius of Dr. Burroughs it reminded me of an episode of Gilmore Girls that I just watched a few nights ago. Ivy League bound Rory visits the campus of Harvard for the first time and is completely overwhelmed when she learns that the library contains 19 million volumes. She felt inadequate, small, and unprepared. That is exactly how I felt yesterday. You see, I have studied the violin my entire life. As a child I was pulled out of school early every day so that I could get a few extra hours of practice in. At age 10 I began playing with a college orchestra. On weekends I traveled several hours away so that I could study with the best teacher available. In high school, when my teacher moved out of state I flew to my lessons. I have performed with many talented orchestra's and symphony's. I have even gone on several concert tours to Europe. I have done so much...... but yesterday, I felt I knew nothing. I was overwhelmed at the feeling of how much there is to learn. Dr. Burroughs was showing me things and introducing me to methods of playing that I had never even conceived. The good news is there is no rush. I am racing against no clock. I have the rest of my life to continue to improve myself and in doing so become a better performer and teacher. And to answer Marilyn's question yesterday: I began taking violin lessons as a gift from my Grandmother on my 6th birthday.

Last but not least: Elisabeth's 5 month pictures. I was thrilled with how these turned out and I wanted to share more than just the one I posted on the sidebar.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Never Too Old To Learn

So last week Alexandra had her very first violin lesson. It was fabulous. She loved every minute of it and was receptive to everything that Dr. Burroughs taught her. Her enthusiasm for practicing has been huge this week. She diligently got out her violin everyday to work on this week's assignments.

Alexandra, on her way to her 1st lesson

So back to the lesson. At the end Dr. Burroughs told Alexandra to, "have her Mommy bring her violin next time". I looked at him somewhat puzzled and he told me that because she is just starting she doesn't need the entire time slot and so he would like to teach me too! It gets better, he is actually going to charge me LESS than he normally would if I agree to the lessons. OK!!! My violin is packed, I'm ready to learn.

I think of this as a wonderful opportunity. I have studied with some of the greatest teachers in the world and to be quite honest, Dr. Burroughs ranks right up there with the best. I know that if he chose to he could play in any great symphony in any big city, or teach at Julliard..he's that good, and that smart.

I'm looking forward to having lessons again. This will be a chance to progress, to improve, and to stretch myself to a new level of performance. This just goes to show that you are never to old too learn.

My violin, made in 1770

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The world
is moving so fast
and our plates
are overflowing
with the things
we feel we have to do.
But all we really need to do
is take a day and sit down
and think.

-Maya Angelou

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My New Family Room

Finally, we have finished redecorating our family room. 6 weeks seemed like 6 years as I anxiously awaited the arrival of our new furniture, but it was worth it. Here is how it turned out:

My favorite parts of the room:

  • The recliner - perfect for feeding Elisabeth

  • The 6 foot bookcase - finally a home for my books

  • The couch - I fell in love with the fabric.....I'll post a close up of it

  • The TV stand - a place to put the flat screen that wasn't getting much attention upstairs

    • I love the colors and texture of this fabric.

      Monday, February 25, 2008

      Elisabeth is.....

      5 Months Old!

      Friday, February 22, 2008

      A Peek At My Past - part 2

      Oscar Sunday is this weekend. Oh the memories it brings back. Yes, of my youth, my dreams of Hollywood, my passion for 'the stars', and my longing to be a part of it. So let me take you back, once again, to my teenage years.

      The Academy Awards. I considered it the highlight of the year. All of my favorite people gathered together in one place, all glammed up......the gowns, the jewelry, the hair. I had to be there...of course.

      So one year I decided I would. I recruited my dear brother to drive me. Naive little Lisa.....I thought that showing up 6 hours early would be sufficient enough to claim a place to 'star gaze'. Oh was I wrong. The crowds!!! We ended up not too far outside the Shrine Auditorium, but it was to watch the celebs pull up in their limos, get out, and give us a quick wave before proceeding through the gate. Next year I would plan better. I wanted some red carpet action!

      I was prepared from there on out. I would gather a group of friends as crazy as myself and show up 2 days early to claim a place in line. After camping out for one night I would be awarded a bracelet allowing me entry to the bleachers . The catch: once you are in, there is no leaving or you lose your spot. So this meant a second night of sleeping out in the open air.....on bleachers.

      But finally the moment would arrive.....after 48 hours of waiting and anticipation. Limos would pull up, actors and actresses would make their way down the red carpet, and I would cheer and snap pictures as quickly as I could.

      Best Oscar moment for me? Definately when I gave Tom Hanks that T-Shirt I mentioned in this post. Good times.

      Now that I am 'so old and wise' I look back and think, "I can't believe I did that". Wait in line for 2 days just to see some people that act in movies??? Not so much anymore. And the even greater question that I have (now that I am a parent and see things from a parental point of view) Why in the world did my mother let me camp out in the middle of Los Angeles? If my girls approach me in their teenage years and tell me that they want to go with their friends and hang out on the streets of Hollywood for a few nights I will say "I don't think so!". But I am glad she did. It was a thrill at the time and created great memories and great photos for me to look back on.

      So enjoy the Academy Awards this Sunday. And pay attention to those people in the stands along the red carpet. Now you know a little bit of what they have been through to be where they are.

      One of my most prized possessions: my grandfather's Academy membership card.

      Thursday, February 21, 2008

      My Sister Is.....

      A Great Cook.
      Thanksgiving 2007

      Her wardrobe is cute and edgy

      She's graduating in May with a degree in archaeology

      She ALWAYS looks gorgeous!

      Performing at Saddleback College

      A Fun Aunt.

      Playing with the girls

      A Wonderful Sister.

      Back at good old THHS

      And today is her......


      Happy Birthday Jennifer! I Love You!!

      Wednesday, February 20, 2008

      Like Mother, Like Daughter

      Tomorrow Alexandra will begin her formal violin training. I say formal because in a sense she has been studying the violin since birth. She has carefully observed me perform, practice, and teach students in our home. Now, at the ripe old age of 5, she will be studying with Dr. Robert Burroughs over at the college. I am so excited to watch her learn and progress. Carnegie Hall here we come!!!!

      Asleep in her crib. 6 months old.

      Ready to perform. 2 years old.

      Very focused. 3 1/2 years old.

      Tuesday, February 19, 2008


      I have a very talented mother-in-law. She is an extremely gifted seamstress - my childrens closet is a testament to that. For the past few years now she has toyed with the idea of creating a little business. Finally that idea is becoming a reality! I am pleased to announce the opening of her very own shop named TwiddleSticks on

      Her clothing is high quality with close attention to detail. Make sure to check her shop often for new listings. Here is a sampling of what she has sewn for my girls:

      In other news: Elisabeth and I have a new game that we play. For the past month or so I have been taking her hand and putting it on my face while saying "Mama". Her therapist wants her to start exploring her surroundings with her hands and to learn to identify things through the sense of touch. Well, last night I held her in front of me and said over and over, "find Mama". After a bit of coaxing she raised her right hand and placed it on my face! I was ecstatic!!! We did this over and over. This morning when I went to get her out of her cradle I decided to try it again and see if she remembered. "Find Mama" I said, and after just a few times of telling her this she lifted her hand and found my face.

      There are several reasons why I am so thrilled by this new game. First of all, aren't all mothers excited when they see their child learning and interacting? Second, this shows that she is really thinking! We don't know how damaged her brain was and we aren't sure how she will function mentally as an adult....but this is a good sign! She understood what I wanted her to do and was able to control her arm and move it towards the sound of my voice.

      I also tried this with the piano. As I have mentioned before, I sit her at the piano at the end of our music time every day and place her hands on the keys. Well, I wanted to see what she would do if I didn't put her hands on the piano for her, but just told her to, "find the piano". She did it!! She lifted her right hand up and moved it through the air until she felt the keys. Hurray! Yippee!!! Wooohooooo!!! I am so pround of Elisabeth. She is learning and exploring her little world. I know that she will continue to amaze us.

      Monday, February 18, 2008

      My Twin

      Not long ago I read this girls post about her name-alike. I did as she recommended and tried to discover my own name twin out there somewhere, but my search resulted in nothing interesting other than some white pages listings. Oh well, I'm just unique...or so I thought.

      A few days ago in my store I had a customer who turned out to ear-alike!!!! Now you may be asking yourself, what is an ear-alike?? Remember this? It turns out it isn't a title I hold all by myself.

      The next question that you are all asking is probably how in the world did the topic come up? I certainly don't walk around with my ear folded up as an advertisement of my "amazing" talents. Here is how the story goes: This gentleman was pushing a stroller with his 1 year old daughter who happened to be tugging on her ear. My co-worker turned to me and said, "hey, she's going to be just like you", and then told this couple how I have very flexible ears. Then the wife tells us that her husband can fold his ear up in a ball...and he did....and it was in the exact same way that I do! Strange. We then discussed the history of our bizarre ear habits. His story was the same as mine. As infants and then young children we would suck the right thumb and use the left hand to tug on the left ear. He, like myself, says it's a habit he can't break (the ear habit that is, thankfully neither of us continue to suck our thumb!).

      I thought this was a most strange encounter. I never, ever, would have guessed that I would find my "ear-alike". What are the chances that two people who share the same "gift", would live in the same town, and would meet eachother and have the topic come up????? One in a in two million....oh goodness, I would have said impossible...but it happened...and I had to share.

      On another note, I am looking forward to having my husband home for the day! Thank you President's Day! My plans are to accomplish a HUGE to-do list while he entertains the children. Enjoy your Monday!

      Friday, February 15, 2008


      We made Valentine's...

      We baked cookies...

      We opened presents from Uncle Michael...

      A darling new hat for Elisabeth

      It was a perfect Valentines Day.

      Thursday, February 14, 2008

      Happy Valentines Day!

      For some fun Valentine Video Clips click here.

      Wednesday, February 13, 2008

      Ear Trick

      There were several people who were questioning how I fold my ear into a little ball (I shared this little tidbit about myself a few days ago). Well, just so that you can have a visual, here it is:

      Sorry that my finger is blocking part of the view. Oh well, you get the idea. Pretty random, huh? Since this is a habit I've had ever since I was a baby the cartilage is totally broken down and my ears can bend every which way. Is there some award for that?

      Tuesday, February 12, 2008

      Lucky Me

      The UPS man dropped off a package at my front door yesterday. That is always exciting. So I opened up the box from my mother and found this inside:

      She purchased this newly released book at Disneyland last week. The illustrations are by my FAVORITE artist, Mary Blair. If you've read my previous posts you will know that I ADORE her artwork. Lucky, lucky, me.

      One more thing, Alexandra and I survived the dentist this morning. Good news: no cavaties for either of us. Bad news: they want to pull my wisdom teeth (not so lucky me).

      Monday, February 11, 2008

      Tag....I'm It!

      This post is in response to the tag I got from Lee

      #1 Ten Years Ago: I was anxiously awaiting High School Graduation and preparing to go play on a concert tour of Germany, Austria, Hungary, and The Czech Republic.

      #2 Five Things On My To-Do List: Read some books with the girls (today), get the ironing done (today), buy Easter dresses for the girls (this week), decorate the play room (soon), purchase airline tickets for an upcoming trip (I better hurry).

      #3 Snacks I Enjoy: Fiber One Bars, Parmasean Gold Fish Crackers, See's Candies

      #4 Three Bad Habits: Leaving the headlights on (sorry Donald), not properly screwing the cap on the milk (sorry again Donald), eating late at night.

      #5 If I Suddenly Became A Billionaire: I would buy a Stradavarious.

      #6 Places I've Lived: Camarillo CA, Benicia CA, Scottsdale AZ, Mission Viejo CA, Provo UT, Kennewick WA

      #7 Jobs I've Had: Sales Assoc. at Mervyn's, Musician (performing, teaching), Sales Assoc. at Hallmark (for the past 8 1/2 years)

      #8 Things People Don't Know About Me: I sleep with my ear folded up into a little ball...a habit from infancy that I could never break. I've been to the Price is Right about 8 times....I was never a contestant, but my friend once got up and won the showcase. I used to have ambitions of becoming an astronaut....until I couldn't handle the physics classes in college and the dream was shattered.

      Now it's my turn, I tag Yasmine, Tania, Debie, and Jenn

      Friday, February 8, 2008

      Something Funny

      We saw the funniest thing on a reader board in Spokane this week. We tried to get a picture of it but couldn't get the camera turned on before the stoplight turned green. Here is what it said:

      Must Die

      I think everyone is ready for spring.

      Thursday, February 7, 2008

      Me and My Girls outing to the mall that will include but not be limited to:

      • A photo shoot at The Picture People
      • Caramel apples from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
      • Balloons from Hallmark
      • A stop at Bath and Body Works for new soap
      • Fun at the play area (a great place for them to get some energy out when it is so cold and windy outside)

      Wednesday, February 6, 2008

      Visit to the Ophthalmologist

      Yesterday we drove through a snow storm resembling the planet Hoth to make it to Elisabeth's eye appointment in Spokane. She hadn't seen Dr. Snow since November 20th when he diagnosed the cortical blindness. At that time he was hoping to see improvement telling us that often times the brain will re-route functions to to healthier areas of the brain. He decided to have us come every few months to monitor progress.

      Unfortunatley, yesterdays visit showed no improvement. I think he was nervous about "breaking" the news to us. I am sure it must not be easy to tell parents of a young baby that their child will always be blind. But we had kind of figured so much already. He sweetly told Elisabeth, "Sorry Pumpkin, I just don't think those eyes are going to get any better".

      He is sending a letter to the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind regarding Elisabeth. He thinks that we should get involved with them ASAP for help and support with raising a blind child.

      Surprisingly, Donald and I found this final diagnoses to be somewhat of a relief. It seems that ever since the pregnancy everything has been "maybe" or "we'll see what happens" or "we just don't know". It's comforting to finally have something confirmed so that we can start moving forward.

      I recently had the opportunity, through the National Federation of the Blind, to get in touch with a local woman who has been blind for the past 6 years. Here is something she told me in an email that really made an impression on me, "I had many years of viewing blindness as a terrible loss and tragedy before I learned the truth. With proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to nothing more than a bother."

      Tuesday, February 5, 2008

      A Peek At My Past

      Did you know that I used to be Tom Hanks biggest fan? This is true. As a teenager I was always aware of what project he had going on and where he might be on certain days. I made every effort to be where ever he was - to show support, of course. Some called this obsession, some called it stalking, me....I called it dedication.

      Here are a few mementos from my past:

      Here is Tom on the set of That Thing You Do. This is a darling movie that they filmed near my childhood home. My mom and I would always drive by it on the way to my orchestra rehearsals and would stop and watch. It was really neat, the movie takes place in the 1960's and they transformed the entire street into that era. They didn't miss a detail.

      This is my program from a seminar that I went to in Los Angeles at the American Film Institute (AFI). They were honoring the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and had a panel there to discuss the movie. Included on the panel was an astronaut, actors from the film, and Tom Hanks. I sat in the front row right next to the president of the AFI.

      This is one of my favorite memories....watching Tom put his hands in the cement at Graumans Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I think this must be the moment for any actor when they realize that they truly made it. It was fun to watch and Tom was so kind to the fans that had gathered there for his support. He even had a pack of red vines that he was sharing with the crowd.

      This is a picture of me (in the middle) at the Academy Awards. I won't speak too much of the Oscars now....that's a whole other post that I will save for Hollywood's upcoming biggest night . My friends and I actually gave one of these blue T-shirts to Tom on the Red Carpet. He was so kind and when it was his turn to step up to the microphone for his press interview he said, "First of all I would like to thank you for the shirt", and pointed to me and my buddies. Of course, I was thrilled at the recognition and even more thrilled when I opened the LA Times the next morning and saw this:

      So there is a little "peek at my past". I really truly was his #1 fan. But, alas, I have given up that title for a title I am even more proud of ........ mother. My new title doesn't leave me time to be running around chasing stars, but brings me much more satisfaction and happiness.

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