Monthly Archives: October 2009

Elegance

There’s not much that’s very elegant about my life. And really? That’s just fine. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Pizza and beer are a great date night in my book. My floors are unswept and there are always dirty dishes in my sink. As much as I like candles, they rarely get lit around here and our mouths and hands are wiped with paper napkins, not cloth (much to the chagrin of my inner treehugger.) Also, I rock out to the Dixie Chicks when I do get around to cleaning.

But every now and then I like to refine things a little and experience a bit of elegance in my life. I’ll light those candles, chose wine over beer, put on a skirt and heels. And elegance can definitely be found in housecleaning when you’re listening to Joshua Bell.

Joshua Bell At Home CoverWhen I received Bell’s new album, At Home With Friends, I was blown away by it. I think my Facebook status the first day I listened to it was something like, “Joshua Bell’s new album is intoxicating. I just want to melt into the floor and listen to it forever.” A few days later, I put it in the CD player while I cleaned the kitchen and all of sudden I felt elegant and intelligent and enlightened all while up to my elbows in hot water and suds.

I’ve always enjoyed collaboration albums and At Home With Friends does not disappoint. My favorite? “Come Again” with Sting. I will listen to that one over and over again when I’m alone in the car. Oh, which reminds me of another bonus point this album gets. I listen to it when I’m alone in the car. You see, once my children exit the car and all their noise leaves with them, I’m usually loathe to turn on the radio or put in a CD. I like the quiet because I get so little of it while they are awake. So to have found music I willingly turn on during my precious “quiet time” is a very high compliment!

The star power on this album is definitely breathtaking; in addition to Sting there’s Josh Groban, Kristin Chenoweth, Regina Spektor (the previously unrecorded, fan favorite, “Left Hand Song” is on this album!), Marvin Hamlisch, Frankie Moreno and many more. The amount of talent on this album is absolutely mind boggling.

The other really big bonus for this album is that DB also likes it! He and I both love music but our tastes don’t often overlap. (A previous overlap, courtesy of One2One, was Diane Birch. It surprised but delighted me that he liked that album, too!) Knowing that when I turn on At Home With Friends to listen to while doing housework or unwinding, he won’t cringe (like he does when I choose Norah Jones) makes listening to this music that much sweeter.

If you’d like to add a bit of refinement and elegance into your life, I definitely recommend this album. I, in fact, am hoping to add more of Bell’s work to my repertoire of housecleaning music!

At Home With Friends is available for purchase online and in stores.

Disclosure: This album was provided to me, free of charge, by One2One Network

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Lacking

I’m going to cut to chase and to come right out with it; it’s depression.

That’s why I’m not writing.

For some, depression opens the floodgates of writing. For me it dams up everything and tortures my brain instead. I already have a fairly significant filter while writing when I’m not dealing with this affliction, so when it hits…the wall is nearly impenetrable.

The most insidious of the effects is the blow to my confidence. There are huge letters written on that wall: NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY!!!!

That is the honest truth of it. And the lack of confidence affects everything in my life. My parenting skills. My marriage skills. My job skills. My friendship skills.

Everything is lacking.

See, I don’t want to be unhappy here in this space of mine. I don’t want to bring anybody down anymore that I already feel that I do in my day to day life. Therefore, I can’t write. I can’t tell you what rattles around in my brain even if you really do want to hear about it. It’s frightening to think of putting it out there.

I am not who I want to be right now.

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I owe One2One Network a couple of reviews for albums that they sent me. I’m fairly certain that I’m late in these reviews and for that I apologize. The next two posts will be review posts and after that….we’ll see.

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What happens when a Type-B Mom attends a Type-A Mom conference?

type a mom conferenceOK, that is a blog post title FAIL because I have no punchline for it!

Maybe I’ll come up with one by the time I finish this post. (Nope…not gonna happen as I’ve been trying to finish this post for 2 weeks! Oh, well!)

True Type-A personalities would have been hyperventilating at this conference. The schedule was often fudged, the dress code was lax, the discussions were sometimes messy, the tables were pretty much always messy and the participants (read: bloggers) don’t always like to follow “teh rulez”. So pretty much, it was a perfect fit for me who is so not a type-a personality!

What was “type-a” about it is how efficiently it was planned and how well it was run and organized. Major props, kudos and congratulations to the woman of the hour, Kelby Carr, for putting on a fabulous conference!

Me with Cassie & Nancy (Nancy works for iRobot, makers of the super cool Roomba!)

Me with Cassie & Nancy (Nancy works for iRobot, makers of the super cool Roomba!) Picture from Mishelle Lane

So why would a type-b attend a type-a conference? Because it wasn’t about personality traits or neurosis, it was about growing as a writer, learning new techniques, finding your voice, reconnecting with friends, understanding the ideas and opinions of others, embracing each others differences, picking up a new trick or two, and branching out from four walls to touch a little bit more of humanity.

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Me with the amazing Robin & the fabulous Sugar!

This past February, I attended the BlissDom conference and met some really fabulous people. But, I was mostly a wallflower. I have a really hard time walking up to someone, putting my hand out and saying, “Hi! I’m Malia.” I would much rather stand up in front of everyone as a speaker and address the entire crowd than to interact one on one. I’m just a little neurotic like that. In light of that neurosis, I made myself introduce myself to more people at this conference. And guess what? People were nice! They didn’t bite! They didn’t look at me like I have two heads and then turn walk away! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. It meant I spent most of each day with sweaty palms and feeling rather queasy! But, I did it, go me!

IMG_7406_resizeAnd then there was the post conference meltdown. It was an internal meltdown where I started doubting myself, my abilities, my worth, my credentials, and my justification for being at such a conference. Yes, I have a problem with confidence. I always have. I hope that by continuing on with blogging and attending conferences and putting myself out there, I can eventually grow to be the confident woman that others tell me they see.

But all in all, I absolutely enjoyed myself! I met bloggers that I admire, I reconnected with bloggers that I’ve met before and rejuvenated our relationships.

iblogwsis250I must take this opportunity to thank my sponsor. Without them, I could not have attended. So a BIG thank you to The Sister Project for selecting me as a scholarship winner in the “You know you’re a sister when…” writing contest. I was honored to represent you and humbled to be among such an amazing, lovely group of writers.

A few highlights of the conference were:

  • the Asheville Photowalk led by my dear friend, Mishelle Lane. (My favorite picks of the shots I took on the walk are on my Flickr page.)
  • the speaker dinner with the Room 704 girls. I’m a big admirer of these ladies and spending an evening with them and Thai food and wine was pure bliss.
  • the Blogger Town Hall meeting where we were able to speak our minds and discuss issues that involve all of us was pure genius.
  • an impromptu party at a certain chick‘s villa that will bring smiles and giggles when I think about it for years to come!
  • my a-mazing roommates, Heather & Kathy! Having good roommates makes a conference very enjoyable and I’m glad we got the weekend to be together and reconnect.
meheatherkathy

Me & my uber cool roomies!

If you are a blogger and you’ve ever wondered about attending a conference, I’d encourage you to think now about attending either Type-A next year or the upcoming BlissDom conference in February, or both! You will learn a lot, meet so many wonderful people and have fun along the way.

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