These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…

I haven’t written in a while. Here’s what has been keeping me busy:

Publicity picture with my kids in the show… they were adorable!

Which one of these things is not like the other…? 

Taken at a dress rehearsal before the drops were finished. The… Abby… is alive with the sound of music…

Meeting the captain

“I think your dress is the ugliest one I’ve ever seen!”

Ended up not using my blue guitar for the actual show. Probably a good call.

You can sing most anything!

Do, Re, Mi…

Do, Mi, Mi… Mi, Sol, Sol…

Singing loudly so we can’t hear the thunder

The Lonely Goatherd pillow fight

Preparing to dance The Landler with Kurt

The captain decides to show him how it’s done

Gettin’ down, Austrian-style

A little too close for comfort

Yikes! 

Brigitta telling me that it’s obvious her dad and I are in love

Running away. Double yikes.

Climb Every Mountain…

Missed you, Kids!

Gettin’ hitched

Mmmm… smell those fake flowers

Gotta love the unfinished drops

The Kalzberg Festival- Edelweiss

The Kaltzberg Festival- So Long, Farewell

The Kaltzberg Festival was not in the Von Trapp home, despite what the sets at dress rehearsal would suggest

Hiding from the Nazis in the abby garden

Escaping into Switzerland

 

And, as an added bonus, the book was signed by everyone! Great find, Keyra!

My friend Keyra found a book on the real Von Trapps at an antique store on the east coast. My camera’s flash did funky things to the color, but this is a picture of the real family.

Thanks so much again to everyone who came and supported me in this! You guys are awesome.

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Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers

Here’s proof that I was born. I’m still working on this goal.

Go shawty… it’s your birthday… we gonna party like it’s your birthday… we gonna sip… apple cider… like it’s your birthday… uh… well, yeah. The song kind of falls apart after that point when it’s applied to a Mormon girl. But I’ve had a birthday… Shout hooray!

This year I had such a fun time with great friends who came to celebrate with me. Here are some highlights:

Sim, Wylie, and David conquered the baby aisle on a Friday night with masculinity intact

Yeah, I have beautiful friends 

Birthday deliciousness from Gourmandise Bakery 

I tricked a few people into thinking I was pregnant when I sent out invitations to my “baby shower”, and that was pretty funny to me. Come on guys. It’s me. The chances of that happening are less than the chances of The Spice Girls, Richard Simmons, and Abraham Lincoln releasing a psychedelic zydeco album together.

The “baby shower” part was real, though, and my friends gave in an amazingly generous way to help needy infants in the community. The House of Hope is a non-profit organization in Utah that helps people overcome substance abuse, child abuse, and family violence. Many mothers come without anything for their babies, and more give birth having nothing while they are there. It was awesome to see the way everyone pulled together to help these kids. We were even able to donate a sack of clothes for the mothers, thanks to other donations of friends.

Chelsea couldn’t make the party, but she drove an hour to and from my house just to help me set up. What a babe.

Lee modeling his donated “Happy Camper” ensemble

Just a fraction of the loot

Heck yes we got CARE BEARS wipes   

Amazingly, ALL of this (plus a baby swing) came from my friends, Allison and Kevin Gill

Some of my favorites in the front row- “I’m with the band” and the matching baby and doll dresses

Kelly made a special trip to receive our stuff. She’s great!

 I dropped the items off with Kelly at the House of Hope, who was very kind and helpful. Funny enough, I lived two houses away from the offices when I lived downtown, but I never knew what the building was until today. They’re great with anonymity.

 The House of Hope in general and the Community Cradle Project in particular are great causes. For anyone interested in helping out, you can find information on their needs here. (Also, for anyone who helped with donations, they are tax deductible. If you’re interested in getting a receipt, let me know and I’ll email it to you.)

Thanks to everyone who made this such a fun and successful event… looking forward to the next adventure!

Week Thirty – Risk Rejection

One of my favorite authors, Paulo Coehlo, is credited with having said, “Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back- she will hear her heart”. It’s kind of the same concept as Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote about “those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Any real progress or accomplishment comes with risk- it’s a part of fully being alive. Life without risk is paralysis. I love the approach author Benjamin Zander takes with his music students. In his book, The Art of Possibility, he says he actively trains his students that when they make a mistake, they are to lift their arms in the air, smile, and say, How fascinating! “Not only mistakes,” he says, “but even those experiences we ordinarily define as ‘negative’ can be treated in this way.”

This week, I had two things planned to risk the possibility of rejection: one which has achieved resolution, and the other, I’m going to ask for some help in achieving.

The first was to audition for a community production of “The Sound of Music.” I used to be very involved in theater in high school and my early collage years, but it’s been a very long time since I’ve even thought about auditioning for a show.

I actually talked myself out of auditioning and let things pass without taking any action. But like Paulo Coehlo says, I started to hear my heart. I talked with someone about coming to audition the first night of callbacks and they graciously agreed.

After I did some initial singing, they requested I come back the next night and attend callbacks for the adult roles. We learned and performed some simple choreography, read for several of the parts, and finished with more singing. There were a lot of talented people there, and I felt a little nervous, but mostly honored to be included.

A few days passed and I got a phone call at work asking me if I would be willing to play Maria, the lead role! I’m excited for the challenge and really looking forward to the experience and the new opportunities it will present for me to take some risks.

In front of the posted cast list

The second thing I explored this week has to do with this blog as a whole. I can’t believe the final week of this project has come and gone. It’s been a life-changing experience for me. I really do feel transformed, empowered, and above all, very happy and very grateful. With only a few weeks left until my thirty-first birthday, I believe this year has been one of the best I’ve experienced in my life.

I have also really appreciated the feedback from everyone given both here and on my facebook page. It’s gratifying to know that this has had a bit of a ripple effect with some of my friends. It’s because of that feedback and my own positive experiences that I’ve decided that I’d like to expand the “flirting with life” portion of this blog into a book. I would like to gear it towards a mid-singles LDS population with the hope that it will do some good for other people the way it has for me.

I talked with a very kind person this past week who is good friends with the CEO of an LDS publishing company called Deseret Book. After I explained to him what I wanted to do, he generously offered to give my book to her directly when I am finished. I’m not sure if she will be interested in it, but the offer motivates me to create the best product possible.

So, here’s where the help part comes in. Many of you have been so wonderful about taking the time to read the blog. I would really love input from you as I rewrite and revamp this- any feedback, ideas, suggestions, quotes, stories, scriptures, etc. that come to mind for any of the thirty weeks. I want to make this as strong as possible and it’s going to take some work. Good thing I have some pretty creative and brilliant friends.

When I asked my mom for advice on putting together a book, her reply was classic: Do it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Well said, Mom. Well said.

Week Twenty-Nine – Make A Memory With A Stranger

Irene and me… with no idea what we were getting into that night.

.I don’t know whether to chalk up this week’s experience to the law of attraction, a blessing, or just dumb luck, but I’m still kind of pinching myself.

I waited a while to write this particular blog, because I was having a hard time figuring out how to translate this goal into an experience. By nature, it’s a spontaneous goal, so I was trying to put myself in places where it could happen and then keep my eyes open. I went to the local farmers market, a festival downtown, and even thought about riding the light rail system, just to strike up conversations with strangers and see where they led.

Funny enough, the answer came when I wasn’t even focused on the goal… and it came in a big way.

My best friend, Irene, and I attended the concert of three legendary blues and soul performers together- Buddy Guy, Al Green, and BB King.  There were thousands of people there, but we were able to get pretty near the stage and even the performers, who occasionally came out into the audience.

JUST missed the picture of Buddy Guy as he walked past us, playing that famous guitar

BB King! (Sadly, the top of his hat instead of his face, but still very cool.)

The Reverend Al Green a few feet in front of us, handing out long stemmed red roses to the ladies in the audience…

The entire evening was a blast, but the highlight for me was seeing BB King perform. Classy, brilliant BB King- who can play one note and stop all my vital signs for minutes. I mean it. I love this man’s music. And I’ve performed some of it myself over the years. So to see him in person at eighty-four years old was a thrill.

After he finished and the music was over, the crowds started to disperse. But Irene and I lingered to take in the beautiful night and the energy of the evening. Some of his band was still packing up their gear on stage, and we wanted to thank them for putting on such a great show. We tried to get their attention, but they couldn’t hear us over the PA music.

That’s when we met Myron.

We noticed a sharply-dressed man standing on the stage and thought he was a part of the band. I struck up a conversation with him and he was a little reserved at first. After talking for a few minutes, we found out that he wasn’t one of the musicians. That he was, in fact, BB King’s step-son and personal manager. -His right-hand man that he entrusts with everything and with whom he spends the majority of his time.

Irene and I were fascinated. We talked with him about his life and his job and his (lack of) social life. He told us that since taking the job five years ago, he has only had one week of vacation. We talked about places that he’d visited and experiences he’d had. We talked for a long while, and he asked us if either of us had a card. We gave him my band’s business card with our phone numbers and email addresses on the back, and he gave us his cell phone number. He told us the hotel where the bands were staying and invited us to join him later for drinks. We agreed, and after calling my friend, Rick, to tell him where we were going, we headed over.

Our new friend, Myron.

Myron was waiting for us in the lobby, since we’d gotten a little lost on the way there. We headed to the hotel bar, where Irene and I ordered the only things on the list Mormon girls could order. Then our conversation went something like this:

Myron (looking at our drinks): So, you are drinking cranberry juice and you are drinking Sprite. Don’t you trust me?

Me: Sure. We wouldn’t be here otherwise.

Myron: Uh oh. Should I trust you?

Me: Absolutely.

Myron: (Pause) With all of this trust going around, we aren’t going to have any real fun tonight, are we?

I’m glad that he saw who we were right off the bat. But despite his prediction to the contrary, we did have a lot of fun. We talked with him for two hours and he introduced us to many members of both BB King and Buddy Guy’s bands (and Buddy Guy’s assistant, Myron’s counterpart). We found out all kinds of crazy stories and laughed our heads off. And we built a good friendship with Myron.

He did try one last time before we left to have a slumber party with us, but when we declined, he walked us to my car and gave us hugs good night. I asked if he felt like he’d wasted his time, since we weren’t going to sleep with him and he said no, that he’d enjoyed himself. We told him to keep our numbers and give us a call the next time they were back in Utah and he agreed.

Kind of a crazy and unexpected night, but it was a great memory. It was nice to be reminded that people are people, no matter what their station. From the hippie outside the concert holding a sign that said “Free Hugs!” (which we took him up on) to the personal assistants and bands of living legends, stepping outside of ourselves to interact with strangers made for a great and memorable evening.

Date #27 – Matt

After dinner with Matt at Trolley Square

When Matt walked into the restaurant for our mutual friend’s birthday dinner, there was a palpable respect suddenly present in the room. His friends at the table made comments about how everyone just got smarter due to his presence.

It was well-deserved respect, I came to find out. Matt is one of the most mentally gifted people I’ve ever met. He is currently at Georgetown University where he was awarded a fellowship so he can pursue his PhD studies. I was completely jealous of his ability to recall any information on a variety of subjects from his impressive memory. He is respected as a church historian in LDS circles, and often presents at academic symposiums.

I really enjoyed getting to know Matt at that dinner. In addition to living up to the rep his friends set up for him, Matt had a great sense of humor and shared other common interests with me. We connected later that evening on Facebook, and he suggested we get together again before he headed back to DC.

I have always wanted to visit Gilgal Gardens, a small public city park and stone sculpture garden in downtown Salt Lake City, but had never made it over. When we met for our date, I loved that Matt suggested we go there before dinner and was happy that I had a historian along for my first visit to the gardens.

We spent a lot of time walking through several sculptures and engraved stones, which presented unconventional and thought-provoking depictions of religious concepts. Matt knew a lot of history about the artist and the garden and it was fun to hear his impressions of the art.

Matt with one of the well-known pieces in the garden

Yes, that is Joseph Smith’s head on a sphinx. And it’s awesome.

A depiction of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the book of Daniel.

After our tour, we walked the few blocks back to our restaurant for the evening, The Old Spaghetti Factory. I had never been there before, either, and it was a very charming place, despite its deceptively industrial-sounding name.

That evening, again, I really enjoyed talking with Matt over dinner. In addition to having very interesting and insightful opinions, he was also a very good listener. We talked well past the time we finished our meal and then continued our conversation after leaving the restaurant.

It was great to meet Matt, and I appreciated a lot of things about him.  I appreciated his easy-going personality and his supportive attitude. I loved that he was willing to let me count our date toward my goal of thirty after hearing about my blog. I appreciated that after taking me out, he also took the time to come support me at one of my band’s gigs- despite his limited time in Utah. There are lots of great things to say about Matt, and I’m thankful that I had the chance to get to know him better.

Week Twenty-Eight – Challenge a Fear

Scaredy face

There are a lot of things to be afraid of in life: gravity (barophobia), string (cnidophobia), peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth (arachibutyrophobia), long words (hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia), bald people (peladophobia), and the list goes on. For me, it’s heights.

It’s a pretty bad case. When I was a kid, I freaked out about going on escalators. I made the county fair ride operators stop the ride and get me off. Don’t even get me started about my experience on the PeopleMover at Disneyland- the terrifying monorail that catapulted visitors around the park at a dizzying maximum speed of two miles per hour. And that was when I was in middle school.

Oh, the terror!

My sister loved to capitalize on that fear when I was a kid. She’d grab me, hold me over the banister of the top floor of our house, and threaten to drop me- just to see my reaction. When we’d stay in tall hotels, she’d hold me up to the window so I could see how far below the ground was and then give me a jolt while saying, “Don’t fall!” I’m sure it was hilarious. (I’m still plotting my revenge, Sister-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless…)

Thankfully, age has tamed the wild fear I experienced as a child. I ride escalators like a pro. I have gone on some mild roller coasters without flinching (much). And best of all, I did a ropes course that taught me something profound – that fear and exhilaration are two responses to the same stimulus: adrenaline. My mind’s perceptions determine how I interpret my experience. From that same ropes course, I also understood the limiting nature of fear. I learned that I am capable of much more than I think I am, and that by challenging those self-imposed limitations, I can do anything. Talk about empowerment.

I thought of many things I could do to face my fear of heights once again this week. The winning idea came from my good friend and co-worker, Eric. He suggested something he’d done with his family: taking Snowbird Ski Resort’s tram for a spin.

Snowbird’s tram

I loved this idea for a couple of reasons. First, Snowbird is such a beautiful place, regardless of the season. And secondly, it would allow me to experience my fear of heights in a pretty safe way. And safe = good.

I was fine until I was waiting in line to board the tram. I looked down and noticed the platform we stood on was not solid… I could see how high we were off the ground. And then I started to think about how high the distance of 2,900 vertical feet was that I was about to ascend. I had to remind myself that it was all in my mind as my legs slowly turned into a pudding Bill Cosby would have been proud to market.

A mother and daughter boarded right behind me. The daughter, who was nearly hysterical, was screaming, “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS!!!” and sobbing as she clung to her mother. She was about middle school age also, and I contemplated telling her about how she had me beat with the PeopleMover, but she didn’t seem in the mood. Instead, I patted her hand and told her that we were going to be okay. Her sobbing diminished a little, but then reached new crescendos as the tram started to move.

Each time we passed a support pole, the tram sped up and would swing slightly. I had placed myself in the end furthest from the mountain (so I could get the full visual impact of our ascent) and had to hold on to the bar and plant my feet so I could feel the tram solidly below me as I watched us climb.

At the top of Hidden Peak, my little sobbing friend and her mother got out with the other passengers. The view was just beautiful, and the tram lingered for a few minutes before beginning its descent.

Going down was scarier for me than going up, since it felt like we were going faster and the swinging of the tram at each support post was more pronounced. But it was fun and in no time, we were back at the loading area where I disembarked.

Almost back…

On the way back to my car, the shuttle driver that had taken me to the Snowbird Center stopped to ask me if I had been on the tram. I told him I had done it, and he confided that he’d worked there for a long time, but that the tram terrified him. He said he’d probably scream like a little girl if he were to get on it. I’m sure he said it just to make me feel better, but it worked.

My fear of heights isn’t conquered… yet. But each time I challenge it, I make some progress toward finding out my true limits.

Take that, PeopleMover.