The kids and I had one of our coolest field trips ever this week.   It was in the Royal Albert Hall here in London which I have been wanting to go to since the day we moved here and the taxi cab driver told me all about it.

The London Philharmonic played famous classical pieces accompanied by a laser light show.    Seth actually got out of his chair to hug me and say thank you during the show, he liked it so much.  Even my teenager thought it was great.   She is no longer easily impressed.


I took a few pictures while the orchestra were setting up and the lights were still on.  We felt just like we were in a fancy old Victorian opera house, because we were!   Red curtains behind us and all.

There was a special guest performer for one song; a Spanish guitar player.  The kids were so impressed, he was amazing.   It was a beautiful experience.  On the final song, there were fireworks inside the building and then some people dressed as soldiers appeared in the columns at the very top and they fired pretend muskets and a huge old looking cannon went off.  It was very patriotic.

The hall is so large we had to go across the street into Kensington Garden just to fit some it into a picture with the kids.   And once you are there, well, you may as well walk around and thoroughly enjoy the rest of your day…….

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We bought the kids new guitars last month and they practice almost everyday. So for their Grandma Ronda’s birthday they have been working on a song for her.  This was their first experience with trying to play a song  and sing/work together.   I think they did great.   It was really fun for them to work on something to make their Grandma’s big day special.

Happy Birthday Grandma Ronda!

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In honor of William Patrick Corgan’s birthday, aka “St. Patrick’s Day” I had everything Smashing Pumpkins set to shuffle on my i pod for pretty much the whole day, and the day after as well. No worries, I also wore green.

My sweet 9 year old son was helping me lay out fabric for a denim quilt I plan to start sewing any day now, when “X.Y.U.” from the iconic album “Melloncollie and the Infinite Sadness” started playing. I was deep in concentration and not really paying close attention to the song (otherwise I would have skipped it, because its not terribly appropriate for kids).

He made the simplest observation a few minutes into the song: ” this is an angry song.”

Good thing he got my attention when he did, because there was soon to be a need for precision coughing. From what I can tell that is the most effective way to edit a song when you can’t reach the skip button in time.

Mostly I just thought it was profound and adorable that he was able to so matter of factly pinpoint the emotion in that song. Kids notice so much of what is going on around them.

I thought about it a lot the rest of St. Patrick’s Day, especially when the song “Soma” was playing.

-and really as a side note if you are reading this from facebook you should click over to the real post so you can listen to this amazing song and as a bonus see Billy with hair-

The level of emotion needed to have written songs like that is a double edged sword. It fuels artists like Van Gough to cut off their own ear. In another way it inspired Billy Corgan to create Soma. So much beauty and depth seems to some how spring from deep (sometimes painful or hurting or angry) emotions. I think about this a lot, actually. On the one hand, I love what is created so much, and I am really happy to have it in my life as it enriches and inspires me. On the other hand, this work of beauty and art was paid so often with a high price on the artist’s behalf.

These days Billy is happy. His music has been greatly affected by it, and not all in positive ways. Except for (and I have to remind myself of this often): he is happy. He said something not too long ago about making the fans happy or him happy, but it was difficult to do both. It should be his turn, I’m glad he chose him. Now I enjoy some of the new stuff more than others, but its mostly lacking that core emotion. Its still really good, just….

Really, I’m just so glad I got/get to LOVE and BREATHE and LIVE to his beautiful music.

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Do you like to make play lists?  Do you remember the days of the “mixed tape” with affection?  I wish I still had every mixed tape anyone, including myself, ever made for me!   Mixed cd’s are also a treasure, if any of you that are reading this have ever received a mixed cd from myself, its because  “hey; I really like you.”

So if you’re into that, or just really want to win an i tunes gift card then j* at Digestable Trax is having a play list contest you probably want to enter.   The deadline is almost here, so you need to do it quickly, but isn’t that when we all do our best work anyways?   I just finally entered it last night, and since I was just hours away from going to see Say Hi when I made my list, there are like 3 Say Hi songs….perfect.

ALSO…while we are on the topic; I want to share with you a recent mixed cd song list I used to make 2 cd’s last week for new babies and their grown up peeps as well.  I didn’t put each of these songs on both cd’s, this is just every song I ended up putting on both put together.

*This Is Heaven- The Mummers (read the rest of the list below while you listen to this pretty little song)

*Around Us- Jonsi

*New Friend- Aqualung

*All my friends are insects- Weezer

*Special- Mew

*Wake me up- The Mummers

*Boy Lilikoi- Jonsi

*Bilavisur- Bjork (gling-glo)

*The Ceiling on the wall- Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears

*Magnetic North- Aqualung

*Kata Rokkar- Bjork

*Luna- Smashing Pumpkins

*My Blue Heaven- Smashing Pumpkins

*Love Never Dies- from musical by same name

*Reel my In- Aqualung

*Getting Old- HelloGoodbye

*Go Do- Jonsi

*Animal Arithmatic- Jonsi

*Block after Block- Matt and Kim

*Wildcat- Ratatat

*Meet the Elements- They might be Giants

I just *KNOW* my darling new niece is going to be a little music lover

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Our 12 year old daughter got  Hellogoodbye’s new album “Would It Kill You?” for Christmas.   I had to hide it away for weeks before the big day, and it took much self control not to open and download it so I could listen when no one was around.   But we wanted her to have that experience all for herself.

This album doesn’t  have  as much of an edgy pop feeling as previous ones, but in all of its  indie rock sweety-pop-ness I find an addictive groove that still gets me moving.   And the edge can still be found, its just in layers (like an ogre onion).

Our daughter loves it, and she has played it over and over again.   Remember when you had time to read and memorize song lyrics so you could sing along without having to mumble half the lyrics because you don’t actually know them?

This is her favorite song:  Betrayed by Bones.  She totally likes the pinging video game sound going on ever so often in the back ground.

This song is probably her other favorite: I Can Never Relax

What a great cute happy band for my kids to like!   High fives to Hellogoodbye and their awesome new album.

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I was Mary Poppins for Halloween this year, its kind of a work in progress for me with really big plans to do it again next year.  My son thinks I should be Zombie Mary Poppins, we will see.  I love Mary Poppins- a lot, and I have had so much fun singing her awesome songs this Halloween season (when no one is listening of course).  Hope you all had a good time trick or treating!

My friend Damien Street just made this picture of me flying, its awesome! Thanks Damien.

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Living in the Seattle area of WA has been wonderful.  In general we just feel at peace here, and the music scene has been good to us as well.   We have been looking forward to seeing the local band Say Hi for quite some time, the first time was a couple years ago when we ended up Tac sick, and me hurt on the day of the show.   Then Tac was rear ended on the freeway the day of the next Say Hi show we wanted to see.

So when Say Hi was announced as one of the bands playing for Seattle’s “concerts on the green” free concerts in the park nights, I was so happy!  The kids were thrilled to be attending with us, the boys clarified with me at least 10 times that they were actually coming with us.  What a great opportunity for them.   Emma even brought a friend, we had a fantastic time.

The weather was perfect, like it usually is here in the summer.   Warmish, sunny, cool ocean breeze, and then as the sun went down it was time for jackets.   Right behind the stage was the Space Needle, and my sons had a good time watching that as well.

Say Hi  mildly yet unreservedly delivered some excellent music.   I was so taken in with the way Eric Elbogen sang his songs in the park.   He played and sang like he was on a stage, in an empty theatre, just singing because he likes it and because the words in his songs actually mean something.   I think I would have been nervous to sing like that; so open and exposed in such a big spacious, somewhat loud place, yet he appeared to be assured and confident.

My kids thought he was witty when he would say “this is a song” and then start playing it with out any further introduction.  They thought they were witty when they would cheer after the songs and yell “hi” (since the name of the band is “Say Hi”)

Say Hi was fun to watch, played a little something from their next album, told some jokes, reassured us that their awesome vampire songs were written before Twilight, and in general were such a pleasure to spend a Friday night with.

Plus, they list Joss Whedon as one of their influences; you know, the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer,  so you know they are cool.  Also they are funny and when you visit their myspace page and listen to the tunes, read the “bio” section too.

Also, I almost forgot to mention the super cool opening band “The Tea Cozies.”  They were seriously fun to see, and I am hopeful that I will see them again some time.

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OK,  here’s the situation (my parents went away on a weeks vacation…Will Smith) Ha ha, I have no idea how that just happened, but it really did, please tell me I’m not the only old person who actually remembers when that song came out.

Actually the real situation is that I am kind of a slacker and haven’t blogged in a wee bit, partly because we moved to the Seattle area this month.  Issaquah to be exact.  The whole moving thing is never fun, but we are starting to get back in our normal life groove and I actually had time to blog.

I am happy to be writing again. 

Our new house

I wrote about Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears 2 years ago, or so (if you followed that link I just made I hope you are listening to “The Zero Light” right now, what a fabulous song!).  Since then they have made another album called “The Flight of the Knife.”  I never wrote anything about it because I had just blogged about them, but we have been listening to that album at least once every day for weeks now.

Our house essentially turns into the stage for a musical when they are playing; singing, dancing and overall cheerfulness.  I don’t think I want to try and describe the music, you can figure it out yourself, and I hope you do because it has several of the best characteristics of different types and ages of music all in one, however it DEMANDS and DESERVES a second listen.

The kids favorite song is “Purple Rocket” because 1) its so awesome 2) we are reading a book called “Georges Cosmic Treasure Hunt” by Stephen Hawkings and his daughter Lucy, that is all about space and rockets n’ stuff.  This book has “blasted” Bryan Scary into our daily music fun.  I very much recommend this book and the one before it to any parent looking for something to read their kids this summer.

I somewhat obsessively check Bryan Scary’s concert dates hoping so very badly to see them live someday, so far they seem to stick to the east coast, but I’m comforted by the fact that Seattle offers me a much better chance than Boise ever did.

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Our 4 yr old Seth is a lover of the music. He is constantly amusing us with his requests for certain bands when we are driving or at home. He really likes Muse and Seve Vs Evan, so you can see how most of the time its not hard to fill his wants. One of the only things he likes possibly more than music is his Grandpa. They are totally best friends.

My dad is a big fan of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys (so am I actually, which is hard to comprehend if you know me and how much I dislike all country music… except for Bob Wills). So naturally when I finally got some of my Dad’s Bob Wills on my ipod and played it for Seth last month it started some kind of explosion in Seth’s brain causing him to beg for it constantly when he and I are alone in the car (which is a lot since the other kids are in school and he and I run lots of errands and go places together).

(a little clip you might like, even though the quality isn’t perfect)

Seth is actually going to spend over a week next month with my parents while I go to Puerto Rico, and he is most excited about jamming with my Dad every day. My Dad is very musical and he has an area in the loft with a drum set, keyboard, guitars, microphones, and harmonica. They play together often. Seth likes to bring his blue ukulele.

So that is my big music scoop for last month, perhaps not so “gen x” as usual, but I like Bob Wills because it is incredibly entertaining, and I love the quaint undiluted sound of the guitar, violin, piano and who knows what else. Mr Wills talks while they are playing, to the band itself and commentary on the song in general and it is so funny. He also makes crazy noises. They went through several band members, and I like some better than others, but one of our favorites is the piano player Kelso. We are naming our next dog Kelso, and that is the name Seth uses now when he pretends to be a dog.

My Dad has a huge box set, but for the average listener I think the best album to start with is Bob Wills the Country Music Hall of Fame. (check out the listening samples there on the album, you might surprise yourself and like it too)

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stormtroopers take over christmas village

Our 7 yr old son created some new additions for our 10 yr old daughters Christmas village. I love it, she didn’t so much. click on the picture to make it larger if you want.

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