Thursday, May 01, 2008

Random Thoughts and AI vote-off

Lately I've felt like my posts have been "housekeeping" posts. Things I really need to blog about, i.e. American Idol (like I would stop!), How I Lost The Weight Series (really fun, actually), and the Here's-what-we-did-and-so-I'm-blogging-about-it-and-posting-pictures-for-posterity. But this causes me to forget about the other glamorous and intelligent things I think about during the week, and the small things I experience. So, to relieve the backlog in my brain, here are a few things I'd like to share with you:

I played a piano solo on Sunday. It was David Glen Hatch's arrangement of "Praise To The Man". It made sense, seeing as Sac. Mtng. was on the Prophet Joseph Smith. Anyway, they asked me if I would play right when we moved back, since my reputation as a pianist precedes me. Or they just remembered, since I lived in this ward for over 5 years (go figure!). Anyway, I was surprised and completely taken off guard at my nervousness. I was so very nervous. Never mind I had played this song since I was 15. Never mind that I'd played in this ward for years and years in many different ways (accompanist, organist, etc.). I couldn't stop shaking as I played. And although I only missed one note, I could not, for the life of me, feel the Spirit. The interpretation was not what I wanted, and I felt lousy. Most people told me they enjoyed it and thanked me, and I was polite in response --but I still felt....lousy. That's really the best term. I'm trying to figure out why I didn't feel strong about it. I practiced. I prayed. But what's even weirder? The same thing happened back in California. I played John Longhurst's arrangement of "I Believe In Christ" in our Sacrament Meeting Easter program. I know I mentioned it in my Easter post here. But I didn't mention how awful I felt about it. Nervous as could be! Shaking hands! Nerves, nerves, nerves.
The only thing I can think of is this: First, I'm older and less likely to think I know everything. Confidence has wained just a tad. Second, I don't get to practice and play as much as I did in the past (think 'before kids'). And had to perform for a grade. And compete. Teaching piano lessons does not keep my skills sharp --oh, the knowledge, yes! But not the skills. I need to practice to keep those.

Anyway, that was my current musical experience.
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Tuesday night was a ward activity. The youth in our ward put on a talent show for everyone in the ward to see. We have about 40-50 youth in our ward, and so it was an amazing night! Music, comedy, skits, dance, videos, etc. made for a lot of fun. As we watched the show, a thought struck me --these kids grew up before my eyes. I knew all of them (except a handful that had moved in while we were gone) and had a connection to most of them. All those Teachers (14-15 year old boys) about to be Priests (16-17 year old boys)? They were in my Bear Den when I was a Cub Scout Den Leader. That would make them 9 years old. Those seniors graduating? I knew them as primary kids. Eight or Nine of them had been former piano students. Most of the young men Brandon had served while he was the Deacon's counselor (12-13 year old boys). Several young women had babysat for me over the years.
It made me feel a couple of things: First (don't you love how I always speak in numerical order? I'm nothing if I'm not organized...) --I feel old. I am almost 30, and these kids see me as "old". And in reality, I'm not even 30! I'm not close to old at all! But I felt old. Two--I want my kids to grow up with good friends, in a good ward, without having to move frequently. Growing up with the same people provides such stability, friendship, and loyalty. At least it did for me. These kids in our ward have that --I want my kids to have that, too.
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Brandon has been working a lot. It's a new job; he has projects. The commute is a tad further than the one he had in CA (ironic, eh?), and we're both busy with other things (i.e. he's playing in his work's softball league, we have WW meetings, etc.). I miss him. Not enough to iron all his shirts, but I still miss him.
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American Idol:
  • The loyalty to Paula was very admirable. I'm proud of the producers for issuing that statement in her behalf.
  • I liked the commercial. But I always like the commercials/videos. Most of you hate them. That's okay with me.
  • Simon's first kiss calling in was crazy! I couldn't believe it! But I loved every second of that exchange. How cool was that?!
  • I Heart Neil Diamond. I just love his voice. The song was okay --the back-up singers were just down-right scary. What kind of dancing were they doing?! And they were even doing it on the the slow part!? And the brass players dancing too? That was just weird. But hooray! Neil Diamond sang. His voice just makes me feel all comfy inside.
  • Holy Emotional Breakdown, Brooke! But it was bound to happen, I guess. I'm just glad she went out on a high note --meaning that she sang well last night, and was the good Brooke. I liked how she admitted in her farewell video that her confidence was a difficult step for her; it made sense. Brandon read somewhere that Brooke was a nervous breakdown just waiting to happen. Can you imagine if she had won the thing? She probably would have gone over the edge. I'm proud of her for all she's done, but glad her pain is now over. Perhaps she can make that awesome Carole King-esque album that I would love to buy...(after the Idol tour, and all the other stuff she has to do via Idol contract, of course. Stupid contracts!).
  • I find it ironic that out of the five people I loved the most (and predicted would be the final five), Four of them actually were. If I could have replaced Syesha with Michael Johns, then my predictions would have been spot on. That makes me feel good, because in years past, my predictions were way off.
  • I'm just loving this whole off-the-fly type interviewing, etc. It's so cool to see the judges and the contestants in such vulnerable form.
  • Remember my reaction to Leona Lewis last week? Well, count me in as dumb again because I didn't know who Natasha Bedingfield was...doh! And you know what? I actually liked her style of music/performing better than Leona Lewis. Her voice wasn't as incredible, but it was...what's the word?...it was...tangible. That's the only word I can think of right now (even if it doesn't make any sense). She's a good performer, that one. And when she went over to give David A. a hug and kiss? Too funny! He was blushing...
  • These guest judges and performers are dang lucky to get on Idol. In the first few years, I think it was hard to get such musicians to come on the show, but I'm betting that now, they all realize how stupid it would be not to get on the show. Talk about crazy advertising!

What did you think?

17 comments:

Julie said...

In numerical order:
1)I've found the older I get, the more I have to stick to very simple arrangements of hymns in order to feel the spirit. Don't you think as we mature spiritually, we just need more of the meat and less of the whipped cream that accompanies so many of the musical arrangements of hymns?
2)What a great idea for a ward activity! Why didn't I think of that in the 18 months we were Activity Leaders? And I agree about the kids being in one place. It's okay if it doesn't happen that way, but so so great when it can.
3) Stanton goes to Portland next week and I am going to go crazy missing him. We aren't apart much.
4)AI was good. I didn't love Natasha B., but I totally love Neil Diamond's voice. It is awesome to listen to. I LOVED that phone call from Simon's first kiss! He was so cute about it! And while I did think it was nice of Idol to make the whole statement about her, I was UNimpressed that she went back to business as usual with her potshots at Simon. I thought she should have given it a rest for at least this week after what he did for her. And Brooke was very heartwarming and endearing.

Julie said...

By "her," I mean Paula, not Simon's first kiss.

Kelly A. said...

You don't miss Brandon enough to iron his shirts. Funny. I don't miss anyone in my family enough to do their laundry, clean their toilets or empty the dishwasher. But it is on my list today, I miss my sanity more.

I like what Julie said about the whipped cream. I was also thinking maybe it is someone else's tool to make you doubt your talents. Rise above that. You are obviously very talented and use the talent to enrich others. Also, yes, practicing is good. I seem to remember you giving me a little smackdown recently about people like me who never practiced! ;)

Amber- aka kanga5 said...

So was Brooke crying because she didn't win? Do you think she was beating herself up because she felt she didn't do good enough? Or do you think she was just sad to see it all end? She was sure emotional. And the David Cook pat on the back while she was singing- although well meant was just kinda awkward.

Neil Diamond was very nice and I didn't see the other singer. I WANT JASON TO BE DONE! :) The end.

Amber- aka kanga5 said...

Are you going to Blogapolooza?

Cheryl said...

Amber-
I want Jason to be done, too. But I think Brooke was just relieved/sad/allowed to cry. I think she's glad she didn't win, to be honest.
and P.S. I'm answering here and on your blog --No, I'm not going to Blogapalooza (did I spell that right?) because when Denae wanted everyone to make the commitment, I still had no idea where we would end up. Back then, we were still planning on being in CA. Now that I'm here, though, I wish I had decided to go...maybe I'll do my own blog party...someday?

bythelbs said...

I think nervousness and stress and concentrating on not messing up are probably all things that can distract you from feeling the spirit. Just lose yourself in the music, Cheryl! j/k--that was cheesy, but maybe you know what I mean?

"Not enough to iron all his shirts.." --love this line!

I was totally bugged by all the background dancing on ND's number, too! But doesn't he just seem like the nicest person?

I think Brooke was sad and relieved and she just let everything she was feeling burst out all at once. I'll miss her.

I agree with Julie, Paula should have been more gracious in her treatment of others with everyone else giving her a pass for her blunder.

When Natasha Bedingfield said she wanted to give David a hug, it looked to me like David C. thought she meant him because he stood up. My husband said it looked like he was just applauding David A., but I think he thought she meant him and was just trying to cover.

Jamie J said...

Well I missed last night. I'll have to watch it online today if I can find the time. I'm totally fine to see Brooke go and I'm glad she got as far as she did. You could tell the last few weeks have been really hard on her emotionally, I'm sure she's relieved to be done.

Remember a couple years ago I think the #11 girl sang a Natasha Bedingfield song-Unwritten. Totally annoying song! I thinks he has a good voice but that song just ruined her for me.

Cheryl said...

Dang it! Jamie, now I feel like an idiot. I didn't realize she was one and the same. If nobody has heard "Unwritten", then they must live in a hole. Which I do. Because I didn't realize she's the one who sang that.

And I claim to have pop culture knowledge? ~sigh~

Cheryl said...

btw, Julie, Kelly and Bythelbs--
Good advice. I appreciate your thoughts about the piano thing and missing hubby. :)

Also, Julie, you are indeed correct. Paula was ungracious, and she looked exhausted. I'm thinking she's having a hard time over something...something...

Lizzie said...

We usually fast forward through basically all of the results show to get to, well, the results, but last night we actually watched a few things, and I'm glad we did or else I would have missed some good moments.
1. I did dig the Paula support. And I thought her whole outfit/ensemble was very clever. She looked sweet, innocent, and normal. All messages you want to convey after a very weird night.
2. Wayne has a little crush on Natasha Bedingfield, so we had to watch her. I also thought it looked like David C was expecting some love when he stood up. Aw, don't you love awkward moments. Lucky for him not many people picked up on it.
3. Simon's first kiss calling was totally cute! He seemed genuinely tickled to hear from her. Aw. We originally FFed through this, but after the camera was fixed on Simon so much, we decided something fun must be going on and went back and watched it. Very glad we did.
3. I'm super sad to see Brooke go, she's been my favorite since her audition, very much my type of singer. But it did seem like Ryan was a bit more touchy when comforting her than he usually is with sad contestants. If I was her husband, I'd be jumping up from that audience... I also thought it was interesting how David A reacted. He seemed to be either crying or just upset, but he was purposely hiding behind the other contestants so he wouldn't be caught on camera. The camera guy at one point even tried to get a shot of him behind Syesha, but quickly gave up. Interesting. He must be sad that he'll have no one to sit next to in church on Sunday...

Lizzie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janelle said...

I miss you, wanna send some of your shirts to me to iron?

Leslie said...

Awesome post...

I seriously don't know how anyone performs ever...and I'm married to a performer. I don't think most people understand how much work it takes to make those "little" musical numbers work and bring the Spirit into a meeting. I'm thinking you were probably great, but I know when my husband has had lots going on and hasn't been able to prepare as much as he'd like (and he always sounds great!) he just doesn't feel as at peace about it.

Love the idea for the ward activity. I think I'll suggest something like that for our ward christmas party. And it is awesome when you watch kids grow up. But hey...you're not old. I'm much older than you are. "Kids" these days think I'm ancient!!

I miss my hubby too when he's busy and when he's gone. I think it's a good thing. It must mean you still like having him around!

Once again...lamenting the lack of AI in my life. Someday I'll have TIVO.

Amanda said...

No thoughts on AI except that if I hear one more thing about Paula's mistake, I might scream...

I totally know what you mean about feeling old. A couple of "my" young women have gotten married and one has had a baby. They are so young, and even though I am only 10 years older they see me as 'old'. That makes me so sad.

I hope you find some family/couple time soon. And I'm totally with you the ward thing...I want that for my kids too.

Cheryl said...

Lizzie-
I'm glad you didn't fast forward through AI this time. It was good!

Janelle-
I miss you, too! Maybe you could come up here and iron all the shirts. :)

Leslie-
It's true. It does take a lot of work sometimes. And I'm a perfectionist-type of performer. At the same time, I don't mind hearing other people make mistakes; I know it doesn't take away the Spirit. It doesn't. But when I feel lousy, then I don't feel it...perhaps others did, and so it's only me...?
What do you mean you're much older than I am? No you're not! (wait, are you? If so, my respect for you just went up. Don't ask me, it just did. :) )

Amanda-
Now that would be weird! A couple of guys that were Brandon's first Deacons are now on their missions. I keep reminding them that I'm only 9 years older than they are, but they still think we're old, too. So sad! One day they'll get it. :)

Ann said...

I totally agree with you about the back-up singers. They looked horrific! I was embarrassed for them!