not (five things) today

this is my mouth, the mouth that likes to sing, from a few happy days ago. not my mouth today, i'm afraid.

i am still sooooooo sick. the saddest part about it is that my biannual choir concert is this weekend! i survived our mandatory wednesday night choir rehearsal, just. and we have another mandatory rehearsal tonight. both of these are our first rehearsals this season with the professional orchestra and three soloists ... absolutely thrilling. 

somehow i will get all dressed up in black and pearls and sing this weekend and survive ... and thank goodness there are 109 other singers to drown out my croakey voice. you won't catch me NOT singing. ain't gonna happen. i'm there. 

but, dear reader, i am not HERE today. i am so sorry. my head is in a vice grip, my ears are in a descending airplane, and my throat is on fire. just the last few sentences a serious struggle. so. i'm climbing back into bed. forgive me.

may you have a great weekend. enjoy the holiday spirit. don't get all crazy on us!

here's a good idea ... go listen to a choral concert!

xh

five things: technology can be very useful!

- vonage phone service. unlimited long distance in the US and to 60 countries for $26/month. i signed up this week! 

- dragon dictation app for iphone. i record into my phone, dragon translates my words into text and i can send via text or email to myself or anyone else! love this! also comes in a desktop version. 

- cool mom tech blog. making tech female-friendly.

- bose sounddock10 for ipod. sounds a-ma-zing! i'm getting one ...

- stop the commercials on your comcast DVR! this is an awesome bit of news!

five things singing

i love to sing. it feels so good and lifts me up. and singing with others? very powerful. unifying. measures of melting into oneness. 

i'm an alto though my maestro says i could be a soprano if i worked at it. but i wouldn't want to be a soprano in a million years. no, alto's the place for me with all the lovely alto ladies. we swim in earthy, rich harmonies.

1. we sing with marin oratorio, a 100+ voice choir. and we're having a concert:

2. our choir director maestro boyd jarrell rocks the house! old world and hip, learned and funny, teacher extraordinaire. shares stories of music history and theory between directing us with such high standards. when we sing, his head twitches with the music, feeling it. he urges us to look up! get our noses out of the pages, keep the rhythm above all else, and e-nun-ci-ate. with bettah diction so we pronounce our "Rs" like the english. (fortunately i spent last summer with all those english folks working on the movie, so i'm brushed up on my english accent!). and when we sing and maestro smiles, marking the rhythm with his baton, i smile inside -- can't really smile and sing at the same time (but i can certainly smize!) -- knowing we have done a great job. 

3. ok, so maybe we're not glee and don't have gwyneth guest appearing as our soloist, but we're pretty damn hot all the same. 

4.  singing is good for us. and more people are singing in choir than ever before. maybe you can join one, too.

5. in our upcoming concert, we're singing haydn's the seasons (about nature's seasons, and the seasons of life) in english, not german! it's going to be a stirring, rousing, beautiful concert. YOU SHOULD COME! email me to get tickets ... it's selling out fast. shows are december 11 at 8pm, and december 12 at 3pm. 

 

five things: atkins (including, they might just come to your house!)

WANT TO MEET A FUN ENGLISH FAMILY LIVING IN THE FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE?

1. my friends the atkins family are coming to the usa next summer (!!!), and touring with their film. you know, the one they made with their uber-talented family and friends last summer in france and spain ... you know, the one i worked on, too. 

2. they are calling this the "throw me a rope" US road trip, a kind of extension of their "welcome to the world" tour in europe, only this time they have a film to show!

3. they'll be entering film festivals and doing Q and As in as many cities as possible.

4. they want to show their film to YOU! they'd like to do in-home screenings or "film parties" in people's homes all over the country. and they are looking for drama/music groups, summer schools and colleges, fundraising groups, any group or organization which might want to screen 'if you ever get to heaven' for any reason. who knows, they might do some concerts, too!

5. so, if you would like to meet this warm, friendly, open, generous, interesting, and fun family ... WHY DON'T YOU CONSIDER HOSTING A SCREENING? whether you are a family or single, all you need is a tv screen and some friends. just contact manny atkins and set a date sometime next july or august and invite your friends over for a "film party"! watch the film with the atkins family, ask questions of the parents (director & producer & actor) and the children (actors & crew), have a gathering, have fun, meet new people, open your world, open your home ... to this delightful english family living in france. 

contact manny atkins at amanda@43pictures.com.

and follow them on facebook and twitter.

ps - i met this family online, after reading and commenting on their blog. we became online friends, and i ended up working on their film! and we'll be friends forever. you just never know where these connections might lead. and at the very least, you can have new friends in another part of the world! and ... i'll most definitely be hosting a screening party at my house next summer!

 

five things: arj and flash

 orange tights

professional funny man arj barker hails from my hometown. here he riffs ...

- as a rapper buddhist who opened his third eye on his first try

- on aussie-speak at the melbourne comedy festival where they call him arjy barjy

do you like flash mobs as much as i do? here are two flashes ...

- glee flash mob in roma

- sound of music flash mob in antwerp

and the quirky improv folks doing their thing ... 

- freeze in grand central station

happy friday!

five things deliciously creepy

when i moved in to my house over 10 years ago in mid-october, many neighbors stopped by to warn be to BE PREPARED for halloween. get LOTS of candy. TONS of trick-or-treaters will come! 

and it's true. this is a crazy-for-halloween neighborhood. since mill valley is quite hilly, the "hill people" come down to the flat neighborhoods for easier door-to-door access (ie - more candy!). and many folks from other towns come here, too, for the safe environment. walnut street, just a few doors away, is the epicenter for the younger children who stock up on treats while the parents are often offered a wet treat, if you know what i mean. and sycamore, just a block away, is for the older kids -- dark and scary under all the giant sycamore trees. later in the evening, the teenagers gather at the nearby 7-11, with cop cars circling to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. 

halloween is really the only night of the year when the younger generation RULES! as in, the rules go out the window. this one night is for the young. electrifying. perilous. wild. can you feel it?

1. halloween celebrations around the world

2. scary samhain to you

3. eat, drink and be scary: free download!

4. doggies like to wear costumes, too

5. free halloween music

five things on kindness

yesterday over at picture fall, the assignment was to photograph how i was serving up kindness to others. and then my contractor/friend showed up with 11 beautiful eggs from his little farm. first thing in the morning, i received this lovely gesture of kindness. thank you, brian!

so today, i'm practicing kindness by highlighting five folks who are dishing up all kinds of krazy kindness:

1. cultivating kindness and compassion, with seven practices

2. free kindness downloads for practicing random acts

3. kindness in a simple but important gesture

4. christine kindly offering 100 of her books in random places all over the world 

5. on cranes and kindness

five things to love

 

chile love: the chilean miners are safe and sound above ground! and the whole world cared!

adya love: today is the LAST DAY to register for a 2011 retreat with adyashanti (my teacher). pure truth and love. no bs allowed. 

chicken love: wow chicken temple in portland, designed by the wow multi-talented lubosh cech.

l'amour: fall into the haute-loire, france, with my pal manny and her beautiful daughter beth.

chakra love: had to get one of these divine heart chakra pendants by tulku. helping me keep my heart open. (even made the cute checkout guys at whole foods stop and stare.)

 

five things on the art of imperfection

i just HAD to get one of these t-shirts (only a few left!) from authenticity guru jen lee. i did not have the pleasure of formally meeting her at squam (art workshops), but when we were standing next to each other chatting among friends in the dining hall, she aptly lay her head on my shoulder -- an authentic gesture if i ever did see one.

i also just received in the mail brené brown’s heart-opening book, the gifts of imperfection. yes. i have tried for too long to be perfect, leaving me tight and bound when all i really want is to shine.

perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will perfect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight. 

authenticity: yes, please.

perfection: just say no! 

i am *truely* inspired by these women, among many others, who are embracing their imperfect selves and lives:

karen of chookooloonks fame: encouraging self-love, and the comments took me to my knees.

joy tanksley: her dance video is adorable, not to be missed.

susannah conway: who is unashamedly gloriously imperfect.

merrilee d: with healing sign, she always plays great music on her blog.

stacy de la rosa: who is replacing perfect with love.

five things bringing me home

after an emotionally exhausting two weeks, my dog walk with daisey in the glimmering late afternoon october sunlight brought me back home, home to my neighborhood and my pleasant routines, and home to my self ... observing nature's changes, reminding me that i too change constantly, but that my essence and all essence remains the same. (note to self: don't wax philosophical when you're tired!)

here are five things also bringing me home, to my essence, right now:

1. my dear friend manny atkins' new blog. she's undertaking yet another HUGE ADVENTURE! get all over her site and get to know this remarkable woman, if you want to be enriched and inspired!

2. momenta workshops urges those of us with cameras to follow mahatma ghandi's words: "be the change you want to see in the world."

3. "sister" sue had her first ever art show (outside of her own home), is feeling the flow of life and was feeling so lucky she bought lottery tickets (and won $45!).

4. sat with our bright, caring pacific pioneer fund board members today at our tri-annual meeting. we gave $35K in grants to deserving, hardworking and artistic documentary filmmakers. our meetings take place at the gorgeous san francisco film society digs in the presidio. we are so lucky to be welcomed into this highly creative space! 

5. my talented and kind teacher/friend christine mason miller is offering her beautiful, inspirational book ordinary sparkling moments at a discount and giving part of the proceeds to HIV/AIDS projects in south africa. and she's throwing in 4 free notecards as a bonus, because she's generous that way.