Monday, May 25, 2009

Someone's In the Kitchen...

I got a call from my friend Trisha today who's investigating the church. “Do you have the number for the missionaries? The Elder I talked to yesterday at church gave me the wrong one. Everytime I call it, they answer that it's someone's kitchen.”

“That's odd,” I said. “Here let me look it up.” I looked it up and gave it to her.

“That's the same number I have. It sounds like the name of a business? Are they living at someone's kitchen?”

“I don't know,” I answered puzzled.

“Could you call them and find out for me?”

So I dialed the number. The voice on the other end answered, “Hello, this is Elder Kitchen.”

I am not making this up.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Thoughts on American Idol

I've been watching American Idol since season 2. When this season began to unfold I decided my two favorites were Matt and Kris. Soon though as I watched Adam do some amazing things, like singing really well, he replaced Matt as one of my favorites.

Two completely different performers are Adam and Kris and yet I liked them both. Adam knew when to scream, he knew when to keep it soft, he knew that women like me would like to see his hair slicked back looking like a cross between Elvis Presley, John Travolta and Zach Efron in Hairspray. He was more than an amazing singer, he was a performer. And we never knew what he would do next. He was willing to take a chance, and either succeed fantastically or take a face plunge in the dirt.

On the other hand Kris, like Adam, could take a song and make it his own, however, his own were often stripped down versions. He was best with his guitar or at the piano. Adam was "watch my world and see how wild I can be". Kris invited you into his world and made you feel like he was singing to you in his home while enjoying an ice cold coke. He didn't need to scream to get his point across. He sang with strength yet softness. He appeared to be enjoying himself as much as Adam, just in a quieter way.

I was always anxious to see what these two would do next. You never knew how they were going to change a song, only that they were.

I figured Adam would win as did everyone else. His performances were just too unique and often outrageous not to. Besides he was able to hit notes that only dogs could hear. I hoped for a showdown between him and Kris thinking that Kris would be a nice second placer which wouldn't hurt him in the least. While everyone was thinking it would be a Danny Gokey/Adam finale, I ended up predicting it correctly because - well I always have. See I have a sixth sense about these things. I've always predicted who would win (well except for the Ruben/Clay fiasco but I was a newbie then).

And then the final performance night came and I realized several things:

1. Although Adam was fun to watch for one song, it was too much to listen to the over the top screaming for three songs. Instead of enjoying it, I started feeling anxious and wondered if my stove was on fire, my headlights were on and if I forgot another doctor's appointment. Would I want to listen to an Adam Lambert CD for an hour? Probably not. Would I want to listen to a Kris Allen CD for an hour? You bet. He didn't make me think that there might be a stranger trying the back door. Adam might give a more exciting concert, but wouldn't it get a little tired after awhile? Maybe Kris' concert would be just as enjoyable and I could feel secure that my house would still be standing when I got back. Hey, I know it doesn't make sense but I can't help it.

2. The finale song was written for Adam's voice. Even Kara, the co-writer pointed out to Kris that the key was too high for him. What? Did they say "Hey lets write a song that will make Kris suck?" Only it didn't make Kris suck. But why did they write a song just for one of the contestants? Don't they always talk about song choice and finding the right song for the right singer, and then they stick a song and an arrangement (you can bet they wouldn't let Kris rearrange it) to a guy that it just doesn't suit. This smacked of Idol being way to sure of themselves about who would win.

3. The judges gave Kris speeches that signified basically that he wasn't going to win, but gee, he was such a great guy and talented too and golly gee, what a great contenda.

I couldn't help thinking that maybe the American people wouldn't want to be so blatantly manipulated and maybe the quiet guy with the guitar and the strong yet gentle voice might win. And then suddenly I realized that I wanted Kris to win.

Results night only confirmed it. So much of it was geared towards Adam's drama. He performed with smoke and wild costumes with Kiss, and later his number with Kris and Queen was suited to his voice and style again, not Kris'. It was wild, it was exciting, it was all over the top just like Adam and Kris was getting stomped on.

And yet I preferred the remarkable duet Kris did with Keith Urban. It was strong and fun, and he held his own with a guy who's sold millions of records around the world and appeals to a wide variety of people. I love Kieth Urban, my kids like Keith Urban, Keith Urban is genuinely liked and admired in the business, and he's current.

"Wouldn't it be cool if Kris won?" I said to my daughter. "It would be the biggest upset ever on the show."

"But he won't, Adam will win," my daughter replied.

And so I really wanted Kris to win. It would be the last unexpected twist in a season where we had two contestants who did the unexpected. And frankly I honestly believe that Kris could have a longer career than Adam. For one thing, he won't be wrecking his vocal chords.

And so when Kris name was announced, I screamed. I've never screamed before at the results. It was one of shock, and admittedly joy because my initial pick, the underdog, the dark horse, the pussy cat, the guy who for some reason everyone compares to an animal, the guy no one thought could, won.

His humility "Adam should have won" was just an example of what kind of guy he is. Adam's graciousness was wonderful as well.

In the end, it doesn't really matter who wins. As has been proven in the past, winning or losing is not a major factor with a singers success. Yes, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood were able to make extremely successful careers out of it, but then so were Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson and Clay Aiken.

I'm hoping that both Kris and Adam will do well. They both deserve it.


I've posted a book review. Read "Might As Well Laugh About It Now by Marie Osmond.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adventures at the Wedding Part 1

"I only have enough helium for the balloons," the bride's mother, Marilyn*, informed me. "So we can't have anyone playing with the helium."

I nodded. "I'll keep the boys away," I said, secretly thinking that it was me that should be kept away from it.

My son had been married in the Seattle Temple the previous day to a lovely young woman. It had been a glorious beautiful afternoon and the couple looked estatic. Now we were all in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, decorating the church gym for the reception that evening.

Later that morning while talking to my 24 year old daughter, Claire*, about an archway that needed decorating, my 15 year old daughter ran up to us. "The balloons are all blown up and there's still helium left."

Claire and I took one look at each other and made a dash for the little room that housed the helium tank.

There's nothing like singing with chipmunk voices to draw a family close together. "You guys," I said to the five of my children who were in that room with me, "don't be so loud or Marilyn will find out."

"Marilyn will find out what?" Marilyn said, poking her head around the door.

I looked guiltily at her, my mouth filled with helium. I gulped. "The balloons are all blown up," I squeaked.

"All right," she said and then disappeared.

The next day at brunch and present opening my now-married eldest son turned to me and said sternly, "So I heard you said to the others while sucking on helium to be quiet or Marilyn would find out."

"You heard about that?" I cringed.

"Marilyn told me."

"And what did you think when you heard that?"

He grinned. "I thought, 'that's my family'."

*Names have been changed to protect...well, me.


A post on Cindy Becks website made me remember something my 18 year old told me.

"It was once said that the U.S would get a black president when pigs fly. A hundred days into Barrak Obama's presidency, swine flu."

There's another give-away at
Anne Bradshaw's website. This time it's a couple of CD's by Jesse Clark Funk.