30 December 2005

Day in the life of . . .

Real-life conversation held by my parents on our way home to Denver in the car from Grand Lake:

Dad: "I wonder what Will and Shanna are up to in New Jersey right now..."

---Dramatic Pause---

Mom (from the backseat): "Makin' out."

---Dramatic Pause, while Dad looks at the clock---

Dad: "Well, Sally, it's only 3 o'clock in the afternoon! Well...it's 5 o'clock in New Jersey."

Mom: "So?"

---Meanwhile, I am laughing my ass off in the front passenger seat.---

29 December 2005

I'm so glad I'm allergic to dogs . . .

Remember this Candy House from November?

I recently received an email from our family friends, to whom we had given the candy house, about the current state of said candy house. Our friends were planning to have their own candy house party with their little grandnephews over the holidays, and were using ours as a model.

But their dog, Redford, had a different idea.

Now, Redford is a happy dog; a Golden Retriever, in fact, and just loves everyone. But, this poor dog has many health problems. He is allergic to so many things that he gets allergy shots. Yup. Allergy shots. For the dog. And, the dog is on a special diet, to try and eliminate some of his allergies.

And, because of all the itching, Redford has scratched a patch of hair off of his butt, and as a result now has to wear "the lampshade" collar.

SO. Poor, sick dog, starved half to death, spies the Candy House up on the kitchen counter. He places the whole collar over the House and goes on to EAT THE WHOLE THING. Cardboard, candy, chocolate, crisco-based frosting, plasitc santa, tape and all.

Needless to say, our friends' house was turned into a minefield of little gifts from Redford over the next few days.

28 December 2005

You're know you're in a tiny mountain town when

. . . both of your parents are asleep and it's before 10pm and you suddenly find yourself wondering, "Where does Yanni live?" So, I now know that Yanni is indeed from Greece, and keeps a house there as well as a recording studio in Flordia, I also came across this fabulous Yanni-an quote:

Music," says Yanni, "is an incredibly direct language. It bypasses language and logic, and speaks directly to your soul."

Well stated, Yanni.

Happy Book

One of my college friends, Janie, used to keep what she called a "Happy Book." In it she listed things/people/events which made her happy. She had several volumes by the time we graduated, and it was always entertaining to go back and read some of the past quotes or occurances listed in her book. A la Janie, here are just a few things I would place in my Happy Book (Mountain Edition):

1. Flannel pajama pants - pink, of course!
2. Wool socks
3. Hot, homemade chicken soup
4. Book
5. Handmade quilts
6. Hot cocoa
7. The smell of falling snow
8. Big bed with an electric blanket
9. Fuzzy scarf
10. Hot bath
11. Pulling a prank on Dad...and making him laugh!
12. Antler lights (oh, yes)
13. Warm, fuzzy snow boots
14. Fleece
15. Squishy couch
16. Internet (!)
17. Fireplaces
18. Clean, crisp air
19. Snowshoes
20. Longjohns

winter wonderland

I'm sitting all snug and warm inside, while outside is dark and blustery on this winter evening. I would have a fire going, but dad seems to be having hot flashes (sympathetic?) and would freak out. So, I've my blankets, a hot cup of tea and Louis Armstrong music playing in the background.

Mom is making chicken soup, although we realized half-way into the preparations that we actually didn't have the chicken broth. Dad volunteered to run out to the store and get the broth, potatoes, carrots and celery. (Yeah . . . we weren't too prepared for the whole soup thing). I made biscuits, and they'll go in the oven shortly, as soon as the soup gets going.

Dad and I went out and about for an hour or so earlier. We tramped through knee-deep snow in our jeans and boots, and headed toward the Lake. It's frozen over enough for snowmobiles to drive from one side to the other, and we walked out a little ways on the ice. I tried to convince Dad to make a snowangel, but that suggestion was greeted with a guffaw and a "yeah, right".

We then tromped back over snowdrifts and up to town. We walked along the icy street (only one main road - now suitable for all those snowmobiles) and ducked in a few of the little shops that are still open for the winter, and which provided a welcome respite from the biting wind.

This is part of our Colorado. It's as close to having family roots in this state as we get. My parents worked up at the Grand Lake Lodge when they were in college, and in 1979 (when I was born!) bought a tiny little log cabin on the stream which feeds into Grand Lake, the headwaters of the Colorado River. Now, 26 years later, we still come up, although this is the second year we've really come up in the winter time. Mom just re-did our little one-room wonder cabin, and now it is winterized and resembles some sort of oversized mountain dollhouse, rather than our tiny cabin. I think it's beautiful and I'm so proud of my mom.

Tomorrow, Dad and I are planning to go snowshoeing up to Adam's Falls. It's a short hike, about half a mile, but pretty steep and difficult in the snow. It's going to be fun!

I hope that William and I will be able to come up here for many years to come with our various friends and families, and enjoy this special place that has, in part, helped shape who we are today. I guess you can take the kids out of Colorado, but you can't take the Colorado out of the kids . . .

27 December 2005

Stop the presses

Dad actually wants to watch TV. He kept asking me if we had any blank tapes anywhere, and if so would I please set the VCR to tape the Kennedy Center Honors. I couldn't figure out why the heck my father, who is NOT a big fan of the TV, wanted me to tape this show.

I finally figured it out. Tina Turner is one of the honorees.

Of course!

26 December 2005

I know I was too young

. . . to see Mel Brooks' classics "Blazing Saddles" and "History of the World: Part I" when I saw them. I saw them at my grade school best friends' house. We were probably about 10, and her brother and his friends were 8 years older than us. We saw all sorts of things that we shouldn't have, and I remember in 5th grade I decided to write a (required) journal entry listing all of the movies I could ever remember seeing. Needless to say, I got in a little bit of trouble with Mom, after she read it one day.

Fast forward to 2005. The four Daniel family members all went to see "The Producers" this evening. And, we were not disappointed. Completely irreverent, this Mel Brooks comedy had the audience howling with laughter. I'm not sure how he came up with the idea of the original film - but he managed to combine Broadway, swedish bombshells, Nazi's and little old ladies into a satire so wrongly funny that I'm surprised anyone actually goes to see it our pc-laden society.

It's worth seeing and staying until the very end of the credits. You will not be disappointed!

24 December 2005

We might have created a monster!

My dad is a good man. He has his quirks - - definite ocd tendencies, for one thing - - but, overall, is one of the most generous and patient men I have ever known. He alas has a weird hidden side that comes out every now and then.

For example, last week, Will, Mom and Dad were all up in the mountains, when an Enya song came on the radio. Apparently, Dad really liked it, and was asking about Enya, etc etc.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve. This is the first time EVER I can remember opening all our gifts on Christmas Eve, and that is because none of us wanted to get up super duper early and do it tomorrow before church. Anyways, we're opening gifts, and Will has gotten Dad an Enya CD, which promptly supercedes the Diana Krall Christmas CD we are listening to at that moment.

Well, William kind of starts twirling around, dancing, and poking fun at the music. A few minutes later, Dad starts dancing around - in earnest - kicking his leg, and totally almost falling over. It is one of the funniest "Bill D." moments I have witnessed in a while. We were all laughing our butts off, crying and practially peeing ourselves. Those of you that know my father, I'm sure, can just picture all of this in your heads . . . .


21 December 2005

"When the Lights Go Down in the City . . . "

So I'm at the mall this evening, which is packed to capacity, being that it's 4 days 'til Christmas, and it's about 8:30pm. I've just about finished my shopping, and I've ducked into a store to try on some tall length pants, when all of a sudden the power goes out. In the whole mall. And I'm standing in the pitch dark changing room without any pants on. Good times all around.

"Everybody knows a Turkey . . . "

We received not one, but two, turkeys in the mail today at work. One for our ED and one for our Administrator. They are smoked birds courtesy of one of our money managers. To date, we have also received:
-Maple Syrup
-2006 Calendar
-and "donations in our name" to various and sundry charitable organizations

It is my job to write the thank you notes, and to come up with some creative way of saying "thanks for the turkey, but in the future, we'd rather you make a donation in our name", without sounding ungrateful.

Turkeys. In the meantime, we're trying to send them over to Glide, where they can be put to good use.

20 December 2005

la question est........

il y a des questions eternelles entre les hommes et Dieu: qui suis-je, et quelle est la raison pour laquelle je dois souffrir, pleurer, mourir, etc etc. Avec notre generation, je trouve il ya toujours cette question du 'prochain pas' dans la vie....pour exemple....prennons un ami de moi, il a deja finit des etudes, il a deja travailler pour qqannees, dans une carriere qu'il aime bien...mais, le prochain pas sera koi? rester, s'en aller, recommencer ici ou labas? Je connais ces questions moi meme, en ce concerne la musique, le boulot, les rapports...et celles sont des questions dont il ya une difficulte implicite dans le reponse.
Je ne voudrais pas vivre avec des regrets. Je voudrais vivre dans le present...mais, je pense trop, et ca je le sais si bien...j'ai de la tete lourde des pensees...des hypotheses...des fantasies...des reves...et meme des prieres. je voudrais etre la ou Il me dit....mais je trouve que je ne serait pas sur d'etre "la" avant que je me bouger d'ici. Tout devient clair en retrospection...et ca, ca c difficile d'accepter pour nous qui voudrions savoir tous des que hier...

bien. j'ai finit...et je m'en vais. je suis un peu mal au gorge (merde!) et j'ai besoin de dormir....a la prochaine

I should be working now, but

as I just had this conversation via email with my immediate supervisor, PM, (who is working from home today), I had to post it, cause it started out so normal...

Me: "Hello, everyone. Please help yourselves to some yule log cake in the kitchen. Pete sent it over for us."

PM: "Pete gave us a yule log last year as well and it was very good. If there’s a piece left, save one for me, but make sure others have had some first."

Me: "Of course I'll save you a piece."

PM: "I told [the CEO] to email me a piece (just kidding, of course)"

Me: "Haahahahhahaha that's funny :)"

PM: "We’re laughing now, but some day it will be possible"

--------WHAT? Did we just take a turn for the sci-fi? I think so...---------

18 December 2005

What won't they think of next?

When my brother and I were younger, one of our favorite things about travelling via airplane was looking at the Sky Mall magazine. Coming back from Rose's wedding today (more on that to follow in subsequent posts), I found myself reaching for the holiday edition of the Sky Mall, and I was not disappointed. There is some wacky crap in there.
Here are some of my favorites:

I love the title of this gadget: The Sensory Assault Alarm Clock. As if having to wake up in the morning isn't already enough of an assault.

And what houshold would not be complete without an Animatronic Chimpanzee Bust?
The classic thing that always cracked me and William up is still around, and it's not so much the item itself, as much as how it's billed. The superlative Best Nose Hair Trimmer better be good...but it USED to be called The World's Best Nose Hair Trimmer, so maybe it got bumped down a notch.

This particular item always makes me think of Lucy and Desi. I think it's hilarious that all of those shows, now on Nick at Nite, featured families with kids, and yet the parents slept in separate twin beds. Go figure.

And, maybe my family will instate this Victorian Tradition. Nothing says Good Luck and Health like a candy pig.

I know a lot of dental students right now. I think I'll give them this as a collective Christmas present. Or, maybe I should give it to all of our other friends, and help the dentists drum up some buisness.

My mom would probably really dig these slippers, cause she stays up late and walks through the dark house at night. But really, are they necessary?

No words necessary for this customizable item.

If I had a big front yard, and neighbors I particularly wanted to annoy, I would place old Basho, The Sumo Wrestler, out there.

Mess with your cat.

Now, these last two things I actually think are REALLY COOL, and if I had unlimited funds with which I could truly geek out, I would totally get them:
Star Wars Exhibit A, and Star Wars Exhibit B.

15 December 2005

"26 going on 12" or "The Urban Deer" ***

Stacy and Ferris meet at a concert. They have been exchanging emails, myspace messages and IM's for a few weeks, as is the norm among gen-xers these days. Ferris asks Stacy to dinner and drives up from the valley for the date.
They go to dinner, and pass 5 hours discussing everything from music to math and college days to historical personages, all the while laughing their butts off. After dinner, they play a close game of scrabble, which Ferris ends up winning in the end.

Act I, scene iii: The front door to Stacy's apartment complex, 1am, time for Ferris to drive home. It is the ultimate "first date" moment; replete with all the awkwardness - for both parties - implied within.

S: "I had a great time tonight."

F: "Me too." They hug.

S: Still in the hug. "Drive safely. Don't hit any deer on your way home."

F: Silence. Followed by snickering.

S: Giggles, "You know, all those urban, San Francisco deer." (In her head, she is screaming "Nonononononono! Shut-up, Stacy! Why are you babbling about deer??")

Both Stacy and Ferris have been reduced to giggles. The tension of the moment has been dissolved by (not unwelcome) laughter.

F: "One more hug".

They hug, still chuckling.

S: "Okay, good night...get outta here and drive safely."

End Scene....................................

Act II, scene ii: One week later; Ferris and Stacy meet up for a National Basketball Association game halfway between their respective homes. We join them mid-game, in section 117.

S: Leans toward Ferris, whispering "Ferris!"

F: "Yeah?" He leans his head back, eyes still on the game.

*bonk, like the sound of two coconuts hitting*

S & F: "arrghh" much wincing and rubbing of heads, quickly followed by a fit of laughter, which descends into tears. Yes, they are both laughing that hard.

End Scene.....................................................

Act II, scene iii: Crowded platform, waiting on their respective commuter trains.

S: Determined not to replay the 'deer' incident from the previous week, "Thanks, Ferris, I really had a lot of fun tonight."

F: "I did too". They hug.

S: Starts giggling, and buries her head into Ferris' shoulder.

F: "What's so funny?" he asks, smiling.

S: "I am trying very hard to bite my tongue and not say anything about those Urban Sheep. Pauses. Urban sheep. Urban sheep? I can't even get my own joke right?" she asks, laughing and dying of embarrassment.

F: Laughing, "Urban sheep. Yeah, and what about that Urban Cow blocking the train tracks..."

End Scene.......................

14 December 2005

secret santa

Last night, we had our CLG Christmas party. It was a potluck, and I think that just about everyone was able to make it. All in all, we are almost 40 people now! I can remember when we were just 10 at most!

Anyways, we truly had a feast of love last night. I looove these people. Maybe part of it is just the upcoming holidays, but I don't think so. In any group, there is always a "breaking in" period; typically the larger the group, the longer the period. Well, last night felt like a family getting together, being goofy and silly, and just being ourselves. We even had a random new guy come last night, with H and B, and he was like "man. I'm going to come back every Monday night! You guys are fun."

So, we had a potluck, and then revealed our secret santa-ness, which was promptly followed by a wrapping paper fight. It was great fun.

13 December 2005

This moment was brought to you by the letters D, O and H

which spells, D'Oh!

I thought I had lost my ticket for my trip to Rose's wedding in Texas this weekend.

My dad, who graciously lent me some AA miles for this trip, just informed me that my ticket was, in fact, ELECTRONIC.


12 December 2005


This is the name of my friend J's daughter. She is not born yet, but will be early in 2006. J is moving to Hawaii this month to have her baby, and to be close to her Father's family and her sister.

I am thrilled to death for J. But I am also concerned for her. She is only 21, unmarried, and still - in many ways - a child herself. I only pray that she would find in Hawaii the kind of love and support she is going to need during the first few months of motherhood. And, when she returns to SF in August to finish her last year of college, I pray that she would be welcomed with open arms.

Part of my concern for J stems from the fact that she is a Christian. I am concerned that church homes she might seek out will judge her for being an unwed, single mother. I thank God that (at least to my knowledge) our church here been supportive of her pregnancy - and I am truly grateful that she chose to keep her child. But, I can't get out of the back of my head those little concerns about what will happen once she has the baby.

We had a similar situation happen at my church in CO a while ago--unwed teenage girl getting pregnant. But, she was not as accepted. There was a lot of drama surrounding her circumstances-lots of judgement from church leaders, which made me sick. As Christians, we are called to LOVE. L-O-V-E. Why is that sometimes such a hard concept to grasp?

Pray for J and her new baby girl on the way - - - that they would be surrounded by love, and supported (physically, mentally, emotionally) in the months and years to come.

09 December 2005

Questions, part deux

This is an Interactive Internet Question Game. I posted it earlier in the year here, and had a lot of fun with it, so let's try it again, shall we?

This is how it's played:

1. If you want to play, leave a comment below saying so.
2. I'll post five unique questions to the comments section of this post.
3. You answer them in your blog.
4. In your post, you include this explanation and an offer to interview others.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

In other news: THIS MAN will be shooting my new headshots this weekend. Apparently, he offers special holiday offers in a couple cities each year. I'll post them up for review next week. Yay!

08 December 2005

frustration - vent alert

What an evening.

I just need to vent a little. Now, in general I am reallllly easy going. I am laid back, easy to get along with, patient...or, as AZ would say, I am a Golden Retriever. It takes certain things to get my dander up. One of those things is unorganized rehearsals. I don't like to sit around, freezing cold, wasting time in an inefficient rehearsal. Is it too much to ask to pick a schedule and at least pretend to stick to it? I don't think so.

I KNOW it's hard to put shows together, and I KNOW it's hard to organize arts folks - I've been on that side of things. It takes a ridiculous amount of time and energy. So, if this kind of producing or organizing or what have you is not your forte, then, by all means, get someone else to do it.

Also, please listen to your musicians, your sound man, your volunteers. That's always a good idea.

*Sigh*. Just pray that by tomorrow I am over this. Because Christmas is not about being irritated.
Contrarily, last night was the exact opposite of tonight. Wednesday was fun, silly, and just great all around. I'll try and recapture that for the remainder of this evening. And, also fun, I get to bake a cake right now(*happy birthday, AZ*)! SO, in theory, I should lose my surface grumpiness.

Tomorrow's a new day. Praise the Lord!

06 December 2005

"Simply havin' a wonderful Christmastime"

That is the song playing on the radio right now. AZ and I just made a last-minute run to the Costco for birthday supplies, and now we're back at my house. I'm decorating my little tree (my efforts were thwarted on Friday...), and AZ is testing several recipes out for work. I donned my santa hat - yay! - and just HAD to stop and record this moment. It's a great moment, for we two are each in our own element, surrounded by music and lights and, oh...here comes the roomie. Soon, he too will be in his element: taste-testing the goodies :)

05 December 2005

In memoriam

One of our board members, Peter E. Haas, died over the weekend. He was 86, and physcially very ill, so it was not a huge surprise, but still sad. One of the things about working at a family foundation is just that - it's a family foundation. All of our board memebers are related to each other, and this is a very hard time for them.

For the past month, our office has been going nuts trying to put together the numbers and grants to be discussed at our last board meeting of the quarter, which is scheduled for 2 days from now. It might be cancelled, now, which is fine and is just serving as a reminder of the truly important things in life.

Please pray for: Betsy, Pete, Wally, Doug, John, and Jennifer. These are our trustees. To them, Peter Sr. was not just the "honorary president;" he was uncle, father and grandfather. Also pray for Pam, our CEO, who was close to Peter, and Larry, Peter's assistant.

04 December 2005


Admittedly, I can be bad with names. However, I met someone today whose name I shall NEVER forget.

Kermit Svinn.

Is that a great name, or what? He introduced himself to me during our rehearsal (he's a member of the Brentwood Arts Commission, which sponsored our Sing Along Messiah today) and I said:
"Oh my gosh. I love that. Nice to meet you, Kermit."
He cracked up and said, "Yeah, it's not easy being green", (and he was wearing - what else? - a green shirt).

A man named Kermit. Never in my life . . .

03 December 2005

Final updated update . . .

12:45 pm


Praise God for cell phones, google, Yahoo Instant Messenger and websites.

I can now peacefully make my way to Brentwood.

Bored this afternoon? Come to our Sing Along Messiah. You know you've always wanted to sing the Hallelujah Chorus . . .

Updated update . . .

Will wonders never cease?

PRAISE the LORD for His mercies big and small.

I still don't know WHEN I have to be there, but now I know where "there" is, thanks to DGS!!!!!! Thank you, thank you.


praise the LORD my dsl is working again.

Everything else is, as yet, unresolved. But this is a step in the right direction . . .

02 December 2005


I am frustrated to no end this evening.

I have to be in Brentwood tomorrow for a gig.

Time: around noon (exact time unknown)

Place: um, no clue (except for the fact that it's in Brentwood)

Auto Route: uh...no address to use as my "ending address"

Time for which my alarm clock needs to be set: No idea, because I don't know how far Brentwood is!

Why don't I have this information, you ask? Well, I thought I had it stored in my gmail somewhere, but apparently I don't. The needed details never made their way to me, and of course I just figured that all out this evening. I take full responsibility for that. But still . . .
ACK ACK ACK ACK. And I can't reach the one person whom I know has all of this info. Add to that an incapacitated DSL (thanks, SBC), sloooow dial-up, and the fact that I was supposed to be spending a relaxing evening putting up my Christmas decorations instead of all of this, and you get an on-edge opera singer.

I need a hug!!!

01 December 2005

A life less ordinary*

Every now and then, I find myself in a season of waiting. Waiting for the next move, the next step, the next chance. Right now, I feel like I'm living in the middle of a pregnant pause. The first clause has just left God's lips, and I (the listener) am waiting for its conclusion.

I guess I am living a life less ordinary. Shoot, by virture of the fact that I have spent a quarter of my life studying opera makes my life "less ordinary". And, in SF at least, being a Christian is more than enough to qualify as less ordinary. But what does it really mean to life a life less ordinary? Who or what defines "ordinary" to begin with?

Any thoughts, fair readers?

*title thanks to dgs and CL